Cooking the Toro Bravo Book Party Pt. 3

June 19th, 2014

Alec serving up the Toro Moorish Meatballs that he and Sarah made.

We’ve now officially cooked through half of Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull and we’ve only had three dinners so far — the first one at Loly’s, the second at Tom’s and this last one at Dana and Oliver’s. The dinners have all been a lot of fun and I’m really grateful that my friend Chris Damcke came up with idea. Thank you Chris!

Last weekend’s dinner at Dana and Oliver’s was the lightest of them all in terms of what we ate/drank but that’s pretty absurd because we all consumed so much that we felt super sleepy at 9pm on a Saturday night. So much good food.

The next Toro book dinner will be at my house later in the summer once my kitchen is remodeled. I’m really looking forward to having a fire in the backyard for that one and putting my new gas Dynasty range to good use for it. Yes! I’m also looking forward to doing this cook the book thing with the next book when the time comes too — the Tasty Brunch Book that John and I are working on now. I see a lot of day drinking in our future.

Here’s what we cooked and ate from the book this time around. Really tasty as always.

Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. dinner party menu

Casa Rita
White Wine Sangria (with plum wine)
Halibut Cheeks
Grilled Corn with Cilantro Pesto
Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
Hazelnut Ice Cream (with strawberry rhubarb compote)
Olive Oil Cake (with balsamic vinegar reduction)
Hand-Cut Noodles with Pimenton Dulce
Moorish Meatballs

Future Toro grilled corn and sauteed halibut cheeks...

Sara has nice cheeks! Toro's Halibut Cheeks with oil-cured Calabrian chiles and marinated olives.

My Toro Grilled Corn with Cilantro Pesto.

Loly and Faulkner's Hand-cut Noodles with Pimenton Dulce.

They also made this gluten-free version.

Alec and Sarah's Moorish Meatballs.

So much good food...

Dana and Oliver's Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins and mugolio that they bought at Pastaworks.

Chris's Toro Olive Oil Cake.

Loly, Sarah and Emily dishing it up.

Sarah and Alec's Hazelnut Ice Cream with a balsamic reduction.

Strawberry Rhubarb compote.

Chris and Boscoe mid-meal stretching.

All together now.

Every dog has its day. Thank you Boscoe for the great dinner party.

Yard Fresh Pt. 30

May 15th, 2014

My kitchen is being remodeled by my friends at St. Johns Design Build. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

I haven’t done one of these since last summer! Holy shit time flies. Lately I’ve been wishing that there were a way to expand time to fit more of the best of life in. I don’t necessarily want the days to be longer I just want to be writing, sailing, cooking, loving, swimming, travelling and on and on and on contemporaneously somehow/someway. So that each would be enjoyed fully but a different part of me would be present for each. I’ll go do some more drugs now. Sorry.

So, I’m getting my kitchen remodeled! Finally. My super talented friends at St. Johns Design Build (they don’t have a website yet but once they do I’ll shout it out here) — Brian McVay, Clarence Jacobs and Rude Graves — are kicking ass doing a complete overhaul. Things that I’m really looking forward to: the original fir floor being sanded and finished, my new-to-me kick-ass professional-style Dynasty gas stove, sweet-ass tiling by Rude, old bleachers made into beautiful new cabinets and drawers and shelves by Clarence, a bar, maple chopping block peninsula, paperstone counters and all sorts of other magic by Brian and crew. Life is sweet. I’ll put up some photos of the progress in the next several weeks.

In the meantime, near and dear friends in the neighborhood are happy because I’ve been using their kitchens more and I also have a funky little interim kitchen in the back of my house in the utility room with a hotpot, rice steamer and toaster. It works and it’s actually been fun to have some cooking restraints. It’s like camp cooking, boat cooking etc. — pushes you to be creative and work in new ways with what you’ve got.

It’s been a really fun spring so far and I hope you’ve been doing well too. I just finished writing the Tasty Brunch Book proposal with John (now it’s with our agent, next to the designer), I’m working on all sorts of food-plus projects at Hawthorne Books, working on a still secret book project, little here and there on my novel and Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2.0 review copies go out NEXT WEEK and it publishes in three short months. Madness. In the very best sense of the word.

Here’s what I’ve been eating. What have you been cooking and eating?

Miso, bacon, fish sauce, broccolini spaghetti. Really good.

Mission Street Food's Braised Sausage with my friend Kalera's kraut, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider and house German sausage from Western Meat Market on Lombard.

Miso rice with homemade kimchi.

Rice cooker steamed Dover sole in homemade miso/ginger/lemon sauce with asparagus.

Nettle'ing with Jess. Made all kinds of dishes with them. Morel nettle risotto, sauces, tea yada yada. Love nettles.

My haul.

Found this huuuuuge morel in my backyard. Was too waterlogged and gone to eat but still had...

The last of the dehydrated/foraged ones from last spring. Have been making a lot of risottos with them. My friend Jess, different Jess, took these from the Mother's Day risotto I made for her and Rich with red-veined sorrel from the yard and my homemade plum wine. Tasty.

Racked and then...

Bottled the plum wine. 100 bottles this year from the Brooks plum tree in my front yard.

Also bottled last year's dandelion wine and started this year's. Make it every year with my friend Michelle and her daughter...

These guys!

Dinner becomes breakfast. Spag and eggs. One of my favorites.

Still cooking from the Toro cookbook. Forever and always. Toro's piperade and boquerones over pan-fried polenta.

For our first kitchen remodel meeting/party made a big batch of kimchi fried rice and it, of course, became breakfast the next day. So good.

Cook and eat something good tonight!

Yard Fresh Pt. 29
Yard Fresh Pt. 28
Yard Fresh Pt. 27
Yard Fresh Pt. 26
Yard Fresh Pt. 25
Yard Fresh Pt. 24
Yard Fresh Pt. 23
Yard Fresh Pt. 22
Yard Fresh Pt. 21
Yard Fresh Pt. 20
Yard Fresh Pt. 19
Yard Fresh Pt. 18
Yard Fresh Pt. 17
Yard Fresh Pt. 16
Yard Fresh Pt. 15
Yard Fresh Pt. 14
Yard Fresh Pt. 13
Yard Fresh Pt. 12
Yard Fresh Pt. 11
Yard Fresh Pt. 10
Yard Fresh Pt. 9
Yard Fresh Pt. 8
Yard Fresh Pt. 7
Yard Fresh Pt. 6
Yard Fresh Pt. 5
Yard Fresh Pt. 4
Yard Fresh Pt. 3
Yard Fresh Pt. 2
Yard Fresh Pt. 1

Cooking the Toro Bravo Book Party Pt. 2

February 27th, 2014

Faulkner with Chris's Toro Oxtail Croquettes.

I didn’t think we could surpass the amount of food and drink cooked and consumed during our first Toro cook the book potluck last month but holy shit I was wrong. This past Sunday the original gang — minus and plus a few — gathered at my friend Tom’s house in Southeast Portland for part two and we put in a full EIGHT hours of cook/eat/drink. We cooked 16 recipes from the book (at the first one we made 11) and It was so much fun that I think everyone hurt at least a little the next day. I know I did. So worth it.

For this round Rebecca and Fred Gerendasy of Cooking Up A Story and Food. Farmer. Earth. came and filmed. It’ll be awhile before that airs — most likely early summer. They left after a few courses and there were six courses so I’m fairly certain we were all at our finest while they were there. Guess we’ll find out!

We’re going to keep having these parties until we cook through the entire book — Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. Here’s the menu from our second Toro Bravo cookbook party followed by photos from it. I can’t recommend this sort of dinner party enough. Leave any questions about it in the comments below and please, please let me know if you’ve done something similar yourself. I’d love to hear about it. Eat, drink and be merry!

Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. dinner party menu

Jerez Negroni
Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Tortilla Espanola
Fennel Salad
Romesco
Butter Lettuce Salad
Pork Rillettes
Squash Dumplings
Braised Lamb with Apricots and Coriander
Squid Ink Pasta
Drunken Pork
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Sherry Cream
Oxtail Croquettes
Potatoes Bravas
Panna Cotta
Limoncello

Tom wet our whistles with Toro's Jerez Negroni.

And then he pan-fried up Toro's Bacon-Wrapped Dates.

Dana and Oliver's tasty Tortilla Espanolla with kale.

Sarah and Alec's Toro Fennel Salad went with.

Oliver prepping his Toro Drunken Pork.

Five hours later. Just kidding. He did lose some arm hair while grilling them though.

Rebecca and Fred filming Chris and Sarah forming the Oxtail Croquettes.

Alec frying them up.

Chris's Toro Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Sherry Cream. So good.

My Toro Squid Ink Pasta.

Lolybite.

Active kitchen.

Taking it all in. Literally.

Loly and Faulkner's Braised Lamb with Apricots and Coriander and Squash Dumplings

Focus!

Soooo much eating.

Oliver got the lucky cinnamon stick in the lamb braise!

Sara and Zo's Butter Lettuce Salad.

And their Toro Potatoes Bravas. Their Pork Rillettes were awesome too but didn't get a good photo.

Endless rounds of Toro food and drink.

The gnome got so drunk and full he pulled down his pants and fell asleep face down in the backyard.

If you decide to host a dinner party like this please, please let me know and send me photos! I’ll post them here. So fun. Eat, drink and be merry AND hairy!

Friend Food Pt. 7

February 13th, 2014

Awhile back I was having a rough week and my best friend Beth in Cincinnati sent me a Cincinnati chili care package. Warmed me through and through. So sweet.

I am so lucky to have the most amazing family of friends. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel gratitude at some point for that. Last night I was talking with my friend Wendy about how I show my love and give love to those I’m closest to through food and how she does the same.

Lucky for me a lot my friends share this trait. My friends have given me so many amazing things to feed me in more ways than one recently as you can see below. And I’ve really appreciated it since I haven’t been able to cook as much lately since the Toro Bravo cookbook dropped and we’ve been busy with events and then some for that along with everything else. I love this semi-regular blog installment because it reminds me of one of the greatest reasons that life is so sweet — friends. The love you have is the love you give. Cook something delicious for someone you love today.

Tasty plum jam from the side-yard tree that my neighbor Michael made.

A bottle of birthday cava from John from the cava vineyard that we visited south of Barcelona in 2012 for the Toro book.

A beautiful mug that my friend Jess made me that has made my mornings brighter.

A holiday Thermos from my friends Rale and Elizabeth and buckeyes from my friend Krista. So lucky.

Fruit turnovers from my lovely neighbor Alison. And flowers!!

Homemade sugar plums and toffee from one of my other amazing neighbors Robin.

Vegans eat pizza too. Michelle and Kylie making their pies at our MLK Day sleepover party.

My fully loaded pizza.

The awesome Chemex coffee maker that my brother and sister-in-law gave me for Christmas. It makes super tasty coffee.

Really yummy pickled onions that Kalera made.

Our New Year's Eve spread at Loly's. Pre-pots and pans banging.

Molassesy gingerbread from my neighbor Mulysa.

Molasses cookies and other sweet sweets from her as well.

Cook something delicious and spread the love!

Friend Food Pt. 6
Friend Food Pt. 5
Friend Food Pt. 4
Friend Food Pt. 3
Friend Food Pt. 2
Friend Food Pt. 1

Cooking the Toro Bravo Book Party

January 16th, 2014

Toro Bravo Salt Cod Fritters window a la Sara and Zo!

I have the best friends. So grateful. Several weeks ago my friend Chris Damcke said we should have a potluck dinner party and invite everyone to cook and bring something from Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. I said that was a great idea and then pretty much left it at that because I felt too busy to organize it.

A couple weeks ago I got a call from my friend Loly inviting me to it at her place! She and Chris made it happen. Sooooo last weekend thirteen of us gathered at Loly’s with all sorts of tasty treats cooked from the book. We filled her kitchen, dinner table and our bellies with all sorts of deliciousness from Toro Bravo. It was so great that we decided to do it again next month — this time at Tom’s house. We’ve also decided to have these parties until we cook through the entire book.

I’ve never done this with any cookbook before but I hope to do more in the future. So fun! And I’m very proud to say that no one had any problems with any of the recipes — not a one. It was all so good and so fun.

Here’s the menu from our first Toro Bravo cookbook party followed by photos from it. I can’t recommend this sort of dinner party enough. Leave any questions about it in the comments below and please, please let me know if you’ve done something similar yourself. I’d love to hear about it. Eat, drink and be merry!

Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. dinner party menu

Radicchio Salad
Potato Salad
Salt Cod Fritters
Chili Shrimp a la Plancha
Boquerones with Toasted Bread and Piperade
Seared Cauliflower with Salsa Verde
Coppa Steak with Salbitxada
Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash
Pepino cocktail
Red Sangria
Panna Cotta with wine poached pears and Campari blood orange topping

Table FILLED with Toro Bravo cookbook food and drink!

So much goodness...

Ryan and Nancy on Toro's Chili Shrimp detail. Photo by Faulkner Short.

Chris checking Toro's cold-smoked Coppa. Photo by Faulkner Short.

Dana and Oliver putting the finishing touches on Toro's Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash. Photo by Faulkner Short.

Me plating Toro's Boquerones with Toasted Bread and Piperade. Photo by Faulkner Short.

Sara and Zo frying up Toro's Salt Cod Fritters on Loly's front porch. Photo by Faulkner Short.

Loly and Faulkner post-Radicchio Salad prep. Photo by Chris Damcke.

Ryan and Nancy taking on the feat of trying all the Toro book foods.

The Chili Shrimp a la Plancha that they made. Mmmmm.

Tom's Toro Potato Salad with chorizo.

Ryan and Nancy's Seared Cauliflower with Salsa Verde from the book.

My Toro Boquerones with Toasted Bread and Piperade.

Toro's Panna Cotta by Chris for dessert -- some with wine-poached pears and others with Campari blood orange syrup.

Wine cork Olympics post-dinner with Tom and Oliver.

If you decide to host a dinner party like this please, please let me know and send me photos! I’ll post them here. So fun. Eat, drink and be merry AND hairy!