Archive for March, 2008

How to kill a chocolate bunny

Posted in Portland with tags , on March 29, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

A great little instructional video on what to do with all those post-Easter bunnies just taking up space…

Did the music get you down? Cuz I’ve gotta admit…
I almost felt sorry for the little bunny — the weeping, melting eyes and all. But then, seconds later, I would remember yesterday’s trek through Freddies where the discount table was littered with a slew of broken, decapitated bunnies.

THEN, my only resounding thought was: Where’s my iron?!
Okay, my other thought was: I wish I had a garbage disposal.

Yeah, now I’m primed for this version – Death Metal Remix

My Vote? After careful consideration, my preference goes to the first video. The melodrama got me. All that high drama over a little chocolate bunny. Priceless.

Batter Blaster

Posted in Portland with tags , , on March 27, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

batter blaster

I’ve gotta get this stuff!

Now, I have to admit, blasting pancake mix out of a can sounds way too messed up for me to actually, seriously consider planning a breakfast around this stuff. (Besides, I’m not really a big breakfast eater anyway.)

On the other hand, blasting pancake mix out of a can sounds really, really fun. And the name alone is great. Batter Blaster. Hey sweets, what’s for breakfast? Batter Blaster, babe.

Last month, Jennifer Guevin blogged about this sweet little convenience in a can:

Batter Blaster, a spray can of pancake (or waffle) batter, started hitting store shelves in the fall. Even though it’s still available only in select stores, it caught the attention of food and kitchen bloggers immediately. Some praised it for its brilliant simplicity. Others scoffed because…well, because it comes in a spray can.

Batter blaster has it’s own MySpace page where it reportedly wants to hook up with — okay, meet — syrup (aka Aunt Jemima). Not only that, but Batter Blaster also has it’s own video…

Personally, I kinda like this one better…

I *HEART* Duck

Posted in Portland with tags on March 26, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

She meant this…

But for the life of me, all I could think about was this…

So, a coworker was telling me that her back yard was actually a little forest complete with a pond and a family of ducks. The ducks are wild, she tells me. But I raise my own ducks too.

You raise ducks? I asked, as my mouth salivated. I could already taste the seared duck breast, it’s smooth, rich flavor spreading across my tongue. Then came potatoes fried in duck fat. Against my better judgement, I asked: So, you raise ducks for food?

Oh no! I could never eat my ducks.

I have to admit, I kinda knew this would be her response. Still, I had to ask the question. I had to take the very small chance that, perhaps, she too might love and respect this revered animal in the same way that I do.

But, as chance had it, she’d tried duck once and never again.

The Wonder of Bread

Posted in Portland with tags , on March 25, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

See any similarities?

Under most circumstances, I would say absolutely not! (except for sponge starters, of course) Well, unfortunately, at lunch yesterday my salad was accompanied by a dinner roll that was so dried up I could’ve sworn I’d just bitten into a hunk of scratchy sponge. But who cares, right? So, just don’t get the nasty dinner roll with lunch next time.

The thing about this dinner roll that causes so much wonderment is where it came from. I bought the little moisture thief from the New Seasons Deli in Raleigh Hills. Yup. That place with the amazing bakery that makes so many perfect loaves of bread. Ah, yes. The wheat nut is my favorite.

But I digress. How can New Seasons (aka The Friendliest Store) manage to make so many fine artisan breads…

while their deli dinner rolls are so terribly dried out!??!

Such is the wonder and amazement of bread… and New Seasons.

Quick Fix

Posted in Portland with tags , on March 23, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

My absolute favorite quick-fix meal moves from stove top to belly in under 7 minutes. And it doesn’t make my tummy feel like I just contracted a rampant case of gut-rot. Which reminds me — I was standing in line at the downtown PDX Safeway one afternoon, and this guy in front of me had just two items. A huge plate of Safeway lo mein from the deli and a bottle of Tums. Now that is indicative of impending gut rot!

Anyway, my quick fix is light and pretty good — Miso Soup with Potsticker Dumplings.

  • The miso is made from a packet (if I don’t have paste and dashi on hand)
  • frozen potstickers
  • wakame (if on hand) or collard greens (which, because of my dragon, are always on hand)
  • dash of chili oil

Through the eyes of a 4 year old

Posted in Portland with tags , on March 22, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

So my sister-in-law was coaxing my little niece into eating her carrots. You know the traditional line, “Honey, eat your carrots. They’re good for your eyesight.” Well, my niece took three bold mouthfuls of cooked carrots and decided she had stretched the bounds of her young little palate enough for the day.

The next morning, my little niece crawled out of bed and went down to the kitchen where she found her mother busily preparing breakfast. My niece rubbed both eyes with her closed little fists. Then, with squinted eyes, she asked, “Mom, what’s that stuff over there on the counter?”

“That’s pancake mix, sweetheart.”

My niece responded, “Mom, those carrots are no good. They don’t make my eyes work better.”

Oh, the cruel irony of it all.

Posted in Portland with tags on March 20, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

Yes, I love to cook. But this love is intimately tied to sharing — to providing sustenance and pleasure to others. So, when I have my apartment all to myself, the solace is comforting but the kitchen is all too lonely.

At present, my significant other (aka SO) is traveling to Hong Kong and through Nepal. Yes, spring break. I on the other hand have much less vacation than he does.

Anyway, I found myself thumbing through my growing collection of this months food mags — Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Gourmet. I was salivating over a luscious photo of Doro Wot (a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew whose spice bouquet blooms with full-flavor richness) when I recognized the cruel irony…

There I sat, gathering ideas for a beautifully crafted feast, all the while dining on a sad, low-effort, menial so-called-meal of beef jerky and 3-pepper pita chips. No kidding.

Mint Satisfies My Craving

Posted in Portland with tags , , on March 18, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

I had a wonderful dinner this evening at the Mint in northeast Portland. With a carnivorous craving for a bit of spice, I found the grilled chili rubbed chicken breast to be exactly what I needed. The breast was grilled skin-on and was cooked to perfection. All too often, a large grilled chicken breast is either so over cooked that it is something shy of dried leather OR, the inside is just plain raw. Tonight’s chicken, on the other hand, was moist, juicy, and flavorful.

Served with the grilled chicken was a Romesco sauce, goat cheese corn bread, and cole slaw. The Romesco sauce was a bit too acidic for my liking; however, when eaten with the goat cheese corn bread, the two were a scrumptious match. And the cole slaw. Well, initially, when reading the menu item my mind simply grazed over it. I merely though it would provide a cool balance to the chili rubbed chicken and didn’t really think much more of it.

As it turns out, the slaw had a terrific punch of heat, and the extra-long shaved cabbage and julienned carrots made the act of eating slaw a unique experience in and of itself — you could actually twirly the spicy slaw about your fork as one might do with a mound of spaghetti. Very nice touch.

Ah yes… and to top it all off, I enjoyed a tasty “O” — the Mint’s house Mojito made with orange rum. Very good.

Great Deal for a Sweet Little Cookie

Posted in Portland with tags , , on March 10, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

Coconut Macaroon

I nearly forgot to mention my sweet dessert. During the wonder and amazement at Uwajimaya, I came across these wonderful macaroons. They’re so good, I actually seek them out every time I’m at Uwajimaya. And they’re only $1.50 for a box.

Hungry for Fishes and Sunshine of Hawaii

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , on March 10, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

With a teasing of sunshine this morning, I almost most convinced myself that the umbrella could remain stashed away. Yes, I realize this is a near-delusional idea — at least until oh, July rolls around. I could have spent another 20-or-so minutes in front of my goLite (a necessary crutch to get through the Pacific Northwest rains), but I needed to stimulate more than just my visual perception.

I cracked open my pantry in search of flavors to stimulate thoughts of summer, and there I spotted it. A bottle of my Macadamia Nut Chili Oil that I had purchased months ago from the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

Macadamia Nut Oil infused w/ Chilies

After a trek to the Beaverton Uwajimaya and a scanning of their amazing fish counter, I came across a luscious cut of Opah. Tonight’s dinner…

Sesame Encrusted Opah with a Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger


  1. lightly seasoned Opah with salt and pepper, then encrusted the sides of the Opah steak in a mixture of black and toasted sesame seeds
  2. lightly drizzled Macadamia Nut Chili Oil on both sides of the steak
  3. broiled the fish for a few minutes — just long enough to gain some great coloring

Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger

  1. Sauteed garlic and ginger in Macadamia Nut Chili Oil and Toasted Sesame Oil
  2. Added sweet soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a bit of mirin
  3. thickened the sauce with cornstarch slurry

Mmmm. What a way to lift the spirits!