Recommendations for Local Food Gifts By Women

It’s already Thanksgiving week! This really marks that the holiday season is upon us. This year, I would like to share my recommendations for local food gifts – gifts that are edible that you can give to friends, family, co-workers that are edible and enjoyable for anyone. All of these items are also produced by local artisans, and on top of that these are all women owned businesses, so you are supporting female entrepreneurs. I was not sponsored by anyone I’m listing here  – I personally recommend all of these products in terms of deliciousness and want to share some amazing products by amazing women.

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Blackberry Pizza Recipe

Since the Oregon Berry Festival that I recapped a bit ago, I’ve had the idea of creating a Blackberry Pizza. I was inspired by the savory combinations of blackberry from the Gala Dinner I attended. I thought that instead of a sweet dessert pizza, I was going to create a savory version.
Blackberry Pizza recipe with homemade creme fraiche, pesto, a little hot sauce and Oregon Blackberries

Other dessert pizzas often use a cookie as the base, such as a sugar cookie or oatmeal cookie. But I knew that having a regular pizza dough could work, given that I had adored Pulehu Pizza’s strawberry pizza before. I still have a huge crush on that seasonal special pizza, which had a light creamy base instead of the sweeter cream cheese base or whipped topping base. I know berries and creme fraiche are a classic combination, and so that with a pizza dough base was my start.

Next, instead of going with a sweet cream, I opted to lean into the savory per my Gala Dinner inspiration. From creating my Blackberry Grilled Cheese recipe earlier, I knew that basil is a great pairing with blackberry. It is only a short jump from fresh basil to my use of pesto.

Finally, for an additional layer of flavor, I wanted some heat since many of my favorite cocktails include a combination of berries and spicy vodka or tequila. Enter the Marshall’s Haute Sauce special edition Hatch Sesame Balsamic.
Blackberry Pizza recipe with homemade creme fraiche, pesto, a little hot sauce and Oregon Blackberries

I didn’t make the pizza dough or pesto – I already had frozen Kirkland Basil Pesto (which uses Genovese basil, extra virgin olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and pine nuts) that I could utilize. I bought pre-made dough and I wanted each one to be personal pizza sized.. The only slight time consuming part (which is really more of a wait then prep steps) was making homemade creme fraiche.

To make your own creme fraiche, you just needs 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to every 3 tablespoons of buttermilk. You stir it up and let it sit on your kitchen counter, covered and in a glass container so it doesn’t absorb plastic taste, for 8 hours minimum until it’s thick. It should be a little reminiscent of sour cream in consistency, but the flavor will be a light tangyness compared to sour cream. You then refrigerate your creme fraiche (keep it in glass!), and it can last up to 10 days. The more tablespoons of buttermilk the thicker it is.
Homemade creme fraiche is easy to make using just heavy cream and buttermilk and time Homemade creme fraiche is easy to make using just heavy cream and buttermilk and time

Ingredients:

  • 4 personal sized pizzas (about 6 inches diameter)
  • 1 pint of Oregon blackberries. If blackberries are not in season, I suggest going into the freezer section to get the local frozen blackberries. For Oregon frozen berries, while they are still fresh and perfectly ripe they are fresh frozen within mere hours of being picked. That means from when they were picked to frozen is most likely even a shorter period of time than imported berries in the off season. Plus, Oregon blackberries taste better because of the great Northwest climate here.
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
  • 4 tablespoons of pesto
  • 4 teaspoons of hot sauce (we used Hatch Sesame Balsamic from Mashall’s Haute Sauce, but you could also mix hot sauce with a touch of balsamic if you have a hot sauce that doesn’t already have that acidic note

Directions:

  1. If your personal sized pizzas are still in dough form, you are going to want to pre-cook it (brush a little olive oil on the dough before putting it in the oven) until it the the dough is cooked. If the pizzas are pre-cooked and just need to be heated, you can skip this step.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For each personal pizza, spread about 2 tablespoons of the creme fraiche. Next, add in 1 tablespoon of pesto and swirl the pesto around in the creme fraiche to create a bit of a swirl pattern throughout. I personally liked this look rather then mixing the creme fraiche and pesto directly. Top with the blackberries.
    Blackberry Pizza recipe. Add the creme fraiche, then mix in the pesto. top with the blackberry Blackberry Pizza recipe. Add the creme fraiche, then mix in the pesto. top with the blackberry
  3. Add the Blackberry pizza to the oven and turn off the oven. Let the pizza warm for 5-7 minutes, then remove. Add about a teaspoon of your choice of hot sauce in various dots throughout.
    Blackberry Pizza recipe with homemade creme fraiche, pesto, a little hot sauce and Oregon Blackberries
  4. Serve and enjoy!

I and F both really liked how this was a combination of the slightly creamy with hint of tang from the creme fraiche, then the saltiness with bit of pungency from garlic thanks to the pesto, and a little heat and balsalmic acid from the Hatch Sesame Balsamic sauce. YUM!
Blackberry Pizza recipe with homemade creme fraiche, pesto, a little hot sauce and Oregon Blackberries

If you haven’t tried any of Marshall’s Haute Sauce, run to the website and also visit them at the Farmer’s Market. I buy the standard sauces at the store (I think it helps reinforce for the store that these are good products that will sell of their shelf to encourage them to continue ordering), and my favorite of their regular sauces are the Habanero Carrot Curry.

If you visit them at the Farmer’s Market though you can get access to their seasonal specials that they do, varying from his Hatch Sesame Balsamic during the summer to Gin Roasted Pepper to one off collaborations like their Honey Tincture with Serrano Ginger Lemongrass with Bee Local (follow Spicy Marshall on Instagram to hear what the special might be).

What’s your favorite Marshall’s Haute Sauce? What do you think of a fruit pizza, have you  had fruit pizza before?

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Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines + Oysters and Vichyssoise

Is it really already only two weeks until Christmas?! Time is a flying!

Just like last year (and which I also highlighted in a post last year, along with providing a free printable wine tasting placemat for you to create for a wine tasting party), Whole Foods has picked out some wines that you can find in their stores to highlight for the holidays.
Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines

Some of the Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 wines are quite a value, meaning you can easily buy quite a few bottles in order to make sure everyone’s thirst is sufficiently quenched during a holiday party. Others are great options as a gift when you are attending someone else’s holiday get together, or to pair with a family dinner night.
Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - very affordable so you can buy several bottles for your holiday party Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines

Let’s take a look at some example food and wine pairings with the 2014 list of Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines! Which apparently are really 11, with 5 white wines and 6 red wines.

White Wines

Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Sea Pines Russian River Valley Chardonnay Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier

  • Gaston Chiquet Champagne – because we should all drink sparkling bubbly wine the whole holiday month
  • Pizzolato Pinot Grigio – mineral tones makes this organically grown wine very refreshing
  • Globerati Sauvignon Blanc – lemon and green apple brightness
  • Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier – round soft wine that has somehow a bit of earthiness
  • Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay – balanced to have a little bit of vanilla but not too much oak

Always fun to start with sparkling for any event, such as this Gaston Chiquet Champagne, a Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines "Sea
So Whole Foods suggested a very easy way to pair any of those 5 white wines at your party or to take to someone else’s party (or to keep for yourselves for a very sexy holiday date night at home)… Oysters! You don’t even need to cook them- AND you don’t have to shuck them!

Did you know that when you buy your oysters from Whole Foods, you can have the Fishmongers there shuck them all for you? After they are shucked, make sure you keep your oysters cold, so go home and refrigerate them right away, and ideally you will eat them that day. Supposedly you can also choose to wait up to 7 days, or freeze them, but it’s best as soon as possible.

At the pairing event I attended at Whole Foods Pearl, they let me try a few different types of oysters with a few different simple preparations. You can see the pairings below – the number of the wine and the oyster is a pairing I tried.
Pairing oysters and white wines from the Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines 2014 list

It was fun to see, feel, and taste the difference in flavor between the various types of oysters you can purchase, as well as the different garnish preparations used to highlight them. They came in a variety of salty/briny level and textures and I could admire the differences in shells and textures. At this event I was able to try five oyster types of a Sun Hollow oyster (paired with Globerati Sauvignon Blanc), Malaspina oysters (paired with a Pizzolato Pinot Grigio), Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier), Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay), and Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne).
Globerati Sauvignon Blanc with a Sun Hollow oyster Pizzolato Pinot Grigio paired with Malaspina oysters Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier) Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay) Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne)

Here are my favorite ways to do a little preparation for the oyster when you serve them (the photos are from the event and not the actual recipe shared):

  • Hot Sauce. The simplest no muss way. With a little bit of Marshall’s Haute Sauce like the Red Chili Lime, Serrano Ginger Lemongrass, or some of their limited edition sauces like their Gin Roasted Pepper. For your get together, maybe get a few different sauces and let your guests add the dash of whichever sauce they want to try themselves!
    Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne) 
  • Mignonette Sauce, which is essentially a vinegary sauce. Since you are already pairing this with wine, make it even a smoother pairing by using some of that wine in the mignonette itself by preparing 1/2 cup of a dry white wine with a tablespoon of sherry vinegar in a saucepan and reducing it to half. Now take off the heat and add 1 finely chopped shallot and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and maybe a tiny pinch of an herb
  • Fresh Lemon and Horseradish sauce. I like the way these flavor and zing in a way that lets the natural flavors of Oyster shine by letting Oyster flavor be in the forefront. Get a fresh horseradish root, clean and then peel the outside, grate the root until you get 3 ounces (Be prepared to cry a little from the fumes just like an onion. Console yourself with wine.) to every teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a little bit of water until it suits your taste. Instead of water, you can also use cocktail sauce for a horseradish lemon cocktail sauce topping.
    Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier)
  • This is the one that is inspired from what I had at this Whole Foods event: a Jalapeno Ponzu sauce with a little 1/2 Teaspoon of caviar! For the sauce, this recipe is enough for two dozen oysters so you can use all the jalapeno. Mix together 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon water, 2 Tablespoons yuzu, or you can use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of yuzu, 1 Teaspoon sugar, 1 small jalapeño, minced and 2 Tablespoons minced shallot. Then if you can, add the caviar using a mother of pearl spoon/wooden spoon (don’t use metal as it oxidizes the caviar). How fancy is that!
    Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay)

The Duet Chardonnay-Viognier and Vichyssoise

I also happened to purchase the Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier and took it to a dinner party with a French theme. I paired this round, soft and earthy wine with a cold soup I made for the dinner called Vichyssoise. If you haven’t had Vichyssoise before, it’s a potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you’ll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

The vichyssoise also can be served warm or chilled, again making it ideal for transporting to share with others. By the way, it’s pronounced Vi-chy-swahze, where Vi-chy is sort of like fishy but use the V sound and sounds heck o impressive.

Recipe for Vegetarian Vichyssoise, a potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you'll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

This recipe makes 8 servings, and it tasted great with the Duet wine because the earthyness of the wine went well with the potato leek and watercress flavors of the soup. This version of vichyssoise is lightened up considerably by using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock and also by using half and half instead of cream. It also has a bit more earthiness and bite by using watercress.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (2 tablespoons will be used to cook the leek, 1 tablespoon to top the soup during serving)
  • 4 leeks, well washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds potatoes, coarsely chopped (I used Yukon Gold and did not peel them)
  • 2 bunches watercress, divided (half will be used in the soup, the other half later when you serve)
  • 2 1/4 quarts (9 cups) of vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half and half or cream – I went with using half and half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 in preparing the soup and the rest you may add to taste later when serving.
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chopped leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.
    Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks
  2. Now add your chopped potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes more. You don’t need everything to fully cook and nothing should be browned as you it will cook in the broth shortly. Add 1 bunch of the watercress and stir until the watercress is wilted, probably another 5 minutes.
    Vichyssoise- leeks plus potatoes
  3. Add the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes so that you can put it in the food processor. I put my pot in the kitchen sink partially immersed in cold water and some ice cubes to cool it down. In batches, process the soup in a food processor until smooth. After each batch, pour the processed soup into another larger pot. As you probably know, when processing the soup in your food processor or blender, make sure you are careful to press the lid on as you are blending and never fill your machine too high, getting a burn from processing hot liquids is an accident you don’t want to experience!
  5. In the large pot with your processed soup, stir in the half-and-half and 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, best would be to let chill overnight).
  6. Before serving, taste the soup for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and lemon juice as necessary. After placing it in your soup vessels (such as chilled soup bowls), add a little swirl of remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice remaining tablespoon of olive oil amongst all the bowls. Finally, add to each bowl a small bunch of the watercress, a pinch of the finely snipped fresh chives, and and grate a little pinch of the lemon zest on top.

Vichyssoise- a vegetarian recipe for this potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you'll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

Red Wines

I didn’t have a chance to try any of the red wines, but wanted to still share them in case you prefer reds to whites, along with the descriptions from Whole Foods. Although I didn’t get to taste them, I trust their choices based on tasting their holiday wine selections last year.
Red Wine

  • Coppola Sonoma County Pinot Noir – Fruit forward ruby red with a tartness of dried cherry and strawberry and subtle floral jasmine notes
  • Bodegas Belgrano Malbec – Aromas of warm spices and stewed blueberry flavors that mingle with woodsy hints of smoke
  • Leyenda del Castillo Rioja – Mineral, earthy aromas are found in this deep garnet Spanish red
  • Bubo Cabernet Sauvignon – Surprisingly fruity, pleasant and approachable with a touch of green pepper aroma
  • H&G Priorat – Earthy, herbaceous aromas in this brick red wine lead to a refined minerality and complex dark fruit flavors
  • Charles and Charles Merlot – Attractive baked biscuit aroma in this inky, hearty red

Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Coppola Sonoma County Pinot Noir Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - H&G Priorat
You might also consider adding a dessert wine to your holidays, such as a port. And think about pairing it with a little buffet of tiny dessert snacks (all that you conveniently purchase at Whole Foods) such as the Belgian Chocolates, Milk Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Bar, or Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Creme Cookies!
Dessert pairing with port thanks to Whole Foods

For another easy way to get food to pair with your wine, whether it be red or white wines… I also heh heh like to browse the prepared foods section of Whole Foods and grab things from there, and if I have any doubt I will ask someone at Whole Foods to help me pick a dish to go with the wine. Then I go home and put them on a nice platter and take them to the party. What! I especially can’t resist when I see signs like this to advertise their holiday side dishes!
Whole Foods New Traditions with their prepared Holiday Side Dishes

Are you doing any holiday dinner or party at home with wines, and if so are you pairing anything and what are you pairing? Have you ever served raw oysters before? Or had Vichyssoise?

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary event at Whole Foods Pearl that included tasting 5 of the Holiday Wines paired with oysters, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own

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Portland Farmers Market at PSU

Images from yet another beautiful day at the Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Saturday, so bountiful…

 Portland Farmers Market PSU Rainbow of cherry Tomatoes   Portland Farmers Market PSU Broccoli Portland Farmers Market PSU, cauliflower and other friends/cousins of broccoliPortland Farmers Market PSU, giant Italian Artichokes Portland Farmers Market PSU, farm fresh eggs with faces Portland Farmers Market PSU  squash baskets Portland Farmers Market PSU eggplants glistening Portland Farmers Market PSU, Viridian Farms edible flowers and Piparra Portland Farmers Market PSU, Dahlias Portland Farmers Market PSU, Dahlias  Portland Farmers Market PSU, a lovely arrangement Portland Farmers Market PSU, big green butter lettuce Portland Farmers Market PSU, so many berries Portland Farmers Market PSU, various peppers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes... Portland Farmers Market PSU, green

A few peeks at some of the food vendors like Via Chicago for their Chicago style pizza and Pine State Biscuits sandwich with a buttery biscuit, fried chicken, a slice of Tillamook cheddar and then added extra of pimento cheese. Also pictured is a special Mushroom Duxelles from Marshall;s Haute Sauce that day and my normal favorite Carrot Habanaro Curry. Meanwhile, Verde Cucina is always a popular long line as you can smell their grilled vegetables and adobo chicken luring you towards them from half the market area!
Portland Farmers Market PSU, Via Chicago, chicago style pizza Portland Farmers Market PSU, Pine State biscuit fried chicken sandwich Portland Farmers Market PSU, Mushroom Duxelles from Marshall's Haute Sauce Portland Farmers Market PSU, Marshall's Haute Sauce, the spicy Carrot Habanero Curry from bbbbbbbbbb Verde Cocina is always a popular food stand at Portland Farmers Market PSU for their grilled veggies

Until the next visit to Portland Farmers Market at PSU

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Oyster Social a pop up to go with Beer!

What a weird coincidence that I have 3 beer related posts scheduled back to back. I promise you, I am still enjoying other beverages, it’s just the way this turned out in the blog calendar… Anyway.

Oyster Social is a pop-up raw bar that has been appearing at various brewpubs in Portland. Sip beer and slurp freshly shucked oysters right on the spot.

Oyster Social, a pop-up raw bar that has been appearing at various brewpubs in Portland. Sip beer and slurp freshly shucked oysters right on the spot. Eat one or a dozen–the world is your oyster at $2 a pop (cash only) Oyster Social, a pop-up raw bar that has been appearing at various brewpubs in Portland. Sip beer and slurp freshly shucked oysters right on the spot. Eat one or a dozen–the world is your oyster at $2 a pop (cash only) Oyster Social, a pop-up raw bar that has been appearing at various brewpubs in Portland. Sip beer and slurp freshly shucked oysters right on the spot. Eat one or a dozen–the world is your oyster at $2 a pop (cash only)
Eat one or a dozen–the world is your oyster at $2 a pop (cash only), and then you dress the oysters yourself with something as simple as a little horseradish or other condiments they may have such as

They will be at Gigantic Brewing today, Friday July 11, and every last Friday at Upright Brewing (so July 25 is the next one). They will also be at Wilder Bar on Wednesday July 16th.  Check their website Oyster Social to see where they may be popping up next! Also, how amazing would this be at a party…

Oyster Social, is a pop-up raw bar that has been appearing at various brewpubs in Portland. Sip beer and slurp freshly shucked oysters right on the spot. This particular set of photos is when they popped up at Upper Lip for June PDX Beer week

What do you think of keeping cool as the Heat Wave starts today/the next week with beer and oysters? What are you drinking or eating to keep cool?

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