The heat of the recent weekend had me thinking.  We have an attic fan and it kicked on.  I was wondering, should I check it?  Does it need oiling?  Oh well, I guess I have to head up to the attic soon.  I also had to kick on the ceiling fans… ahhh a nice cool breeze in April!  Good thing my wife had recently dusted them or it would have been worse than the pollen of late.  The heat is just a reminder of these chores yet to be done before it gets too hot.  Now is a good time to get your chores done!

3 Spring Tablescapes

Spring is a time when you want to give everything a fresh new look, and that includes your table settings.  We needed some new ideas and so we stopped by to visit with Kim Foren at Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) to get started.  Kim had set up 3 different tables to show us how easy it can be to dress things up.  The first one was very simple.  It was just a bunch of wine bottles and flowers.  The table had a simple tablecloth and a burlap runner.  On top of that were the wine bottles filled with daffodils (you can use any type of cut flower) and highlighted by little votive candles at their base.  The bottles reflected and refracted the candles to create some cool patterns.  Next we moved to a more elegant table.  The second table had a little more ‘bling’ to it.  This one had a lot of white, gold and silver in it.  This was ‘Rustic Glam’, in addition to the gold and silver elegance; it had branches, cut flowers and even a couple of bird’s nests and chargers made from birch bark.   We then moved to the final table where we took a look at ‘adorable vintage’.  This one combined a lot of things that you would imagine finding in the fifties.  This table was set with a collection of old miss-matched items from Kim’s cupboards or her grandmother’s cupboards.  Most of the patterns and vases didn’t match, and they didn’t need to!  This look was cute and colorful and very inviting.  Of all the tables this one is the one everyone said brought back memories of their childhood.  The final touch was the aprons on the back of all the chairs.  Kim picked these up at a thrift store and just tied them to the back of the chairs.  You could even put a name card in the pocket of the apron to let everyone know where they are sitting.  These were all quick and easy ideas for setting a beautiful spring table.  If you would like more ideas you can stop by Geranium Lake and chat with Kim and her staff.  They even have occasional classes so check out her website for details and a schedule.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starter is one of the most prized possessions of the home and professional baker.  This ‘starter’ is what makes your bread tasty and delicious.  A starter is actually just leavening for making bread.  You use it to help your bread rise and make it fluffy and soft.  In old days it was the difference between soft bread and hard flat-bread.  All most starters are is flour and water and the wild yeast and bacteria in the air.  The flour and water feed this wild bacteria and that makes the starter.   There are 3 ways of getting a sourdough starter.  The first way is by getting some from someone who has one already.  This will allow you to start baking right away.  David uses one that his mother made over 30 years ago.  Next you can get a commercial product that will start the process.  Finally, you can make your own.  Just mix 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water in a glass bowl (never metal) and cover it with a towel.  In a week or so you will start to notice that the bacteria are working as the mixture starts to bubble.  If the starter has a pink coloring or if it smells bad you may need to start again.  Once you have it how do you keep it going?  You can store it in your refrigerator but every couple of weeks you want to add either sugar or a little flour and water.  Then place it back in the fridge.  This additional material will keep the bacteria fed and the starter going.   If it seems too tough or hard to understand, here are some tips for helping you get started.      

Chipotle Burrito

When people talk about fast food a lot of times they lump burritos and tacos in the mix.  But we found a place that pays a lot of attention to what goes into their food.  We stopped by the Chipotle Mexican Grill and chatted with Ashley Head who told us about some of the cool things that Chipotle does that sets them apart from the competition.  The big word around Chipotle is fresh!  They use fresh ingredients even sourcing their own meats.  The animals are free range and have no added hormones.  Today Ashley was showing us how they make a Chipotle burrito.  First she used a burrito that was made in Salem at Don Pancho.  Then they started to make the burrito.  All the ingredients are local and organic when possible.  The onions are from Brooks Oregon and the cilantro and jalapenos are from Washington and everything is prepared fresh everyday.  Chipotle is also a big supporter of local farmers. In fact, they have produced a video that shows how they feel about mass produced foods, check it out on their website.         

Toast Cocktail

One of the biggest events on the Portland Distilling scene is happening this weekend.  The TOAST event is taking place today and tomorrow (April 28-29) at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland.  To learn more about it we stopped by the Bull Run Distillery (503-224-3483) right off of 23rd street.  First we had the chance to learn about Bull Run and the quality spirits they distill.  Lee Medoff met us on the floor of the distillery and told us about the dark whiskey and rum they make.  The Oregon distilling community has been growing by leaps and bounds and Bull Run is one of the newest businesses in the market, but they are now one of the largest distilleries in the state.  They produce the Medoyeff Vodka and Temperance Trader Bourbon.  The best part about this whole movement is the cooperation between the different parts of the local alcohol scene.  The distillers are working hand in hand with the Oregon wine industry and the local breweries to move Oregon to the forefront of the craft brewing and spirits industries.  The Oregon Distillers Guild is one of the leaders in the nation for craft distilling. 

The signature event for the guild is the TOAST event happening this weekend.  Ryan Csanky met with Robin in the tasting room of Bull Run to fill her in on the event.  TOAST stands for The Oregon Artisan Spirit Tasting which features over 50 local and craft distilleries.  8 states and 7 countries will be represented during this event, featuring 107 different spirits to taste.  In the 2nd year of the event, it has become the largest tasting event in North America.  One of the highlights will be the Mix Lounge where you can actually have cocktails made from some of these fine spirits.  Then Ryan made a cocktail which was a twist on the well known Whiskey Sour.  This recipe included fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, Temperance Trader whiskey and the twist was the addition of a shot of bitters.   If you would like to try this and many other distilled spirits and cocktails, stop by the TOAST event. Hours are from 3-8pm each day and tickets will be available at the door.   This is a must see event!

Keyless Entries

High tech advances are not just limited to your computer or phone.  Now you can take your home security to a new level.  We stopped by Chown Hardware (800-547-1930) to learn how you can take your home security to a new level from Tim Sweeney.  Tim had brought out all the new examples of home security keyless systems for us to look at.  The first one we looked at was a simple deadbolt by Emtek.  This one is one of the cheapest on the market, but it allows you to go keyless by simply punching in a 4 digit code.  It is great for kids who lose keys, because they could just remember 4 numbers to get in.  The second system was from Schlage and it took the next step by allowing you to operate it from your computer or your smart phone. This one also works with a code, or it can be over-ridden with a key.  The next one was one that had incorporated style into the design. Valli &Valli put the combination on a simple sleek handle.  Very cool and stylish.  Then, we moved up a level for the next 2 systems.  The Baldwin system we saw next was another ‘smart phone’ system that can control your lock and a lot of the other systems in your home.  Finally we moved to the ‘Cadillac’ of systems from Baldwin.  This system not only used the smart phone technology.  It could also control the lighting in your home, the audio system, the blinds on the windows, the furnace, the garage door and a lot more.  It really made securing your home easy and convenient.  If you are looking for a security system or just a simple deadbolt, stop by Chown Hardware!


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This page last modified
May 04, 2012.