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Jim Dixon

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Everything posted by Jim Dixon

  1. If I lived there I would want this on my license plate: Pennsylvania: the nation's scrapital Jim
  2. Saute leeks in butter-olive oil combo, add stock, peeled cubed celery root and potatoes, simmer, mash coarsely, finish with creme fraiche....mmmmm. Jim
  3. Jim Dixon

    Potatoes

    Dean, They might not be made from the definitive latke recipe, but my secular latkes, especially the TexMex version, are popular with our boys. As an added bonus, they're served with ketchup! Jim
  4. I didn't...I brought home a kilo (and kick myself it wasn't 5) from Italy. I know they're occasionally imported by some specialty shops. Best bets would be Zingerman's in Ann Arbor or Corti Bros in Sacramento...I know Zingerman's is online but don't know about Corti. When I make beans like this, I use a ceramic bean pot and cook them in the oven at about 200 (I have an old gas stove and turn it on low). Dried beans (usually not soaked, but old beans may need it), garlic, sage, olive oil, water, salt. Cook until done. Serve with lots of really good olive oil and more salt. Jim edit for spelling Corti the same way both times
  5. Next time use dried beans and cook them carefully. Cannellini are good, zolfini even better but almost impossible to find (small white beans are close, but not nearly as flavorful). I go back and forth about soaking, but the real key is long cooking at low temperature. I also prefer sage over rosemary for beans like this, and the olive oil should be very fruity and aromatic. When you drizzle it over the beans at the table, you want to smell the oil. Jim
  6. The Mallory is the best value. Big suites, on the light rail line just a few blocks from downtown, and, by happy accident, even closer to the very groovy Pearl District.Should be a bit cheaper than the others mentioned, but it is almost as nice. It's where old Portland money puts up its out of town guests. Jim
  7. Jim Dixon

    braising question

    I'm at work so I don't have any cooking reference books handy, but Webster's says braising is cooking "slowly with fat and a little liquid." Here are a couple of quotes from the Q&A: and from a recipe for mushroom pot roast: So if you take 'slowly' to mean a long time, then these are braising. I'll take russ' word that the results are good, but I'm curious to try the technique. Jim
  8. Jim Dixon

    braising question

    russ mentioned high heat braising durng his Q&A. Anybody tried it? Jim
  9. Jim Dixon

    Creme Fraiche

    Just put a big spoonful into everything you eat. On a more pratical note, last night I sauteed some beautiful fresh porcini (Portlanders take note: I got them at the Farmers Market) with some shallots and a little marsala, then tossed in a handful of arugula from the garden. Finished with a big dollop of creme fraiche and ate directly from the skillet with a hunk of bread. I like to make a leek and potato soup with celery root (saute chopped leeks, add peeled and chunked root veg, stock, simmer, mash coarsely) and add creme fraiche at the end. It's also good added to bread pudding and spooned over it before eating, too. Jim
  10. I work downtown a couple of blocks from the Hilton, so here are a few recommendations: seafood or oysters: Jake's Famous Crawfish, 401 SW 12th...do not go to Jake's Grill, which is closer by a couple of blocks...this will be a spendy lunch, but they do an incredible volume so everything is always fresh, and the selection of local seafood is the best downtown Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, 208 SW Ankeny...a bit of a hike (you can take light rail to speed things up...get off at Burnside/Sat Market and walk a block up Ankeny)...a classic for oyster, natch carts: Indai Chaat House, SW 12th and Morrison, huge portions, all vegetarian, and terrific...the behl poori is awesome Saigon Kitchen, limited Vietnamese in front of Portland Building (SW 4th & Madison, just over a block away), but I love the curry tofu Blue Moon Burrito...several locations, but nearest is on 5th and Yamhill by Pioneer Square Carpe Donut, in the Park at 4th and Salmon, 12 mini donuts cooked fresh for $3 Chef to Go and a few others, especially the hot dog cart, are on SW park between Taylor and Yamhill...there are more on 5th and Oak, including King Burrito for Oaxacan-style tacos (double corn tortillas, choice of meat, onion, cilantro..about $1.25 ea) cheap: Taste of Bali just across Broadway is good. I also like O'Cielo, a sort of Italian deli that's up Taylor on 10th. A fairly new Thai place on 3rd and Taylor looks promising...I tried the larb, and it was good. Pizza Schmizza is down Taylor a half block...not the greatest pizza, but a not-bad cheese slice. Good Dog, Bad Dog on Alder just up from Broadway has great sausage sandwiches. not so cheap: Koji Osakya, a few blocks down Broadway (past Nordstrom) for sushi or donburi. Carafe, 200 SW Market, for classic Parisian bistro. Higgins, 1239 Broadway, for local ingredients and the best burger (only in the bar). Other good choices include The Heathman, Southpark, Pazzo, Red Star avoid at all costs: Dragonfish Porta Terra Jim
  11. Cheap Eats get their own guide, sometime in the March, I think. There should be an online version at the WW site. We did go to better paper (than newsprint) and saddle stitching a few years ago so people can keep the RG around longer. Somewhere I've got the very first WW guide from the early '70s (before even my time). It's written completely by Matt Kramer (the wine writer) and shows how far restaurants have come (and it's really catty). Jim
  12. I'm guessing that for us there's a critical mass factor at work. It might require every urban rustic restaurant in Portland serving sardines to make it worthwhile for a supplier. For now, the few restaurants that do take the risk typically order the fish from the fishermen. Next time I head south I'll have to eat up. Thanks Jim
  13. Very pun-y....I'll settle for just plain 'contributor.' I do think Noble Rot deserves the recognition. The food is very good, and the place has a great feel. And they use one of the olive oils I import, so they must have great taste. Since I have that little bias, don't just take my word for it. The beauty of the whole small plate movement is that you can sample the food without spending too much. Jim
  14. I'm getting hungry...one of my favorite food moments was at a street fair in Brooklyn. Grilled fresh sardines were 5 for $5. We've got a nice sardine fishery up here (in Oregon), but it's the same story: most of the catch goes for feed. It's rare to find fresh sardines anywhere, and the one store catering to the Asian population that might have them (Uwijamaya) is too far out in the suburbs to check with any regularity. I'd love to see more consumer demand for things like fresh sardines so they'd be more available, but there's a chicken-and-egg problem. How do people learn to like sardines if they can't find them in the market or on the menu? Jim
  15. The 2003 version hits the streets today. Noble Rot is named the Restaurant of Year, there's a 'family tree' of local chefs and restaurant owners, Roger Porter profiles four new neighborhood eateries, and 107 of Stumptown's finest are reviewed. WW Restaurant Guide Online disclosure: I wrote four reviews this year, but may reconsider next year if I can't persuade the editors to never, ever list me as a 'contributing foodie.' Jim
  16. Russ, Thanks for being so generous with your time here. I've really been enjoying this Q & A. I've been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, and while I can crank out the copy, I still find writing 800 words I can feel good about is hard work. I think part of it is that I'm a better writer than I used to be. But I know there is room for improvement. How do you encourage your writers to do better work? Jim
  17. Jim Dixon

    Bison Tri Tip

    Thanks for the great advice...I got busy in the kitchen and didn't get back to read it before I actually cooked the tritip (and it was a tritip, purchased form Nicky USA). Here's how I cooked it: Salted and peppered, then seared in a thin film of oil. Set over a bed of coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot, added the deglazed (with water) juices, rubbed the meat with a little more olive oil, added a couple of sprigs of fresh oregano and sage, then roasted, covered with foil, at 275F until just past medium rare (I would've preferred rare, but had a couple of 'no raw meat' eaters). I served it with a mushroom risotto (used some of the meat juices in the risotto) and a mix of sauteed fresh porcini and matsutakes. It was a hit, and I'm eating some leftovers for lunch today. Thanks again, Jim
  18. Jim Dixon

    Bison Tri Tip

    I'd rather braise so I can get some pot roast-ish juices and vegetables (and it looks like rain all weekend here, so I'm not sure if I want to deal with the Weber). The cut's got a couple of thick bands of external fat (still rock hard, so hard to see too much) and I'm guessing not much in the way of marbled fat. Buffalo web sites all say the meat's quite lean and recommend slow cooking to no more than medium. One recommends trimming the exterior fat as well. I guess the other option might be roasting.Or I could cut it up and make some kind of stew. I've got about 3 pounds of meat and want to make something to feed the boys (4, all grown, and a few of their friends) at our weekly family supper tomorrow. Jim
  19. I've got this bad boy thawing out, and even though most recipes I've found online suggest grilling, I'd rather braise it somehow. Got any suggestions? Jim
  20. I usually chop coarsely, saute in olive oil (or olive oil and butter mixed) with shallot or garlic, then finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Fast, simple, and very tasty... Jim
  21. Cathy Whims and John Taboada will cook an all-Oregon (or mostly Oregon...they're using Italian olive oil and Portuguese sea salt) meal at the Beard House Monday, 10/13. Here are the details and menu. Whims was chef/owner of Genoa until recently, and Taboada runs the quirky small plates wine bar Navarre. This is a good opportunity for you New Yorkers to see why we Pacific Northwesterners are such food chauvinists. disclosure: I've known Cathy for about 25 years (she still thinks I tried to drown her on a Grand Canyon trip) and John since he first came to town, and they're both customers. Jim
  22. The hardneck varieties have just that, a hard 'neck' or stem that grows up between the cloves. You can't miss it, so if you don't see one, you'e looking a softneck variety. As HB noted, these keep much longer and are usually what you'll find in most stores. I'm guessing the brown sprout meant that the garlic was really old...the cloves want to sprout and it's not uncommon to find a green one about to burst out of the clove (these tend to be bitter and should be trimmed out). If the sprout was brown, the clove had probably started dying. Seeds of Change is good place to learn about (and order) garlic. I bought several hardneck varieties a few years ago and have been propagating one, Italian purple-skinned, for several years. You can either save some of the cloves to replant in the fall or, as I do, leave a few scapes on and plant the little bulbils that form at the top of the stalk. Cutting the scapes (the curly tops) makes for bigger heads at harvest and provide some good eating as well. I harvest in late July or early August, and I've kept the garlic for 6-8 months. It starts to get dried out after about 4 months, but there are still good cloves in every head. I love he fact that I rarely have to buy garlic, just go out in the garage and pull a few heads out of storage. If you order garlic to plant, you get a bag of garlic, and there's no reason you can't eat it. Jim
  23. Back in the late '80s I tucked a bottle of Vin Gris de Cigare into the picnic basket on the first date with Judith (now my lovely wife), so it's always had a special place on our table. I still have that original empty somewhere. I thought I noticed a small change on the label of a more recent purchase. Is that UFO a little different? Jim
  24. I'd give it more than a day...maybe 2-3. That gives you time to drive up Castelluccio, home of the world's best lentils and called, in one guidebook, the only town in Umbria with no pretense to charm. The inhabitants have a tradition of publicly airing disputes by whitewashing insults on the walls of their homes. A quick google found this siteewith some photos. It's definitely worth a day. The hotel of choice in Norcia is the Grotta Azzurra. The best rooms are on the top floor with balconies that look out over the piazza. The hotel restaurant is quite good with lots of Umbrian style grilled meats and, of course, salumi. Jim
  25. Good name, but Tannat just begs for an anagram. Jim
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