I did a lot this weekend, and ate a lot. Well, not volume, but variety. I manned a booth at a health expo on Saturday in Vancouver, WA, promoting an organic home-delivery company (we deliver organic produce to your house!). Everyone was giving away free stuff—hot cocoa, coffee, flax cookies, nuts, granola, and we were handing out organic bartlett pears, pink lady apples, and blood oranges. At the end of the day, I got to take home zucchini, fingerling potatoes, italian parsley, onions, and a ton of pink lady apples. I figured, well, I could bake a pie...so I did. Easy—cut the apples (2 1/2 cups), mix in some cinnamon, sugar(1/2 cup), lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of flour, a little butter and salt. Put it all in “Mrs. P’s” crust, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good, but I think it could’ve used a bit more sugar and a smidge less lemon. It was lemony.
I made a new foodie friend whom I worked with at the expo, and she invited me to the ethiopian take-out food/movie night that she and her husband do bi-weekly. She also took me to the grocery store to get the pie stuff, where we were treated to some fab samples of sweet roasted vegetables (carrots, onions, yams, dried fruit & spices all baked together, really yummy). She also taught me a little bit about raw-foodism.
After I made my pie, another friend who just returned from Mexico that afternoon picked me up and we went to a local brew pub for hefeweissen and heavy food. I don’t know why I ordered the hugest kielbasa sausage I’d ever seen (with bread, sauteed onions and potato salad!), maybe it's because I spent the whole day talking about vegetables. After that, we classed it up by going to Collosso, a dark spanish tapas bar on NE Broadway, with a pretty authentic menu and atmosphere (there were big candles which did remind me of that bar in Cadaques). We each had a glass of sangria, the perfect dessert.
Speaking of latin things, for lunch that day, I walked over to the Vancouver farmers market and bought a chicken tamale (the pork was sold out already), which was moist and delicious, with just enough green chile, and masa bound by what had to have been lard. Seriously. It was a treat.
THEN, on SUNDAY, more! I woke up and ate a huge piece of hot apple pie, then two more new friends picked me up for an Oregon winetasting adventure! These girls work at Portland’s best wine bar, so they had a little list of destinations (and all the tastings were gratis!). There are so many wineries just 40 or so minutes outside of Portland. A lot, maybe, like 50 wineries? It’s so cool. So, anyway, we went from spot to spot, tasting and talking. Some really really good pinots. My favorite wines were a 2004 Archery Summit cuvee Pinot Noir (about $40, their lowest priced wine, but I thought the tastiest), and a 2004 Torii Mor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($25, a good price for Oregon Pinot, unfortunately they don’t distribute in Hawaii). Yum! We drove down gravel roads, tasted at stately Napa-style wineries and little cottage-like tasting rooms, and had a picnic high up on a hill with the view of the valley below. My friends stopped at Whole Foods on the way, and brought smoked salmon, seeded spelt crackers, brussel sprout/carrot salad, and broccoli rabe with roasted garlic.
I got home that night, pretty tired out, and made a zucchini/chinese pea/couscous salad with sauteed onions and garlic. I have yet to try it. I want to learn to make grain salads, though I realize couscous is pasta, not a grain. Stuff with more vegetables! Anyway, it was a perfect Oregon weekend.