Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miyake Celebration

To celebrate my new job (!!), M and I went out for sushi at Miyake. We'd never been there before and heard it's the best sushi in town. 

Miyake is BYOB (and there's a market that sells beer, wine, and sake next door), and so we bought some Pacifico, as to not compete with the awesome flavors we were surely to experience. 

And Miyake didn't disappoint. We went with the Omakase II, which is a tasting menu of the chef's choice of five courses. 

First, we had a lobster, toro, and scallop sashimi. The lobster was marinated in garlic olive oil and was so delicious. 

The next course was a tuna carpaccio of sorts, with scallions and pine nuts, served with fried nori chips. 

The third course disappeared so fast I forgot to snap a pic of it! It was a perfectly cooked round of eggplant topped with crab imperial. And it was to die for. It was a good thing there wasn't more of it, because M. and I would have made ourselves sick eating that rich yumminess. 

The fourth course was perfectly cooked duck breast, with a black pepper and citrus glaze. The black pepper was a nice little flavor treat. 

And last, four different types of nigiri. And I definitely forget what each one was, but I loved how they were individually flavored and topped with all different kinds of unique bits. 

I definitely recommend Miyake for great sushi in Portland. It is not your typical sushi place, but rather challenges your previously held notions of sushi with new flavor profiles and preparation methods. 

Miyake on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiddlehead Ferns

As soon as the fiddleheads appeared at the Farmer's market, I snatched some up, only to be at a loss as to what to do with them... Since I come from the Land of No Fiddleheads, this was my first foray into cooking these furled fern shoots. I did some research and found they can be cooked like any other green veggie (sauteed, blanched, and steamed), but I chose to adapt a recipe from Bon Appetit, substituting fiddleheads for sugar snap peas.

Update: as commenter Uke Mochi points out, evidence shows that fiddleheads should not be eaten raw, as they may cause illness similar to food poisoning. This article's sidebar further explains.

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta Cheese
(Serves 4)

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
4 c. (packed) chopped onions
1 8 ounce package trimmed sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 8 ounce package orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or pasta shells
1/2 c. whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 c. torn fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 t. finely grated lemon peel

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions. Sauté until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; sauté onions until tender and deep golden, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer 3/4 cup sautéed onions to small bowl; reserve for frittata. Add peas to onions in skillet. Sauté until peas are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Add pasta and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to onion mixture; stir over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Mix in ricotta, basil, and lemon peel, adding more cooking liquid to moisten as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thai and Cheesesteak Pizza Night

Love that Portland Pie Company's pie dough is available at the grocery store. This time, I tried their beer dough, and didn't really notice a 'beer-y' flavor. Maybe I was just blown away by all the awesome toppings we used!

When I lived in Montana, an upscale pizza place in Whitefish served a Thai pizza with mango, green onions, peanuts, and a peanut sauce. Since I love all things Thai, I decided to have a homemade version of it.

I opted to add edamame and basil, and I loved this pizza. Super awesome.

There was also a cheesesteak pizza...

And I would have put Cheez Wiz on it if I'd had any! The sauce was a mayo and sour cream, yum. Tasted just like a cheesesteak.

It's fun to add creative twists to pizza - what are your favorite non-standard pizza toppings?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blue Spoon Review

Dinner out Friday night was my first time at Blue Spoon at 89 Congress Street, in Portland's East End.

To start, we ordered a bottle of Notro, a Sangiovese from Argentina ($18) and the Eggplant Dip. The waitress described it as similar to Baba ghanoush, and I guess it was, in that it was made with eggplant... but really this dip stood alone. It was very flavorful and I loved the crispy garlic toast that it came with.

My entree was a half portion of Portuguese seafood stew.

It had a tomato-based broth that didn't wow me, but it was full of delicious stuff: Maine shrimp, sausage, mussels, spinach, and fingerling potatoes. And I loved that they offer a half and full portion for many of their entrees. That way I'm allowed to indulge myself without busting my wallet or my gut.

M got a grass-fed burger that he said would have been better if it had been cooked the way he ordered it (rare), rather than the medium that he received.

In the end, M and I opted to finish our bottle of wine for dessert, but there were several tempting options, including flan and sponge cake with lemon curd and rhubarb compote (that two neighboring tables got and looked awesome).

I don't know that we'll be rushing back to Blue Spoon, but we enjoyed ourselves and escaped with a $60 tab (including tip and that bottle of wine, not bad!). Blue Spoon seems to fill the same niche as Local and Bresca, and I would rather revisit one of those two places before I hit up the Spoon again. I am, however, intrigued by their brunch menu, so maybe we'll return on a Saturday morning.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I was inspired to make ratatouille by the eggplant that was threatening to spoil in my refrigerator. I've always meant to make ratatouille, but I had it in my head that it was hard to make. But this recipe turns out to be so easy and delicious, and I can't wait to make it when I have fresh summer veggies.

To start, I diced 2 small Italian eggplants, 1 bell pepper, a handful of baby Bella mushrooms, one medium Vidalia onion, two cloves of garlic, one medium tomato, and one medium zucchini.

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, and when the onions are translucent, add 1 T. tomato paste. Break up the paste until it even coats the onions. Deglaze the pan with 3/4 c. chicken stock. Add all the vegetables, excluding the tomato.

Saute until the eggplant has fallen apart and the rest of the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes, heat through and remove from the heat. Add 4 T. of chopped parsley and 4 T. of chopped basil. Season with S&P to taste.

It's so good and plus, it reminds me of my nephew, whose favorite movie is Pixar's Ratatouille. Yay!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Return to the Land of Pleasant Living

Back in Maryland, baybee! Two must haves: steamed crabs and Natty Boh. Aww yeah.