Best of Eugene Awards

Friday, October 27, 2006

Special best of Eugene cake Imagine my surprise to open up the Eugene Weekly and find that I got second place in the category of Eugene’s best blog.

Really, its an honor to be nominated- I’ll bake y’all a cake as soon as I get a chance! This pictured one is a Sweet Life cake made for the cover shot that displays cute little bits of Eugene. If you look closely, you can spot a tie dyed t-shirt on the bottom tier.

Now- on to the tasties: the Forkin’ Good category:

BEST ASIAN

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Eugene, Oregon Food Destinations

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Eugene Food DestinationsThis entry is part of the Food Destinations Project. Check in to see if your upcoming vacation spot is highlighted by one of our eaters!

If you were to pop into my world at the University of Oregon, these are my show-n-tell spots for some of the best eats in Eugene! Most of them are casual, all of them have heart…

Eugene Breakfasts

Eugene Lunches

Eugene Coffee / Snacks

Eugene Dinners

Eugene Desserts


Sugar Plum Visions

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

My first Sugar PlumTuesdays have begun to develop a bakery routine on my way home from work. I stop in at Eugene City Bakery, and check out the offerings while buying a loaf of bread for soup later. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I usually pick up the Tuesday bread special of Emmenthaler Red Onion Sourdough while I’m there!

Coconut TruffleI also enjoy my stops into the bakery as they are very explorative in their flavors and offerings. The morning pasteries change daily, with marionberry scones often giving way to mandarin orange scones striped with chocolate, which come back later as candied orange peel scones with mini chocolate chips. I enjoy watching the tide of flavors change with the day and season.

In addition to morning pastries and loaves of bread, Eugene City Bakery has a case dedicated to tarts, mini mousse cakes, mini pumpkin pies, and such with trees of cookies stacked above. Today I spied mingling with the chocolate mousse cakes, some half-off coconut truffles, one of which I released from its life behind glass. And when I stood up to wipe the moist bakery fog off my cold glasses, I spoted a label proclaiming Sugar Plums.

My first Sugar PlumI captured a Sugar Plum treat and anxiously brought it home, using my meditation techniques to block out any Nutcracker Ballet memories of my youth from taking over my mind’s music as I walked home. Being the dutiful blogger I am, I took a photo and then took a quick nibble.

It’s tart and tangy with a flavor very reminiscent of cherries. Very refreshing in a season of deep chocolate flavors and sparky mints. My Sugar Plum looks like a fruit version of a rum ball: a hand formed ball comprised of minced fruit, maybe bits of orange peel, and specks of walnuts… a sticky mass that’s coated in sparkly sugar to make it less eventful on my fingers.

It’s a charming set of flavors, much like my favorite Thanksgiving cranberry relish! I can now see how such visions of this treat became immortalized in our Holiday culture.


Crazy for Cocoa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

not obviously chocolate, but it's in there!Oh my word! Michelle and I found oursleves in quite the cozy theobromine binge on Sunday. This was the For the Love of Chocolate benefit we attended put on by the Eugene Slow Food group. The following pictures are Michelle’s, who has already posted her report!

I arrived with scarcely any time to mingle before the tasting, but Michelle took care of me by pointing out the pre-tasting spread of goodies. Go figure we’d be having chocolate before our chocolate tasting! Next to the huge pile of truffles were three insulated carafes of single origin hot chocolates. I took a shot of the Madagascar, and couldn’t believe what was in my cup. Instead of the typical hot chocolate drink, what greated my lips was a thick, cake batter like puddle of chocolate porn. It was amazing.

a taste of our chocolate spreadWe then quickly found seats and were greated by piles of chocolate and handouts. While the chocolate is all good, the prospect of handouts made me especially happy. Our tasting was led by Paul Albright of Guittard Chocolate. His presentation is reportedly the same as what he would give to culinary students- a detail that I swear made Michelle and I quietly whoop for joy. What followed was an amazing foray into the intricacies of Guittard’s newest angle on the chocolate market, the development of their high end chocolates, denoted as the e. Guittard line of products.

the tasting gridPaul led us through a structured tasting of 24 different e. Guittard chocolates, beginning with their single origin varietals and finishing with two white chocolate varieties. His presentation blew me away. Paul was very generous with entertaining our questions, even my silly one asking what in the world carob is (I know, almost heretical in that environment).

I fear the theobromine may have clouded my brain by the time we got to the white chocolate part of the tasting. I still have questions about what the breakdown of white chocolate is. One of my handouts lists an e. Guittard white as a 31% Cacao White Chocolate. However, I’m not clear on what exactly does that mean (ratio of sugar, milk, etc). Or more simply, what the heck is white chocolate again?

After our chocolate tasting, the event organizers had the audacity to present us with a buffet of various chocolate foods to nibble on, the nerve! Vella Dry Jack Cheese, Mole Salami (hey look at that Michelle- it is mole flavored!) by Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, Chicken with Mole Sauce, and Chocolate Cherry Bread. I plan on stalking my bakery for my own personal loaf of the chocolate cherry bread this weekend as it was dense and dark, a wicked combination of brownie and bread. My favorite nibble however was the Mole Salami made by Salumi up in Seattle (by Mario Batalli’s Dad!). The spice combination rounded out with chocolate was divine. Salumi has special holiday baskets and ordering directions on their website to bring this wonderful salami into your home.

This event was a great introduction to Eugene’s Slow Food events. I hope the future ones are this bright and shiny.


Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Roasted HazlenutsI’ve enjoyed watching the food blog collective come to the realization that soup weather is indeed here. I came to this realization the same weekend I tried to make gummi candies. Making gummies and Oregon’s rainy season do not mix. My grapefruit sours turned into jelly blobs overnight! Bah, so much for the power of bringing sugar to hard crack stage.

The next night I made this great inpromtu Butternut Squash soup that was very speedy, thanks to my pressure cooker. We devoured our soup with a loaf of Eugene City Bakery Emmenthaler with red Onion Sourdough.

Our beloved neighborhood bakery has brought out their schedule for specialty breads, many of which have been successfully tested by us for their soup worthyness. The Multigrain Sourdough wowed us this weekend when we brought it over to our friends’ house for soup. Thick, nutty, chewy, it was perfect when just slightly toasted and then dunked into our salmon soup. I have my eye on the Chocolate Cherry Sourdough, as this recipe has been calling me from Nancy Silverton’s bread book on my shelf.

Eugene City Bakery’s Specialty Bread Schedule

1607 East 19th St. 334-6906
Monday – Friday 6:30 am-6 pm, Saturday 7 am-5 pm, Sunday 7 am-4 pm

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Roasted Hazlenuts

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Roasted Hazlenuts

Hazlenut Oil
This is a nutty oil to drizzle across the surface of the soup. While entirely optional, it lends a nice roasted flavor to the squash and apples.

In a shallow pan, roast 2 Tbs of hazlenuts in a 350F oven until the nuts are a toasted tan color and aromatic. Add the nuts to a blender and cover with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Leaving the skin on the nuts lends a darker color to the oil, and slight dark flecks. Blend thoroughly till the nuts are pulverized in the olive oil. The aim is to make hazlenut flavored oil, as opposed to a nut butter. More oil may need to be added to the blender to make this pourable. Decant the flavored oil to a new container.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple

In a pressure cooker, saute 3/4 of an onion with a generous sprinkling of dried thyme and 1/4 tsp of salt.

When the onions have cooked through, add a splash of a white wine, one chopped apple, 11 oz of chopped butternut squash (the size of bag of frozen chopped butternut squash I had in my freezer), and enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover.

Lid the cooker, bringing to pressure and cook on low for 25 minutes.

When time has elapsed, (the contents are soft and break down easily), allow to cool slightly and then puree in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and your favorite flavored vinegar.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of the hazlenut oil, and enjoy while curled up next to a rainy window.


Marché at the Museum

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

macaroonThe days this week have been long, sore (ahem, renewed committment to head to the gym, inspired by… well all sorts of things inspire these sorts of tendencies and this one is a bit long winded to explain), yet delightfully sunny in their duration. After Groundhog’s Day, the denziens of Eugene, Oregon became resigned to existing in Winter for several more weeks so of course the weather decided to change course!

All this delightful weather means one can finally eat lunch outdoors without feeling too foolish. Monday I took the sun as an opportunity to eat lunch at our new campus Café Marché location, nestled inside the newly renovated Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum. The inside seating is sleek and closely tabled, perfect for creating good eavesdropping fodder. However, the outdoor Porch is where I believe campus is going to really congregate when the weather gets warm. Once the word gets out that Marché has beer and wine, I’ll simply have to share my Café with everyone else.

shrimp and avocado tartineThis visit I enjoyed the Shrimp and Avocado Tartine, which makes for the perfect sized lunch. All the sandwiches come with a small field greens salad, whose peppery sharp dressing rounds out the meal perfectly. The sandwich was crunchy with celery and onion adding texture to the shrimp which were dressed in a milky-like sauce. The overall flavors of the tartine are light and sweet, shrimp and avocado making a wonderful pair.
And I couldn’t resist having a macaroon for dessert… one of my special Marché weaknesses. I love how these are little pyramids; it gives you a sense of direction on where to take your first bite, the tip! Crunchy golden outter layer with a caramelized perfume, that yields a dense chewy coconut interior. Heaven!

As with most campus eateries, I recommend visitation not during 11:30am-1pm, as the area is usually mobbed. However, Marché lends itself to a wonderful late lunch or weekend brunch spot.
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