marché wild foods dinner honoring author hank shaw, november 12

Last week, I mentioned the upcoming reading by visiting speaker Hank Shaw.  We’re very much looking forward to hearing him speak at:

Hunter, Gatherer, Conservationist: Finding the Forgotten Feast
Book Reading and Discussion
Author Hank Shaw
Monday, November 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
282 Lillis Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene ~ free and open to all

We now have details about Marché’s prix fixe menu for the dinner honoring Shaw on Sat., 11/2, at 6:30!

Can’t read the fine print? Click here to download a .pdf version of the flyer.

I’m so impressed.  The sous chef at Marché, Crystal Platt, has pulled together a menu influenced by wild foods and her interest in molecular gastronomy.   I suspect you’ve never seen anything like this at Marché.  If you like Castagna and The Rabbit, or have been meaning to try MG, this is the dinner for you.

Only twenty spots at $65 apiece (and an exceedingly fair price for such labor-intensive and creative dishes), so contact Marché right away if you’d like to reserve: info@marcherestaurant.com or 541-683-2260 ext. 106.

Hank has traveled around the country during his book tour sharing his knowledge on foraging hikes and wild food dinners.  We’re so happy to have him here in Eugene!  I attended the dinner in his honor at Portland’s Castagna restaurant in July, and had a blast.  I expect similarly great things from Chef Platt and the team at Marché!

hunter, gatherer, conservationist: finding the forgotten feast with hank shaw, nov. 14

I’m so pleased to announce an event that’s been in the works ’round these parts for months.  Wild foods expert Hank Shaw will be talking to UO students and researchers in my Food in the Field research group, and giving a public reading on November 14 for the entire Eugene community.  Free event and open to all.  This is the last stop on a nationwide book tour for Hank, so let’s give him a warm welcome!

Can’t read the fine print? click here for a .pdf.

Hunter, Gatherer, Conservationist: Finding the Forgotten Feast
Book Reading and Discussion
Author Hank Shaw
Monday, November 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
282 Lillis Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene

Hank Shaw is a wild foods expert, hunter, angler, gardener and cook, based in Sacramento.  His exquisite and unusual wild foods blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (http://honest-food.net), has been twice nominated for a James Beard Award, and was awarded best blog from the International Association of Culinary Professionals organization in 2010 — two major achievements in food writing.  He is on tour for his already acclaimed new book, Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale Books).  The book explores North America’s edible flora and fauna, explaining how to track down everything from wild mushrooms to mackerel to pheasant, and to create locally sourced meals that go far beyond the farmers market or campfire cuisine.

At a public reading for the University of Oregon and Eugene area community, Shaw will share his experiences in the field and in the kitchen, discussing not only his sophisticated recipes and innovative techniques for preparing wild food that grows and roams in the Pacific Northwest – camas bulbs, venison, and wild berries, to name just a few examples – but also the political, social, and environmental issues surrounding hunting and gathering in the twenty-first century.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

harvest

Such an odd year. Picked the rest of the green tomatoes, finally, which will turn into salsa, and will make ajvar out of the ripe peppers. Cooking down apples into butter in the crock pot. Ethiopian berebere peppers, which have a fantastic flavor, and a bunch of Hungarian paprika and others gifted by Jeff Eaton, who wanted to share the remainder of his crop (thanks, Jeff!) are drying in the dehydrator along with another gift, a tub of newly fallen walnuts (thanks, Lara!). Still haven’t figured out what to do with all those cranberries, but that’s next.

If you’re interested in going nuts, the filbert crop is in and walnuts are coming. I took some shots of the harvest at Thistledown Farm the other day. They close a couple days after Halloween, so if you want your store of winter squash, potatoes, onions, or apples, head out there soon.  It’s a time to be amazed by the bounty of our valley.  Even in a crummy year, we manage to pull it off.

niblets: eventful edition

Since it took me nearly a month to post about my New York trip, and I’ve been battling continually rocky terrain with events, deadlines, harvest, and school matters ever since then, you may get a sense that I’m running slightly behind.  Fall is always rough for me, this year even more so.

But I’ve got a range of exciting news that I’ve been eager to share.

The first is the series of events related to this Sunday’s Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival.  I’m particularly excited about Dr. Steve Trudell’s talk on “Why Mushrooms Matter” tonight, Friday, October 28th, 7 p.m., at the LCC Forum building, and all the mushroom specialties that will be served during Mushroom Madness week at local restaurants.  I tried Chef Mario Tucci’s chanterelle gnocchi on Wednesday at the Friendly Street Market café (Latitude Ten), pictured at the top of this post.  Wow.

The second is that I’m heading up an interdisciplinary faculty and grad student research group on food studies at the University of Oregon.  We meet monthly to discuss works in progress on their way to publication.  This is the only official venue for food studies at the university right now, but there has been talk of expanding these efforts in various directions, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.  Part of the group’s mission is to support and spread the news about visiting speakers who give public lectures on food.  I hope to extend these efforts via my blog, too.  Actually, they’ve been flying fast and furious, and I have had barely the time to publicize them at all, so I’m just going to say that I’ll try harder to wedge PR in.

Like this! I’m pleased to announce a reading and talk with wild foods expert Hank Shaw on November 14.  My group is bringing him out to campus for what promises to be a vivid discussion of his new book.

Book Reading and Discussion
Author Hank Shaw
Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast
Monday, November 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
282 Lillis Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
Hank Shaw is a wild foods expert, hunter, angler, gardener and cook, based in Sacramento.  His exquisite and unusual wild foods blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (http://honest-food.net), has been twice nominated for a James Beard Award, and was awarded best blog from the International Association of Culinary Professionals organization in 2010 — two major achievements in food writing.  He is on tour for his already acclaimed new book, Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale Books).  The book explores North America’s edible flora and fauna that explains how to track down everything from wild mushrooms to mackerel to pheasant, and create locally sourced meals that go far beyond the farmers market or campfire cuisine.

At a public reading for the University of Oregon and Eugene area community, Shaw will share his experiences in the field and in the kitchen, discussing not only his sophisticated recipes and innovative techniques for preparing wild food that grows and roams in the Pacific Northwest – camas bulbs, venison, and wild berries, to name just a few examples – but also the political, social, and environmental issues surrounding hunting and gathering in the twenty-first century.

The visit will take place on the evening of Monday, November 14, and will follow a VIP foraging walk and dinner at Marché restaurant over the weekend. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

More news soon.

There’s also a fantastic lecture series by food historian Dr. Ken Albala, hosted by the History Department at OSU.  He’s a major figure in food studies, and will be providing a three-part Horning lecture during the week of November 8 on food production, preparation, and consumption.  Click this link to open a .pdf poster.

PERSPECTIVES ON EATING FROM THE PAST:  GROW FOOD / COOK FOOD / SHARE FOOD

GROW FOOD
Tuesday / November 8, 4:00pm
Memorial Union / Room 109
COOK FOOD
Thursday / November 10, 4:00pm
Memorial Union / Room 109
SHARE FOOD
Friday / November 11, noon
Memorial Union / Room 109

A three-lecture series about the historical development of three crucial components of human nourishment and their disjuncture in the industrial era. Ken Albala will describe without romantic sentimentality the ways our food production system, our methods of food preparation and modes of consumption have changed over time to the detriment of human happiness, health and community. Creative suggestions will be made regarding ways we can recapture the positive aspects of past foodways without endangering food security or turning back the clock by abandoning the many valuable advances of the last century. History offers constructive examples of how we can better grow food, cook it and share it, if only we have the means to listen and learn from food writers of the past.

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is the author of many books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe, Beans: A History (winner of the 2008 International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award), and Pancake. He is currently researching a history of theological controversies surrounding fasting in the Reformation Era, and has co-authored a cookbook – The Lost Art of Real Cooking, the sequel of which is tentatively titled The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home.

Also next week is a public lecture on campus closer to home, one I’m proud to say is part of our “Food in the Field” Research Interest Group work-in-progress series:

Wednesday, November 2, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Prof. Nick Camerlenghi, Art History
“Terroir and Regionalism in Gastronomy and Architecture”
EMU Fir Room, University of Oregon

Abstract:  Perhaps the most important reason that comparisons between gastronomy and architecture have rarely risen above mere analogy (think: McDonald’s and McMansions) is that gastronomy still has a limited foothold in academia by which to forge a common ground with other disciplines. Unfortunately, this trend speaks little of the innovations currently underway in gastronomy. A case in point is the recently founded University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy where all aspects of gastronomy—from earth to table and back to earth—are being treated in a scholarly fashion. This is a watershed moment that bodes well for future exchanges. This paper examines the notion of terroir—as recently re-elaborated in gastronomical thinking—in order to develop what promises to be a fruitful point of intersection between gastronomy and architecture.

And on a more personal note:

I have 20 lbs. of cranberries waiting for me in the cooler at Hentze Farm (thanks, folks!) that were ordered from one of the coastal tribes.  Got a frantic call from the MFP coordinator who said they were beginning to look a little neglected.  Sigh, I know the feeling.  Homemade cranberry juice and chutney to come!  Will hold off on the lecture for now.

oregon mfp food safety hotline 2011 open for season!

Canning for the first time?  Wondering if Grandma’s pickle recipe is safe?

Call 1-800-354-7319!

The annual Oregon MFP Food Safety Hotline is now open through mid-October each week from M-Th 9-4 p.m.  We welcome all calls from Oregon with questions about food preservation and safety.

This is the first year the hotline has been located in Douglas County, after many years in the now-defunct Lane County Extension office.  Believe it or not, certified Lane County volunteers are making the trip down to Roseburg on a regular basis to train and staff the hotline this summer.  Didn’t I tell you these ladies were dedicated volunteers?  Headed up by our beloved Donna Crosiar (above), who has forgotten more about preservation than I’ll ever know, the hotline is still in good hands.

By the way, if you want research-based preservation recipes, we have them up on our Lane Extension website.  Hard to find a link (and negotiate that site in general), so I’m linking them here.

on the road again

I’m headed off to a food conference at the University of Montana – Missoula to talk about Edward Weston’s sinuous peppers and Gertrude Stein peeling potatoes.  Very excited!

Stopped by places in two great towns — Luis’s Taqueria in Woodburn for a ceviche tostada and Doppio in charming Mt. Hood for some coffee and stained glass clock eye candy — along the way.

Dropping off husband this morning for an epic bike ride from Walla Walla to Missoula as I head up to Spokane on two-lane highways.  Stay tuned…

berry busy planting…stay tuned

No time to write.  Too busy fending off a sore throat, dodging raindrops, fixing supports, getting in those last few plants, weeding, etc. before the papers come in and grades are due.  Enjoy this photo of my currant bush.  I do wonder why one bush is full of berries, and the other (about 3-4 feet away) doesn’t have any.  Weren’t they the same cultivar?  They don’t look alike.  Uh oh.

But I won’t complain.

Neither will I complain about this, my pretty, the first crop of the year.  The haskap berries are ripening!  Not sure why I shot the only berry that was damaged, but you get the picture.  Pretty soon I will have enough to make jam, hopefully before I leave.

The ripe berries look like elongated blueberries and taste tart and sweet, like a cross between a cranberry and a raspberry, or maybe a slightly unripe loganberry.

I managed to withhold buying blueberries (yet again) and some rather promising, if not exactly upright as advertised, huckleberries.

My tayberries are also yearning to break free; I actually have berries the size of my pinky tip.  They might be even earlier than the black caps.

Can’t wait for jam season, for summer to be here.  Enough with this rain, already!

roasted new potatoes with fennel green dressing


Need. Green. This dish is transitional, perfectly balanced between the two seasons vying for control over the PNW.  Darkness or light?  Stay tuned, dear farmers.

The new potatoes were roasted at a temperature higher than I usually choose, 425 degrees, which is really too hot unless you intervene in some way.  This is did by adding just a ladleful of chicken stock with my usual olive oil and herb slick to the potatoes just before I popped them into the oven.  Then I forgot about them, so they roasted longer than usual, steaming then caramelizing with the stock.  They emerged as chocolate brown, perfectly roasted, tiny little things.

The dressing was a salad, really.  In my garden, I had thinned out some shallots and a fennel stalk that was in the way, so I chopped them up together and tossed them with the potatoes, just out of the oven.  Dressed with a bit of olive oil and tarragon vinegar, they were just the thing for this still-tentative spring.

niblets: what shall i put in the hole that i dig edition

What shall I put in the hole that I dig is a question for the ages.  This 1963 children’s classic by Eleanor Thompson offers a series of questions about what things can be planted and turned into trees.  But forget the whole appleseed/apple tree nature learning crap.  Too many possibilities for a teasing big sister:  What shall I put in the hole that I dig? If I put my sister in, will it grow into a weirdo tree?  Etc.

So if I haven’t called you back or graded your paper yet, this is what’s been on my mind.  Yes, spring fever has hit!

Digging holes and putting things in them will be on the minds of all Eugenius gardeners this weekend.

Wondering about next steps?

Finish weeding.  I assume you already have your soil amended and most of your weeding under control, but if not, you’ll want to do this soon before the last of the rain goes away.  Once we get that last shower, the clay soil bakes the weed roots in, often in just a matter of a few days.  To help, consider Grandpa’s Weeder.  This standing weeder has been recommended to me by several people (0ver similar products, too).  They might have them back in stock at Down to Earth now, or will be shortly.

Get ghetto.  Those empty plastic bags from compost/soil/mulch are great to put on the ground so your knees don’t get wet and muddy.  I find them much better than the scrawny little pads, since there’s more room to move around on the bags, and they can accommodate, um, more generous knees.

Get some ideas about how to improve your chicken coop TODAY! May 21 is the annual Tour de Coop — buy your guides to the self-guided tour of local chicken coops at The Eugene Backyard Farmer.

Check out this link from NW Edible Life for creative pea and bean trellises in operation in Seattle.

Call in to the Master Gardeners of Lane County Extension.  The hotline is up and running, and the new office handles walk-ins.  Ask weed, bug, and disease questions, what to plant, and how to fix what’s gone wrong at 783 Grant Street, between Garfield and Chambers. Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.  Master Gardener Hotline: 541-344-0265.

Subscribe to our Extension Agent Ross Penhallegon’s “Garden Hints” group on Facebook for up-to-the-minute advice on what and when to plant in Lane County.  It’s almost like a telegraphic weather service, noting upcoming forecasts and how various South Valley crops are doing.  Get this man on Twitter!

Listen to Pat Patterson’s radio show, The Hatch Patch, on KPNW (1120 AM) from 9-noon on Saturdays.  Pat, the Master Gardener that the Master Gardeners turn to for advice, has encyclopedic knowledge about our area’s flora and fauna.  The radio program has a FAQ for PNW gardeners on their website, including info about moss on roofs and tomato blossom end rot.  (Note: this is the station that hosts Glenn Beck, so be sure to turn your radio off after Pat.)

Buy warm weather starts and start to transition them to your garden.  The most fabulous developments in Eugene gardening in 2011, as far as I’m concerned, are:

  • Log House Plants‘ grafted vegetables, selections of which are available at Jerry’s and that bookstore in Cottage Grove whose name I am forgetting.  Wonderful, fragile heirlooms grafted onto hearty stock for admittedly high prices, but it’s worth a try at least a plant or two in this miserable (so far) season.
  • Jeff’s Garden of Eaton‘s amazing selection of tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and winter squash.  I went out to his place yesterday and picked up a dozen or so peppers, mostly Hungarian varieties that we can’t find anywhere else, but also some Sichuan ‘Facing Heaven’ pepper plants — peppers I’ve been searching for ALL OVER THE WORLD — and the peppers they use to make Ethiopian berebere spice and Turkish harissa.  The photo above is one Jeff sent me last week of my Facing Heavens as they were growing at his place.  It was like one of those adoption agencies where you get photos of the darling baby or puppy that will one day soon be yours.  Come home to mama!  Jeff’s plants are available at the The Hideaway Bakery Farmer’s Market (the Other Saturday Farmer’s Market), which is located behind Mazzi’s Restaurant on East Amazon in South Eugene from 9-2 p.m., and at his home in Santa Clara (2650 Summer Lane off River Road — look for the giant greenhouse in front!) most days from noon to 6 p.m. through June.
  • Lonesome Whistle beans, available at the downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  It’s perfectly fine to plant dried beans now.  Just sprout them under a wet paper towel for a couple of days first.

Or just say forget it and go down to Marché Provisions for a bottle of dry rosé, spring’s hottest drink, to drink on your weedy, unplanted patio.  Wine buyer Ryan Dawe-Stotz is a rosé fanatic, so he’s a great resource for consultation. I had my first glass yesterday, so take notice, winter, it’s all over for  you.

culinaria eugenius in woodburn: mission outlet antidote

I’m very pleased to report I took the advice of friends and ate at Luis’ Taqueria in Woodburn as I was on my way to Portland.

Woodburn is a old town with a large wart.  I hope the gigantic outlet mall on the west side of I-5 brings in dividends for the townspeople, I really do.  I’m sure it provides many jobs.  And truthfully, the shops aren’t bad.  But after watching hordes of bargain-hunters with glazed eyes and children grasping hungrily at the latest North Face jacket, I was feeling a bit claustrophobic.

So I went across the bridge into downtown Woodburn, which like many small Oregon towns, fronts the railroad tracks and has a line of wood-and-brick front late-19th century shops which have seen better days.  Unlike many Oregon towns, though, it has a highly visible Hispanic population, and all those shops are Mexican restaurants and markets!

The 2000 census put Woodburn’s population at around 50% Hispanic, but if that area is any indication, I’d put it at about 80%.  I noticed that there is a Hispanic culture festival of some sort each year, dating back at least to 1964, so the community has been around for at least that long, and surely longer.  And you can see it in the restaurants.  It was so nice to be in a vibrant taqueria with so many non-white faces eating very delicious food happily.  I think a taqueria is one of the most joyful places on earth.

The downtown area is depressed, make no mistake.  On 1st Street, there’s an abandoned movie theatre that was once probably pretty cool.  I saw some aimless men wandering around that area and slow moving patrol cruisers, never a good sign.  The internets also show some longstanding racial tensions in the community.  But you can also see civic pride initiatives at work, too, including a spit-shined locomotive engine that is on an Oregon historical register and, I think, open to visitors.

By the way, the town websites also tell me that there’s a sizable Russian population in Woodburn.  The Chamber of Commerce has a rather pastoral description of the Russian community, and puts the population at about 11% (2003).  I looked for Russian restaurants/markets in Woodburn, but couldn’t find any.  It could be that the community is, from the looks of it, ultra-Orthodox and not very open to outsiders.  I’m not sure.  But any leads would be appreciated.

I’ll be sure to check out some lovely churches the next time I go:

To view Woodburn’s Russian churches, take Highway 99E south from Woodburn 2 miles to Howell-Praire Road NE. Turn left (east) and travel 1/4 mile to Monitor-McKee Road. Turn left and travel 1/2 mile to Bethlehem Drive NE. The churches are all located in the area.

But back to the taqueria.  You have to eat at least one seafood ceviche tostada (left in picture).  Ceviche, of course, is that lime-juice cured mix of fish and shrimp with tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, and cilantro.  Don’t make the mistake I did and omit the order of tortilla chips, though.  The wet marinade makes the tostada sloppy eating with your hands (who has time for a fork, thought I).

And the carnitas taco was absolutely delicious, too.  You really can’t go wrong with fried pork.  You might be more adventurous and try the cabeza (pig head, which became a theme of the trip, as  you shall see in future posts), adobada (stewed beef), chorizo (spicy sausage) or chicharrones (pork rinds in a spicy sauce).  You can get your sopes (little boats made out of masa dough) fix or tamales (and even buy sweet or plain masa to make your own).  On the weekends, they have menudo and pozole soups.

The prices are great, the restaurant is family-friendly (but not obnoxiously so) and very clean.  I was warned in Spanish by the cleaning lady in the ladies room not to wash my hands until she had wiped down the sink that had been sprayed with “clor.”  The food is simple and comfortable — nothing fancy.  But make no mistake: they don’t cut corners.  All the tortillas are handmade as you wait, and the salsas and toppings are fresh and yummy.

I note with some sadness that a popular bakery on the strip has gone out of business, but a pristine and very well stocked butcher/grocer is still hawking its wares.  I noticed tubs of homemade dark red molé paste on the shelves, and I really regret not taking one home.  Next time!