Friday, June 26, 2009

The Whole Bowl

The large bowl (without sour cream)

Right now I'm in the middle of a crazy whirlwind "vacation" in Oregon; we came at the end of May for Beth's and Daniel's wedding on the beach (so perfect, by the way!), and since then we've been driving up and down the state to spend time with various friends and family members. Currently I'm at my mother-in-law's home on the coast, helping her get settled back in after spending the winter with us in Austin. All-in-all, we will spend seven weeks traveling away from home!

Remember Beth's post on the Portland food carts a while ago? While I was in Portland last week, my friend Dawn met me downtown for lunch, and we headed over to the food carts near Pioneer Square. Dawn works downtown and raves about one cart in particular; in fact, she loves it so much she's never gotten around to trying any of the others lined up there on SW Alder and 9th. It wasn't hard to convince me that I must give it a try, but thank goodness there was also a hot dog stand among the cart offerings; while it all looked tempting to me, everything else was way to exotic for my kids.

image from
The mid-day lunch rush at the Whole Bowl on SW Alder and SW 9th.

The Whole Bowl offers a simple but deliciously satisfying combination of brown rice and red and black beans with various toppings. The secret ingredient, and the reason people will wait outside in line for ten minutes and pay $5 for a bowl of such simple fare, is the mysterious Tali sauce. Apparently, the recipe is a a closely guarded secret. No one except the owner Tali Ovadia knows what's in it. A bright yellow hue, the secret sauce has been described as lemony-garlicky... something. It's vegan, and gluten free. But it's top secret.

I'll be heading up to Portland one more time before we hit the road back to Austin; perhaps I'll get a chance to try out another cart, like maybe Garden State, which I hear is located in my old neighborhood of Sellwood.

And Beth, yes, I promise that when we get back to Austin, I'll whip up some migas to share here!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baked Squash Blossoms with Goat Cheese, Chocolate, and Orange

The weekend before I got married, one of my best friends (Elissa, who has an amazing food blog called The Painted Peach) bought me a ticket to come visit her in San Francisco to have a gloriously indulgent weekend in celebration of my last weekend of singledom. I am so lucky to have such a great friend like her, it really was a weekend to remember. One restaurant in particular was especially memorable, called Pizzaiolo. There, I had my first fried squash blossoms. They were so amazing, I could have eaten twenty of them.

When I saw squash blossoms at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market this morning, I had to get some. I knew I didn't want to fry them since I am trying to get back to being somewhat healthy after a long hiatus of eating and drinking whatever I wanted over the few weeks during my wedding and honeymoon. I also decided to see how they would do as a dessert rather than a savory appetizer. They turned out rather well, though not the most beautiful little things in the world! The goat cheese, orange and chocolate compliment each other nicely. The sugar probably cancels out the trying to be healthier thing, but oh well. Nonetheless, without further adieu...

Baked Squash Blossoms with Goat Cheese, Chocolate, and Orange

5 oz. goat cheese, fresh chevre (the best you can find)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
10 squash blossoms
1 whole egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces
Orange zest from 1 orange
Orange juice from 1 orange
Brown sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cheese, powdered sugar, egg white, chocolate, orange zest, and orange juice. Using a pastry tube or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off, squeeze the goat cheese mixture into the squash blossoms, twist the petals closed and place on a greased cookie sheet. In a small bowl, beat egg with water and then brush each blossom with the egg wash. Sprinkle each blossom with brown sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp. Enjoy!

P.S. I had some left over goat cheese mixture, so I mixed it with some cut up plums and baked it in a dish along side the squash blossoms and then chilled it. Turned out to be a really nice treat later on.


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