When you are in the middle of relaxing during the summer, just when you think you are safe, you see it!  It is the dreaded ‘back to school’ sales and that means summer is coming to a close.  Even though the calendar says we have another month yet to go.   The days are finally getting hot and everyone is thinking about fall.  But don’t worry there are still many days of leisure yet to enjoy.  And many more episodes of Fusion as well!

Street of Dreams Design

There are lots of wonderful homes at this year’s Northwest Natural 2011 Street of Dreams; there is one that caught our eye.  Actually it was a full size cut-out of Paula Deen that caught our eye.  We found the Pahlisch Homes, ‘Paula Deen Northwest Retreat’ full of charm and comfort.  We met up with designer Tammy LeFever of Interior Motives Accents and Designs (503-684-2790) to get a tour of the home and see how she helped create this down-home treasure.  Paula Deen is known for her cooking, but this past year she has introduced a line of furniture that matches her cooking style and Tammy had a blast tying this furniture into a beautiful home built by Phillip Pahlisch and his crew.  And if you like this style of furniture you can find pieces of the Paula Deen collection at up to 40% off at Interior Motives.  Paula’s favorite line is ‘Treat your family like company and your company like family’ and this home does just that.  In this home you can just put your feet up and relax.  To show you how relaxed this home is we took a quick tour of the kitchen.  Some of the amenities included ‘hidden space’ storage areas like disappearing spice racks, dishwashers, and veggies drawers; you can’t even tell that they are there. The Jenn-Air range in the kitchen was incredible and supplied by our friends at Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500).  They also supplied some ‘top of the line’ pieces from KitchenAid and they all were covered in an ‘oil rubbed bronze’ finish that matched the kitchen perfectly.   If you would like to check out the Paula Deen NW Retreat by Pahlisch Homes, stop by the Northwest Natural Street of Dreams.  The show runs until the 28th of August.  

Watermelon Tomato Salad

It is the end of summer for the kids and that means watermelon time, but you may be tired of having your watermelon the same old way all the time.  Chef David came up with a tasty recipe that uses watermelon and some of your other garden veggies in a salad!  He started by marinating diced cucumbers and onions in a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper.  While that is resting you can prepare the rest of your ingredients.  David showed us how he slices the watermelon.  He cut of the ends and shaves the sides off the melon.  This gives him an entirely pealed melon to work with.  He then sliced the melon into 1 inch squares.  He also sliced up some tomato and olives for the final assembly.  Now you can put everything together.  We mixed the tomatoes, melon chunks, olives and some diced basil and mint leaves in a big bowl.  That was topped with feta cheese and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  David recommends that you make this right before you serve it.  The watermelon doesn’t store well and can break down over time.  It is a tasty treat made with an old summer time favorite.  Check out the recipe here.

NYC – Fish Tacos

Grilling season is here and so our ‘Now You’re Cooking’ segment is perfect for the outdoor chef.  Chef Adam Zwerling from Evo joined NW Natural Host Jenna to show us how easy it is to make ‘Tilapia Fish Tacos’.   Of course the star of the segment was the Evo Grill.  This grill has a double burner system that allows it to get hot very fast, so you don’t have to wait to cook.  The surface is huge and because of the double burner it can have different cooking temperatures over the whole surface of the grill.  Chef Adam started by oiling the surface of the grill with olive oil.  He then placed the fish filets on the surface and let them sear on both sides.  That took about 4 minutes per side.  When they were close to being done he warmed up the tortillas on the outer edge of the grill where it was a little cooler.  Then he built his tacos on a plate with some shredded cabbage, some homemade salsa, some chipotle sour cream, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.  It was fantastic!  If you would like the recipe you can check it out here (link to recipe) and if you would like more information about the Evo grill you can see them at the NW Natural Appliance Center and on-line at www.evoamerica.com.

NatureBake Bread

We are all trying to be ‘sustainable’ in our kitchens by using organic fruits and vegetables, but sometimes it is hard to find ‘finished foods’ that fill the bill.  At NatureBake, a local baking company, they wanted to take that to a whole new level.  They started making a bread called ‘Oregon Grains’ which takes local grains, mills them locally and then bakes them locally.  We visited NatureBake’s baking facility in Milwaukee to visit with Shobi Dahl the CEO of NatureBake and Clint Lindsey a local grain farmer from A2R Farms to learn how they took this concept from the field to the shelf.  Shobi’s grandfather was a pioneer in baking natural and organic breads, so it was just natural that Shobi would look for a locally sourced product that was made to the highest of standards.  The problem was finding all the local sources for materials.  When Shobi asked around about growers he kept on coming up empty handed.  That is where Clint and his family came in…  Being a local grass seed grower for generations they were looking to grow something else.  The NatureBake partnership allows them to grow a consistently high quality product for a local company at a good price.  The bread even includes locally made honey and the milling is done by Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukee!  It is a win-win for everyone, but the biggest winner is the local consumer.  The Oregon Grains bread is delicious! 

Bar Cart Accessories

Entertaining your guests at a dinner party can begin with the smallest of details.  A well stocked bar can also be a well dressed bar with lots of unique items to show off.  To get some ideas we stopped by to see the ladies at Ste. Maine (503-232-1880).  Erin showed David some of the cool items they have that are functional and can still entertain.  The first thing we saw was the collection of shot glasses arranged into a tic-tac-toe game.  Very fun!  As far as functional, we checked out the cool wine stoppers, ice buckets, napkins holders, ice tongs and trays.  Just about everything that you would need to be the perfect host.  We finished off with the glassware.  These champagne glasses all had toasts in different languages.  Cheers! 

Cat Plants

If you have an indoor cat they still will crave greens.  You can take the cat out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the cat… they love plants.  They are drawn to the textures of a plant and will even nibble on one if they can.  We went to Al’s Garden Center (503-726-1162) to see what ideas they had for bringing plants indoors for those home-bound cats.  If you have plants, you need to make sure that they are safe for cats (and your other pets).  Take a piece of your plants to a local garden center to make sure that they are safe.  There are 2 plants that we found at Al’s that are perfectly safe for your cats and they are Cat Nip and Cat Mint.  Both of these are typically outdoor plants, but you can bring them in for a period of time to let your cat enjoy them.  You just have to take them out every couple of weeks to let them rejuvenate.  You can also plant some things for your pets.  Cat Grass and Wheat Grass are great to plant for your indoor cat.  If you plant these in a pot near a window they should be ok.  When planting you will want to use a low, wide container so the cat can’t knock it over.  We recommend using an organic potting soil like Black Gold Natural and Organic to make sure the soil is safe for your pet as well.  If you have plants that you don’t want your cats playing in you can move them to a higher shelf or add mulch that won’t feel good on their paws if they try to dig.  There are also toys that you can get for your pet including catnip toys.  Make sure that they contain organic and safe products, like organic catnip.  The best toys we found are from Kats ’n Us (877-440-4511).  They are a local company that ships high quality pet supplies anywhere in the country.  If you have any questions about keeping your indoor cats happy you can check with you veterinarian and for any plant questions see the experts at Al’s Garden Centers.


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This page last modified
August 26, 2011.