Thursday, July 17, 2014

French Toast

I was trying to write my blog this morning and also make myself some gluten free toast.
This stuff is a god send for us gluten free loooooosers
Seeing as I don't have a toaster, I just stick the bread in the oven, turn it on broil and hope for the best.
The result of my efforts.

After the second batch of burnt toast, this time setting off the fire alarm and filling the tiny apartment with huge clouds of stinky smoke, I gave up and let Cody make me some french toast while I finished my post.
It's the first time I've had french toast since I stopped eating wheat and although it was on gluten free bread, it was a special treat; drowned in crunchy peanut butter and real maple syrup.  Wash it all down with a cold glass of whole milk and you've reenacted my favorite childhood meal.

So here's a recipe for french toast.  You can use gluten free bread or a nice thick piece of Challah(Oh eggy breads, how I miss you!)

French Toast


6 thick slices of bread
3 eggs, 1 egg yolk
1.5 cups of whole milk
1/4 cup of heavy cream(you can just use whole milk, but as this blog is called Fat Fatty and not Skinny Minny then just ramp up the lardiness.)
pinch of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Whatever toppings you desire.  I like butter, peanut butter and maple syrup


1.Preheat oven to 250 degrees, place your bread on a cooling rack and place in the oven until dry in the middle.  This helps it absorb the batter.

2. Whisk eggs, egg yolk, milk, cream, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

3. Heat a saute pan on medium heat.  While your pan is warming, dip the first batch of bread in the batter(don't crowd the pan).

4. If you're doing it in two batches, throw a Tbsp and 1/2 of the butter into the pan and wait until the foaming subsides.

5. Place battered bread in pan and cook until golden brown on each side.  Place in the oven to keep warm as you fry the second batch, wiping out the pan in between the batches.

6. Plate it up and drown it in whatever sticky, sweet concoction you can think of!

McKenzie and Kyle's Wedding

I found myself back in Montana for a second weekend, this time flying so that I could attend my friend McKenzie's wedding.  She's a feisty Montana chick with a beautiful smile and a dry sense of humor and I think it's the first wedding I've attended where I started crying as soon as the wedding procession began.  She married her best friend, Kyle Perkins, a gentleman extraordinaire, who feeds her creative passion and is her partner in crime in all their outdoorsy adventures.

The wedding party was eclectic, as my friend is;As a man started picking a banjo softly, the ladies holding sunflowers and even McKenzie's dog, Busco walked down the aisle.  Kyle, her husband to be, walked alone with his hands clasped in front of him, smiling like a shy little boy on his first day of school.

And then this happened:

McKenzie and her horse Gracie pounded down the trail to reach the aisle.  People were whooping and clapping as she gracefully dismounted and was accompanied by her parents to Kyle.

There was no officiator, just them making promises to love and respect each other, to never allow things to grow stagnant and to always support each other's dreams.  One of the bridesmaids threw a chew toy, Busco raced to retrieve it and bring it back to McKenzie.  It contained the couples' rings and I think everyone had to fight back a few tears as they agreed on their promises and kissed.

McKenzie then got a boost up on Gracie and Kyle swung up gracefully after her, gesturing for us to follow as they made their way to the reception.
It was a great party, filled with people I love, good food, contradance and a fair amount of alcohol.
Also this dog sitting like he's people.

There was laughter, excess, braised meats, champagne, a bride throwing her bouquet while jumping on a trampoline and even a super moon to top it all off.

I'm so happy for McKenzie and Kyle and wish them good luck and great adventure in their lives together.  I have no recipe today, but an encouragement to go enjoy the company of the people you love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The 5 Best Fancy Cheeses For A Fancy Pants Party Time

On my way to school today, I got to thinking about cheese.  This could be because I was hungry or because of the cheesy smelling air blowing through my sad cars air vents.
This is what comes up when you google for "cheese car."

I've been exploring a lot of different cheeses lately, as I mentioned in an earlier post because I can't eat bread anymore, I need another food addiction.  Cheese stepped right up and said, "Eat me."

In Portland, we're lucky to have access to so many different foods and I've been taking advantage of that.  The produce is beautiful and fresh, the asian markets are stocked to the brim with more dried skrimps then a girl could eat, and nearly every grocery store has a fancy cheese section.
Be still my heart
So I thought I'd add on to my last post about the best summer wines with some cheeses that would go well with them.  So without further ado:

5. Beechers Raw Milk Flagship

Beechers is a cheese shop started right next to Pike's Place Market in Seattle that offers a wide range of tasty cheese bites and a glimpse into the whole cheese making process.  While you wait in an excessively long line, you can watch the workers operate huge machines, separating curds from whey and other cheese-like tasks.  I love this particular cheese for the qualities that the raw milk impart, a nutty, creamy texture with just a touch of sharpness.  Try it on potato gratin or in a grilled cheese.

4.  Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Grande

Humboldt Fog is a delicious goat cheese known for it's herbal, floral and citrus flavors with a distinct line of vegetable ash down the center.  It's an American original, coming from the Cypress Grove Creamery and pairs well with granny smith apples, cured meats, fatty roasted almonds and honeycomb.

3. St. Angel Triple Cream

This decadent, triple cream cheese is just one step away from butter.  It has a thin, edible rind that barely conceals its oozing, velvety smooth innards. It has a hint of mushroomy earthiness that is balanced with the flavor of sweet cream.  It pairs well with sweet berries and a sparkling rose.

2. Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue 

This is another raw milk cheese, native to Oregon.  This is the blue cheese that has gotten me to like blue cheese.  The creamery cold smokes this blue over Oregon hazelnuts, which enhances the creamy sharpness with a caramel, nutty flavor.  Try it with fresh Oregon marionberries, sugar roasted hazelnuts and a balsamic reduction.

1. Bucherondin de Chevre

Bucherondin de Chevre is a French goats cheese with a thin edible bloom of a rind, a thick ring of melting pate and a soft, but semi firm inner ring.  It's easily my favorite cheese, it has a minerality most cheeses lack with funky nutty flavors softened by the citrus crumble of the center ring.  Try it with wine plumped cherries, lemon thyme and toasted walnuts.

Top Five Summer Wines

Before I went to culinary school, I thought that wine tasting was all bullshit and that there was just wine that I like and wine that I don't like.  The wine tasting classes opened up a whole world of flavors(and in some people's case, pretension) and now I feel more confident in my ability to poo poo the less refined.

I decided to make a list of my top five summer wines.  These ones are relatively cheap, refreshing and pair well with many different dishes.  I've even included tasting notes that will allow you to make all your friends wish they hadn't invited you to the potluck.

5. Moulan-a-Vent Joseph Droughin(2010, $14.69)

I'm starting out with a red even though I prefer whites for the summer, mostly because this wine is so versatile.  It has flavors of dried fruit, nut and mushroom and would pair well with even a lighter salad dish and would be perfect with some smokey barbecued meat.

4. Chablis Domaine Chardonnay(2011, $20)

This Chardonnay hails from Burgundy France.  It is citrusy, buttery and un-oaked which allows it more versatility when being paired with more cruciferous vegetables.  It also pairs well with chicken and fish.

3. Jean Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rose(No vintage, $14.99)

Sparkling roses are the stylish thing this summer and for good reason.  This particular one is already a winner because of it's price, but the quality isn't a reflection of the cheapness.  It's a dry, delicate sparkler with notes of honey, berries and toast and would make a pretty killer mimosa with grapefruit juice.

2. Pic Pul de Pinet(2012, $9)

This particular wine has been one of my favorite for a few years now.  Its high minerality with citrus and spring flowers go well with fish, enhance the brininess of shellfish and cut through the fat on roast chicken.

1. Lois Grüner Veltliner(2012, $11.89)

Grüner Veltliners are becoming more trendy every day.  They used to be the wines that chefs drank behind the scenes, but are finally being noticed by the general public.  I love this particular one for its aromatic grassy, citrus and melon flavor and think it pairs incredibly well with difficult dishes such as salmon, artichokes and asparagus.

Blueberry Ice cream

On our trip back from Montana, we stopped at a sketchy gas station in the middle of rural Washington.  Sketchy gas station in Washington might be a little redundant, as each one we stopped at had the same meth-y obese woman in short-shorts vibe.  Anyways, at this particular gas station they happened to have a fresh fruit stand where we sampled some sweet rainier cherries and bought a couple pounds of these beautiful blueberries.

Seeing as it's hot as balls around here, I decided to make a cool treat with them.  I love berry ice creams, but it's hard to find one that has that concentrated berry taste.  This recipe calls for a simple vanilla custard and reduced berries so that you can really get that blueberry flavor.

Keeping with the simplistic beauty of a good blueberry ice cream, no fucking around, here's the recipe and a quick montage of the process.

Blueberry Ice cream


1 lb. fresh blueberries
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp. clear alcohol(I used tequila because that's what I had, but vodka or white rum would work too)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1.Combine blueberries, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar in a 4 qt sauce pan, mashing the berries a little to release juice and allow to macerate for at least 45 minutes.

2. Combine yolks and a 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined and pale yellow.

3. Combine cream, milk and 1/2 cup of sugar in another 4 qt sauce pan and heat until 175 degrees, about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk cream mixture into the eggs until combined then return to the sauce pan.

4. Heat on medium low, whisking constantly until the mixture comes up to about 180 degrees and is thick and shiny.  Don't take it over 180 unless you want scrambled egg ice cream.

5. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.  You can set this bowl over a water bath to cool it quickly.

6. While your custard is cooling, turn up the heat on your blueberries, reduce and mash them until they've released most of their juices and the berries are broken down, about 5 minutes.

7. Strain berries and reserve the juice.  Mix your lemon zest, lemon juice and alcohol in with your berries.  The alcohol will stop them from becoming icy and will also cut back on ice crystals in your finished dessert.

8.  When both the berry juice and the custard are cooled, mix them together along with the vanilla extract and chill in the refrigerator until they reach 40 degrees, or about three hours.

9. Churn the custard until it looks like soft serve, about 20 minutes then add your strained berries, churning for one minute more.  Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight fitting lid and allow to completely freeze, 2-3 hours more.

10. Eat it. 

All you need to make a fat fatty surprise

Heating up the cream
Mixing the sugar and yolks

Tempering the yolks with the warm cream.
Working out before hand erases the guilt of eating all the ice cream later
Close up of my monster claw of a hand and the temperature you want to cook your custard to.
Look at how much juice it's released just from sitting in sugar! And they said maceration would make you go blind.  
Reducing the juice.
Custard with the berry juice mixed in.
D.J. spin that shit
Purple ice cream!
The finished product.  Cody ate an entire pint, trust his judgement.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Swift Lounge / Cucumber, Basil and Lime Gimlet

The Swift Lounge is a divey style bar on Broadway and is conveniently located about ten blocks away from my apartment.  There are few things that will entice me to go around my neighborhood at dark, but Swift is definitely on that list.

The atmosphere is layed back and mellow, the drinks cheap and flavorful.  They're famous for their drinks served in mason jars, normal size for 6 bucks(5 during jolly hour!)and a huge 32 oz. jar of deliciousness for 8.
I got the Stoned Finch, which is a fantastic amalgamation of elderflower syrup, cucumber infused vodka, lime, basil and cucumber.  The flavor combinations here are fresh and tasty, creative without being over the top.

Right next to the vintage arcade machines, a d.j. spins old school hip hop.  The crowd isn't made up of any specific demographic, there's a girl in a bellyshirt sipping her mason jar next to an older guy trying to get some work done on his laptop and a man speaking spanish keeps eyeing my boyfriend in a "Gonna eat you up" sort of way.

I haven't tried much of the food, most of it seems to be pretty heavy in starch, good for soaking up the couple shots that go into those massive jars.  Swift Lounge is just a great all around hangout with friendly bartenders and interesting people watching opportunities.  Go for the cheap prices, stay for the atmosphere and the hyper-aggressive guy trying to sleep with your man friend.

Cucumber Basil Lime Gimlet


5 Basil Leaves
3 1/4 thick slices cucumber
lime wedges
2 oz. lime juice
1.5 oz. simple syrup(or just muddle straight sugar with your basil and lime juice)
2 oz. Gin(I like Bombay for the heavy juniper)


1.Muddle sugar(if using)with basil leaves and lime juice in an 8 oz. mason jar. Throw in your booze and cucumbers, top with ice and a lid and shake.

2. Taste it! Add more gin, syrup or lime if you desire then garnish with lime wedges and a cucumber wheel.

Going Home / Elk Steaks with Morel Mushroom Sauce

I was born at the end of a dirt road, in a little house next to the railroad tracks.
 It sounds like the beginning of a shitty country song.  The next verse will be something about trucks, tight jeans and "goin' down to thuh crick."
But seriously, there was a creek that ran through our backyard.
My sisters and I spent most of our early childhood outside, making mud pies by the water, dodging prickly pear cactus on our walks and playing make believe in the ruins of an old mining ghost town that bordered the creek.
I was born in one of these houses, can you guess which one?
Old tomato cans and beer bottles found on the property.  There used to be old barrels, pots and pans and other scavenging delights, but five children can do a lot of a damage to a ghost town full of antiques.
Ah yes, the ol' turkey pen/outhouse.  Because why shouldn't you mix those two things?
The goat barn where I spent most of my childhood.
There were more of these buildings when we young, each one explored and desecrated and eventually pulled down for being unstable.
Because someone looked at the creek one day and thought, "you know what this needs? More railroad ties."

Almost all of our dead pets were buried here.  If I've learned anything about living like a hill person, you're going to get a lot of dead pets out here.  Coyotes, owls, drunk drivers, they will pick your dogs and cats off like it ain't no thang.
I wish scent technology was advanced enough for me to include a little smell-byte of the air out here.  It's a wild and intoxicating thing, the wind blowing through the sage brush, juniper and rosehips binding with the wet minerality of the cold, mica-speckled creek bed.

I feel like there may be more skulls out here than when I was growing up.
I'm glad I visited my old home.  It's good to revisit where I came from, but it's also to see how far I've come and how far I still have to go.
In honor of Montana, my roots and the people who are still pushing me to succeed from 600 miles away, here's a recipe for elk steaks with sauteed morel mushroom sauce.

Elk Steaks with Morel Mushroom Sauce


For the steaks:
2 Elk Steaks(you can also sub venison, I like elk because it's thicker.) Preferably 2 inches thick, brought up to room temperature.  I like the New York cut myself because it's flavorful, lean and cooks quickly.
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 cloves of garlic, crushed, left in skin
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 pieces butter parchment paper, large enough to wrap around the steaks, or just use butter wrappers.

For the morel sauce:
8 oz. of Morels, cut in half, make sure you dust them of debris and dirt but do not put in water.
1 cup full bodied red wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cloves Garlic minced
1/2 shallot minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter
Sprig Thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Salt and pepper steaks.

2. Heat saute pan on medium high and add vegetable oil.  When oil starts to shimmer, lay elk steaks facing away from you to avoid splatter.  Do not move them until they start to carmelize.

3. Flip your steaks, throw in your rosemary, thyme, crushed garlic and butter.  Baste the steaks with the butter for about a minute.  Place the steaks inside the buttered parchment paper with one each of the garlic, thyme and rosemary and place on a pie tin or small sheet pan.  Finish in the oven depending on the thickness of the steak.  I like rare game meat myself, so 6-7 minutes will do it for a thicker cut.

4. Allow your steaks to rest while you make your sauce.  You can allow them to rest up to 15 minutes, it will maximize the juiciness of your steak.

5. Pour off the fat in the saute pan you used to sear your steaks.  Add your vegetable oil and heat until shimmering.  Throw in morels, season with salt and pepper and saute until they've exuded most of their liquid and start to brown.

6. Add 1 Tbsp butter, the garlic, shallots, thyme and cook until fragrant(30 seconds or so). Deglaze with your chicken broth and red wine.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the flavor bits you can.

7. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup, add juices from resting steaks, dijon mustard and reduce until thickened.

8. Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, remove thyme stems and season to taste with salt and pepper.  

9.  Spoon sauce over steaks and eat immediately.  You can serve this with some smashed new potatoes and sauteed asparagus for a full meal :)