How to Roast Garlic

The Mediterranean Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado is one of my favorite places for small plates and tapas-style eating. There’s always something for everyone, and the menu changes just enough to be interesting, but not so often that it’s not a familiar favorite each time I go back.

I’ve always gone back for the polenta (which is fried, drizzled in honey, and then topped with Bleu Cheese crumbles), but ventured out on a previous visit into some new items. This time, I discovered their roasted garlic dip, which honestly, I don’t think I’d have ever, ever ordered this myself (so much garlic!), but roasted garlic is much milder and much sweeter than raw garlic, and when you throw in the jam that comes with this dip, it is the perfect crostini-topper.

As it turns out, roasting garlic is really, really easy, and it’s a great addition to recipes that call for garlic but might need to be toned down a little.

Anyway, here’s the super easy how-to on roasted garlic, and then a couple of ideas on what to do with it.

How to Roast Garlic

What you’ll need

  • at least 1 head of garlic
  • olive oil

That’s it!

Preheat the oven to 400 [degrees Fahrenheit]. Peel away the excess skin from the garlic, leaving the skin immediately around the cloves in tact.

Using a knife, cut about a half inch off the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves.

Place the cloves in a baking pan (muffin pans are awesome since the heads fit right in there and don’t move around too much) and loosely cover the heads with aluminum foil. If you don’t have a muffin pan, just wrap the garlic heads in aluminum foil and place a baking sheet on the rack below them in the oven (so if any oil drips out, the pan will catch it).

Roast at 400 for about 35 minutes, until the garlic cloves are soft.

roasted garlic Once they’ve cooled a bit, cut small slits in the sides of the cloves and gently squeeze each of the cloves out.

From here, you can just eat this straight or you can spread it on bread, add it to soups, sauces, dressings, or other vegetable and pasta dishes.

doniree

Doniree is based in Portland, Oregon, where she is pretty damn thrilled about the Pacific Northwest's focus on local and seasonal food and great wine. When she's not at home, she's on the hunt for the best brunch, the best happy hour, and the best whiskey bar a city has to offer.

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Salish Lodge | Snoqualmie, WA

I’m not sure exactly how else to intro this post without just stating the most important part:

The meal I ate at The Dining Room at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington was one of my absolute favorite meals I have ever had in my entire life. Seriously, I think I can place it in the Top 5.

For one thing, the ingredients are sourced as locally and seasonally as possible, so everything is incredibly fresh. When you start with the best ingredients, you know you’re on the right track. Beyond flavor and freshness, my leisurely solo dinner at the lodge was also one of the prettiest, most amazingly plated and presented meal I’ve ever had. There was so much attention to tiny little details, which you’ll see in the photos, which just made an amazingly tasty meal even more impressive.

I should make a note here that this meal is a splurge. I opted for the chef’s tasting menu in order to allow me to sample across the menu rather than commit to a single appetizer and entree.

I thought about editing out some of the sun flares and blur (because of water and sunlight!) in these photos, but honestly? The bright, bright sunlight was such a perfect part of the setting that I’m leaving it.

First of all, the setting. The dining room at the Salish Lodge overlooks the Snoqualmie Falls. Sometimes, when the sun hits the spray from the water just right, you see rainbows. I like rainbows. I saw a few rainbows during my meal, making me believe that the universe was completely in support of me enjoying this experience.

rainbows at snoqualmie falls I also watched the sunset. That was lovely.

sunset over snoqualmie falls

sunset at snoqualmie falls First things first, right?

white wine The chef introduced himself with this amuse bouche.

amuse bouche salish lodge Next, we moved onto this Summer Vegetable Soup. I love that the baby vegetables were placed all pretty-like in the bottom of this bowl, and then the mushroom broth was poured on right there in front of me. Such a fun presentation, and the vegetables were perfectly tender (not at all bloated or soggy).

summer vegetable soup salish lodge

IMG_0258

IMG_0259 How fun is that? Let’s move onto the salad. Baby organic spinach was served with sliced almonds, strawberries, Walla Walla onions, and goat cheese. Not that crazy, right? Not at all. But look at this.

baby spinach salad Next up? The most adorable mushroom risotto I have ever seen. Look at how these tiny spring vegetables were arranged to look like they’re growing in dirt!

mushroom risotto

Finally, there were these amazing entrees, a seared halibut and beef tenderloin. salish lodge All in all, this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever been in. Can’t wait to go back!

For more photos of my stay at the Salish Lodge, you can check out the Flickr set here.

*Disclosures/perks of the job: I was invited to sample, stay, and taste at the Salish Lodge and my lodging and meals were covered. My review is 100% honest (albeit late) and I was beyond impressed with everything about the entire place, from the friendly staff upon welcome to the great service in the restaurant and the cozy drinks in The Attic upstairs. Would I go back on my own dime? Absolutely. This is a phenomenal place for a romantic getaway, especially if you’re celebrating something like an anniversary, a birthday, a holiday, or you know, Tuesday.

 

doniree

Doniree is based in Portland, Oregon, where she is pretty damn thrilled about the Pacific Northwest's focus on local and seasonal food and great wine. When she's not at home, she's on the hunt for the best brunch, the best happy hour, and the best whiskey bar a city has to offer.

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4 Gift Ideas for Your Foodie Friends (or wannabe foodies, or really anyone, because we all need to eat, right?)

Actually, the title is a little exclusive. Food-related gifts are great for anyone, self-identified foodie or not. The trick is, as with any gift, knowing your recipient. I’ve put together a list here of things I’ve either done, want to do, or would love to receive as a food-related gift. Because I like eating, drinking, and cooking, and I’d venture to guess you’re into at least one of those things as well.

Check it.

Locally-Themed Food Basket

When I first moved to Portland in December 2010, I wanted to send Portland-themed Christmas presents to my family back in Minnesota. One of the best, best things about living in Oregon is not only our proximity to such a variety of so much locally-grown and made food (and food/beverage-related things), but the incredible amount of creativity in the products that are made and sold here.

Honey, jam, tonic, bitters, syrups, oils, vinegars, spreads, butters, candies, beer, wine, booze, you name it.

Portland has a unique flavor, something along the lines of hops and hazelnuts with a marionberry finish. It’s fun to package that up and send it to someone, so I did. I found candy, pepper jelly, coffee, and beer, and I bundled it up and shipped it to Minnesota.

Now that I’ve been here for more than three years, I think the gift basket I’d throw together would look considerably different than the one I built a few years ago. There’s just so much good stuff here (!!!), and I know so much more about what’s available now than I did then.

khao man gai If I were to build you a Portland-themed food/beverage gift, I would start with these things:

  • Portland Roasting Company
  • Jacobsen Sea Salt
  • Nong’s Khao Man Gai Sauce
  • Aviation Gin (or other local spirit, and if I know your cocktail of choice, I might try to find local versions of the other ingredients for you, because that’s fun)

Some things because they’re my favorites, others because they’re pretty much Portland staples.

DIY Cocktail Party

My sister recently did this for a friend’s birthday, and the ideas have been spinning in my head ever since. I feel like Pinterest would be all up on this with more variations than you can shake a stick at, so the possibilities really are endless.

limoncello Here, I found a few ideas to get you started:

Hire a Personal Chef

Maybe you know a chef or a friend that can just knock catering-type things out of the park. Maybe your friends do. Or, maybe not. For their third anniversary, Nina in South Carolina used Thumbtack to find a chef at The Mediterranean Corner who she then hired to cook an at-home anniversary dinner for the couple, complete with a personalized menu.

I know how special a personalized menu can be. For my 30th birthday, friends helped me throw an intimate little birthday bash, complete with a Julep in my own name (my birthday is the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby) and a menu of some of my favorite things (charcuterie, man).

doniree's julep Whether you hire a friend or a pro, putting the prep, cooking, timing, and plating in the hands of someone else means you get to sit and enjoy the meal. And when you take that experience and put it in your own home (or a small, beautiful upstairs bar in a historic carriage house), it’s even more uniquely special.

Groceries, but Better

I just signed up for my first organic produce delivery and I am SO excited. I mean, LOOK at all of this goodness.

produce I think CSAs or other food delivery services (like Plated) make great gifts. If you’re not familiar with Plated, you choose your meal from a list of whatever they’ve got going on that week, and they send you all of the necessary ingredients, plus the recipe and photos, and you just assemble and cook! I love the idea of learning new sauces and techniques, while also having all of these decisions about what to eat and how to prepare it already made for me.

In addition to arranging for groceries to show up at someone’s door, you can also ship delicious regional favorites like Babycakes, Lou Malnati’s (and a whole bunch of other Chicago favorites, actually), Stumptown Coffee, and Philly Cheese Steaks.

So, what about you?

If you were to throw together a gift basket that best repped your current city? What would you put in it? If there was any local food, beverage, or restaurant favorite in your hometown that you could box up and send to someone (a sandwich? a cocktail?) what would that be?

doniree

Doniree is based in Portland, Oregon, where she is pretty damn thrilled about the Pacific Northwest's focus on local and seasonal food and great wine. When she's not at home, she's on the hunt for the best brunch, the best happy hour, and the best whiskey bar a city has to offer.

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Demystifying the Fancy Dishes | How to Make Chicken Liver Mousse

At the end of last year, I attended Holiday Cocktails and Snacks Class at The Bent Brick in NW Portland. You can read the full review of the class and cocktails here, but I wanted to spend a whole blog post on the snacks part, since we didn’t talk about arranging cheese plates or stuffing dates and then wrapping them in bacon (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this class was on another level).

the bent brick cocktail class
Here’s how Ryan taught us to make chicken liver mousse, what I learned when I tried it at home, and then how I made it my own. Read on, you can totally do this.

Chicken Liver Mousse

  • 2 oz. shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. mushrooms, chopped (Ryan used lobster mushrooms, I used a mix I found at the farmers’ market, which included lobster mushrooms)
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 lb. cold butter (frozen is even better, but if you freeze it, chop it into small squares first)
  • 2 oz. Brandy
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb. chicken livers, lightly salted
  • salt, to taste

In a large sauté pan, add the oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the chicken livers. Sear on both sides until golden brown.

sauteed chicken livers
Remove chicken livers from the pan, and set aside. In the same pan, add the shallots, garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary (stems and all, you’ll strain it later), and mushrooms.

fresh herbs
mushrooms
Sauté for 2 minutes on medium heat, then add the brandy.

In a food processor, add the chicken livers, juices, and warm vegetables. With the food processor running, slowly incorporate the butter. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the nutmeg, black pepper, and salt.

Strain mixture through a sieve (I had to push this through with a spatula, and it took a considerable amount of time) into a non-reactive container (glass/Pyrex is good). Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serve with crostini or French bread.

chicken liver mousse
Ryan recommended adding “pink salt” which is a curing salt to the mousse, as it will oxidize (like avocados). I didn’t have this, didn’t do this, and sure enough, after day one, that’s exactly what happened.

The important thing to remember here is the ratio of 1 pound of chicken liver to a 1/2 pound of butter. Everything else is seasoning and flavor, and can be tweaked however you’d like. I split this recipe in half, followed the directions for one half and tweaked things I thought might be interesting with the other half.

For instance, instead of garlic and shallots, I used roasted garlic and caramelized onions, because they’re sweeter and I think have a great depth of flavor.

roasted garlic
Since these would add a bit of sweetness, I swapped out the Brandy for Bourbon.

The possibilities are endless, so get creative!

doniree

Doniree is based in Portland, Oregon, where she is pretty damn thrilled about the Pacific Northwest's focus on local and seasonal food and great wine. When she's not at home, she's on the hunt for the best brunch, the best happy hour, and the best whiskey bar a city has to offer.

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