January was an emotional rollercoaster! After spending December with my favorite guy in Hawaii, I was back to Portland for a month to get our house ready for the big move. It was bittersweet, and involved delicious food and many goodbyes. Here are 10 things that made my month:
- Seeing Monk Seals on an early morning hike to Kaena Point on New Year’s Day (my only day in Hawaii this month, tear).
- Baking and cooking a few last times with my 1950s oven – oh, how I’ve loved you.
- Another trip to the Barefoot Sage – I have a great friend and I am so spoiled.
- Taking a “Mastering Macarons” cooking class with my bestie, from a French Laundry alum, no less. (Best Christmas present ever!) She did a great recap of our class here.
- Dove Vivi pizza – the cornmeal crust is ahh-mazing … I think I may have mentioned this before.
- Breakfast at Besaws – although, this time I liked their “2012 – what will it bring for you?” chalk art more than my food.
- A going away party hosted by my dearest, with four of my very favorite people in attendance. Cupcakes also made an appearance.
- Shopping – I went a little overboard, snatching up things at my favorite places like West Elm, Anthropologie and World Market, none of which are in Hawaii. The movers were a little perplexed at the sight of unopened boxes. My favorite shopping find was not a purchase, it was seeing the EXACT typewriter I own in a store display at Anthropologie – swoon.
- Bamboo Sushi – definitely my favorite sushi place in Portland. Amazing quality and unique, tasty combinations. It’s also a great place for non-drinkers to get a fancy drink, as they will make many of their signature cocktails without the alcohol. My favorite is “purple haze” with fresh blackberry puree – yummy!
- This one was a love/hate – watching our Matson shipping container get loaded up over two full days and then seeing it drive away … the end of our Portland life.
If you ever feel like quitting your job and going to culinary school … take a cooking class first. Me, I’ll be fine taking a few classes per year and saving cooking school for my midlife crisis.
I signed up for the “Provencal Sunday Supper” taught by the lovely chef Caitlin Koepsell at Sur La Tabla. What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon! We wandered down to the Sur La Tabla in Portland’s Brewery Blocks and joined a group of about 14 to create a cozy French dinner.
The menu was:
- Caramelized onion and chevre flatbread with herbs de Provence (pizza!)
- Tuna Nicoise salad with winter greens, seared tuna, fingerling potatoes, green beans and soft-boiled eggs
- Lemon-scented chicken stew with fennel, olives, capers and tomatoes
- Chile-garlic rouille (mayonnaise)
- Lavender creme brulee
Our class was three hours, which was quite a bit longer than I expected, and included a full dinner and wine. While I didn’t learn an awful lot, taking the class was great fun and if anything, validated my cooking skills. For those looking for a prix fixe menu and something to do in Portland for an evening, $69 isn’t bad! Plus you get to work for your supper and you get 10% off anything in the store on the day of your class.
I plan to recreate this menu for a dinner party, which is #13 on my 30 before 30 list.
Does this qualify as baking? Trader Joe’s is my secret source for Sunday morning baked goodness. While I used to slave over complex pastry recipes in my baking handbook, now I save my baking time for tarts and pies! These chocolate croissants and mini croissants are delicious and they make your house smell like a French bakery.
To make them, simply place the frozen croissants evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set the baking sheet in the oven and let them proof overnight. When you wake up the next morning you’ll find that the tiny frozen pieces have turned into regular sized croissants and all you have to do is bake them.
Best time saver ever.
Lemon curd is one of those things I’ve always loved but for some reason assumed was overly complicated to make. Not so! It’s incredibly easy.
I set out to make this lemon cake recipe from Martha Stewart but was appalled at the number of eggs required for their lemon curd – eight! I really didn’t want to go to the grocery store, so I found this recipe from the joy of baking, which only calls for three eggs, leaving me two eggs for the cake.
Happy birthday to Comma Mister!