Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Off to Norway with the Family!

We are off to Norway and then to Paris - leaving tomorrow morning. It's a family trip - Grady and I, our two kids, his sister, and her two kids. Several years ago, G and I took Aileen and Kris to Ireland and were able to visit with some of my Irish end of the family and see Arranmoor Island, home of the Boyle end of our family. Since that time, I've suggested to Grady that we should follow up with a similar family trip to Norway where much of his family originated. So, it's finally happening!

This means my blog and my weekly reports for One Local Summer will most likely be on a hiatus until early July. We return on July 2, but then head to the coast for the 4th of July holiday. I'll keep an eye out for Norwegian food specialties, but I don't know whether I'll want to spend much time in internet cafes. I hope to have things to report on when I return.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Day at the Races

Dragon boat races - for Rose Festival here in Portland today. Grady has been practicing with the Realty Trust team 3 times a week since March. That's three 7 a.m. times per week, I should add. Oh, boy, doesn't that sound like fun. But, he did it - never missed a practice except for the two that took place while we were out of town back when they first started. So, today was the first day of racing - two heats, one at about 11 a.m. and another at 3:30 p.m. Tomorrow morning they will race again - this time in a group of other boats that had similar times to theirs. If they win the first one, they race again and possibly a 3rd time. That's it - no vast monetary prizes, just the glory and prestige of winning.

Dragonboats are large wooden boats paddled (not rowed, I was informed) by 18 people plus a drummer and a flag-catcher. The ones used for the Rose Festival races here were given to Portland by our sister city in China, Kaohsiung. There are smaller boats without the decoration that are raced year-round.

I walked over from my gym for the morning race. Ian, Liam and Graham joined me to cheer on the Realty Trust Red Dragons in their first heat. Later in the afternoon, I walked over from the east side of the river and watched the afternoon race with their coach.

Ian's picture of the Red Dragons as they were coming in for their first race. Came in 3rd, but at least they beat the Victoria's Secret Team. (How bad would that be to say you were beat by the underwear team?) Grady is in the last seat on the right (OK, that's starboard, right?) side of the boat with the tan hat (which you really can't see.)

First place in a close finish for their afternoon heat. When the flag-grabber gets the flag, that's the official end.

Coach Sue pointing out that they hadn't done very well with the precision paddling in the second race, even though they won.

Grady listening intently, of course, to the coach's comments.
On the way back up after the 1st place finish.

About 85 teams in and out, using the same eight boats, all day long. It takes a system and they have one - very organized - always four teams lining up while another four are loading and another four are racing. Grady's team is heading down the ramp and out onto the dock for their afternoon race.

These gals looked more like my kind of team actually. Cheerleaders for one of the teams - complete with poodle skirts, heart-shaped sunglasses and little white canvas shoes. They had a full selection of choreographed cheers. I wonder what time of day they practice?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pasta with Spring Vegetables in Light, Lemony Cream Saucie - One Local Summer WEek 1

One Local Summer Begins this week. Our west region's activities will be moderated by Becke at Columbus Foodie. It's great to find a new food blog with beautiful photographs and great ideas.

We started out the week with a dinner inspired by a recipe in "The Oregonian" recently. In the category of great minds think alike, I was at Jeff's house recently and he had made the same thing. We both made several modifications, but the basic recipe was a terrific starting point. You can go to this link to see the original newspaper version.

I made made a trip to the farmer's market this weekend and had new spring veggies I wanted to use. I also had gotten some spinach fettucine at the market. A cool thing about this recipe is that it does use some cream, but it is fairly minimal, and yet still makes a very nice sauce. You reduce some chicken broth (no, not a vegetarian recipe inspite of its name) by about half, add the cream and reduce further, adding lemon zest after taking it off the heat. Then toss in the veggies, some parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

The biggest change that both Jeff and I made was to saute the vegetables in a very small amount of oil, rather than steam them. We both wanted to use mushrooms and steamed mushrooms just doesn't sound very good at all. In mine, I used fresh peas, leeks, sweet onion, baby carrots, zucchini and shitakes. Plus, Grady had brought up some green beans from last year's CSA that we still had in the freezer, so I added some of those as well. For the fresh herbs, I used chives and basil out of our garden. The meal was completed with a salad using three types of lettuce from our garden plus some a raw version of the same things we put in the pasta.

So, in the category of local foods in this meal were all the vegetables, the pasta, chicken broth and cream. Not local in Oregon, but important, were the lemon and the parmesan.

I didn't manage to remember to take a picture before we ate the pasta. Not back in the routine yet. But, here is a substitution:

our farmer's market goodies from this week. We have joined an alternative form of a CSA with Deep Roots Farm. Instead of having a box delivered somewhere each week, this is set up as a running account balance to use at the farmer's market stands. This scenario takes some of the challenge and surprise out of having a farm share. But, since we are going to be gone a fair amount this summer, this seemed to be more practical for us this year.