Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

This is a recipe I used for our Thanksgiving dinner, but I think it would be great for any meal (and it would reheat beautifully for part of a work lunch). But that’s not even the best thing about it.

Besides salt, oil and pepper, there are two whole ingredients. Sweet potatoes/yams and Greek yogurt.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt | PDXfoodlove

There has been so much debate online lately, in the New York Times, on prominent bloggers’ sites and on Twitter, about whether or not you *have* to cook, and whether it’s an unfair burden on women, etc.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt | PDXfoodlove

I personally think that issue is way too nuanced for Twitter, but something that I think is one of the most important lessons from the debate is that cooking does not have to be crazy.

It’s still cooking – which is so much better than picking up a hamburger – even if you’re making a grilled cheese. It does not have to be a pot roast every night. It doesn’t have to include crazy ingredients or be a piece of meat and two sides. The very simplest recipes are still recipes, and people should give themselves credit for that. On days when we fire up the rice cooker and pile a bowl full of sautéed whatever-was-in-the-fridge, that still counts and cooking, and it’s just as good for us as making coq au vin. If you’re beating yourself up about not “cooking” enough, keep that in mind. Your intent matters, and you benefit for making food at home no matter how simple it is.

I am sure the debate will go on, but here’s my two cents: cooking should be fun. There are days when it’s not, and that is OK. And that’s when you make something super simple. Like these!

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Peach Old Fashioned

Whoo. It’s been a busy week already and it’s only Tuesday. At least I think it’s Tuesday. Tomorrow evening begins the first round of Feast Portland parties, and the fun don’t stop until Sunday.

Peach Old Fashioned | PDXfoodlove

I have been working hard both at work and at home to get ahead of the game a little. Blog posts are written. Handwritten notes to VIP hotel guests are done. Tonight, Dave bottled my second batch of kombucha – next time I need to plan the timing a little bit better so there’s no lapse in supply. I made cookies and dinner and folded clothes and am currently waiting for my nails to dry. Our goal is to wake up early tomorrow to go on a run, because tomorrow will be crazy.

In the meantime, I’m having an Old Fashioned. With peach.

Peach Old Fashioned | PDXfoodlove

It seems fitting – it’s the middle of September and we are still enjoying summery warm (and dry) weather. Instead of the traditional sugar cube/simple syrup I added a teaspoon of peach syrup.

Peach Old Fashioned | PDXfoodlove

It’s just another way for me to hold on to summer.

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Roasted Padron Peppers

One of the things that I think I’ll miss most about going into the fall and winter season is the simplicity of summer food. I am sure there are simple winter foods as well. But right now when I can throw some adorable peppers under the broiler for five minutes, it’s hard to think about roasting root vegetables for 30+. I like not having to prep things. :)

Charred Padron Peppers | PDXfoodlove

We were inspired to make these a) after we saw them at the farmers market and b) after we had them, very simply prepared, at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty last weekend. They were the perfect pre-pizza appetizer. Plus, every once in a while you get a hot one (otherwise they are very mild). This is fun if you like spicy stuff – they are pretty hot when they’re hot, so make sure you have something else to eat/drink to cool things down on hand.

This time we ate them alongside a green salad with tomatoes, peaches, goat cheese, balsamic and oil.

Charred Padron Peppers | PDXfoodlove

Next time, who knows. What I do know is, I need to get back to the farmers market to get more before they’re gone for the year.

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Prosciutto Fig Toast

One of the my very favorite things about cooking seasonally is when you walk into the farmers market, and you know right that second what you’re going to make when you get home. Last weekend I couldn’t help but notice the figs. I knew I needed some in my life. And tomatoes. And some gin-roasted hot sauce. But those are for another blog post.

I pretty much knew right away that I wanted to use these pretty purple figs with a little prosciutto.

Fig & Prosciutto Toast | PDXfoodlove

The combination of sweet and salty when you combine them both with a little cheese is what really makes these toasts shine. These could be made smaller for an appetizer, or you could eat a few large ones and make a meal of it. That’s what we did – this, some kombucha, and some peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Fig & Prosciutto Toast | PDXfoodlove

Something with such intense flavor doesn’t feel like it took 5 minutes to make in the toaster oven.

Fig & Prosciutto Toast | PDXfoodlove

But it totally did.

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Jalapeño Corn Fritters

I’m in Seattle again, just for an overnighter. But don’t worry, I actually worked ahead this time and did a post! I know. Shocking. But I’ve got a goal to do 21 posts in August. That’s one for every single weekday.

Yeah, it’s quite a few – but it used to be what I knocked out all the time! I’ve slipped a little during the past couple of months, and I want to get back on my regular posting schedule. So I’m challenging myself to make it happen in August, and now, apparently, I’m saying it in public. And with that, here’s one of my favorite recipes we tried this weekend:

Jalapeño Corn Fritters | PDXfoodlove

Bon Appetit is on such a roll this summer. Beautiful pastas. Beautiful produce. And beautiful fried things.

Jalapeño Corn Fritters | PDXfoodlove

These Jalapeño Corn Fritters were a great side dish on Sunday night. We definitely enjoyed them with sour cream and lime wedges as suggested, but we also smothered them in hot sauce. :) There may be jalapeño in there but there is zero heat. So lay it on!

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Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

I can’t believe the crazy amount of stuff we accomplished today and this weekend. We finished up some homemade orange liqueur. We made cake, scones, fish tacos, corn fritters, and of course, a cocktail. And, I got a ton of laundry done. But it’s been a hot one. The windows are all open and they will be all night. We’ve been drinking tons of water to stay cool. Kind of makes me want to have this smoothie again for breakfast:

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie | PDXfoodlove

I was shooting for a client recently and had an enlightenment: coconut water is so good in a smoothie. It was used instead of dairy in a smoothie I was shooting and I have to say, I’m a huge fan.

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie | PDXfoodlove

And, I got this pomegranate juice for another project, but I was excited to use it to make this smoothie have a little more pucker.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when summer is over and there aren’t berries growing everywhere. Cry, probably, into my frozen fruit smoothie. Heh.

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Apricot Jam

Annnnd we’re back! It’s been a very busy week; the kind of week that means blog activities may have to take a backseat. Now I’ve been home for a couple days, slept a couple of 10-hour nights complete with afternoon naps to tack on a little extra, and I’m approaching productivity mode again. Thank goodness it’s a long weekend!

I hope everyone out there is having a fun holiday weekend. I think we have some new neighbors this year… close neighbors who enjoy shooting off some of the bigger fireworks, the kind that are probably not legal. It was a loud night, but we could see some pretty nice shows from our upstairs windows.

If you follow me on Instagram or have been reading this blog this summer, you’ll know how obsessed I am with fresh apricots. I can’t get over them; they came much earlier than peaches, and they’re so tart and tiny and TEMPTING. They are great in a dessert or in a salad with burrata.

Apricot Jam | PDXfoodlove

That’s why last weekend, I had to pick up a few more pounds of apricots, even though I wouldn’t be in town the following week. I don’t know how long these will be in season and I can’t stand the thought of them being gone, so I wanted to preserve some. I’m envisioning myself popping one open in January… it’s going to be so lovely to have a little bit of summer when it’s rainy out.

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Baked Eggs with Asparagus & Goat Cheese

What a day. I am emotionally exhausted after the US World Cup game. I’m sure it’s my emotions and not the beer that totally drained me. I think. It’s 9:45 and I am fighting to stay awake and finish up this blog post.

Once upon a time I went to bed between 1 and 2 on the regular. It’s crazy to think about that now. I can’t give up sleep like that anymore! And definitely not if I like being a productive citizen who arrives at work on time.

We had a busy and very fun weekend – that might also have something to do with the fact that we’re both dead tired tonight. We saw lots of friends and even made it to yoga class on Sunday. One of these days I swear I will get some weeds pulled in the back yard. But right now we have too much fun stuff going on.

If we hadn’t had such a good breakfast, in fact, I think we’d be in a lot worse shape. Dave had the idea to do a baked egg dish with some asparagus I picked up at the farmers market.

Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Even though the baked eggs made this seem totally decadent, it’s actually pretty low-calorie! Not to mention delicious. I think we’ll definitely be doing more seasonal veggie + baked egg combos in the future. This was too good not to repeat.

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The Cocktail Diaries: Lavender Bees Knees

Happy Sunday eve, everyone. We are watching Game of Thrones and I feel an addiction coming on.

Dave and I had a very busy and fun weekend. We had our first u-pick trip of the season. We went up to Sauvie Island and picked blueberries, strawberries and two kinds of raspberries. The strawberries have already become jam, because they were quite ripe. Some of the blueberries became pancakes and part of pancake syrup. And much more to come!

We ended the day tonight with this simple and elegant cocktail, the Bees Knees. In its original recipe, it’s just three ingredients: honey, gin and lemon juice. I added some lavender to give it a fun twist.

Cocktail Diaries: The Bees Knees | PDXfoodlove

Something that’s especially nice about such simple cocktails is how they allow the gin to shine. That’s especially true of this one.

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Easiest Strawberry “Caprese” Bruschetta

Yes, caprese gets quotation marks. It’s not exactly a caprese, but I just made a little substitution.

How was everyone’s weekend? We didn’t have a lot of things on our schedule, so we just had a glorious, relaxing couple of days. We got our butts absolutely kicked in yoga. We watched the Timbers win big in Salt Lake with some delectable beers and burgers at the Old Gold, one of our favorite bars in PDX. We hit up the farmers market and I read almost all of Gone Girl. There’s just about 90 pages left. Dave and I also made new sewing projects. He made a chambray shirt and I made a super cute skirt that I can’t wait to bust out.

Oh! And I forgot one important and exciting thing: I biked to work every day last week! It was the first time that I was five for five in pretty much forever – probably since I lived in Longmont, CO and was about 1 mile from work. Well now, I live about 5 miles from work. It takes me about 18 minutes to ride in and about 30 minutes to ride home. Why the big discrepancy? Two words: sea level. Work is about four blocks from a river. Home isn’t a whole lot higher, but almost everything is higher than sea level and the meager elevation change is enough to make the entire ride home an uphill trip. I am sure that in a couple of months I will feel great about nailing that uphill ride home every day, but by the time Friday came around last week, my quads felt like cement blocks. I was glad to rest over the weekend, and today (Monday) I felt like all of the hills were a teensy bit easier. But… we’ll see how I feel at the end of the week.

Strawberry Caprese Bruschetta | PDXfoodlove

Friday night after we both biked home, Dave and I walked over to New Seasons to grab groceries and made an amazing date night dinner. Our appetizer featured some of the local Hood strawberries we picked up, and it couldn’t be easier.

The key to making simple dishes really shine is using the very best ingredients you can find (which doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive). Fresh, local fruit. Fresh mozzarella. Good bread and very, very good oil and balsamic vinegar.

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