portlandpiper's blog

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A little bit of batchelor mode

The wife is heading off to visit her Mom and sister for a bit so I get to make some old favourites. I have been in the mood for a nice creamy macaroni and cheese for a while so that is definitely on the list. I also noticed that one of the decent BBQ places (Campbell's) in SE Portland has started advertising organic buffalo ribs so that is also going to be on my list of things to try. So far my batchelor mode food list is only two items long. I must not be very hungry right now because I can not think of anything else to make.

Starting in on the freezer

We finished up the last of the Christmas dinner left-overs last week and started in on what we have put up in the freezer during the summer and fall. Two years ago we had one share in our CSA and we ran out of our freezer stores around the end of March. This past year we had two shares in our CSA so we should have enough to get us through to the end of May which is when our CSA and farmers' markets really get going again.

Trying a kosher bird for Thanksgiving this year

After all of the different types and brands of turkey varieties that I have tried - natural, organic, vegetarian feed, pastured, heritage, heirloom and wild. I realized that I have never had a kosher bird. So this year I decided to order one and see how it compares with the others that I have had.

So far I like wild turkeys the best but unless you hunt or have hunter friends you will not get one. After wild turkeys the pastured raised birds have had the best flavour followed by some of the heritage/heirloom brands.

Once nice thing with the kosher bird is that it will not have to be brined.

Going to have to try this cheeseburger from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

I was watching the show last night and saw this one being made:

Make two grilled cheese sandwiches and use them for the buns for your cheeseburger topped with fried egg and tomato slices.

Sounds yummy to me - as long as the tomatoes are in season.

CSA starts up again on Tuesday, June 16

I am really looking forward to the CSA shares this year. It should be a lot easier to use all of the items we get this year now that I will be working in a completed kitchen.

Just in time too - we just started our last batch of frozen blue-barb from last year.

I am getting tired of Sriracha

It seems that almost every Asian and many Mexican restaurants are now carrying this sauce and adding it to dishes when someone asks for a dish to be made "hot" or "spicy" and I am starting to get tired of the taste of this once enjoyable sauce.

At least the little Mexican restaurant (La Fuente) that I go to in Tigard and the Rico's Tacos trucks in Hillsboro still make their own chile sauces from scratch - but I wish I could find an Asian restaurant in the Portland area that would go to the trouble of making their own chile sauces or at least have a variety of chile sauces so that every spicy dish does not taste the same.

Buy whole birds instead of pieces

I wanted to make some chicken curry fried rice and figured I needed a couple of chicken breasts for the meat in the dish. Just for grins I had the butcher weigh out a couple of breasts which came to a total of $7.19 for 1.2 lbs of meat. I opted to get a whole 5.5 lb. roaster which costed me $10.40. (The butcher would have parted the bird for free but I declined because I need the practice).

Using the breasts from the roaster made four chicken curry fried rice meals, plus four barbeque chicken meals (using the legs, thighs, and wings), plus two quarts of stock (using the cacass, wing tips, and neck). And I also get the giblets which I freeze until I have enough for making giblets gravy or dirty rice.

Just one more reason why I do not shop at A**-Whole Foods

I have gone into a couple of different Whole Foods markets with friends and while I can sort of see the appeal to having the selection I can not see the appeal to paying the price. Most of the time I can get better prices through my local farm stands, food co-ops, or farmers' markets. I will admit that I do not have the same range of selection for out of season fruit and vegetables - but I only buy out of season fruits and vegetables that are locally green house grown, IQF (individually quick frozen), or canned.

Then I see this story on my local paper web-site: OregonLive.com

So much for thawing out the chest freezer

With the extra days at home because of the weather this winter I went through all of my stock bones and vegetable scraps in the freezer and made almost three gallons of turducken stock. I just combined all of the bird bones from the last few months into my biggest stock pot and let it cook down.

One gallon of stock was frozen into quart containers, a half gallon was frozen into one and two cup containers, and the rest was used to make four soups: broccoli, butternut squash, cauliflour, and turkey bean.

The house is nice and warm and smells really good right now and I have plenty of soups for lunches and dinners for a while. I just will not be able to empty out the chest freezer this month like I had originally planned.

Our first "winter" storm of the season...

According to the weather guessers we will be getting our first snow this weekend with temperatures down to 9F on Tuesday night. So I figured it was time to start warming up ourselves and the kitchen a bit with some turkey stock and curry pumpkin soup.

I added a dozen whole cloves, a half-dozen allspice berries, and three whole chipotle chiles to the turkey stock recipe. I will be using this turkey stock, some roasted sugar pumpkins, and a small batch of applesauce in the curry pumpkin soup.

kitchen remodel #71

The kitchen is all unpacked and we created our punch list with the kitchen designer.

First here is a collection of pictures taken from various points around the kitchen.

View across the kitchen from the stairs up to the loft.

View toward the back door from the stairs up into the kitchen from the garage. These stairs are right next to the stairs up to the loft.

View toward the main sink from the stairs up into the kitchen from the garage.

View toward the range from in front of the freezer.

CSA review

First a quick Q&A:

- Will we sign up with the CSA again? Yes
- What did it cost up front to sign up? $325
- What would the food have cost in the grocery store? about $440
- How did the food compare? Mostly better. When an item was bad - it was really bad.
- How many bad items were there? 3 - A head of lettuce, a tomato, and an ear of corn.
- How were store prices determined? Taken from New Seasons market web-site each week.

- If you have other questions, just let me know and I will update this section as best I can.

Now on to the review:

kitchen remodel #70

Getting closer to being done unpacking the old kitchen. We had a few issues with placing some of our pots and pans into the new cabinets. We have a few more linear feet of storage in the new kitchen but some of the cabinets are not as wide or deep as the old design. So we had to revise our storage plan a bit to make more efficient use of the new design.

I got a copy of the parts list for the refrigerator that we ordered and found that we are missing one shelf. I got the new shelf on order but it may take a few weeks to get here since these are new models.

kitchen remodel #69

We moved out of the old Amana refrigerator/freezer into the Frigidare side-by-side all-refrigerator/all-freezer units. We are still working out where things will be placed in these new appliances and we are thinking that we need to purchase another shelf for the refrigerator. We were able to empty about half of the chest freezer. We will have to eat our way through the rest of the items in that appliance before we can stop using it - I am not sure that I want to get rid of it yet.

kitchen remodel #68

Pictures from day fifty-one of the remodel.

It is done! Well, almost done. The kitchen designer wants us to move in and use it for a couple of weeks to see if there is anything that we need fixed, tweeked, or touched up.

View across the kitchen from the stairs up to the loft.

View across the kitchen toward the stairs up to the loft.

The second dishwasher finally got its front panel and toe-kick.

One view down from the loft.

Another view down from the loft.

kitchen remodel #67

Pictures from day fifty of the remodel:

View across the kitchen from the stairs up to the loft.

View across the kitchen toward the stairs up to the loft.

Hood is unwrapped.

Light covers and louvers are installed.

Baseboard trim in dining room is installed.

Baseboard trim in entry way is installed.

kitchen remodel #66

Pictures from the fourty-nineth day of the remodel.

View across the kitchen from the stairs up to the loft.

View across the kitchen toward the stairs up to the loft.

Under shelf lights above second sink are all finished. They look dim from the sides because of the egg crate louvers.

Finally got the correct coloured electrical piece in for the rail light so that went in today too. Now just need to get the shades and louvers.

kitchen remodel #65

Pictures from the fourty-eighth day of the remodel:

Refrigerator (right) and freezer (left) installed.

Baseboard trim near back door.

Trim around slider to dining room and baseboard trim.

Trim around linen cabinet in dining room. This cabinet goes into the dead space corner to the right of the range and the left of the main sink.

kitchen remodel #64

Pictures from the fourty-seventh day of the remodel:

Cabinet toe-kick trim to the left of the range.

Cabinet toe-kick trim below the main sink.

Cabinet toe-kick trim to the right of the main dishwasher.

Cabinet toe-kick trim to the right of the second dishwasher.

Cabinet toe-kick trim along the backside of the peninsula.

kitchen remodel #63

Pictures from the fourty-sixth day of the remodel:

View across the kitchen from the stairs up to the loft.

View across the kitchen toward the stairs up to the loft.

Shot across the freshly sealed granite counter-top.

Another shot across the freshly sealed granite counter-top.

Freshly sealed slate threshold out the back door.

Freshly sealed slate threshold out the front door.

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