Happy Memorial Day! We are taking a trip! This Memorial Day weekend brought us to the Container Store (503-620-5700) and we stocked up on picnic supplies to enjoy the holiday. So you think you can't enjoy this holiday weekend? Actually you can. The weather is going to be a bit iffy for this weekend. So instead of tackling those pesky projects, take a little time and relax with this edition of Fusion.

Small Changes Ė Big Impact

Celebrating the summer season is not hard and you can make each Bar B Q memorable with just a few small changes to your basic patio dishes. Lora from Alís Garden Center walked us through a couple of quick set-ups and showed us how easy it is to make a big impact on your guests. First she started with a basic set of white dishes and glasses. Then by adding some little details, she was able to convert the table into a celebration of the 4th of July. This totally said Ďsummerí. Next we moved to fragrance. The next set-up showcased fresh flowers and bright colors. It definitely was a Ďgarden partyí. It even included sprigs of lavender. Lora also included candles to bring more fragrance to the table. Finally we moved to color. Lora used green as the color of choice. When you do color you need to think about size, structures and shapes. Those examples will help to keep the color from blending together. If you are looking for ideas to jazz up your summer garden parties, stop by the gift department at the Alís in Woodburn and Sherwood.

Kid Proof Carpet

The 2 toughest things on your carpet are kids and pets.  To learn about some of the newest and toughest carpets we stopped by Paulsonís Floor Coverings (503-620-7080).  Tyler Paulson told Robin about the newest fabrics that are out on the market.  He told us that most carpets have some kind of stain resistant protection but they donít cover the toughest stains like bleaches, blood and wine.  There is a new product called Sorona fiber by Mohawk Carpets.  In fact, to test it they put it in a pen with a live rhino for 2 weeks and then went in and cleaned it!  It bounced back beautifully!  Next we took a look at the latest in kidís carpets from Disney.   You can get patterns that feature a bunch of different Disney characters.  You can get Hannah Montana, Disney fairies and an assortment of princesses.  For the boy you can get Winnie the Pooh, Cars and Toy Story.  If you have a small Disney fan you need to stop by Paulsonís!

Rhubarb Soup

Rhubarb is one of those old-time vegetables from your grandmotherís garden.  Who would ever eat this stuff if it wasnít in a Strawberry-rhubarb pie?  Well, count us as people who are rhubarb lovers!  Chef David Musial joined us again for a recipe that will change the way you look at this vegetable.  Rhubarb is considered a sour or bitter vegetable.  The leaves are not good to eat and can give you an upset stomach if you eat them, but the stalks are where the flavor is.  Chef David used a couple of cups of rhubarb chunks, some sugar, orange juice, water and orange zest to make this wonderful chilled, soup recipe.  It is another great way to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season.  Check out the recipe here.

Grilling Gadgets

There are gadgets for your kitchen and there are gadgets for your grill! John Frankel from the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) joined us at the grill to show us some of the great 'gadgets' that you can use to make your grilling easier and more fun! He showed us a meat probe thermometer to check the temperature of your steak so you know when it is done to perfection. There is even a remote version so you don't have to hang out at the grill the whole time. He also showed us some cedar planks, they are still a very hot item to add flavor when you are cooking on your grill. Another way to add flavor is with smoke. John had a smoker tube to show us. All you do is add chips and place it on the grill and it creates the smoke for flavoring your meal. He also had grilling baskets so you can grill without losing your meal into the coals or flame. It works great with fish, small vegetables and kabobs. Finally he showed us the chicken rack. This is where you can place a chicken on top of the frame (and over a can of your favorite beverage) and you get a nice and moist grilled chicken. For these and many other grill gadgets, check out our friends at the NW Natural Appliance Center.

Rhubarb Margarita

Earlier Chef David showed us how to make a wonderful and tasty rhubarb soup.  Now he showed us how to use that same recipe to make a cool and unusual cocktail for your next party.  First he took the base soup and strained it to get more of the fiber out of it. Then he added Triple Sec, Tequila and lime juice.  He also added a little bit of chopped rhubarb to give it a tiny bit more Ďbiteí.  Shake it up and serve it over ice and enjoy yet another taste from your garden! Check out the recipe here.

Hazelnut Encrusted Lavender Salmon

This recipe is a real show-stopper for your dinner guests. It makes use of three of the seasonal favorites in our area, Salmon, hazelnuts and lavender. Kathy Gehrt, author of 'Discover Cooking with Lavender' shared this recipe with us to celebrate the publishing of her new book. We met her at the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) test kitchen to find out how to put this dish together. She started by dry-roasting her lavender. She added the lavender to some chopped hazelnuts. She also added chopped basil and garlic. While David mixed those ingredients, Kathy coated the salmon steak with some Dijon mustard and honey. Kathy then covered the salmon with the hazelnut mixture and put it in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. You are actually looking for 130 degrees for an internal temperature of the fish. If you would like to learn more about Lavender you can check out the Oregon Lavender Festival happening July 10-11 all around the state of Oregon.  Check out the recipe here.

Kitchen Ants

The weather is warming and that means that the flowers are blooming, it also means the appearance of a common pest in the kitchen, the ant. Robin told us about some of the ways you can use to get rid of them or at least deter them. First we talked about the commercial products that are available. ĎGrantís Kills Antsí is a product that has been around for many years and it is VERY effective. Another commercial product is Terro. This one is a borax based product that is also very effective. There are other more organic solutions to repel them. You can use a white vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, and a bay leaf to mask their trails, and that can also send them away.



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This page last modified
August 13, 2010.