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Food Pic Friday ~ Carbonara December 13, 2013

Food pic Friday: Random photos of food or drinks I make or put together at home because for some reason I can’t eat out all the time

Carbonara

Carbonara

My boyfriend absolutely loves this dish (the cream version of course) but the authentic version does not contain cream (so I’ve read) so I decided to try out Tyler Florence’s recipe below. I did use pork jowl (guanciale) as well as pancetta just to be extra authentic and it was delicious!  I found guanciale at Tails and Trotters located at 525 NE 24th ave Portland Oregon.  This dish is rich and decadent yet simple if you have all your ingredients ready to go. I don’t think parsley is necessary but it does make it look pretty.

1 pound dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Directions
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

 

Say Cheese!! Herb’s Mac and Cheese Food Cart November 20, 2013

Portland is a food cart mecca of sorts and I know I won’t be able to eat at each and every one but I can’t believe I haven’t been to Herb’s Mac and Cheese until now.   I normally don’t drive through this area so I only noticed it by taking a different route home trying to avoid traffic unsuccessfully.  This is when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a sandwich board on the street that mentioned mac and cheese over here.   I quickly glanced over and saw a small collection of carts nestled in an empty space off SE Division St and 32nd Ave (Aka D-Street Noshery).  I’m a mac and cheese fiend if I allow myself to be and  I don’t mean the bright orange stuff that comes out of a box or the ones that are microwaved to disgusting perfection.  It is the homemade variety that I can eat uncontrollable amounts of if left alone with a fork and no witnesses.   I wasn’t able to try it right at that moment but I made a mental note to go there one day soon and I had a good feeling that I wasn’t going to regret it. 

Well that day finally came and it seemed odd that I was craving it on a 90 degree day but there I was standing in front of the shiny stainless steel cart  all sweaty trying to figure out what to order.  I was already starving at this point and the simple rules they posted on how to place an order failed to register with me.  I could only decide an whether or not I wanted a regular or double container (the first step).  The following add ons were too many for my brain to figure out on an empty grumbling stomach so I just asked for a plain jane one.   If your brain is in working order, the next step is the addition of meats (bacon, chicken or pepperoni)  followed by the third step of adding veggies  (garlic, spinach, jalapenos,broccoli and diced or sundried tomatoes).  Finally, the fourth step is any addition of other cheeses  (crumbled blue, crumbled feta, pepper jack, parmasean, cheddar and asiago) which will complete the ordering process.  I personally like it plain or with breadcrumbs on top but the other stuff isn’t appealing to me unless it’s cheese.  Call me old school when it comes to my mac and cheese because I don’t think I need all the frills.  To me it just isn’t the same. 

Herb’s version uses penne pasta (perhaps a touch overcooked the day I went) but the cheese is the ultimate test of goodness and it’s there that they don’t dissappoint.  It is creamy and cheesy done right. Their secret sauce recipe is a bechamel based one that coats the pasta like a glove.  I’m not sure if the hunger caused me to lick the lid clean of all the cheese or if the cheese made me lick the lid clean.  Either way, I displayed no table manners and since I was in the confines of my office I didn’t really care.  My stomach was full and the only thing I regret is not ordering the double so I could eat more later.  Perhaps that was a good thing.  By the way, the double is literally double in size so a really great deal for a couple dollars more. 

Location: 3221 SE Division St.  Closed Mondays.  Open Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sun 12pm-9pm.  Fri and Sat 12pm-10pm.

Contact: www.herbsmacandcheese.com  503-928-7559

Cost: $5 (small) $7 (large) add ons start at .50 cents and go up to $2 for meats for a large size order.

 

Food Pic Friday ~ Winner Winner Chicken Dinner November 8, 2013

Food pic Friday: Random photos of food or drinks I make or put together at home because for some reason I can’t eat out all the time

photo (7)

 

I love crispy chicken skin and I’ve been known to make my own sauces, dry rubs and breadcrumb mixtures for it but I took the easy way out and used Progresso Italian breadcrumbs for this dinner.  No egg mixture needed, just moistened with water and coated skin side down for 20 min at 375 degrees then I flipped it over for another 20-25 minutes.

Potatoes were pan fried with onions, diced sweet peppers and seasoned with salt and pepper,  then tossed with fresh rosemary, spicy oregano and fresh garlic for the last few minutes.  Zucchini was tossed in olive oil and fresh basil then salted with Murray river finishing salt at the end.

 

Cuban Happy Hour ~ Pambiche September 8, 2013

Pambiche makes one of my favorite chicken dishes (pollo criollo) and the best version of tres leches cake in Portland (in my humble opinion).  I was very excited to try the happy hour here and was not disappointed by the food or drinks.  We ate so much and ordered too much that we couldn’t even think about dessert. Please note: We did not nor could not finish all the food in the photo below.

pambiche1

Pros:

  • Happy hour starts at 2 pm! and runs until 6 pm (M-F) then 10 pm to midnight (Fri and Sat night)
  • Great food and beverage choices.  The flavors are incredible and so much better than pub food and in most cases, cheaper too!
  • Our bill was about $25 per person which included 3 drinks each plus all the food above (we ordered 2 more items after that photo was taken so there was actually more food!).

Our sampling:

  1. We ordered 3 empanadas because apparently we ordered with our eyes and not our stomachs.  We picked a couple of potato and cheese (papa con queso) as well as a spinach and 3 cheese (espinaca con queso) and all were  flaky and delicious ~$3 each
  2. Cod fish and potato croquetas (bacaloa con papa) ~ $4 plate (4 pieces).
  3. Yuca Frita ~ yuca fries $3.50 
  4. Moros & Cristianos – black bean and rice – $2
  5. Pollo Frito ~ Chicken marinated in creole seasoning then deep-fried -$3.50
  6. Masitas – Adobo seasoned pork that is deep-fried – $5 (one of my favorite items).

Cons:

  • Parking is limited so be prepared to walk (this can be a problem for lazy people).
  • Most of the dining space is outdoors (this can be a positive in the warmer months but they have heaters when it gets chilly).
  • No vodka?  Rum is the spirit of choice but I’m glad I tried something new! I drank a few of the “las tunas teas” ($5) made with their own house made tropical tea which is shaken with raw honey and rum.  I absolutely love this drink and can’t wait to drink it again!

pambiche2

Website: www. pambiche.com

 

Pork Carnitas Quesadilla ~ Que Sabrosa June 20, 2013

carnitas

I’ve been going to this food cart for a few years now and not only do I love their food but they are super nice as well. It’s located on the corner of Fremont and Vancouver in North Portland with limited parking.  The prices are great and so far I’ve tried their empanadas, tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, breakfast and chips and tomatillo salsa.  I was a non-meat eater when I first started going there and I liked their vegetarian options. If you see something that isn’t vegetarian then just ask them and they can probably put something meatless together for you even if it’s not on their menu. They granted my fried food request for cheese taquitos even though their menu only had meat options. I’ve asked other carts to do the same and they declined even though they weren’t busy and had no customers to serve. Que Sabrosa has never done this and would also suggest other vegetarian options for me (because I tend to get stuck on eating the same thing over and over again).

My food choices opened up when I re-introduced pork and chicken back into my life. I wasn’t sure where to start but I narrowed it down to a quesadilla so I could eat it relatively mess free. That last part didn’t work out so well in this instance but it’s so worth it so just have enough napkins around. I asked one of the staff about the pork choices (carnitas vs pastor). I had no idea what the difference was but I remember her saying one was fried on the grill and that cemented my decision to pick the carnitas. This dish is so good that I ordered it again the next day for lunch and I try to go there as often as I can when I do treat myself out to lunch. I’ve since ordered this dish at a few other places and neither was as flavorful or generous with the meat as Que Sabrosa was.  The juices from the meat and melted cheese just make a mess out of eating this but it’s nothing the right amount of napkins can’t handle.

Call your order ahead of time if you are in a rush at 503-288-5157.  The parking can be an issue during lunch hour or sunny days but that’s never been a biggie for me.  They take debit too ($5 minimum) which is always a big thing for me because I rarely have cash anymore.

Address:  Corner of  N. Fremont and Vancouver (across from the future New Seasons by Emanuel Hospital)

Quesa Brosa on Urbanspoon

 

Food Pic Friday ~ Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Asado Recipe May 31, 2013

Food pic Friday: Random photos of food or drinks I make or put together at home because for some reason I can’t eat out all the time

Here is an easy recipe for pollo asado from the Pioneer Woman’s website. The only thing you really need to remember is to marinate a day ahead of time.  Very flavorful and delicious.  I would definitely make it again.

http://http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/pollo-asado/

Ingredients

  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Orange Juice (freshly Squeezed If Possible; Save Juiced Orange Halves)
  • 2 whole Lemons, Juiced
  • 2 whole Limes, Juiced
  • 4 whole Garlic, Cloves Peeled And Smashed
  • 2 whole Onions, Peeled And Quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 16 whole Chicken Legs
  • Flour Tortillas, Warmed
  • Corn Tortillas, Warmed
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Cooked Beans (pinto, Black, Refried)

Preparation Instructions

In a bowl, combine olive oil, orange juice, lemons, limes, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves, saving juiced fruit. Whisk together. Place chicken legs, juiced pieces of fruit, and quartered onions in large plastic bags or bowl. Pour marinade over the top, tossing to combine. Cover with plastic wrap (if using bowl) and marinate for at least two hours–several hours is better. Toss a few times during the marinating process.

Preheat broiler to high. Arrange oven rack toward bottom of oven.

Lay chicken legs on a broiler pan, or other baking dish with a drip tray. Broil for 25 minutes, turning once and marinating other side halfway through. Remove pan from oven when done.

Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in separate oven while chicken is broiling, or after chicken is removed from oven (reduce oven temp to 300.)

Serve chicken legs with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, beans, guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa verde.

asado

 

Oh My French Fry Part Four ~ Cassidy’s Pecorino Cheese And Rosemary Salt May 8, 2013

Pecorino Cheese and Rosemary Salt

Pecorino Cheese and Rosemary Salt

The fourth installment with my search for great fries in Portland takes me to Cassidy’s Restaurant.  (Previous french fry posts featured The Observatory, Swift and Hawthorne Hop House).  I’ve only been here a handful of times but each time has been a good experience.  It’s conveniently located next to the Crystal Ballroom so eating there before a concert is convenient plus you can see how long the line is getting if you sit by the windows.  The place also accommodates large groups fairly quickly even on a busy Friday night when every other place in town can’t seat a party of 8.

Their delicious hand-cut fries are topped with grated smoked pecorino cheese and sprinkled with rosemary salt ($7).  Oh my gosh they are so good.   Even if you are not hungry you will eat a few of these if you like french fries.  I turned down sharing these fries with a friend until I smelled them and then proceeded to eat half of them anyways.

Websitehttp://cassidysrestaurant.com/

Address: 1331 SW Washington St. Portland Oregon