Friday, October 31, 2008

Goose tastes like goose.

We ate the bird last night. There were only a few feathers still on the carcass. We had some of our favorite people over to help us with the feast. It was also a good excuse to get fancy.
I went to see the cheese monger, because I thought that eating something as fancy as a goose deserved fancy accompaniments like cheese and figs- which I usually don't buy, because I see paying $5 for a basket of 7ish fruits as somewhat frivolous. It's not, if you're being generous with your food and feeding some of your favorite people, at least that's how I rationalized it to myself. The cheese monger was very excited about our goose. He was also real friendly. I'd heard great things about Steve's Cheese, and am somewhat sorry that I hadn't visited sooner.

Nic spent the day prepping, cleaning and cooking. I really like the idea of having a house boyfriend, and only get envious when he sends me photos like this:

Notice the glass of wine. He sent these photos at 3pm. I could have really gone for a glass of wine at 3pm yesterday...

I don't think I'd mind all that much playing the role of the house girlfriend... but we like to shake up tradition (or whatever you want to call it) here and there.

Anyway. When I got home the apartment smelled divine and Nic was just hanging up the 4-point deer rack that I scored last weekend. Now we have a 'rack wall' complete with coat rack, bike rack, and deer rack. What other kinds of racks can we fit on the wall. Maybe I'll take to calling our bookshelf a book rack.

The meal itself was wonderful. The menu went something like this:

Appetizers: Bread with olive oil and parmasean cheese
Fresh toasted pumpkin seeds and Oregon hazelnuts

Main Course: Mixed greens with parmasean, candied hazelnuts, Pear and red onion with a balsamic vinigarette
Herbed mashed potatoes with goose gravy
Pumpkin, leek, hazelnut and chevre gratin
Brined Goose, roasted in its own juices with olive oil, butter and stuffed with local heirloom carrots, dried cherries and apples.

Desset: Brown Turkish Figs paired with Spanish Bleu Cheese drizzled with Honey
Apple pie (1/2 lattice) with fresh whipped cream

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cast & Blast

If anyone reading this has talked to me in the past week, you may be aware of my new favorite concept: Cast & Blast. Cast & Blast is where you go fishing, but bring a gun along with you, in case you don't catch any fish and still want dinner that evening.

I've never though of myself as a hunter- because I'm not. I've never field-dressed a deer, or gone hunting for that elusive 4x5 buck. I couldn't even bring myself to shoot at squirrels with a BB-gun when I was a kid. I was a through-and-through nature lover. I have fairly recently come to the conclusion that you can love and respect nature, and still enjoy its bounty. This train of thought is arguably more ethical than eating meat that you find at the grocery store that existed on feed lots and factory farms.

Nic and I went to Elkton this weekend. A bit of an impromptu we've-been-together-1-year celebration vacation... to see my family. I like my family, and they like my boyfriend, so it works out. My mother's long-time boyfriend, Ron, (who, for all intensive purpose is my step-father, except that they're not married) had the drift boat out on the river, and when asked, we said, 'Sure! We'd love to get up at 6:30."

We didn't catch any salmon. The fish were rolling, but they certainly weren't biting. Nic had asked about ducks in the area, and Ron brought along the shotgun just in case we saw any. After not hitting any mallards, Ron winged a southbound Canada Goose. Nic got in a good a head shot. Ron retrieved the bird, mumbling something about how his dog would never speak to him again, wrung it's neck and handed it to me to stow at the bow of the boat.

I had never had the opportunity to examine a Canada Goose from so close. they have pretty amazing plumage, which was further reinforced when we were plucking it. I couldn't help but wonder how many geese go into one down sleeping bag. But we've got goose for dinner this week. I'm sure it will taste like goose. We're planning on having some people over to help us figure out what goose tastes like. In the meantime, I'm going to assume it tastes a little like how our refrigerator smells.

I leave you with a photo of geese decoys and Tasha, the dog that missed out on all the fun (but got to play with goose wings that afternoon).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lazy Sunday

It does seem like the only time I have these days to blog is the weekend. It is also the only time that I do other things, like sleep in, force myself to relax, see my favorite people (see previous post) and prepare my meals for the following week. I also sometimes take photos of my balcony. I would take more, but the amount of daylight that remains when I get home from work leaves something to be desired (more of it).

The weekend started out pretty well. I passed my Microsoft Dynamics Axapta Financials test. This is big news due to the amount of time I've spent studying for it (I would say a good deal of the past 3 months). It was proctored by a strange (to me) testing facility in Beaverton. I have been spending an inordinate amount of time to the west of Portland, I almost bought a car on Thursday- which is kind of a big deal, seeing a how I haven't owned a car for 6 years, or since I left home. I test drove it out in Hillsboro, and it was then that I discovered how beautiful Hillsboro is. I have talked a lot of shit about NW Portland (where I now live), but I also talk a lot of shit about the suburbs, which Hillsboro is included. It is difficult to remember sometimes that where there are now strip malls and chain stores, was once pristine wilderness, grass and meadows and trees and untouched beauty. I actually find that the wilderness is even harder for me to visualize than the farmland that proceeded the wilderness, and preceded the suburban sprawl. So. I talked a lot of shit about the suburbs- but I have come to the decision that I will stop judging people who live there- especially people my age. I believe that people will do what is comfortable for them. Some people who grew up in the suburbs will most likely choose to live there due to familiarity and comfort- which I can relate to, as I am drawn back to the appeal of the rural life which I knew for most of my life. People are products of their environment, which some choose to reject, but I certainly can't blame people who choose to embrace it, especially when I find myself doing the same.

So, aside from that revelation, I did go back to the Hillsboro area on Saturday- a beautiful sunny fall drive in the rural areas south west of the city. I insisted on taking roads that I didn't know, having faith that I wouldn't get too lost, and that they would take me on a much needed escape from the city. I love it when I can breath. It happens to me every time I leave the confines of Portland, I might also even stand up a little taller. I certainly breathe easier.

Today, another sleep in, a fritatta for breakfast,

a sock that is finally finished, a walk in forest park,

and a blog entry. Not bad for a day's leisure.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Awesome Weekend.

I am fortunate enough to have the best friends ever. I was even more fortunate to see my favorite people this weekend (if I didn't see you this weekend, and you are also one of my favorites, it was probably because I saw you earlier in the week, you were busy, out of town, or don't live around here- it doesn't mean that you're not included in my favorites).

Being the new Friday, my weekend began on Thursday. My good friends, and proprietors of Rainy Peak Cyclery seamstress, but it also preggers! Randi and Eric fondly refer to their fetus as 'the polliwog.' came to town for the Oregon Manifest. Randi is (among other things) an incredible seamstress, and she quickly set about turning our living room into a production line. Seeing how we like to support friends' businesses, we ordered a fancy indoor bike rack to help unclutter our living area.

Drinking for free

The Manifest was one of the funnest things I've done in a while. I used to be *somewhat* involved in the Portland bike scene, but have taken a hiatus... whatever that means. I suggested to Nic that we should volunteer, that way we would gain admittance to the show for free, AND get free beer. Deal. Turns out there were several more beer tickets floating around (Randi, obviously, is not drinking), and I was drunk by mid-afternoon. Several awkward conversations ensued.


One of the less awkward conversations I had was with JB (John Bergschnider) of Goodtimes Bicycles. Not only are they beautiful bikes with hella sick dropouts, but JB might be my new favorite person. If I had money to buy a custom frame right now, it would be a Goodtimes. Who says frame builders are pretentious?... Not me (not saying they aren't out there...).

Along this story line is one of my many scores of the weekend. A score for me... not the other guy. Randi, as previously mentioned, is an amazing seamstress. And had made a grip of wool cycling jerseys for JB and his bike gang, the Scorpzanos (Scorps for short). Randi has the future owner of said jerseys take their own measurements... which usually works out... unless it doesn't. For one particular fellow, it didn't. I now have my very own Goodtimes wool bicycling jersey. I couldn't be more proud.


The aforementioned jersey wasn't the only wool that I acquired this weekend. Due to REI's fall sale and their members 20% discount on one full-priced item, I had to get myself a Smartwool sweater. As an Oregonian, I am somewhat ill prepared for the elements on a fairly regular basis. It is my goal to change that little character imperfection, and the best way to start was to acquire a wool base layer. What's next? Wool leggings??? I shall keep you posted.


I managed to fanagle a crew on Sunday to drive the 1/2 hr to a cyclocross race in beautiful Wilsonville, OR. The Fascinating thing about this particular 'cross course was that it was situated right up against a new housing development that goes by the name of Villebois. Amusingly, the course was arranged to include excavated land, roads that end abruptly, gravel and what might have been grassland. There were obstacles (for spectators) that included scrap metal, pieces of rebar, large cement culverts, and large pieces of machinery. It was quite an entertaining time, nonetheless. Someday I shall race 'cross... someday....


The last part about my weekend was the hulling of acorns. I have a mild acorn obsession at the moment. It all started at work. There was a multitude of squirrels hanging around during the summer, and then the fall hit, acorns started dropping from the trees and the little squirrels became even more neurotic. I became aware of why that was. My office building is lined on two sides by oak trees, which were dropping acorns like it was their job (it is their job). I became curious about the mighty oak and the tiny acorn, so I did some research.

Acorns are naturally very high in tannins, which is why they are only palatable to pigs, squirrels and birds. That being said, they are not inedible, they just need some processing. Ex-roommate and other favorite person, Elsie McIver helped me with the not altogether unpleasant task of hulling acorns, which I had started doing the evening before (I get a little crazy on Friday nights, as is evident by my mad foraging skills). After hulling said acorns, they need to be leached of their tannins, which can be done by blending them (I love my Kitchenaid Immersion Blender), and running water over them until they don't taste awful... Stay tuned.