portlandsampler portlandsampler

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  Blogger, glutton, vintage junky and avid home cook


Okay, I'm full. No, I'm soul-satisfyingly sated.

You see, I'm deeply, madly, gobsmacked, punch-drunk-in-love with polenta/grits.

And one of my favorite things to do is to surprise friends with a steaming bowl of corny, long-simmering deliciousness.
Atop? Sausage. Bacon jam. Sun-dried tomatoes. Shallot-y shrimp. Asparagus and truffle oil. Mascarpone and herbs. Or just pesto and tomatoes.

0r maybe just bedecked austerely with butter?
Q: What's better than THAT?
A: Nothing.

As much as I have strived for perfection the more I realize the greatest beauty resides in that the most fundamentally simple.

Go Polenta. And Team Grits. (Carb fans, you're welcome).

Lunch today meant wheat berry goodness: wild arugula, heirloom tomatoes, yellow and orange peppers and a very lemony tahini dressing.

Topping? Only sunflower seeds need apply.

Texas Cobb @ Podnah's Pit BBQ because a bacon-studded, egg-filled, avocado-bedecked salad with extraordinary blue cheese ranch isn't good enough.

Only when you add four impossibly tender slices of smoked brisket is the concoction complete.
Podnah's, you're re-written the Cobb rules and raised the bar crazy high.


Wheat berries are the one player that always makes a lunch party livelier, tastier and that much more satisfying with an added heft.
An herb tahini dressing pulls all these disparate elements together: tomatoes, grilled fennel, avocados, feta, and cucumber.

Lunchy goodness prevails.

Using the levain I got at the Tabor Bread Baking Class, I made a dough into which I rolled thickly shredded sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan.
A quick high heat bake and then these twists got a sexy swipe of melted garlic butter and lashing of Maldon salt.
After school snack rating? F--for fan-freaking-tastic.

Another morning of Sharp Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits.
Another day in which I'm sure I can't eat one more bite-- but find the inner reserves to finish that carbo marathon.

I brined double thick pork chops.
Then marinated them with ground dried shallots, fennel and Satsuma juice, lots of salt, pepper and a glug of olive oil.
Then they were grilled to a pale rosy interior and crispy, garlicky exterior.

Lastly, we served them with grilled corn, tahini, pita and turmeric rice.
(Sated and so happy.)

Just when I thought I couldn't love Converse any more, a friend comes by with her baby and her new kicks.
Tie-die high tops the size of a Nutter Butter?
Hell to the yeah.

No filters, no adornment needed for these craggy, pillowy, egg-wash- brushed sharp cheddar biscuits.

As Oliver commented after inhaling his third (still warm from the oven): "These should be ILLEGAL."

I was so excited to make the bread this afternoon that I made and shaped at Tabor Bread making class yesterday.

Now I'm no bread baker, I didn't have the perfect equipment and my stove, while nice, is no wood fired brick oven BUT... I LOVED the sourdough bread I made this afternoon!

The kids, neighbor, hubby and I ate it all, still warm from the oven, slathered with butter and cherry jam and Maldon salt. In my kitchen and on our sunny porch. Forgetting about our upcoming dinner. Or any sense of decorum.
It was all toasty, yeasty, and fragrant on the inside with a beautifully golden and lacquered shell. And we were powerless to resist.

My Wheat Berry Salad with Veggies, Feta and Tarragon Tahini was everything I'd hoped for-- and too good to limit to a single serving.

Happiness, hedonism and health in one mighty grocery bag.
Anyone else craving a Wheatberry Salad with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn and Crunchy Chickpeas with a Turmeric-Ginger Kambucha chaser?
(With the weather this gorgeous, I might just eat it al fresco.)

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