After cooking on chunked hardwood charcoal at my little brother’s in Bend I was hell bent on figuring out a charcoal solution for my extremely cramped back landing at my one bedroom apartment. I used some parts from my earthenware smoker I made a few years ago, about a dozen clay bricks from Home Depot, and a Lodge cast iron pan, and booya I can now grill or smoke over charcoal! My first venture was a 3 lb tri tip which a slow cooked to medium rare and then had the most amazing roast beef sandwiches all week. Then I got hooked on Yakitori which is the japanese technique of grilling skewered food over hot coals. I did chicken Yakitori 3 nights in a row with scallions, and crimini mushrooms. It was so good, and I must admit it is all about the charcoal!
This weekend I ventured to Bend to spend the weekend with my little brother and his wife. I love visiting the high desert, especially when the valley weather isn’t so good. For my bro and I it is simple, shoot guns, then cook and drink well! And boy did we keep it simple, we BBQ’d both nights, and put about 300 rounds down range. The first night was beef tri tip and the second night pork ribs. Pictured above is a bloody from breakfast, pork ribs, and my brother’s smoked tomato salad with arugula, cow’s milk cheese, and egg yolk dressing, as well as their dog Tune! Something about family and good slow food that goes hand in hand!
I think all these small plates are ruining me. Seems like so many of the great spots to eat in Portland have a plethora of small plates as well as entrees, which allows someone like me to make a dinner out of 4 or 5 plates rather than the starter, salad, entree thing. I had dinner at Clark Lewis over the weekend and their menu is much more traditional, being aimed at everyone working towards a main entree. I was not able to break away from my land of small plates and ended up ordering two salads and then the duck confit with strawberry and rhubarb compote starter as my main. It was the perfect amount of food, and I didn’t get stuck with a huge plate of leftovers like the rest of my family did. For now I be loving small plates!
The other day I used the last of the recent batch of just laid eggs that my friend Gail hooked me up with. Fresh eggs from free range chickens taste dramatically better than your average store bought egg, and lend them selves perfectly to honest use such as poaching, boiling, or sauteing. This sauteed shellfish risotto cake with caramelized onions got way better when i put a sunny side up egg from Gail on it! Thanks Gail!
Yesterday I had lunch at Lardo with some friends in the sunshine. I ordered the meatball sandwich with pickles and cilantro, and it was sooooo good! It is a vietnamese style sandwich with the veggies, cilantro and cock sauce mayo in it, and it really hit the spot! I highly recommend this sando if you are near the belmont carts.
Yesterday was so sunny and warm I just had to cook out side no matter what. I live in a second story walk up, with only a small front and back patio which is taken up mostly by my garden and small smoker. I literally can’t find the room for even the smallest of Webber grills at the moment so I busted out my trusty MSR Dragonfly to get the job done. My garden is already contributing to meals, parsley, pink sage, and yellow oregano went into my ground beef, as well as one of Gail’s farm eggs! To finish, a pub bun from Portland French Bakery, Tillamook aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and some of my pickled red scallions. Perfect eats for PDX’s first hot day!
Not long ago I was working a location shoot that happened to be on my friend Gail Keller’s spread. Gail is the one that from time to time will gift me the precious eggs her hens lay. That day she gave me a dozen just laid eggs, and you could even hear the hens making a racket as they laid their gems. Her eggs make everything taste better, and my cast iron corn pudding was no exception, thanks Gail!