Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lifehacks: how to keep berries from molding

image via Food Lush
Are you on Pinterest? It's such an awesome site and very very addicting. You can follow my pins and boards, here.

It's a great place for inspiration, ideas and solutions to problems like keeping your berries from molding. The magic trick via FoodLush? Vinegar!

"When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted I find you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and I've had strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. "

I tried this trick and it indeed works! I was worried the berries would taste like vinegar but they didn't!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The only pie crust recipe you'll need

When I lived in Nebraska, some of my Sunday's were spent watching my Grandma Marie make dinner, desserts from scratch. One of my favorite memories was when she taught my cousin and I how to make pie crust. It is a great crust but it includes Crisco and vinegar -- and you have to cut it with a fork or a cutting tool. I like my homemade foods easy and that pie crust, was not easy.

Over the years, I have gotten lazy and just bought ready made crusts from Trader Joe's. That was until I was introduced to Martha Stewart's pate brisee via We're not Martha (isn't the cupcake pie idea, awesome?). The main reason I like this recipe --- it mixes perfectly in a food processor!

It's marionberry season and I headed down to my favorite produce stand, Paradise Produce (using my Zing Deal)and bought almost two pounds to make this Oregon classic.

Marionberry Pie
from Sunset Magazine

Make the pie crust (makes two 9 inch crusts)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

The filling
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 pounds (6 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen marionberries or other blackberries (for frozen, measure, thaw until somewhat softened, and use all juices)

Preheat oven to 375° with rack on bottom rung. On a lightly floured board, roll larger disk into a 12-in. circle. Loosen with a long metal spatula, gently roll around a rolling pin, then unroll into a 9-in. pie pan (if dough cracks, press back together). Fold edge under, so it's flush with pan rim, then crimp. Chill 15 minutes.

Roll remaining dough into an 11-in. circle.  You can either make a lattice design or roll over the crust whole. If you roll over a whole crust, make sure you make some slits.

Stir together cornstarch and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add berries with juices and toss to coat. Arrange evenly in pie shell. Lightly brush pastry cutouts with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Arrange cutouts over filling.

Bake pie until filling bubbles and pastry is golden in center, 55 to 60 minutes (up to 1 1/2 hours if berries were frozen); if edge starts to get dark, cover with foil, and if pie starts to bubble over, put a rimmed pan underneath it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meatless Monday: Watermelon Gazpacho

Remember this guy? His name is Steven and he is the chef/owner of the best food cart ever, Soupcon (pronounced soup sawn). He is where I go to lunch sometimes 2-3 times a week. It's a deal ... for $5 you can get soup and a sandwich based on the seasons and they are usually pretty healthy.

This summer he's been showcasing chilled soups. I am not a fan of chilled soups and usually, I will get a hot soup and sandwich but gosh, it's been hot out and everyone and their mother has been bragging about how awesome his watermelon gazpacho is. I don't like gazpacho. I made it once and ended up throwing the whole thing away because I just couldn't get into it.

After weeks of resisting, he finally talked me into trying his watermelon gazpacho and it was life changing. Heck, all of his soups have been life changing because before I met Soupcon, I was a chicken noodle soup gal. I also was not a fan of tomato soup and he totally converted me on that one.

He was so nice to post the recipe on his site so I'm going to share it with you because it's THAT good.

Watermelon Gazpacho
by Soupcon

2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
23 oz. tomato juice
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 peeled, seeded cucumber, roughly chopped
5 C. chopped fresh tomatoes
2 oranges, 2 limes, 2 lemons, zested and peeled
1 C. orange juice
1 1/2 C. olive oil or olive oil blend
1/2 C. chopped mixed herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, thyme)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne or chili powder or mexican hot sauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 or 2 chipotle chiles (optional)
1 med. size seedless watermelon. small diced
salt and pepper to season

Combine all ingredients except watermelon in container and let marinate overnight in fridge. In blender, puree marinating mixture, add chopped watermelon, season and serve cold.

*variations can include different levels of spiciness, different amounts of certain herbs and/or spices and also some other vegetables added to the soup after it's been blended such as red onion, cucumber, jicama, orange segments, etc..... Also, season generously. Chilled soups need it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My garden is a failure

Yesterday my husband told me he wanted to make fried green tomatoes with the two tomatoes on the vine. My response? There are only two? Really? You see, I don't claim to have a green thumb so the garden has been all Brian's, who in the past, has had no problem with gardening.

Gardening in Central Oregon is tricky. Our growing seasons is short and you really have to baby your stuff. We took a gamble with the Topsy Turvy and only got two tomatoes. My neighbor Kevin, he wheels his tomatoes in and out of the house moving from shade to sun and puts them in the garage each night. His tomatoes are flourishing!

So how is the lettuce? It's growing but I think they are getting too much sun. Notice the brown? We are going to try to move them this week to the other side of the deck and see if it helps.
Our herbs? They haven't grown much ... What are we doing wrong?

The only thing that may be flourishing is the green onions but we'll see. 

I knew I would have some failures on this journey but boy, what an epic one! I would love some advice. Maybe gutter gardening isn't for us!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meatless Monday: Tomato and Grilled-Bread Salad

Tomato and Grilled-Bread Salad
This summer I have been a little obsessed with panzanella. As I have gone through my cookbooks, I come across several recipes I'd love to try.

This one comes from Everyday Food magazine and the cookbook Great Food Fast and I also get to use my handy dandy grill pan that fits over two of my gas burners.

This recipe is great for tomatoes that your forgot you bought at the farmer's market (oops). I'm waiting for some leeks because there is a panzanella I'm dying to try that involves leeks!

Tomato and Grilled-Bread Salad
from Great Food Fast


1/2 pound country bread, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Heat grill to medium. Brush bread slices on both sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill until lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into large cubes.

In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and serve.


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