Happy 4th of July! For some people the summer officially arrives when the 4th is here. Grills are out and everyone is having a great time. As a homeowner, donít forget that your pets are not as excited about the holiday as you are. The loud noise of fireworks will get them excited and if they are outside, they may runaway. Put them in a dark, quiet room with water until the fireworks are done.
Also, you may want to keep a hose and bucket around. If your neighborhood is like mine some of the fireworks may be high flyers! That means that hot piece of spent fireworks could fall from the sky on to your roof or into the landscape. Be sure to check everything before you go to bed to make sure nothing is smoldering.

Also, this weekend is your last chance to win a gift certificate from Miloís City Cafť. Just go the Fusion home page and link to the Facebook page and Ďlikeí us for your chance to win!
We hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.

Clutter Author

How would you like to go from ĎFrazzled to Freedomí? That is the title of a book about organization and we caught up with the author Julie Starr Hook to get some tips on how you can Ďget to freedomí in the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the most cluttered places in the house. Everyone has a ton of cooking utensils that they feel they have to have and soon they can just overwhelm you! Julie walked David through a few simple steps that anyone can follow. We started with an upper cabinet. Julie had placed the oils and vinegars on a turntable in the cupboard. This way you donít lose items in the back of the cabinet. You just turn the carousel to see what you need. The turntable also keeps drips from those bottles from gooping up the shelves. Next we moved to the spice drawer. Thatís right, a drawer of spices! The spices were all in a drawer near the stove so you can have them near you while cooking. They were also in alphabetical order so you didnít have to go searching for the right spice. Next we moved to the pots and pans. These were in a drawer that was up and off the ground so you didnít have to bend over to get them. Julie also recommended that you put in an organizer for the lids. This was a simple dish rack that would hold them upright and easy to grab. She had also moved the baking items above the stove and had them standing vertically on end for easy access. Other drawers in the kitchen had also been organized. Sharp objects were in one drawer, the next one had baking and measuring items, the third drawer had serving pieces. Things that were not used as often were placed in see-through bins and they can be stored on the very high shelves and out of the way until you need them. One other thing, Julie had stored REALLY sharp objects in a drawer, but had used a magnetic strip to keep them from sliding around. These are just a few of the ideas that you can find in her book that will help you get a handle on your clutter. Check out ĎFrom Frazzled to Freedomí at www.FivestarrOrganizing.com.

Peetís Summer Iced Coffee

When summer comes around a lot of people love the taste and coolness of an iced coffee. If you are just brewing up coffee and pouring it over ice you may be getting a watered down version of your favorite and not getting the full flavor of your coffee. To learn how to make the perfect iced coffee we stopped by the Peetís Coffee & Tea in downtown Portland to meet with Jeremy Nay where we learned that the kind of bean and the type of brewing method really makes a difference.

Jeremy started with the new Baridi Iced coffee blend. This is a new formulated coffee meant for iced coffees (though it makes a great cup of regular coffee too). Jeremy started with a very fine grind of coffee this will allow the full flavor of the coffee to release during brewing. Once he was done grinding, the coffee went into the brewer with about half of the water you would normally use. The other half of the water is actually ice that goes in the pot once you are done brewing. This will cool the coffee down and gets it ready for the cup for of ice that you will drink it out of. One thing about the brewer, Jeremy used a gold metal mesh filter and not a paper filter. The paper will block the oils of the coffee from adding flavor to the brew.

Finally Jeremy poured the coffee over the ice in the cup. It was truly better that we have ever had before. You can use this method with any coffee you want (they have the instructions on their website) but if you would like to try this amazing Baridi Blend coffee you can order it on line or pick some up at your local Peetís store.

Iorio Gluten Free Gnocchi

More and more restaurants are offering gluten free option on their menu, but for the fine Italian restaurants in Portland that is problematic. Pasta dishes use a lot of grains that contain gluten and if they try to use other ingredients the taste can be blah. We found a recipe that is completely gluten free and incredibly delicious at Iorio (503-445-4716) in SW Portland. Chef Chris invited us back into the kitchen to share a special recipe for Gnocchi with us. The gluten in flour acts as a binder for the ingredients in the recipe, but Chris has a special blend of flower that works great. You start with a soft baked potato that you run through a food mill or a food ricer. You donít want a food processor because it breaks up the potato too much. When that is done you can mix the potato into a large mixing bowl with egg yolks; one egg yolk per potato. Then after they are mixed you can add your seasonings, grated pecorino cheese, roasted garlic, fresh parsley and basil, and a little fresh ricotta cheese. After those are mixed together you add the flour. This special mix of flour is added 3 times in small portions. You donít want to mix a lot, just enough to coat and fold until everything binds together into a ball.

You then roll out little snakes of dough until they are the size of your index finger and cut them into little knuckles. These are all floured so they donít stick together. These go into a hot water bath for about a minute. While they are doing that you can make a sauce with smashed garlic and sage in a pan with butter. Once the gnocchi starts to float you add them to the sauce mixture and serve on a plate. They are wonderful!

Iorio offers several gluten free options on their menu so everyone can enjoy a meal that is ĎItalian with Heartí!

Juniper Cabinets

If you have been to eastern Oregon you know that the juniper tree is almost everywhere. The juniper tree started out as a native plant but over time has become invasive. Because natural fire is not controlling it, it has taken over the landscape. The Government spends lots of money each year trying to keep it under control but we think we have found a better way. Through our friends at Neil Kelly (866-691-2719) we met Gerard LaBrecque of Josephís Juniper Inc. who reclaims fallen juniper and harvests it for many different uses. Depending on the size he can either harvest the smaller trees for poles and posts, or get larger pieces out of the trees. The juniper has a natural disease and rot resistance. That makes smaller pieces perfect for natural fencing. And when it is stripped of its bark it is incredibly beautiful! Another use is for landscaping. Large irregular timbers that are not perfect are great for landscaping. Nicer boards are used for cabinets and furniture. Some of that cabinetry is now available through Neil Kelly and their Naturally Northwest Collection.

The real story here is the benefits of harvesting this native, yet invasive tree. The removal of this tree helps the environment because it helps return the land to it natural state, which is better for the plants and animals of the area. It also helps to control the threat of wild fire too. Finally it creates jobs. Just harvesting this tree alone will keep many people employed for decades.

Gerard and his wife, Lori, have started something that is great for their company and also for the community. In addition to the raw materials that they harvest from the land, they also make some pretty spectacular furniture too! You can check out their website at http://www.creationsbyjoseph.com.


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This page last modified
July 09, 2012.