Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean Fish Fillets in Foil Packets

A while back I blogged about how easy it is to put together meals in tin foil packets. You can create some really yummy meals that are easy to prepare, freeze and either bake in the oven or grill.
This week's ROTW is on next week's MPM.


Mediterranean Fish Fillets in Packets

8 oz snapper fillet - two 4 oz fillets (you could also use sole, halibut or sea bass)
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 diced red onion
6 medium cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 large black olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained and quartered
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

1. Preheat grill or oven to 450F
2. Tear off a 12 inch long piece of aluminum foil and place it on a work surface. Place one fish fillet in the center of the foil.
3. Pour half wine over fish; top fish with half of the onion, tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts and garlic. Add half the lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper.
4. Bring the two sides of the foil together over the fillet; fold and crimp closed. Make sure the packet is completely sealed with no leaks or holes.
5. Transfer to the grill or a large baking sheet if using the oven. Cook until done, about 15 minutes.
6. When serving, open carefully to avoid a burn from the steam inside.

Serves 2; excellent with rice

Image from Google

Monday, July 28, 2008

Relay for Life in Eugene

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.

Co-Captains - Phyllis and Nan

Relay For Life began in Tacoma, Washington in the mid-1980s by Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon who wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.

In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He ran for more than 83 miles. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt's friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. Throughout the night, friends donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.

While circling the track those 24 hours, Dr. Klatt thought about how others could take part in his mission to fight cancer. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Over the next few months, he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event, known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

Pirates Sandra and Stacy

Pirates Nan and Sandra

What it has taught me is person can make a difference. It was an awesome opportunity for me to participate for the second year in a row.

Survivor Lap - More and more each year!

Our Survivor friends - Phyllis, Sandy and Colleen

The most moving experience is the Luminaria ceremony held at dusk. I made one in Karen's memory and found one that someone had done for my Dad's friend, Roy Hill.

The Relay for Life in Eugene has now become one of the largest in the country and is held the last Friday of every July.

This year's theme......"Make A Million" inspired our team to put together a pirate ship along with pirate costumes for all the walkers. We all had a great time and raised almost $9500 (I personally raised $485).

I feel honored to have participated. Thanks to all who helped.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday!

It's summer time in the NW! A perfect time to fire up the grill (notice the all-grill menu). I'll be cooking ribs on Sunday afternoon (I can't wait) - they are my summer favorite! Here is the menu for Rebecca Lane for this week. Check out more great menu plans HERE


Sunday: BBQ Pork Ribs, cole slaw and corn on the cob
Monday: Grilled halibut w/herb mayo along side green beans and brown rice*
Tuesday: Grilled Cuban Chicken with Black Bean/Mango Salsa
Wednesday: Orange-Thyme Grilled Shrimp (thanks Rookie-Cookie) with jasmine rice
Thursday: Greenway Concert in the park (perhaps a picnic-style dinner from this place)

Grilled halibut w/herb mayo

1/4 cup mayo (fat free works fine)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (fat free works fine)
1tsp oregano, chopped (fresh if possible)
1tsp tarragon, chopped (fresh if possible)
1 big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (half lemon)
1 1/2 lb fish (you can use tuna, swordfish or halibut), 4 6-oz steaks, if possible
cooking spray

1. Prepare grill
2. Combine mayo, yogurt, herbs and lemon juice in a small bowl, Cover and chill.
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on fish and place on a hot grill; grill 3 minutes a side (depending on thickness)
4. To serve, top steaks with herb mayo

Friday, July 25, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Best Friends

Date: Summer 1973/74
Location: On the road to Reno, NV (my best guess)
Who: Virginia (my gram) and her best friend Dorothy Ross
What: Two friends on one of their many road trips

I still remember the sound of Dorothy's voice. She was such a fixture in my life in the early 70's. She was my "playmate" and would be at my grandma's house in Eugene all the time. They bowled together, played cards together, drank screwdrivers together, gambled together and travelled to Reno frequently. They were best friends.

Dorothy will be one of the many people I think about today as I walk in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life at LCC in Eugene, Oregon.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice

Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice

Sometimes when it is too hot to cook, it's nice to have an easy meal to prepare. This is the time of year when you can find some really large, sweet tomatoes - just ready to be stuffed.



6 large tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
3 cups cooked rice (about 1 cup raw long-grain rice)
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled (okay to use microwave bacon)
salt and pepper, to taste
soft buttered bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
1. Cut off top of tomatoes and scrape pulp out of inside, leaving a firm shell. Add pulp to skillet with the bell pepper, zucchini, onion and jalapeno pepper. Cook covered over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Add cooked rice and bacon and season to taste.
3. Stuff this back into the tomatoes and sprinkle with bread crumbs and shredded cheese.
4. Place tomatoes in a casserole or baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water to keep from sticking. Cook in oven at 425° for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are tender.
Serves 6. Keeps 2-3 days refrigerated (great cold served for lunch)
Images courtesy of Google

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer Evening in Canby

I finally got to take Brian down to Canby for a BBQ at the Hygelund's last night.
Brian "snapping" beans and helping with the farmhouse dinner
Debi's famous farm fresh veggie ragu
Since Brian is rarely in town during the week and our weekends are so chaotic, it was a real treat to take him to Canby and show him the farm.

Debbie's garden is incredible.

Her flowers are always so beautiful. She mentioned the cold weather early in the season has made it hard for some of her flowers to take off. Everything still looked wonderful. Brian was really impressed.

They still have the chicken coop! And I brought home a dozen fresh farm eggs!

The weather was pleasant.
Noel Hygelund - 12 (13 in September)

Life on the farm is good!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Sonja's Baby Shower

Sonja and Laura

We celebrated the anticipated arrival of Maile Marie with a baby shower this past Saturday.

Sonja's matron of honor and childhood friend, Amy hosted the event at her home in Bellevue.

View of Lake Samammish from Amy's back deck

There were lots of close friends and family, great food (wonderful cake) and tons of neat gifts Maile (and Mom and Dad) will put to good use.

Cake made by friend, Ann (a pastry chef)


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! It's been a busy July and so hard to believe that it is half over. Summer is quickly moving along.

I am so excited to be a part of the Eugene, Oregon Relay for Life held on Friday/Saturday, July 25th and 26th. Check out this site for more information.

It will be another short I've packed a few good meals into the menu. Brian will be in town Sunday-Tuesday so one more mouth to feed at Rebecca Lane!


Sunday: Brian and I arrive via Amtrak at 6PM. Let's grab a burger HERE
Monday: Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce with a BIG Garden Salad
Tuesday: Dinner at the farm in Candy with these crazy people
Wednesday: Rigatoni with Creamy Sausage Sauce

Friday, July 18, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Rosemary

Date: January 2001
Location: Lake Tahoe, California
Who: Rosemary and Pop
What: Sandra turned 40 on January 5th and the family took her on a surprise trip to Lake Tahoe for a long weekend.

It's Rosemary's birthday on Monday, so in her honor....enjoy!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pop's Visit

My Pop came to visit Monday and Tuesday. He drove up from Eugene to spend a few days with the ladies of Rebecca Lane and to help us replace some boards in our deck.

In return he got a couple of great meals and all the wine he could drink!

It was also nice to watch the all-star game with him.

Thanks for the visit Pop!


Recipe of the Week: Carmelized Pear and Hazelnut Salad

Donna Hay is an Australian-based food stylist, author and magazine editor and one of the best-known names in cookbook and magazine publishing in the world. I stumbled upon this salad in the Oregonian a few years ago and have been serving it to friends and family even since.


4 TBS White Wine Vinegar
½ stick of Butter
2 TBS (heaping) Brown Sugar
2 ripe pears, quartered and cored with skins on
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
Blue Cheese Crumbles
1 bag pre-packaged baby greens

1. Put vinegar, butter and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat and cook until butter is melted and mixture begins to mix together and bubble.
2. Place pears and hazelnuts in mixture and cook 5 minutes, turning pears once, coating with mixture.
3. Place mixed greens on 4 plates, top with 2 slices of pear and ¼ of hazelnuts along with about a teaspoon of pan liquids. Top with blue cheese crumbles and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Restaurant Review: Pok Pok/Whiskey Soda Lounge

Voted Portland's Best Restaurant of the Year for 2007, Pok Pok is something of a cult following. The lines for a Friday night began well before 6:00 (a good indication of something really good in the kitchen) so I was excited to experience what all of Portland has been talking about for almost 2 years.

Pok Pok isn't anything more than a take out shack with picnic tables and an indoor seating area that owner/chef, Andy Ricker added almost a year after he first introduced Portland to his take on SE Asian fare. It's still not very sophisticated, yet the food more than makes up for the ambiance. The Whiskey Soda Lounge (indoor seating) is small—with seating for around 30—"think" cozy without feeling claustrophobic. Decorated with stained-wood paneling, black booths and subdued-but-adequate lighting give the room a friendly, jazz-bar atmosphere. We sat outside in the setting sun - a perfect July night in Portland.

The menu takes you on an Asian food odyssey. Vietnamese fish-sauce wings; yam sumun prhai (herbal and nut salad); cha ca "La Vong" noodle bowl; duck leg with pickled mustard greens and sour yellow chili sauce; wild prawns in clay pot with pork belly and bean-thread noodles. Nothing like I have ever experienced in my food travels.
Dinner Crew: Brian, Maddie and Bryan

Since Bryan and Maddie had been before, we let them lead with their favorites. Here was our entire menu:
Tamarind Whiskey Sour Cocktail - Tamarind, line juice, palm sugar and bourbon on the rocks
Papaya Pok Pok - Green Papaya Salad with tomatoes, long beans in a Thai chili lime juice.

Khanom Jiin Tam Taeng Kwaa - Spicy cucumber salad with tomatoes, garlic, lime, naam plaa and palm sugar - served over rice vermicelli noodles

Sii Krong Muu Yaang - Carlton Farms baby back ribs marinated in whisky, soy, ginger, honey and Thai spices
Neua Naam Tok - Spicy and sour Isaan style grilled Cascade Natural flank steak salad with ground roasted dry chilies, lemongrass, fresh shallots, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, lime juice and mint
Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings - Fresh natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and palm sugar, deep fried and tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic

Cha ca "la Vong" - Catfish marinated in turmeric and sour sticky rice, fried in tumeric oil with scallions and dill. Served with rice vermicelli, peanuts, mint, cilantro and nouc cham.

Hoi Thawt - Crispy broken crepes with steamed mussels, eggs, garlic chives and bean sprouts
My favorite has to be the wings, which I devoured and then dreamt about the entire weekend - scheming about how I might get back for more.
Most of the food served at Pok Pok is meant to be eaten "family-style" with everyone sharing. The food is clean, small portions (which means a party of 4 can reasonable try 5-7 entrees) and exotic.
Each item had it's own signature spice - flavor; which set it apart from anything else on the table.
Most dishes are best when accompanied by rice: Northern and Northeastern Thai dishes with sticky rice, Central and Southern Thai dishes with Jasmine rice. In Thailand, only a spoon and fork are used: the spoon to eat with and the fork to push food onto the spoon. Some things are traditionally eaten with your hands.

The menu is so large that I believe to get a true sense of the food, you need to go back at least 2-3 times.

**** (4 out of 5 stars)


POK POK and the Whiskey Soda Lounge
address: 3226 se division, pdx
telephone: 503 232 1387

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Walk in the Woods: Wilsonville - Memorial Park/Murase Plaza

Last week the Oregonian ran a story about a new walking book for the Portland/Vancouver area. The best part about the book is that it is FREE and available at Metro.

My sweets surprised me and took Max downtown and picked up a copy for us to use as a guide for our Saturday adventure.

We chose the 3.4 mile, 126 acre Memorial Park/Murase Plaza as our first trek.

It was a hot day so we found a path down to a dock on the Willamette and spent a bit of time watching all the boaters. We caught a bit of a little league game in the park and I spent some time on the swings.

We finished up our Saturday adventure at the Lake House, one of my favorite spots in Portland (Lake Oswego) for a chardonnay before spending a quiet, cool evening at Rebecca Lane.

Brian at the Oswego Lake House



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! I hope everyone is enjoying summer....spending lots of time outdoors and taking in all that sunshine (don't forget your sunscreen). It's All-Star Week (game on Tuesday) so we are grilling some beer brats and I am going to attempt some sort of baseball cupcakes. Let's hope they turn out better than the last ones. My Pop is also coming for a couple of days so I am really excited about that!


Monday: Chicken Breasts with Honey-Balsamic Glaze, Jasmine Rice and Grilled Asparagus
Tuesday: ALL STAR GAME @ 5:00 PST - Johnsonville Beer n' Bratwurst with corn on the cob and baked beans
Wednesday: Baja Tacos
Thursday: Beer Soaked Flank Steak with a BIG Garden Salad (thanks Made with Love)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Les Miserables

"To love another person is to see the face of God." - Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, 1862

When: Thursday, July 10th 2008

Where: Broadway Rose Theater - Tigard, OR

Who: Brian, Stacy and Sandra

Les Misérables (translated from French as The Miserable Ones) is a novel by French author Victor Hugo. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a twenty year period in the early 19th century that includes the Napoleonic wars and subsequent decades. Principally focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean, who seeks to redeem himself, the novel also examines the impact of Valjean's actions for the sake of social commentary. Hugo was inspired by the real-life criminal/policeman Francois Eugene Vidoq, and split his personalities into the two main characters in his novel as well as a couple of events in his own life.

Here is a local review from The Oregonian. This was the second time I've seen "Les Miz" (the first time was in London in 1994). Brian's read the book and Sandra is a season ticket holder of the Broadway Rose Theater - so we were all really excited about the show.

We loved it! Sang the songs in the car on the way home. It was a long performance (over 3 hours), but it was well worth the short sleep.



Friday, July 11, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Summer of 1973

Date: Summer 1973
Location: Backyard patio at "E" Street in Springfield, OR
Who: Stacy, Anna (our beloved poodle), my Mom and Tinker Bell, Siamese (I believe Cinderella or "cinner" died the previous fall/winter when I was three).
What: I know it's hard to believe but I remember this picture being taken. I also remember as a child spending the summer evenings in the back yard, eating dinner at my little kids table (Mom and Dad right there beside me with Gram Virginia too). My pets were my constant companions.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Italian Tomato Pie


I can't wait for my tomato crop to come in. This sounds like a wonderful brunch item.


Italian Tomato Pie

· 1 9-inch pie crust
· 1 cup fresh mozzarella, grated or thinly sliced
· 3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (or any)
· 2 cups ricotta (low-fat works fine)
· 2 eggs, lightly beaten
· 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
· 1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded
· 3 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Arrange crust in a pie pan and flute edges. Line bottom of crust with mozzarella, cover with half the tomato slices, sprinkle with half the garlic, 1/3 of the salt and pepper and 1 cup bread crumbs.
3. In a bowl, combine ricotta, remaining garlic, eggs, 1/4 cup Romano, basil, flour and half the remaining salt and pepper.
4. Spoon over crumbs and top with remaining crumbs, layer on remaining tomatoes and sprinkle with remaining cheese, salt, and pepper.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until puffed and golden (40-50 minutes).

Serve hot or chilled overnight.
Image courtesy of Google

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Tradition

We have a tradition over the 4th of July weekend to catch up with Sonja and Geoff down at the Seattle waterfront.

This tradition started back in 2004, the first summer Brian and I dated and continued last Sunday when we all met in the late afternoon for a final holiday weekend cocktail.

Over the years, we have bathed in the sun, witnessed a wedding, danced to the music playing from the adjacent pier and walked the entire length of the waterfront in search of cheaper parking. Our summer just wouldn't be complete without this event!