Sunday, June 19, 2011

Home sweet home, Sundays at Orenco

Couldn't have had a better day at the crepe booth. We had good food and good people all coming together. Yesterday I served at a slower event downtown, so waking up to do the morning hustle of crepe prep at Orenco was like a homecoming. For some reason, the flavors speak to my neighbors as much as to me. I got a few people asking me if I knew of this or that crepe place (most of the places yes; I'm obsessed!) and some chit-chat about the motherland of food (France).

Best of all, we got to play around with a new flavor: lavender. I'm excited to serve this one at Mountainside farms in July so I decided to get the concept started a little early. I added lavender syrup to the whipped cream today (I'll add more next time! It was almost undetectable!) and some ground up lavender buds to sugar. Here's the shot from our menu:

Flavor is comprised of taste and smell, and I love getting a full nose of flavor before I take a bite. In fact, this is one of the best parts of making fresh lemon curd in the morning at Orenco. The sharp lemon zest scent even carries across a parking space to where the Gyro people set up. Cooking anything you get hit with these full flavors, as strong as they can be. Think of the power of raw onions. The trick is taming down the noise of the food and presenting it in the best form for the eater. For lavender, I think we nailed it. Sweet and light, this crepe had a delicate punch like you get from smelling uncut, fresh lavender under the hot sun (from a few inches back!)

What ingredient flavors do you like to smell when you're cooking? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

gluten-free batter battle

Ok, I have to level with you. The gluten-free batter you've been tasting the past few weeks has been changing and evolving. This spring I have had a hard time settling on one particular mix. I loved the gf mix we had last summer, but alas, it's no longer available in stores. I called, I emailed, I asked in person, then I accepted that I'd have to learn this stuff. I'm not an exclusive gf-eater, so cooking with the picky wheat-free batters has been a learning process. Regular flour is such a fantastic flour to cook with, and I always lament its wonderful properties when cooking gf: it thickens liquid raw or cooked, it creates subtle fluffy leavening, with fat it becomes chewy, and it tastes amazing! Gluten-free flours have a difficult time matching the versatility of good old flour which is why you have to blend many of them into a mix that's both proteiny and starchy. Luckily, I had a book and a blog to help me figure it all out: Bette Hagman ("The Gluten-free Gourmet Makes Dessert") and the Gluten-free Girl.

In her book, Hagman devotes a paragraph to describe each common gf flour. She also includes a chart that provides percent carbs, protein, fat, and fiber of these flours. The next hundred pages are her recipes, which I didn't particularly need since none of them were crepes or pancakes... Washington County library has 2 copies of her book, but I do plan on photocopying these essential pages and not hogging my copy on endless renewals. You can also find this information if you look up each flour individually. But, yuck. Get the book.

I didn't use any of Hagman's mixes undoctored (the true recipe emerges when you open your cupboards, always). But I did appreciate that she included 4 flour mix suggestions: All purpose gf, featherlight, light bean flour, and 4 bean flour. I didn't have any garfava bean flour on hand, so I played with what I had and combined it with Gluten-free Girl's recipe for crepes.

The key to the gf-problem for crepes is there, on her blog. She advises you to be creative (yay!) and keep a 70/30 ratio of flour. 7 parts whole grains to 3 parts starches. Yep, I was doing it the other way around because the inexpensive gf flours are the starches (potato starch, tapioca flour, white rice flour). Thin, fine crepes need a heavy protein content to be flexible and strong. Oh, and use a LOT of brown rice flour because it's tasty.

Choose 700 grams of any combination of the following flours:

Brown Rice
Sweet Brown Rice

And then throw in 300 grams of any combination of the following:

Potato Starch
Tapioca Flour
White Rice Flour

Before you know it, you'll have perfect crepes without wheat flour.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grand re-opening is Sunday, June 5th!

And it will be a HOT one! 80F and sunny. Fabulous! I'm looking forward to pulling out all the stops this year and having the best season ever. I have lots of new toys and tricks to improve the booth and I can't wait for all my wonderful customers from last year to see it.

But my heart and soul is still in the food.. That's what really counts here, right? Well, you can look forward to a menu that has all the tasty staples of last year, plus a new feature: the crepe of the week. This will give me, the chef, some flexibility to be creative. I heard some tasty suggestions last year, and many ideas of my own for new flavors. Some were: goat cheese, figs, honey, and nuts. I can tell you right now I'd love a crepe with ALL 4 of those ingredients. Maybe we'll try it someday? As for now, this is the working draft:

Sweet crepes

Sugar 4

+crepe of the week

Nutella 5

coco banane 6

rose strawberry 6

Orange Marmelade 5

sugar + fruit 5

strawberry citron 6

Savory crepes

turkey/feta/spinach/onion 6

+crepe of the week

veggie 5

ham/cheese 5

What do you think? Are there any flavors that you want to see on our menu?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goodbye, trike!

Last night, I sat down to have tea with the owner of the Portland waffle cart, Volkswaffle, at the very kitchen table I'm typing at now. Taras and I told him about our lovely experience sharing a $3 waffle topped with spiced peach jam on our anniversary. It was the logical dessert to an overpriced, overhipstered restaurant meal. Way more our style. We swapped impressive stories of biking on foreign turf; Kyle had a much longer list. We told him about some fun times with our cargo bike (Taras tacoed 2 wheels simultaneously, I had kids chasing me for ice cream when I only had 36 rolls of toilet paper inside). Then, due to mutual biker respect and respect for his local celebrity, we exchanged money for vehicle.

Goodbye, trike.

Our new bike trailer will be ready on Monday!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hello again! If you picked up my card at the Hillsboro Holiday market, then please click the apron to continue browsing my crafts for sale.

Holiday Market Schedule for Saturday, Dec 4th
2:00 Market Opens - Mayor's Parade, Visit with Santa begins
2-4:00 Visit with Santa continues, Gayle Ritt singing
4-6:00 Radio Disney takes over in the Plaza
5:30 Mayor's tree-lighting
6:00-7:00 Gayle Ritt singing
7:00 Market Closes

Friday, September 17, 2010

Umbrella time @ the market!

This is the best umbrella ever...

So the announcement is that there are just 2 more weeks to go with the Orenco Sunday market. Looks like at least this Sunday will be raining cats and dogs, but nothing Katelan and I can't handle. It'll feel like we came full circle because our first day in June was absolutely pouring. We'll still have the new peach crepes and all the usuals!

Friday, August 13, 2010

New people, new flags, new crêpes

(Those pans were still pretty hot when we took the pic! yow!)

As of the beginning of August, Katelan snuck away to travel the world (you go, girl!) and been replaced by my lovely friend Lori for the time being. Lori knows the food cart drill from the Elephant Garlic festival a few years back, loves cycling as much as I do, and has a knack for looking into your eyes and suggesting a crêpe you'll love.

The new, seasonal Sacrebleu crêpe was a hit last Wednesday with sweetened sour cream and marionberry sauce as the perfect pairing for fresh blueberries.

Another new thing is our flag banner--isn't it great? I got the idea from a trend cropping up on Etsy.