Foodie Penpals Reveal!

 

Yay! Time for another reveal. I participated for the second month in a row Food Penpals through The Lean Green Bean. This month I got paired with two awesome ladies. Generally speaking you only are paired with one awesome person but the first person I emailed didn’t respond within the 72 hour time frame so I was reassigned but then I did receive an email back so I decided to send to both of them and therefore got two awesome boxes!

First up is Ronda, from South Carolina! She writes at Kitchen Dreaming, check it out for some awesome recipes!

Ronda

I am so ready to head out to South Carolina! Fried peanuts, peach jelly and a local cookie she made called Bennies that she sent the recipe for. Yum!

Next up is Nicole, from SoCal-an area I know well, having lived there throughout my life and constantly visiting.

NicoleAmong the local products, she sent California raisins (anyone remember the California Raisins from the ’80’s and 90’s? Are they still around?) and almonds from her uncle’s farm North of Los Angeles, how cool is that! She also sent Herbs D’Provence which I love using on chicken and haven’t had any for awhile!

Want to get in on the fun next month?

Here’s some details about FPP in case you want to join in for July:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. 
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans.  

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for March, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

Who knows? Maybe you’ll get an awesome box of Oregon goodies from me!

Foodie Fridays: Quick ‘n’ Easy Quiche Recipe

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I have a friend at work who has chickens. This is something I aspire to have because seriously, what’s better than fresh eggs?! Well she was nice enough to give me a dozen eggs a few weeks ago and I wanted to make something to spotlight the eggs so I decided to make a quiche.

Beautiful Fresh Eggs

Well the biffle has a fabulous quiche recipe that we made a few times when I was living in New York and so I sent her a message asking for that recipe. Of course it’s a recipe that lives in her head, like the best recipes so she wrote out the best she could and sent it back to me.

Ingredients

 

Hers was a basic recipe that you could add whatever you wished to it. I decided to make it a smoked salmon quiche. So I headed to my local grocery store, New Seasons, which if you live in the Portland area, should be a regular shopping place for you, and picked up all the necessary ingredients.

Cheese

Ahhh cheese, glorious cheese. I did a mixture of emmentaler swiss and gruyere cheese, heavy on the swiss with an accent of gruyere.

Then I separated the eggs.

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I used the try and true mechanism of my fingers :) lots of fun!

Mixing

 

Then I added heavy cream and cheese in with the yolks.

Beating

 

Beat the egg whites to a froth.

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I cheated here because I’ve never made a pie crust so I bought a pre-made one. But I layered the salmon on top of the crust.  I then mixed the egg whites with the creamy, cheesy yumminess.

Pre Cooked

 

Ready to go into the oven!

Fresh out of the oven

 

Delicious quiche!!

So here are the basic instructions from the biffle:

“You can do whatever veggies you want but water-y veggies are bad. If you use frozen veggies make sure they are totally thawed and you’ve squeezed excess water out. I normally do it with frozen spinach, which works well, but it must be thawed, cold, and no extra water.

separate 5-6 eggs. Mix cheese, egg yolks, salt, pepper, the veggies together. You’re going to need to put in heavy cream (1-2 cups) – it’s hard to know how much, I just judge my consistency which needs to be loose but not watery. You beat the egg whites until they are fluffy, then fold them into the other mixture until it’s blended. Then dump it in the shells (I used pre-made), and bake for 45 min or so at 350 degrees. I always check after a half hour, sometimes they go fast.

Sorry, this is a recipe in my head, so it’s hard to write it out! If you put in meat, I recommend putting a thin layer of mixture, then laying in the meat, then putting more mixture on top. Most recipes says to put it on the bottom but it can burn or make the crust soggy there.

Separating the eggs, in my opinion, really does make a difference and is worth it.”

Do you have a favorite egg recipe that you want to share? I’m looking for good ones!

 

Foodie Fridays: Foodie Pen Pals

I kind of dropped off the grid for a a couple of weeks. I actually went to Vegas with the biffle last weekend which was awesome! And now I am slowly getting back into the flow of things. I’m also transitioning to start working full-time starting July 1st at one of my part-time jobs but throwing in working on community educational initiatives, which I am super psyched about!

A couple of years ago, when I was still living in New York, I participated in a foodie pen pals through the Lean Green Bean swap three or four times. I loved it but because of my schedule, couldn’t commit to doing it. I decided to restart it this month and I am so glad I did! I was paired with Raina from the_home_plate. What a sweetheart! She lives in Murfreesboro, TN–I’ve actually been there! We drove through there last month on our way back to Nashville from the Jack Daniels Distillery. I stopped and had my first Sonic experience–a delicious milkshake that they brought to my car :).

Raina sent an awesome package full of yummies-many of which I brought on the plane with me to Vegas. Here we go!

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A delicious package full of goodies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014-05-22 21.34.45  A sweet letter describing things including the fact that Goo Goo Clusters are a Tennessee treat coming from Grand Ole Opery (GOO). So cool! I never knew that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious yummies including really good Asian chocolate treats, corn bread, salsa and sauce, almonds and pecans!

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Foodie 2

 

 

I am super excited for basil olives and chess pie!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Raina, for such an awesome package! I totally recommend getting involved with swaps, I think they are a great way to get to know people and to get some interesting stuff!

Foodie Friday: Quick Easy Lunches

When I’m at work, I get into a groove where I end up not really leaving work. This is good because I focus and get a lot done but it also means that I don’t usually think about lunch. Thankfully, I’ve been doing NatureBox for the last few months and those are easy crackers and nuts that I can eat.

My favorite lunch by far is crackers and cheese! I was excited when Influenster invited me to participate in a tasting of the new Sargento Ultra Thin Cheese.

They first sent me a package with the coolest lunch bag, which was sorely needed because I left mine in NYC!

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It’s actually similar to the one I had except that I think I had a blue background but I love the neoprene lunch bags because they stretch to fit so much stuff. There was also a coupon for a free package of the cheese, which the lady at the grocery store (the third one I tried!) was impressed by. She said she usually doesn’t see such good coupons.

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I wanted to get the Colby-Cheddar but there was only swiss or pepper jack so I decided to break out of my mold and go pepper jack. Yum!

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I happened to have wheat thins in my office so it was a quick, easy pairing. Overall, the cheese was good but a little thin so I felt like because I was eating it on crackers, it broke a little easier but on a sandwich, it was just fine.

Again, to me, this is the perfect workday lunch!

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Overall, I loved getting the sample and LOVE the lunch bag! I’m always looking for quick and easy lunch ideas at work–what’s your favorite quickie lunch?

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“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

Foodie Friday: The Picnic House

Awhile ago, like in February maybe, my good friend and I went out for a night on the town. We decided to try a bunch of different places. For drinks we went to The Picnic House. I’d never been there and neither had she but my mother had said that she’d enjoyed it in the past.

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I loved it! It was right downtown near the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall but because it was a quiet Saturday night-there was nothing going on downtown, traffic was non-existent and we were able to park right near the restaurant on the street. The restaurant itself was very cute and made me think of what an old fashioned salon in Paris would be-people coming to discuss high literary items and the such.

Since we were going out for dinner afterwards, we stuck to an appetizer and a drink but the dinner menu looked delicious as well.

Christine got a beer (I am terrible, I don’t drink beer so I didn’t pay attention to what she got!) and I got a glass of Pinot Noir.

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The Happy Hour menu was small, only six items on it but all reasonably priced between $3-$5. I got the salmon mousse crostini and Christine had the half grilled cheese sandwich & small roasted tomato soup. Both were small but nice portions and were quite tasty.

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My favorite part was the fact that they put the receipt into an old book!

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I will definitely be coming back here, perhaps when I attend an event at the concert hall!

Foodie Friday: Punch Bowl Social

After my amazing hike on Saturday, my friend Christine and I decided to indulge in a great meal through Portland Dining Month (read about my other reviews at Thirst Wine Bar and Gracie’s). This is a great deal here in Portland during the month of March where you can get a three course meal for $29.

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We decided to go to Punch Bowl Social which doesn’t have a website but read more about it on Yelp.  There are actually two parts to the restaurants–one is the actual restaurant and the other is karaoke, bowling and other fun stuff like ping pong.  We actually got a call from the restaurant confirming the reservation and letting us know that we had access to the restaurant and not the games section.

When we got there, we were seated relatively quickly and were excited to start with the drink only to find out that technically the drinks were not part of the $29.  Thankfully we weren’t the first to complain about this so they didn’t charge us for the drinks.  Christine got the Heart of the Union which included Union gin, triple sec, beet syrup, lemon juice and orange bitters shaken and served over ice with a lemon wheel.

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I started with Monk’s Vacation which included: Portland potato vodka, green chartreuse, pineapple juice, lime juice and simple syrup shaken and served chilled with a lime garnish.

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Christine loved her drink from start to finish. I didn’t love mine to start but did end up loving it.

We both started with the Deviled Eggs (tarter sauce, dijon, chives, parsley, coffee bacon jam, piment d’espelette, greens).  I don’t eat bacon so I got mine without.  The eggs were good and Christine said the bacon jam was spicy but good.

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For the main course I got Pacific Salmon Creamed Spinach with creme fraiche, fingerling potatoes, sherry butter, and beurre blanc.

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I found this to be incredibly good but didn’t love the spinach.  Christine got the Mushroom Stroganoff with crimini and oyster mushrooms, onions, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, and lemon.

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She loved it but thought the garlic was a little too much. Dessert was incredible on both accounts.  I got the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake which included Meyer lemon curd, lemon poppy seed polenta shortbread.  It was delicious and light and yum!

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Christine got the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar which was chocolate brownie, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate ganache, salted caramel and peanut butter.

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All in all, the food was good and the service great.  We both wondered about the decor, we couldn’t figure out what exactly they were trying to accomplish with the choices but I probably would go back to try out the karaoke bar and bowling.

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Foodie Fridays: Gracie’s

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I mentioned that I went to happy hour at the Driftwood Room.  After drinks we went and ate at Gracie’s, also in the Hotel Deluxe.  When we walked in, I actually realized I had been there years before for a work function and was excited to actually try out the food.

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The restaurant itself is full of old school charm-big comfortable chairs and banquette seating.  It definitely seems like a great place to hold a celebration. I went with two girlfriends as part of Portland Dining Month.  This is an awesome deal where you can get a three course meal at over 90 restaurants for only $29!  You can read about my trip to Thirst Wine Bistro where I went last week.

The menu was extensive and there were about four or five choices for appetizer, main course, and dessert.  Each looked incredibly interesting and when I compared them to the regular menu, it was definitely a savings when you did the dining month deal.

I started with the Gorgonzola Cheesecake-fresh bread, whole roasted garlic, fruit chutney & balsamic glaze.  So delicious!  I am of the school that the stinkier the cheese the better and I adore cheesecake so this was a perfect marriage.  The balsamic glaze and the fruit chutney mellowed out the gorgonzola and it was a delicious appetizer.

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For my main course I decided to have the Braised Lamb-fruited Israeli couscous, crispy winter greens & mint pesto.  I love lamb and really don’t eat it that often, usually only on vacation so this was a real treat.  I am also a huge fan of Israeli couscous (probably from living in Israel!) because I prefer the larger pieces and the fruit was a great compliment to the lamb.

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For dessert I had the Crispy Bread Pudding.  In the past few years, I have fallen in love with bread pudding and this was exactly how bread pudding should be, crisp and moist.  Covering it caramel sauce doesn’t hurt it either!

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I am really loving Portland Dining Month and have made sure to go to places I haven’t been before (except realizing that I’d been to Gracie’s before but don’t even remember the menu so it’s ok!)  Tomorrow night I am going to my last Portland Dining Month restaurant for this year and am looking forward to just as great of a meal.

Have you tried out any of the awesome Portland Dining Month deals?

Happy Hour: Driftwood Room

A couple of weeks ago I went out to dinner with some friends as part of Portland Dining Month.  It was within the Hotel DeLuxe and the restaurant was great-I will write about that later this week.  But we got there a bit early so we went to their bar for drinks.  Their bar is called Driftwood Room.  Here’s what the hotel says about the Driftwood Room:

The Driftwood Room is a Portland landmark, serving thirsty revelers since the cocktail lounge heyday of the 1950′s and still today at the vanguard of Portland’s craft cocktail scene. Try one of our signature champagne cocktails. Order a sip from our extensive Manhattan menu. Temper the tipple with our legendary sizzling forest mushrooms. It’s a perfect Hollywood setting for a Hitchcock thriller or romantic romp.

The room was so much fun!  First of all, I felt like I was in an episode of Mad Men the way a lot of people were dressed–for some reason there were at least two tables of people in vintage clothing.  The menu itself represented the theme as well!

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I tried two drinks while I was there and was definitely a bigger fan of the first.  Both were champagne cocktails. The first one I tried was the Rose Colored Glasses and was made with gin, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice and champagne.  I think I’m in a floral mode because I’m loving anything rose flavored as well as anything lavender. . . must be spring in the air!\

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The second drink I had with dinner but was still from the Driftwood Room so I’m going to include it here.  It was called Elizabeth Taylor and was made with creme de violette and champagne.  Not sure what creme de violette is but it was a little too sweet for me.

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It also was the color of a grape Jolly Rancher, which you can’t see particularly well in this picture.  We didn’t get any food because we knew we were having a big meal afterwards but I would definitely go back and try the Happy Hour menu because it looked good and the prices were reasonable.

The hotel itself also has that romantic look of days gone by in the lobby and I think it would definitely be a fun hotel to stay in, along with a fantastic location.

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I tried to bring in some retro glam with my red lips.  Something about red lipstick just makes me feel glamorous!

Hotel DeLuxe-Driftwood Room
729 SW 15th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

 

 

 

Foodie Fridays: Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro

I have been very lucky since I moved back in Portland to become involved with a great group of bloggers here in Portland, Portland Bloggers.  About a month ago they posted the opportunity to win a chance to blog about Portland Dining Month.  As you know, I love reviewing restaurants so I totally jumped on the opportunity.

Yay!  I won!  I got to go with my friend Melissa and eat the amazing three course meal at Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro.  Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro is located in the south waterfront, an area that I really haven’t spent much time down in for several years and it was as beautiful as I remember it.  The restaurant is located along a row of restaurants and shops facing the water and a boat dock.  The day was a perfect Portland day, nary a cloud in the sky so sitting down by the waterfront and looking across the Willamette was perfect.

So Portland Dining Month has over 90 restaurants participating in it and this was my second (I will blog soon about my dinner at Gracie’s!).  A little information from Thirst’s website: “Thirst Bistro opened in 2006 with our main dining room, bar and outside space. Thirst expanded with The River Room (private parties) in 2008 and expanded our menu from traditional wine bar to full restaurant including spirits and cocktails. In 2010 we opened The Cellar, another private dining room where we also hold our wine dinners and classes. Thirst has patio seating for 100 outside on the Esplanade and is the best place to watch downtown fireworks in the summer and The Christmas Ships in December. Enjoy the unobstructed River and Bridge views year-round.”

They weren’t kidding about the view!  We made the reservation through OpenTable because Dine Portland made a donation to the Oregon Food Bank.  The restaurant was not crowded at all and Melissa and I were seated right away at a window side seat.  The server, who was incredibly friendly, brought both the regular menu as well as the Portland Dining Month menu and an extensive drink menu-focussed on wine-it is, after all, a wine bistro!

Clearly we both went for the Portland Dining Month menu–three courses for only $29, can’t beat that!

There were three options for appetizers, of which I could only eat one since one had bacon and one had shellfish, neither of which I eat.  I chose the House Salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, hazelnuts, red onion, cherry tomato, vinaigrette.  I asked for no red onions as I’m not a fan of raw onions.  Melissa had the Hot Crab Dip with baguette.

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I found the salad to be good, crisp and with just the right amount of vinaigrette.  I would have added more hazelnuts and cheese but that’s me loving those two parts.  Melissa liked the hot crab dip but found it a tad spicy for her liking.

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We both had the Bistro steak with caramelized onion smashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day which was roasted carrots.  Melissa had it medium-well and I had it medium-rare.  It was delicious!  The meat was perfectly cooked and the potatoes were super delicious.

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For dessert we both got the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with vanilla ice cream.  Amazing!  I mean you can’t really go wrong with chocolate bread pudding anyway but this was super and a great way to finish off the meal.

I also had a flight of wine-bartenders choice.  It came with three wines-a white, a pinot noir and another red.  Two were Oregon wines and one was a Washington wine.

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The wines were the perfect accompaniment to dinner.

Overall, dinner was amazing and for $29/person, we really had a lot of food!  I would definitely plan to go back to Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro, especially in the summer when we can sit outside overlooking the water.

Make sure to Spin the Wheel of Deliciousness for a chance to win a year of free meals!

I was very lucky to be provided with this opportunity by Downtown Portland which provided me with a gift certificate to Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro which covered the meal for two people.

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Foodie Fridays: My new favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

So while Portland was buried under a foot of snow:

Portland Snow

 

I spent a lot of time reading in front of this:

Fireplace

which was absolutely delightful!  I finished quite a few books including:

A lot of books but it was six days snowed in!  I also made what I think may be the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.  In fact, I enjoyed them so much I made them two weekends in a row.

I got the recipe from Shelterrific.  You can find the recipe there.  I made a few tweaks.

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The second time I didn’t have enough chocolate chips so I took semi-sweet bakers chocolate and crushed it down with a can to make chunks and that worked out great.  I also prefer a softer, somewhat undercooked cookie so instead of 12 minutes of baking, I did 10, flipping the pan half-way through.

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I definitely think I found my new go to cookie recipe and I would recommend it!

do you have a go to cookie recipe?  What is it?  Share in the comments!