The rains have returned to usher in the fall.  I have to say it was good to get some rain.  Of course things chilled off quite a bit too.  I think the cold has come too quickly.  In fact, in our house, we were refusing to turn on the furnace until November, but had to give in this past week.  Another sign of fall!  We are also outside trying to harvest the remaining vegetables from the garden and it is giving us a chance to assess the house for the coming winter weather.  Good thing we had the ‘fall maintenance check off’ list from last week’s show!  You can get a link to it in our archives section.  Enjoy the season!

Fall Wreath

It is time for a fall beautification project with Kim Foren at Geranium Lake (503-228-1920).  The fall garden gives us a lot of materials and inspiration for getting creative and Kim showed us how we can use those materials to build a nice wreath for our home.  The first one we saw was the rose hip and manzanita wreath.   She had added the rose hips to a regular manzanita wreath, but you could add just about anything you wanted to dress up your wreath.  Anything from berries to glass balls can be added to make a splash.  The next wreath was made using ‘Chinese lanterns’.  These are a perennial in the fall garden and she simply cut off the flowers/seed pods and glued them to her ‘base’ manzanita wreath.  It made a simple wreath burst with fall color.  The third wreath was a lichen/moss wreath that had small dried sunflower heads glued to it.  Once again a simple idea with a fall twist!  Wreaths don’t have to be full of flowers and foliage either.  The next one we saw was a simple wreath made from moss and lichen covered branches.  Very bare, but very striking, and it will last forever!  Finally Kim showed David how to build his own wreath.  Kim had a metal ring that she got at a local craft store and a spool of fine wire.  Then she showed David how to make a small bundle of magnolia leaves by cutting and combining them together.  Once the bundle is made you can just wire them onto the metal ring.  If this all seems a little too much to tackle you can check out the list of classes that Kim hosts throughout the year.  Just check out her website.

NYC – Wine Braised Chicken

In this ‘Now Your Cooking’ segment our own Chef David joined Jenna at the NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) to share one of his family’s secret recipes, ‘wine braised chicken’.  First we browned the chicken in a pan with a little oil.  Your chicken has to be dry and thawed out or it won’t brown correctly.  Once it is browned on both sides it can be taken out of the pan.  You can empty out some of the oil from the chicken and then add your vegetables to sweat them down and soften them up.  We added mushrooms, onions, garlic cloves and shallots along with a little butter back into the pan.  Once everything was nice and blended together we added a little wine and then the chicken.  Once the chicken was back in the pan we added enough wine to come up to about 1/3 to ½ of the way up on the chicken.  We then simmered the chicken for about 15 minutes.  We were using the Dacor stove which had a special double burner system that allows for the very low heat you need for simmering.  It also had a continuous grate so you can easily move pans back and forth across the cooking area.  After about 15 minutes we turned the chicken over and let it go for about 15 more minutes and it was ready.  This is an easy recipe that you can use over and over again, and people will love it every time!  For more information check out this link to the NW Natural website.

Cupcake Jones Frosting

Licking the spoon was one of the highlights of helping out in the kitchen, and the frosting spoon was the most coveted of all!  We had the dream job of helping to make the Cream Cheese Frosting at Cupcake Jones (503-222-4404) in the Pearl District.  Cupcake Jones is a must see place if you have a sweet tooth.  Sabrina, the master baker, even shared the ingredients with us.  To start you need 1 ½ pounds of cream cheese, 8 ounces of unsalted butter, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Mix these together on a medium speed on your mixer.  You want to make sure that there are no lumps in your mixture.  Check it often to make sure the lumps are all gone.  Once the mixing is done, you then add 2 ½ pounds of powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.  You will need to sift it to make sure all the lumps are out the sugar as well.  Return the bowl to your mixer and set the speed for as slow as you can.  This will keep the powered sugar from blowing up in your face.  If it does that, you will be breathing sugar for the rest of the day!  Once it is folded in you can set your mixer to a higher speed for the final mixing.  After a few minutes it should be done, but you will not want to use it yet.  The frosting is too warm at this point, so you will want to put it in the fridge for a few hours to let it set up and harden a little bit.  Once you have tried yours, stop by Cupcake Jones and see how your recipe matches up with theirs, you won’t regret it!

Lemon Tips

Lemons are not only tasty in your drinks and other recipes, they have many other uses.  David and Robin found some uses for lemons around the kitchen that they wanted to share.  First of all, you can use them as a decoration in your kitchen or on your table.  They have a relatively long shelf life and give off a light lemon fragrance over time.  You can even use them in a clear vase with water and they will help keep the water fresh.  When they start to ‘turn’ you can toss them into your garbage disposal to give that appliance a fresh scent.  Also because of the high acidic level of lemons you can cut them and use them to disinfect items. David used a piece to disinfect a cutting board.  They can also remove stains.  If the stain is on your cutting board just rub some lemon on it to help remove the stain, plus ½ a cup in your laundry will help remove stains from your whites.  The lemon juice will also help to whiten your nails if they become discolored by nail polish.  If you are feeling under the weather you can also use the lemon and mix it with honey and hot water to make your throat feel better.  Finally, lemon will help keep avocados and apples from ‘browning’ after they have been cut. Simply rub a little lemon juice on the fruit to keep it looking fresh.   Lots of tips from a little piece of fruit!   

Asian Catfish

Last week we showed you how to make a gluten free salad roll.  We were so impressed with the recipe that we wanted to do another one from the cookbook ‘The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen’ with author Laura B Russell.  This time she chose a recipe that featured a Vietnamese styled sautéed catfish.  It is really quick and just requires a little bit of chopping for prep.  While David did the chopping of dill and cilantro, Laura breaded and fried some catfish in a rice flour mixture (rice flour is generally gluten free).  Once again we stress that you read all the ingredients lists before you start to make sure they are gluten free.  You can use non gluten free products if you want and it will still taste great.  Laura wrote the cookbook because everything she has read about gluten free cooking was about ‘giving up’ things, especially the flavor.  We have to say she was successful, these are very tasty recipes!  While the fish finished up we combined the dill and cilantro to some peanuts and chopped green onions in a pan to make the topping.  The final assembly was a great combination of colors and aromas!  We had a base of noodles with the toppings of the catfish and the peanut/onion mix.  This was finished off by Vietnamese sauce that had sugar and rice vinegar in it.  If you would like to try this recipe it can be found here, or better yet, pick up a copy of her books and enjoy some healthy and very tasty dishes!


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October 14, 2011.