But I'm always looking to get back, and truly stay on a road that delivers passion and joy to my life each and every day.
I've been reaching back out to the foodie world after a stint back in the real world at a PR firm. Though my recent employer was a great place to work, I feel that I can be honest and just say that the work I was doing just wasn't fulfilling. I'm now back freelancing in PR and looking to do more writing as well as exploring the other pathways in the food world.
In an effort to keep my mind learning I decided to contact my former culinary school, Western Culinary Institute, to inquire on auditing some classes. As I was chatting with the gentleman on the other end of the phone he had mentioned that my name sounded familiar. And then he figured it out. I did an interview for a Success Story about why I had come to WCI, and they use it now in new-student packets that they send out to let prospective students see that there are many reasons why people choose to attend culinary school. I had heard of this, and, of course, remember doing the interview, but didn't recall ever seeing the published version. He sent it to me; there is a link to it below.
It was so refreshing to read and caused that light bulb that's been so dim for so long to go off in my head. It was definitely what I needed to read.
Learning, exploring, and sharing my experiences in the culinary world is just simply where I'm suppose to be. I'm very happy to be finding my way back.
Le Cordon Bleu Schools Success Stories ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â€œ Jennifer Fields
Shared via AddThis
Now the next step has come. I've officially applied to vie for the spot of the Murphy-Goode Social Media Correspondent at Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma, Calif. I couldn't be more excited as the job is an absolute perfect fit, and I know it's the right next step as I move along on my journey of writing about food...and wine!
Update 6/20: The videos have been updated on the Murphy-Goode site. You can view my video here: http://www.areallygoodejob.com/video-view.aspx?vid=ism0mz_Fino and cast your vote.
I look forward to taking you through the world of Murphy-Goode.
Over the last few months my postings have been a bit sporadic, and the content has shifted away from what I've truly wanted it to be. I've decided to officially call a hiatus and take a break from the blog and refocus on a few other things in my daily life.
In the meantime, for any of you who are on Twitter, you can follow me here: www/twitter.com/savor, where I'll continue to post my musings in 140 characters or less with foodies from all over the globe.
I will be back with laptop in my lap and more adventures to document along the way.
Until then, happy eats and remember to savor every little bit life that comes your way each and every day.
For now I'm Portland-based, and with my recent focus over the past couple of years to the world of food, I could not think of a better place to be. I sit within 25 minutes of Oregon's burgeoning wine county, about an hour from it's one-of-a-kind coastline that sits to the west, and can go east for an hour to reach it's snow-draped mountain peaks and log-cabin resorts.
In between sits the Willamette Valley which boasts an incredible myriad of local perveyors that haunt our award-winning collection of restaurants, local grocery stores and area farmers' markets. We're in one of the most fortunate locations in the United States that has the ability to savor an abundance of locally grown and locally produced high-quality foods right in our own backyard.
That's why I have to admit that I was a tad proud after reading an article today that I stumbled upon at the New York Times online. Since Day 1, our new first lady hasn't held back on communicating her thoughts for what she expects to come out of her new kitchen.
If you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed since the first day she took stage--those incredibly toned biceps! And I've heard that her husband (our new leader of the free world) still is quite religious in keeping his morning running routine. This family is fit and is very outspoken in their promotion of a healthy lifestyle. What's more, the Mrs. is a huge supporter of using locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and overall more nutritous products being served in the White House, and across the nation.
From the NY Times article:
In a speech at the Department of Agriculture last month, Mrs. Obama described herself as “a big believer” in community gardens that provide “fresh fruits and vegetables for so many communities across this nation and world.”
To read the full article click here.
Photo by Keven Lamarque/Reuters
The story also stated that locally grown goods have been served in the White House for quite some time under the last administration. For some reason it just wasn't touted. It's a great stance that's being taken from the top by our country's leaders to communicate to the rest of the nation the importance of eating locally and healthfully. Looks like change just continues to chug along these days...
And for me, for now I'll stop my whining about the cold days and grey skies. The rain leads to gorgeous summers, lucious greenery and lots of colorful fruits and vegetables that I get to enjoy all year round--and at best during the spring/summer farmers' markets! As for the sunshine and 80 degrees? Those conditions will continue to scream, PTO (Personal Time Off)!
Well, for me, that last part is just too ridiculous for words. I think that it's this time where it's more important than ever to get out, spend some time with good friends and take some weight of those stressed shoulders with some good food and spirits. And in turn, support the local economy...just a tad.
Below are a couple of good excuses to get out and give yourself that much-needed break you deserve. Round up a few friends, family members, or your significant other and go spend some time with a few smiles on your face.
Nostrana restaurant recently introduced a new $5 or less happy hour menu featuring savory plates from its hand crafted, local menu offered every night of the week from 9 p.m. 'til close.
The menu includes wine, beer, authentic wood-fired Italian pizzas, the signature Insalata Nostrana and more.The perfect dinner for two for less than $20, Nostrana's happy hour menu boasts carefully selected wines and full-size entrées - culinary treats that won Executive Chef Cathy Whims a James Beard semi-finalist nomination this year.The complete happy hour menu follows below.
l'ora dell'aperitivo - happy hour
Pizza Margherita - house-made mozzarella, tomato and basil - $5
Pizza Marinara - tomato, garlic and oregano - $5
Charcuterie - selection of artisanal and house-made meats with accoutrements - $5
Insalata Nostrana - radicchio and Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary and sage croutons in a Caesar style dressing - $5
Olive Plate - $3
Bar Nuts - $3
From the rooster bar:
Moretti pale lager - $3
Hales' Red Menace amber ale - $3
Campari & soda - $4
White or red wine by the glass - $5
Nostrana's Happy Hour is available nightly from 9 p.m. to close with a one-drink minimum. Nostrana is located at 1401 SE Morrison, Portland 97214. For more information call 503.234.2427 or visit Nostrana online at http://www.nostrana.com/.
House Spirits Distillery, makers of Aviation Gin, have been running a series of Wednesday-night happy hour events the distillery calls Recession Proof Mixology (RPM). Every Wednesday, the House Spirits crew visits a different venue around Portland. The talented bartenders at each venue mix up some of the most unbelievable cocktails you'll ever taste with House Spirits' locally produced libations. Throw in the restaurant's happy hour menu and you'll experience a fun evening of food and drink that won't break your bank.
This week's RPM will be hosted at Bar Avignon located on SE Division Street in Portland. The evenings usually run from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., but I'd suggest calling as each venue's time may be different.
RPM is hosted every Wednesday night, and the venue changes each week. The group plans to continue RPM through 2009. Those of you on Facebook can visit the list of upcoming restaurants where you can catch RPM by typing Recession Proof Mixology in the search box in the top right-hand corner of your profile page. Or for further information on the next RPM contact email@example.com.
Jenn Louis and her team at Lincoln are at it again. Louis recently launched a series of three-course dinners that range from $25 to $30 per plate and puts 12 lucky diners on 12 plush stools around her kitchen table for an up close and personal, and I'd say special, dining experience amongst the magic that happens behind the scenes.
Diners can call ahead and reserve a single spot at the table, or reserve all 12 spots for a group of their most favorite foodie friends.
To make a reservation, please call 503-232-4675. Here's this week's dinners.
Thursday, March 5: $25
Arugula with blood oranges, pear, almonds and citrus vinaigrette
Pork shoulder with soft polenta and roasted onions
Chocolate slumpcake with nibs and crème fraiche
Friday, March 6: $30
Roasted beets with fromage blanc and salsa verde
Bourride of clams, mussels, true cod, potatoes and fennel
Chocolate espresso cake with maldon salt and crème fraiche
Saturday, March 7: $30
Fried fennel with lemon aioli
Puree of cauliflower soup with porcini charlotte
Braised flank steak with olives, red onion and potato gratin
Almond cake with poached pears
Sunday March 8, $25
Chicken curry with chickpeas and garam masala
Green cabbage with mustard seeds and ginger
Apple and carrot raita
Vanilla ice cream with butterscotch
Did she say braised flank steak with olives, red onion and potato gratin? I think I also saw two of my favorite words used together: lemon + aioli? Sign me up!
Dinners start at 7 pm. Please call 503-232-4675 for reservations.
Space is limited; if you find yourselves without any dinner plans late in the day, they may have some last minute cancellations.
"TLC" Pet Mingle
The second special event I recently came across was from chef Courtney Sproule, mastermind behind Portland's din din dining series of intimate dinners hosted at a variety of the city's venues. Sproule has joined forces in a collaborative effort with local photographer Tim Gunther, Liz Kay, owner of I Walk the Vine wine t-shirt company and Will West, a local singer-songwriter.
The collaboration is a benefit for Dove Lewis, Portland's nonprofit emergency animal hospital.
What's more? You get to bring your pet and have your picture taken--with your pet--by Tim himself. And this mingle comes at an unheard of cost--just $10! Ten dollars to bask in food and wine pairings from Sproule, have your pic taken with your best friend and get exclusive access to Liz's designs? I need to borrow a pet!
Further information from Sproule and team:
3:00 – 6:00 PM
an afternoon of good food, wine,
live music & photography
· Portland photographer Tim Gunther will capture you & your pet.
· Wine & food pairings by din din's Courtney Sproule.
· Live music by singer-songwriter Will West.
· Silent auction – music, food, wine, vet packages.
· Trunk show with I Walk the Vine apparel.
Ticket proceeds will benefit Dove Lewis Animal Hospital.
Tickets are $10 - this includes all of the above!
Limited amount will be sold so buy early.
Tim Gunther Studios
917 NW 19TH, suite E
Portland OR, 97209
½ block south of Lovejoy
Or call 503.547.5833
Get out and enjoy what's going on around town!
The PFM is such a fun way to enjoy the beauty of downtown amidst the hundreds of local vendors who participate. The market also features fun events like guest chef demonstrations, which add even more liveliness to the scene.
Photo from 2008 Portland Farmers' Market
The market runs from March through December, and admission is free.
A few weeks ago I received an Evite invitation to an Iron Chef potluck. How inventive and fun, I thought! We would be provided with the secret ingredient just a few days before the party, as well as the specific dish we were to prepare. I will admit, when I first received the invite, I was a little nervous. True, I had done my own Iron Chef (Black Box) at school, which served as the final test in my formal culinary education, but it's been a while since I've cooked for competition reasons. Would there be more pressure given the fact that I am actually a culinary school grad? What level of creativity did I expect of myself? Or should I just go with the 'simple is best' scenario?
Iron Chef potluck, battle: winter squash.
We received the secret ingredient Wednesday evening (the potluck was scheduled for Saturday). Winter squash? Lovely. I love squash as there is such a huge variety available, and throughout all seasons. And, my dish was a soup or salad. I thought soup was sort of the obvious and, to be honest, what most people would turn to. I decided on a salad as I thought it would lend itself to a more colorful, interesting presentation.
My squash of choice? Acorn. I love the deep green, sometimes green with orange mixed in, outside of this member of the gourd family. And the orange inside makes for a gorgeous site roasted or grilled.
I immediately thought back to a recipe I once saw for an Acorn squash and Gorgonzola pizza by Giada de Larentiis. What she did with her Acorn squash for the pizza was my inspiration for how I would cook mine for the salad. Note: as this was something I was putting together on a whim, some of the measurements below are estimates.
For the squash:
2 1.5-lb Acorn squash
4 Tbsp Sugar-free maple syrup
2 Tbsp Olive oil
TT Kosher salt
TT Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
7 oz Baby romaine lettuce
1/3 C (or desired) Black currants
1/3 C (or desired) sliced almonds
1 ea Fennel bulb, cut lengthwise into paper-thin slices
1 C White truffle balsamic glace
1/2 C Good olive oil
1/4 C White wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
For the squash, preheat over to 375 degrees. Take the Acorn squash and cut it lengthwise in half. Scoop out the insides to make a hollow center. Lay the squash flesh side up and cut crosswise making 1/2-inch half-moon slices. In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the sliced squash in a large bowl and drizzle the maple syrup mixture over the. Gently toss with a spoon, or the best kitchen instrument; your [clean] hands. Lay the maple mixture-covered squash flat on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
While the squash was baking, I prepped the other ingredients, which quite honestly, did not take too long. With the fennel bulb, I cut off the green roots and sliced the white part lengthwise into paper-thin slices. I set those in a bowl of cold water and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to dress the salad. I made the vinaigrette by combining the white truffle glace, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and whisking while I drizzled in the olive oil. The salad was rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner and the almonds were store-bought sliced.
Once the squash was ready, I removed them from the oven and let them rest until they were cool enough to pick up. I removed the flesh from the delicious insides and cut each piece into roughly 1-inch chunks.
Once the squash cooled even further, I began to assemble the salad. The squash was absolutely wonderful warm, but I was hesitant to add all of it as I thought it might contribute to wilting the salad greens. Also, I planned to not add the dressing until just before serving for the same reason.
Voilà! Iron Chef potluck salad acorn squash ready to go!
I arrived at the potluck 30 minutes late, of course, but was somehow not the only one behind schedule. There were other courses already cooking in the host's stove and the house was smelling absolutely amazing. We were all so eager to see what each had done.
Upon taking our seats and a graciously assembled and decorated set of tables dressed to hold a party of 15, we were immediately provided with score cards. Wow, this is serious! Each dish will be scored one by one.
Below are some shots of the other dishes. Sadly enough, I failed to confiscate my scorecard back, hence my lack of remembering what each dish was.
3rd Place...potluck Appetizer!
2nd Place...potluck Amuse Bouche
And 1st Place went to...potluck Acorn squash salad! I was too excited, couldn't believe it and was so honored.