Last week we talked about the weather pattern changing… I wish it would hurry up and get here!  The homeowner usually has a fresh burst of energy when the spring time weather arrives.  This year I think people are still waiting for that burst.  But don’t worry you have the holiday weekend to enjoy and then, next week, when the sun comes out we can tackle all those pressing projects!

Setting Your Easter Table

The spring is a time of renewal.  So maybe it is time to ‘renew’ your table for Easter or even to make a splash for spring entertaining.  Kim from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) walked Robin through a bunch of ideas for freshening up your look for the season.  Starting with a basic white tablecloth Kim used a nice set of soft green plates and included a rose colored napkin underneath.  She made a little vase out of egg shells that were filled with water and held a flower, and placed that as each place setting on the table.   For a place card holder Kim used wheatgrass that she found growing in trays at a local grocery store.  These were cut into squares that were used to hold those place cards.  She also used the remaining wheatgrass to build a center piece that she stuck flowers in to make a very nice ‘spring’ themed basket/centerpiece.

Chair Affair +

It is time to take a seat… for charity!  We took some time to meet with the organizers of the Chair Affair + to learn about this event and to see some of these incredible works of art.  The event benefits the Community Warehouse.  Director Roz Babener told us that this organization assists families and individuals that need help in setting up their new homes and living areas.  They take gently used household items and distribute them.  You can’t just go and shop their stores though.  They only work with families that are referred by one of the hundred different social service agencies in Oregon and SW Washington that partner with the Community Warehouse.   

That brings us to the benefit for the Community Warehouse, the Chair Affair +.  This is the 5th year for this great event and it is named for the numerous chairs that are designed and decorated by local artists.  Mariam Hecht, the volunteer chair of the event, told us that this year’s event is taking place on the 28th and 29th of April at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland.  On the 28th there is a benefit dinner party where you can bid on the table settings.  And these are not your usual dishes and cups.  Each of these tables has a theme and you can purchase the one that fits your mood or décor.  Robin fell in love with the one that featured a plate from her hometown of Denver.   On the 29th there is the final evening of fun where you can bid on the chairs and meet the artists.  We had a chance to meet with Jo and Adam Grishman who were there to show us their chair ‘creations’.  If you would like to buy tickets to the event you can go to their website, or if you can’t make it to the event you can still bid on the chairs (or even buy them) by going on-line to the event website.  This is a great event and it is your chance to help families get a head start on a new life with much needed household materials.   

NYC – Milo’s NW Mixed Grill

In this ‘Now You’re Cooking’ segment Jenna from NW Natural was joined by Chef Loren Skogland from Milo’s City Café (, 503-288-MILO) at the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) to see what he could whip on the Lynx grill.  Loren has a great menu at Milo’s and he was able to show us something that was very easy to do and serve, a ‘mixed grill’.  The mixed grill consisted of some lamb chops, a petite beef tenderloin, a venison & rabbit sausage some russet potatoes and some asparagus spears.  He started by blanching the potatoes so they were partially cooked.  Since they are so large and thick you want to do this so they will finish grilling at the same time as the rest of your meal.  Loren coated them with olive oil and placed them on the grill. Next went on a double cut of lamb chop and a petite tenderloin of American Kobe beef.  It is just as tender as its Japanese cousin, but we thought it was a little tastier.   He finished by placing some raw asparagus spears coated with olive oil on the Lynx grill.  The Lynx Grill is a great grill for outdoor cooking.  It has ceramic briquettes on the bottom which even out the heat and so you have no hot or cold spots on your grill, just a nice consistent temperature.  The Lynx grill we used had been outside for over 4 years and it was still doing a great job grilling! 

Once we got close to the meat being done Chef Loren showed us how to tell when your meat is ready.  The cuts of meat start out soft and as they cook they get firm.  When the meat is close to being finished just pinch it.  Over time you will get a feel for the doneness of your meat and you can be more consistent in your cooking.  The one thing you don’t want to do is over cook your meat.   If you would like to learn more about the Now You’re Cooking segments or to get the recipes go to the NW Natural website.

Seared Avocado Cakes

A couple of years ago we had a chance to meet Chef Eric Nelson of the Vitality Bistro at Wellspring (971-983-5280) in Woodburn.  We caught up with him again just as he was putting the finishing touches on his new menu items at the Bistro.  The bistro uses a lot of fresh ingredients from their own garden and they source foods from local farmers and growers.  This time he had a Seared Avocado Cake, a sumac peach salsa and a chipotle carrot coulis for us.   It seems like a lot to prepare, but once you have your ingredients organized, it goes together quickly.  It is similar to a crab cake without the crab, though you could add some if you wanted.  For the cakes he added bread chunks, cilantro, black beans, red onions, red bell peppers, fresh garlic, lime juice, smashed avocados and some egg whites to bind it all together.  These were mixed together and formed into patties and they were left to sauté in a pan on the stove. 

Next we moved to the sumac peach salsa.  This sumac is not the kind you find in the woods here, this is a bush that has fragrant and tasty red flowers.  This recipe has jalapeño, red bell pepper, sherry vinegar, red onions, cilantro and the sumac.  All of these ingredients were finely chopped and then stirred together into a tasty and colorful mix.

Finally we made a Chipotle carrot coulis, which is just a thick blended sauce.  He started with full cooked carrots, chipotles (smoked jalapenos) some orange juice and some lime juice.  These were pureed in a blender and that took just a couple of seconds to do!

This was an easy dish to make and, take it from us, it was delicious.  To try it for yourself, stop by the bistro when you are in the Woodburn area, or click here for the recipe.   

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

If you like hard boiled eggs you know that getting them to peel perfectly is hard to do.  Chef David showed us a method for creating the perfect hard boiled egg.  First he showed us how you can tell the difference between hard boiled egg and a raw egg without cracking them open.  You spin them!  The one that spins faster and freely is hard boiled.  The one that spins slower and wobbles is the raw egg.  Pretty cool!  Now to the boiling…  First you get your pan of water close to a boil then you add a tablespoon of vinegar and a half teaspoon of salt and then the eggs. The reason you don’t want boiling water is because it will bounce the eggs around and they could crack and break.  Now without boiling the water, allow them to stay in the water for 15 minutes.  Take them off the stove and let them cool under running water for about 4 minutes and peel.  If you want a little more detailed recipe check it out here.


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This page last modified
April 30, 2011.