Everyday Gourmet

Everyday Gourmet
We've got a whisk, and we know how to use it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looking at the Wild Northwest

This Spring  (June 18-25) Gourmet Gallery is sponsoring a Wine, Food and Sightseeing Tour to Washington and Oregon. Not since Lewis and Clark who travelled there as representatives of the United States government has there been so much excitement about going there.  Our transportation to the area will be faster. Consequently, we'll  be able to cover much more territory. Landing in Seattle, Washington on June 18, we will have an orientation tour of the city including the waterfront, the downtown financial district, the Pioneer Square Historic Distrist and the Seattle Center. After checking into the hotel, the rest of the day is free. Downtown hotels are within walking distance of Pioneer Historial Center and other attractions. If we stay at a hotel on 5th Street, we will be about 4 blocks from Pike's Pub. I'm sure there are other fun places around, too. When I googled (the new verb) this pub, I found a map showing hotels, sight-seeing, and restaurants.  Google Red Lion Hotel and see the map.

Three nights in Seattle will allow time for several wonderful experiences. We'll taste wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle, visit Pikes Place Market and go up in the Space Needle for wonderful view of the city, and have a dinner at a local restaurant. All of these are included in the tour.

And on the third day-- we will drive along the shores of Puget Sound to Olympia, the capital of Washington. Next stop is the Mt. St. Helen's Visitors Center to learn about the May, 1980 eruption. We'll spend the night in Portland, Oregon's largest city. Portland is  the city of roses. Our tour of the city will highlight the waterfront, and the International  Rose Test Gardens. On the fourth day we will  drive through the beautiful Oregon coastal Range to visit the town of Tillamook, home of Tillamook Cheese. We'll travel along the scenic coast and arrive in Newport, Oregon, in time for a Clam Bake.

And on the fifth day--Two exciting adventures awair--We will be immersed in the mystery of the ocean at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and in the afternoon we board giant dune buggies to travel over miles of sandy terrain.

The sixth day--Visit wineries in the wonderful heart of pinot noir area, and return to Portland. This evening is free. Let's see what we can find to do! I don't know where we will be staying, but I have found a website that lists things to do in Portland. Let me see if I can--Well, just type in "Farm to Table Dining." You'll find a plethora of wonderful-sounding places for dining. Surely we be able to find some innteresting and delicious food there.

Day seven will take us to Mt. Hood. We will go to the Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, on the south side of the mountain, We will have an elegant lunch in the Cascade Dining Room. From there we will drive northward to the Hood river Valley and Columbia River, visit a winery and arrive back in Portland.

Last day--Breakfast at the "Original Pancake House" (if available). Check out at the hotel and have a motorcoach ride to the airport for the flight back to DFW.

What a week!!

We'll wish you were there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Taste Wine at a Wine-Tasting?

"Drink and be merry, for our time on earth is short, and death is forever." A Toast.

 Gourmet Gallery is planning a week's tour of Washington and Oregon in June, and there are seven wineries on the planned itinerary. What can we learn in that beautiful setting? When tasting, does one learn the language of wine? Will I be able to identify different flavors--is it peppery, fruity, buttery, full-bodied? If food and wine enhance each other, how is food paired with wine? I am setting out to learn  these things.

Since we are going to PINOR NOIR country, I have chosen to start with that wine. According to WINE LOVER'S COMPANION, the pinot noir grape is the red grape of Burgundy. It is genetically unstable which makes consistency in this vine extremely difficult. Oregon's long, cool growing season is conducive to the production of some acclaimed Pinot Noir wines. Kevin Zraly writes, "Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine....My favorite wine for lunch is Pinot Noir. Since most of us have to go to work after lunch, the light, easy-drinking style of a Pinot Noir will not overpower the usual luncheon fare of soup, salad and sandwiches. It is a user-friendly wine." Thanks, Jill, for this info about your favorite wine.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodenville, Washington has a good website that helps with food and wine pairing. Some suggestions for Pinot Noir are grilled salmon and tuna, smoked duck with a cherry sauce, smoked salmon, and because of the tannins and slight pepperiness of this wine, Asian foods such as Chinese barbecued pork ribs.

  Maybe I'll learn the answer to all my questions. Maybe I won't, but I plan to enjoy the journey.

Karyn suggested her recipe to go with the aforesaid wine. Let me know how you like this pairing.


2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
4 loin pork chops, about 1 1/4-inch thick

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 sweet red pepper, cut in julienne strips
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
2 tbsp. julienned orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt with the sugar, thyme, allspice and pepper. Rub into pork chops.

For the marmalade, heat oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add onions, sprinkle with the sugar and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add red pepper, carrot, and orange zest; cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add orange juice and remaining salt and cook until liquid has evaporated and onion are glossy. Remove from heat.

Rub a grill with oil; gill chops about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with onion marmalade.
Serves 4.

Blog assembled by Jo Ann Miller.