Introducing Everyone’s Table: Featuring Kareema Fernan

In the world of food and wine, we often hear the term “farm to table”. This beautiful partnership begins with amazing local growers and producers working to provide delicious goods for all of us to bring home. Most of us know a local farm or garden that we may have bought produce or goods from, or, maybe a nearby brewery or winery (cough, cough,) that we get our favorite adult beverages from. However, today we are going to take a closer look at our tables, the heart of the household, which for many of us is where we enjoy the meals we put so much effort into. This table might be in a grand dining room, or more realistically, it might the kitchen counter where you sit after a long day, decompressing with your closest quarantine companion.  

Wherever it may be, and whoever may be seated, this table is for all of us. This is a table that holds the recipes of all cultures and backgrounds. This is a table that fills us with delight as we try new flavors. This is a table where we all can grow and learn. This is Everyone’s Table.  

 

Today we welcome Kareema Fernan to the table. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipes. 

Hello Kareema, and welcome.  

UWC – Kareema, you are nothing short of a modern-day superhero: with a family and a full-time job, you are the chef for the household. All during a global pandemic. As we all tiptoe into this next year, can you share some of your feelings, concerns, hopes?   

Kareema – Wow! Those compliments sure feel amazing but they are also ingrained in me as pure survival. I am approaching the new year with a softened heart and extreme caution. A new year often allows us all to start fresh, or perhaps set a goal or two. I plan to accept our current evolving future. I plan to dig myself deep into cooking and nurturing my soul.  

UWC – You and your family are based in New York. Can you tell us what it was like as a young girl coming from Jamaica to the US? Especially in the middle of winter?  

Kareema – I can still remember how frozen my bones had become. I think the weather shock was far more extreme when compared to the sight of a brand new world. I definitely remember not quite understanding why we left home to start a new life. Picture a very cold island girl that wanted to immediately go home. 

UWC – For most of us, our diets have changed over the years. What was your favorite junk food as a kid?  

Kareema – Jamaican households are not known to have many varieties of snacks to offer. If you are looking for a 3-course meal that was leftover from Sunday dinner then you would be in luck. My favorite indulgence as a child was a McDonalds Happy Meal. What a world to live in to be rewarded with a new toy just to eat your meal.  

UWC – Fast forward to 2021, what recipe did you bring to Everyone’s Table first meal? Can you tell us a little about it? 

Kareema – I brought a recipe duo: (1) Good Food Fish Marinade and (2) Whole Roasted Red Snapper 

As I came up with recipe ideas for Everyone’s Table I knew that I wanted to focus on proteins that are a true staple to my Jamaican roots.  I wanted to highlight the simplicity of layering approachable ingredients that packed a great deal of flavor. My recipes come from my soul. I like to truly share a memory. A memory that is simply brought on by a good food experience. In Jamaica, eating a whole fish is second nature, meanwhile; in America, a filet-of-fish reigns supreme. I was raised with a mindset to eat the entire animal. If you raised the animal and killed it for your nourishment then you should honor it by not being wasteful.  

First, the Good Food Fish Marinade features Underwood Pinot Gris wine. I wanted to highlight the delicate fish and also showcase some fresh ingredients. I definitely did not want to “cook off” the wine, but utilize its delicate flavors to marinade the fish all the way to the bone.   

Second, the Whole Roasted Red Snapper recipe is simply roasting the fish with the marinade. The marinade first breaks down the fish and then adds a rich flavor. 

UWC – You’ve mentioned you try to get your food from as close to the earth as you can. How important do you feel it is to find the right ingredients?   

Kareema – For me, it is pivotal when cooking at home. I try to stock my fridge and pantry with ingredients that will enhance any meal. Here is a list of items that I cook with the most: thyme, garlic, lemon, lime, turmeric, scallion (green onion), nutmeg, onion, shallot, greens, and butter. 

UWC – It might not be possible, but if you could only have one spice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?  

Kareema – I think it would be cheating if I selected one of my very own spice blends… 

Smoked sea salt would have to be my selection. I like to double brine my protein: wet brine to add moisture and dry brine to add flavor. Smoked sea salt would allow me to achieve a cooking preparation that runs far too deep in my veins to get rid of.  

UWC – The last year has inevitably led us all to spend more time inside and be closer together. What silver linings, if any, did you and your family find?  

Kareema – As a two working parent household, it allowed me to enjoy all the little things I normally miss out on. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home, and in doing so, I eliminated a 4 hour commute time! The little things such as not waiting for the weekend to have quality family time, cooking a little every day, rather than meal prepping all day long, and, finding more time for myself. 

UWC – Kareema, we can’t thank you enough for sharing this beautiful recipe with us. It is an amazing, delicious, and beautiful dish. To close us out, if you could think of three words to describe your idea of “Everyone’s Table” what would they be?  

Kareema – Soul. Home. Clean Plate. 

 

Good Food Fish Marinade

Ready in 20 mins
Makes 3/4  cup

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 5 scallion (green onion) stalks cut in half
  • 1 small shallot sliced
  • 1/2 lemon zested (approximately 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 lemon juiced (approximately 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 lime zested (approximately 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (seeds removed)
  • 4 – 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 c Underwood Pinot Gris wine
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Sauce Preparation

  1. Remove leaves from thyme. Place all ingredients into a tall glass jar or bowl. Blend together with an immersion blender.
  2. As an alternative, place all ingredients into a stand-alone blender or food processor.
  3. The sauce will become smooth and well incorporated after a couple of minutes.
  4. Use immediately or refrigerate and place in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days.

Tip

This sauce is best used as a marinade for seafood. The acid and aromatics allow for the most desirable flavor combination with a slow-building heat.

Whole Roasted Red Snapper

Ready in 30 mins (inactive time 60 mins)
Makes 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 3  whole red snapper fish (approximately 1/2 to 3/4 lb each) cleaned, scaled, and gutted
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • Water
  • Parchment paper
  • Large bowl

Fish Preparation

  1. Place fish in a large bowl. Cut both lemon and lime in half. Squeeze citrus all over fish. Cover with water and soak for 20 mins.
  2. Pour off water and pat dry.
  3. Pour half of Good Food Fish Marinade all over fish. Rub the marinade on the inside and outside of each fish. Marinade for 30 mins. Flip fish over halfway through.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay out 3 sheets of parchment paper. Place each fish on a separate paper and evenly spoon the remaining marinade over the fish. Wrap parchment paper tightly around each fish.
  5. Roast fish for 20 mins.
  6. Remove from the oven, unwrap, and serve immediately. 

Tip

Whole fish with bones intact is absolutely the best way to eat this dish. The flavor is amplified from the citrus brine and marinade. 

 

Thank you Kareema Fernan!

For more delicious recipes and specialty seasoning blends go to https://www.goodcleankarma.com/ 

Easy Dinners, Amazing Pairings: Fried Chicken and Bubbles

Let’s face it – the holidays are hectic. The days between Thanksgiving through New Year’s can often be described as organized chaos, from shopping, family drama, unexpected guests, and meal planning. Throw in a global pandemic and it’s enough to make anyone a bit crazy. So you may be searching for easy meal ideas and ways to support the local Portland restaurant scene. Enter Big’s Chicken.

Somewhere throughout history, some brilliant guy or gal figured out that fried chicken pairs beautifully with sparkling wine. Pull out a bottle of Underwood Bubbles, place your order online through Big’s Chicken, and voila – a full dinner with drinks are served.

Big’s offers a wide array of options to put an easy and complete dinner on the table. First, let’s talk about the chicken. This post is all about the fried chicken, but Big’s also offers a grilled option. You can get a whole bird, half-bird, or just the wings. There is also a delicious fried chicken sandwich option. Watch out—the wings have a kick!

Now let’s talk sides. We opted for the classics of coleslaw and jo-jo potatoes, as well as the black-eyed pea salad (perfect for good luck on New Year’s Day). Word on the street is the fried Mac N Cheese Bites are to-die-for if you’ve got room for more.

And don’t forget the sauce! There is a variety of options in which to dip the crispy jo-jos or to pour over the chicken. Shown here are the Fresno Sauce (also used to marinate the wings) and the White Gold Vinaigrette (the same sauce for the slaw). The Fresno sauce will set your mouth on fire, so be sure to have a glass of Bubbles at the ready.  😉

This pairing of fried chicken and sparkling wine is the perfect dinner to keep it classy while keeping it real, and of course to keep those #pinkiesdown. Whether you are looking for an easy meal to ring in the new year, tending to a hangover on New Year’s Day, or just want to take a break from cooking, Big’s Chicken has you covered. Just don’t forget the Bubbles.

 From all of us at Union Wine and Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group – we wish you a safe and physically distanced New Year’s. 2021 can’t come soon enough!

  Photography & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer) Food by Bigs Chicken

Mellow Holiday Celebrating: Warm Spiced Mulled Wine with Gelato & Shortbread

We all know that this holiday season is going to be very different in comparison with those of years past, but that is no reason to abandon tradition or the fun and festivities of the season. Of course, there will be less travel and a lot less entertaining, but you can still have fun at home, making some simple but special treats for a cozy night with your family, (or perhaps a couple of your besties), maybe even in front of a roaring fire, listening to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas (my personal favorite) on the record player.

So we thought, what is simple but simply delicious for a cold December evening? Why mulled wine of course! And we were thinking that ice cream sandwiches might be a great compliment, but then I remembered an absolutely amazing gelato shop here in Portland, and instead of full sandwiches, which may be structurally difficult using gelato, we thought that making some shortbread cookies and topping them off with a big scoop of gelato would make for an interesting variation as well as really compliment the warm spiced wine.
And, when was the last time you can say you had an “open-faced” ice cream sandwich??

You will want to make the spiced wine just before serving, so let’s first deal with getting some gelato and making some cookies!

A few years ago, a gelato shop opened on SE Division St. with little pomp or circumstance, but before you knew it, they settled right in and it seemed like they had been there forever. It’s called Pinolo Gelateria and I personally think it could be the best Gelato this side of Rome.

They have a few adventurous flavors, but in general, they stay very traditional. For this project, I decided that their classic “Stracciatella” would work best (although I was tempted by the hazelnut!) Stracciatella, one of the most renowned Roman flavors, takes their classic milk-based flavor, “Fior Di Latte” and drizzles in chocolate creating little shreds, (this is where Stracciatella literally gets its name.)

Once this has been safely procured, it is time to make the shortbread cookies. Shortbread is one of the easiest cookies to make. Since there is no rising agent involved, what you see is what you get, so keep that in mind when forming the cookies. I recommend making them slightly on the thicker side, so they will support the gelato.

Classic Shortbread Cookies

1 C (2 sticks) softened, unsalted butter
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2-3 TBS water—to be used just in case the dough is too flaky

STEP ONE:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a mixer, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add flour and salt until combined. Press together well with your hand, wrap tightly in Saran Wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

STEP TWO:

On a floured surface, roll out dough to your desired consistency, about 1/4” inch thick. If the dough is not holding together, add little drops of water and reform with your hands until it does.

STEP THREE

You can cut the cookies into any shape – I chose circular for this project. You can reform the extra dough to make more cookies.

STEP FOUR

Place rounds onto a sheet pan with parchment paper and bake until just turning golden, 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through so they cook evenly.

Now that we have all that ready to go, it’s time to get to the fun stuff…making the mulled wine.

Holiday Mulled Wine

1 full bottle of Underwood Pinot Noir
1 Clementine or Satsuma Orange cut into chunks, plus one for garnishing glasses
Juice of 2 oranges
6 whole cloves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3 whole star anise
1/4 C Bee Local Honey
1/2 C Cointreau

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to the lightest simmer. Make sure honey is fully dissolved. Shut off the burner before it boils so you don’t cook the alcohol out of the Underwood and Cointreau. Allow it to sit, covered, for 10 minutes then strain out the liquid into a ceramic pot to keep it warm. Add more orange chunks if desired. Serve warm.

When everything is ready to go, ladle out a few cups of the warm mulled wine and garnish with a chunk of Clementine and a small cinnamon stick. Allow the gelato to soften slightly. (Be aware, this will happen pretty quickly.) Scoop a happy amount onto a few of the shortbread cookies and serve immediately with the mulled wine. The warm, spiced red wine will really compliment the cookie and creamy gelato.

From everyone here at the Union Family, we hope your holidays are safe and fun! As they say, ’Stay Positive, Test Negative.’

And as always, keep those #pinkiesdown.

Photography, Recipes & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Cookie helper: Meredith Rizzari

Chefs at Home Series: Taco Tuesday with Jason French & Viola

Chef, consultant (and all-around great dude) Jason French has been a bastion of the Portland restaurant world for nearly twenty years. He ran the kitchen at Paley’s Place and helped open Clark Lewis before heading out on his own to open Ned Ludd and then Elder Hall. Thirteen years later, he can still be found where he is most comfortable…in his kitchen.

When Jason cooks at home, he often employs the help of his daughter Viola. Nearly thirteen herself, she has definitely followed in her father’s footsteps, honing her own kitchen skills. We asked Jason if we could hang out and get a (literal) taste of what kind of cooking he and his daughter collaborate on. He immediately suggested Taco Tuesday, a great way to spice up an otherwise bland day.

Jason chose to make Roasted Chicken, Squash, and Tomatillo Tacos with Refried Beans and Viola’s signature Guacamole.

For the tacos:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup whole tomatillos, husked
1 medium summer squash, trimmed and cubed (seasonally, acorn or butternut squash may be substituted)
1 C chicken stock
1 T cumin seed, ground
2 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Peel the husks from your tomatillos.

Cut your squash into large chunks.

Cut the chicken thighs in half, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, and season well.

Separate out in a single layer of a sheet pan and put into the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and the squash is golden brown.

Cut up the chicken and half of the squash. Put into a heavy-bottomed pot.

Put the roasted tomatillos, remaining squash, and the chicken stock into a large blender. Pulse until chunky and add to the pot.

Keep warm on the stove while you prepare the rest of the food.

While her dad is taking care of all that, Viola is in charge of the guacamole.

For the Guacamole:
1 large ripe avocado
1 T fresh lime juice
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop all the flesh into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasoning as needed.

And of course, get the chefs final approval…

Set the guacamole aside and make the refried beans. In a pinch, there is no shame in using canned refried beans, but if you have the time, and an extra set of hands to help, homemade is always best.

For the Refried Beans:
1 T olive oil or lard + 3 T more for frying
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 T fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 C cooked pinto, black or red kidney beans, drained
1 C chicken stock
Salt and pepper

To make the beans, heat 1 T of oil and slowly cook the onions and garlic until just starting to color. Add the beans, oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the chicken stock. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the remaining oil until hot, add the beans and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans achieve the desired consistency, continually scraping all the “crusty goodness” off the bottom as it cooks. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

Once everything is ready, finish up your Fixins.

Fixins:
(Feel free to add/subtract whatever makes you happy)
corn tortillas, hard or soft, served warm with dinner
fresh limes, quartered
grated cheddar or Mexican style cheeses like Cotija
scallions, thinly sliced
French radishes, thinly sliced
pickled jalapenos, canned are supreme
fresh cilantro leaves

Finally, heat your tortillas over an open flame (or on an electric burner) and keep warm.

With perfect timing, Jason’s girlfriend Carrie happened to come home just as the last tortillas were being cooked. A bottle of Underwood Pinot Gris was opened and the French Family dinner was a complete success.

We want to thank Jason and his family for sharing their Taco Tuesday with us. If you are somehow unacquainted with Jason’s work, you can check out his restaurant, Ned Ludd, and his event space Elder Hall. In his spare time, Jason also works as a personal coach and consultant.

Finally, from everyone here in the Union Family, we hope you are staying safe. And please get out there and VOTE!

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Recipes by Jason French. (@jasonffrench)
Guacamole by Viola.

Plan B Birthday Celebration: Getting Creative with Plans in 2020

2020 has been a strange year for birthdays, weddings, and graduations. We’ve all had to adapt and get extra creative with how we celebrate. It’s been challenging just figuring out what a party can look like during a global pandemic. Can we throw one while still socially distancing? How many friends and family can safely gather?

40th birthdays feel like a pretty big deal. It’s a day I’ve gently held in the back of my mind for years. My original plan to throw a big party for myself and two of my best friends (whose birthdays coincide with mine) quickly went out the door when I realized how serious and long-lasting the pandemic was going to be. So I tucked away my disappointment and decided to take off in my van and drive from Oregon to Colorado instead. There, I met up with my dear friend, Abi, who’s 29th birthday happens to fall on the day after mine.

We determined that a backpacking trip into the mountains was the perfect solution to our birthday woes. Since we both love spending time outdoors, it seemed like the most fitting way to celebrate. In order to make our backcountry adventure even more special, we packed in 2 cans of Underwood Bubbles and a vegan chocolate cake. Always worth the extra weight.

Once we landed on doing the beautiful Missouri Lakes trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, we loaded up and drove the three hours to the trailhead where we camped overnight in our vehicles.

To beat the crowds, we aimed for an alpine start the next morning. Our hiking entourage consisted of me and my dog, Huxley, and Abi and her two dogs, Kodi and Kuma; each of us carrying our own fully loaded backpack into the wilderness.

Abi and I chose a relatively easy trail for this particular overnighter because we both wanted the trip to feel fun and easy. So the 4 miles in with 1500 ft of elevation gain was mostly a breeze, and by the time we reached the lake and our destination for the night, we still had plenty of energy to explore the area.

So we set up our tents and dropped our Union Wine cans in the creek to chill for later. We grabbed our cameras, quickly tied on our raincoats, and headed up the trail to explore a wildflower-covered ridgeline. There were some dark clouds preemptively accumulating in the distance, and Colorado is known for its summer afternoon thunderstorms, so we knew our time to explore was limited.

We wound our way past some smaller lakes, the shores dotted with eager fishermen. We heard the recognizable whistle of marmots and the chirps of pika echoing from the fields of talus, teasing our dog companions into a frenzy. But patches of snow covered the steep hillside, creating small playgrounds for our rambunctious dogs, where they slid and chased each other, bearing their teeth and digging them deep into the snowbank.

Mountain peaks popped into view as we zig-zagged our way up the trail another 1000 ft., finally topping out over the ridge. The views on the other side made the extra effort well worth it and we paused to snack and take it all in. However, it wasn’t long before we heard thunderclap and immediately started the trek back down to camp, quickening our steps as we walked. Back lakeside, Abi and I eagerly pulled our wine out of the creek just as heavy drops started to fall, each of us retreating to our respective tents to hide away from the thunderstorm.

The hours passed inside our tents, dogs snuggling up close, trembling lightly from the sounds of the storm. We each made dinner while cheers-ing one other from afar. It wasn’t exactly the “party atmosphere” I had hoped it would be, but we made the absolute most of the moment, knowing it would pass.

When the rain finally subsided, night was already beginning to fall. As darkness descended upon us, we excitedly emerged from our tents ready to make up for lost time. I cracked open the bubbles and sliced deeply into the chocolate cake. We cheerfully sang the “happy birthday song” to each other, guzzled our crisp and refreshing beverages, indulged in giant bites of chewy cake, and danced and talked until we could no longer see one another through the black. Finally giving in, we tucked ourselves in for the night, tired and satisfied.

The next morning as the sun lit up the peaks, we brewed ourselves some coffee and finished off the rest of the chocolate cake, a perfect breakfast to fuel the hike out. We hung around just long enough to enjoy the morning views and soak in the mountain air before slowly packing up and retreating back to civilization.

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned from this wild and unpredictable year include the ability to embrace flexibility and a willingness to adjust. Even though I had to seriously alter my birthday expectations (along with so much more) many times over, it still magically came together. And guess what? It ended up being one of my most memorable birthdays ever. Remember to always strive for adaptability, because sometimes plan B, C or even D might be better than plan A could have ever been.

Words and Photography by Brooke Weeber.