blue cheese molten grilled tomatoes


Too many tomatoes?  Try my molten grilled tomatoes, a good way to use up the firm, round slicers with strong walls, like the Early Girls with which we are inundated.  This is one of my summertime staples, and as I mention in the recipe linked below, it’s not fancy food but it’s delicious.  I try a slightly different recipe each time.  This launch deployed fresh breadcrumbs, a soft blue cheese, and homemade celery salt.  I was going for a Buffalo chicken wing feel.  Eh.   The musky blue cheese got lost in the tomato (maybe try a sharper version and more cheese?), and the bread crumbs turned mushy.  Couldn’t taste the celeriac in the celery salt at all.


I still like the classic, my slight variation on my dad’s recipe, much better.  The sweetness of the honey, salt, bitterness of the pepper, heat of the chilis and tang of the acidic tomato…and umami of the parmesan!  Perfection.  But I did learn something: use old aluminum pie plate wrapped in foil.  It held up much better and was easier to transport than the foil boat I usually use.

the one that got away


I admire the sneaky ones who hide under the leaves, trying to develop to maturity.  But Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm posted a link to a German recipe on his newsletter that seals their fate, too.  Old, overripe, yellow cucumber pickles!

And their name: senfgurken.  Irresistible.

Sorry, guys.

Anthony says he substitutes tarragon vinegar for the white wine vinegar.  I haven’t tried the recipe, but it looks great, not to mention dissertation-writing-neglectful-gardener friendly.  Maybe I’ll let a few more go.

pdx sichuan: you know you want it

This, my friends, goes on my list of stuff I need to do when I finish my dissertation.  Right now, this list is the only thing that’s keeping me going.  Well, besides the video for “Starman” by David Bowie, which, honestly, I could watch a thousand times.  And sometimes I fantasize about putting together a fake office pool among my associates as a fundraising effort — your generous donation will go directly to the people who need it, I’d say!  But I’d use the money for a ten-hour massage with some Amazonian woman with a mean streak, because this poor soul doesn’t know how else she’s going to get these permanently rearranged neck and upper back muscles out of the keyboard lock position.   And sometimes I fantasize about eating tomatoes.  But mostly it’s just stuff like this:


The good stuff’s at Mandarin House in Chinatown.  Apparently, the chef was trained in Sichuan cooking.  We came armed with a Chinese speaker and a dogeared Fuchsia Dunlop, and we food-geeked that place OUT.  Oh, just looking at this picture makes me long for it.

fair enough


Have you been to the Lane County Fair yet?  I gave my talk on blackberries there the other day, but it was so hot I couldn’t spend more than an hour walking around and looking at the exhibits and rides.  Still, I managed to snap a few shots of the local color.


Fun to look at all the canning efforts, some so much better than anything I’m capable of doing; others, well, grey dill relish.

I do hope to get back before it ends, so I can see the animals and vegetables.  And minerals, too, I suppose.  Right now, here I am, pondering my looming dissertation deadline:


Let’s hope the safety belt is operating properly!

what is black and white and purple all over?


Check out my article on Oregon blackberries, which appears today in the Eugene Register-Guard.  I discuss types of blackberries and blackberry-raspberry crosses, and what we’ve been doing in Oregon to breed better berries.

Then I focus on the crisis at hand: what can you do with too many fresh blackberries?  I provide three yummy recipes: a dark, boozy, fresh blackberry coulis (sauce), a light and spongy blackberry pudding, soaked in juice, and a fresh blackberry pie that is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted.

If you’d like to see some more of my berry concoctions or debate the finer points of blackberry tasting with me, stop by the Lane County Fair Master Food Preserver presentation today.  I’m giving a talk on “Blackberries Gone Wild” at 2:00.  We’re in the Auditorium.

Check out the MFP booth, too, and all the award-winning preserved foods and baked goods judged in the fair.  I’m always amazed by how beautiful and delicious it all looks.  We’ll have information about new classes and fall events, and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your questions about cooking and preserving food safely.   Stop by and say hello — we’d love to have your support for this and other OSU Extension-Lane County programs!

the pied piper of cats


Eugene town’s in Lane Co.

By rosy Stumptown City;

Willamette River, short and wide

Licks its banks on either side…

Albacore tuna canning.  Sustainably caught off the Oregon coast.  This year I did a few jars of hickory-smoked, but the rest is lightly salted, fat, white, pure tuna, worth its weight in gold.  The tuna is sterilized by a 100-minute bath in the pressure canner, but boy, does it remind you of its presence.  As I walk down the street, the cats follow.


aunt ruby’s green tomato gazpacho


Courtesy of my tomato tarragon gazpacho recipe, but made with green tomatoes and half red bell peppers and half green peppers.  I am growing huge, juicy, acidic Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes, and the first one is almost ready, so thought I’d practice with Aunt Ruby’s greens bought at the market.  The color isn’t exactly picturesque, but the soup makes a nice change from red gazpacho, kind of like a liquified salad.  Olive oil-fried baguette slices, salted and peppered, make amazing croutons.

peaches and cream with basil, rose geranium simple syrup, and apologies

IMG_0415For the next couple weeks, I’ll be out of commission finishing the final touches on my dissertation.  This means I won’t have time to cook or blog, but I do hope to post a few of the many photos I’ve been taking with my new camera, with a short explanation as necessary.

So many of my food blogging colleagues are exhibiting good sense and stepping away from the computer in these dog days of summer.  I’m not going to abandon it completely (showing my lack of good sense), but thought I should warn you that I’m otherwise occupied, and won’t be responding to comments.

So, to start things off, here is a dessert I would never, ever serve to guests, but OMG.  It’s a raw cobbler of sorts — a half a store-bought shortcake, crumbled, two local Red Haven peaches, smushed with my hands to a pulp, chopped basil, soaking in a bowl of cream and rose geranium simple syrup.

Actually, maybe I would serve it to guests.  It was my lunch yesterday, and I’m still thinking about it.