Posts Categorized: Recipes

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.

From Simple to Simply Amazing: Turning a Calimocho into a Cali-Macho

These days, with the advent of the mixologist, cocktails seem to get more and more esoteric with each season. Smoked this, homemade bitters that…we respect creativity, but sometimes simplicity speaks the loudest.
Enter the classic Spanish cocktail, the Calimocho (or Kalimotxo in its native Basque.) Simple enough, it is equal parts red wine and Coca-Cola. This drink has an unusual and varied backstory that we’ll let you research on your own, but suffice to say, it is generally served and enjoyed by Spanish youths during traditional ‘botellón’ parties, or what American youths might call ‘pre-gaming’: gathering together for a few light drinks before heading out for the evening.
Never been to Spain? Well, once air travel is safe again, we highly recommend it. From its wondrous narrow streets,

to its amazing architecture,

to its picturesque parks and plazas,

and finally, to its cheeky restaurant murals, Spain is like nowhere else on Earth.

So, in the iconoclastic spirit of the Spanish lifestyle, we decided to jazz things up with a shot of Branca Menta (the Fratelli Branca’s mint flavored liqueur.) I recommend trying the classic combination first, and then adding a little something more. If the herbaceous tones of Fernet are not your style, you can also try an orange flavored liqueur such as Cointreau, Combier or Triple Sec, which will also work well.

The Cali-Macho
 
3 oz. (preferably Mexican) Coca-Cola
Start with 2 cups full of ice. Add the red wine. There is an old adage in professional kitchens: Never cook with wine that you wouldn’t want to drink. Well the same goes for wine cocktails. That’s why the Underwood is perfect for the Cali-Macho.

Next add the Coca-Cola. For the uninitiated, you can get Mexican Coke at most Taquerias around town. Besides from having just a bit more spice and depth than American Coke, it is actually still made with pure cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. And it comes in a vintage thick-bottomed glass bottle with an old school pop top!

Mix this well and then add an ounce of Branca Menta or your choice of flavored liqueur.

And there you have it. A delicious and refreshingly light cocktail to enjoy throughout the Fall.

From everyone in the Union Family, please stay safe out there and as always, keep those
#pinkiesdown.

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Photography, Recipes & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Summer Round-up: Our favorite Field Note’s from Summer 2020

It’s been a wild summer and we’ve been trying to keep up with all that is going on around us, while still hoping to provide some great recipes and ideas you’ll enjoy! This week we wanted to do a Summer Round-up of yours—and our—favorites from the last several months.

This recipe, our Radler brined rack of ribs, was a huge hit! I hope some of you tried it or will try it soon!

Underwood Riesling Radler Spareribs

 

Who doesn’t enjoy a homemade popsicle during the hot summer months? We were particularly proud of these beautiful and tasty pops made with Underwood Rosé and fresh berries—our Pink & Polka Dot Ice Pops.

Underwood Rosé Popsicles

 

The times have certainly changed of late and we want to protect as many people as possible, starting with our employees. This post on how to get creative and make your own mask was educational and inspirational. Joanna is a pro at making fun and stylish masks and we were so happy she shared her sewing secrets with us.

 

And finally, who doesn’t love to follow along on other people’s adventures when they are as amazing as a day in the life of Cheney?! Cheney is a winemaker at Union and an active guy —it can be hard to keep up with him when he’s having fun. This post helps us enjoy the ride without going to too much trouble!

 

Those are our favorites. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Take good care out there! Be careful and keep safe.

#pinkiesdown

Late Summer BBQ Skewers: Go Big or Go Home

I honestly don’t know how the whole thing got started. When most people think BBQ skewers, they envision a full meal on a stick: chicken next to onions next to peppers next to more (raw) chicken. You even see this at many meat counters around town. But that’s just not the way to get the job done. Ignoring for a moment that you really don’t want your raw chicken, seafood, or beef crammed up next to your uncooked veggies, all of those ingredients have different cooking times, and it’s crazy to think they can all be cooked correctly, all jammed together, over an open flame. And since undercooked protein is never an option, it’s always the poor veggies that suffer.

But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. There are two main rules for successful BBQ skewers. First, each ingredient gets it’s own skewer, and secondly, go big with your ingredients and cut sizes, ensuring that everything stays safely secured to their sticks during cooking. You can always cut everything smaller before serving. I found it best years ago to invest in metal skewers but if you use wooden ones, just make sure to soak them in water for several hours beforehand so they don’t burn on the grill.

With this approach to your dinner, you will want to have a slightly more involved game plan for the meal, since you will need to remove all the cooked food from the skewers before serving. So what we planned was a family-style meal of grilled shrimp and vegetables with Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce and fresh Rau Ram (Vietnamese Coriander—more on that in a bit) over rice. Here’s what you will need to feed 2-3 people:

1 large sweet onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
About 8 large crimini mushrooms
8 to 10 large Tiger Prawns
1 bottle Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce
1 & 1/2 C uncooked white (or brown if you prefer) rice
1 bunch of fresh Rau Ram
Olive Oil, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 ice-cold bottle of Underwood Pinot Gris

In these times of COVID, when I have a long shopping list, I will go to a big supermarket. But when I only need a few ingredients, I have been going out of my way to visit and support some of the small and often times open-air markets around Portland. Right down the street from my studio is a small produce market called Berry Good Produce (5523 SE 28th Ave). I picked up my peppers, onions, and mushrooms there. They always have a great selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables and no long checkout lines.

Next, I swung by ABC Seafood (6509 SE Powell Blvd). If you’ve never been, it is definitely worth checking out. For a very small shop, they have an amazing selection of locally caught seafood. It’s the only place around town to get fresh large Tiger Prawns. During Dungeness crab season, their live selection and prices are unbeatable.

I was also able to pick up some fresh Rau Ram there. If you’ve never tried this herb, it’s wildly memorable, to say the least. It’s kind of like a cross between basil and cilantro, but also has a distinct flavor, unlike any other herb I have ever come across. Here it is pictured below. Once you try it, you will always be able to immediately identify it.

You can pick up the Soy Vay at most small supermarkets. This is a delicious and versatile product that we will be using both as a marinade for the shrimp and as a sauce on our final dish.

Now that our shopping is done, let’s get to prepping. Years ago, when I was cooking at Paley’s Place, a dishwasher there showed me a quick and painless way to peel and clean ‘shell on’ shrimp. With a pair of kitchen scissors, clip halfway down the top of the shrimp, just cutting slightly into the flesh, to both make peeling easier and opening up a channel to “devein” it as well. (That’s when you remove the little center intestinal track.)

To prep out the onion, cut it in half straight through the base, peel it, and then cut each half into segments, leaving just a little bit of the stem to hold the pieces together like this:

And now we can finally get to skewering!

I try to cut the peppers into large uneven shapes to make them more secure and pick up better grill marks:

People often ask how to skewer mushrooms without having them split. Well, the first way is to get bigger mushrooms so there is more to work with, but also, if you skewer them at an angle, instead of straight through the stem, they will hold much more firmly, and also have more of the cap open to the grill surface:

Finally, I always skewer my shrimp fat side down to make sure the tip goes straight through the thickest part, rotating 45 degrees each time:

Once these are all complete, fire up your grill and start cooking your rice. Pour 3 Tbs of the marinade over the shrimp skewer and liberally oil, salt, and pepper the vegetable skewers. When the grill is good and hot, place the skewers on and tend to each as necessary, flipping and removing each when cooked through.

Allow the skewers to cool slightly and then remove the shrimp and veggies. You can leave everything whole or cut into smaller pieces at this point. Put everything into a bowl and mix in another 1/4 C of the Soy Vay. Spread your cooked rice on a platter and spoon the shrimp and veggies over the top. Garish with the fresh Rau Ram leaves.

Get out the chopsticks, crack open your ice-cold bottle of Underwood Pinot Gris and you are in business!

Bon Appétit, please stay safe out there and keep those
#pinkiesdown.

Happy Labor Day Everybody!

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Photography, Text, and Recipe by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Safely Reconnecting with Co-workers: Tacos, Tequila and Radlers in the Driveway

As I’m sure many people out there can relate to, working from home, although a novelty at first, has definitely got its down sides. The biggest of which is missing the camaraderie, conversations and socialization found in a typical office setting. For instance, my wife Meredith works for CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate service company. CBRE’s main Downtown Portland office closed back in March with no real plan of reopening any time soon.

Luckily, everyone was able to work from home, but for an office of folks used to weekly meet-ups, trivia nights and happy hours, those plans very suddenly evaporated. Now that people are feeling more comfortable getting together in small groups
(and of course respecting the rules of social distancing), Meredith thought it would be fun to “get the old gang back together”, as they say, and have a driveway gathering to reconnect. I was tasked with coming up with a signature cocktail to serve and some appropriate local cuisine. So without further ado, I present…

The Tequila Sunrise Radler

(This will make one drink. Multiply out for the amount of people you are entertaining.)

2 oz Reposado Tequilla (I like Lunazul.)
4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 can of Underwood Riesling Radler

I found it easiest and safest to measure and mix the tequila and OJ in a separate pitcher before beginning. As the always dapper and talented Michael is demonstrating, line up your glasses—we found 16 oz Mason Jars best for this—fill with ice and add your tequila and OJ mix to just under halfway up the glass.

Then, in true Tequila Sunrise fashion, gently add 1/4 oz of grenadine to each glass, thus creating the sunrise effect.

Distribute your drinks and at this point have each party member come up and grab their own can of the Reisling Radler.

Then, have each person top off their cocktail with the Radler, and continue to do so as they consume their cocktail, adding a little Radler each time there is room in the glass.

I thought that tacos would go great with this drink and since we have an amazing locally owned taqueria at the end of our street, it was a great opportunity to support a local business and also offer something that could be easily and safely self-served by each person.

If you are in the Burnside/82nd Ave area, definitely stop into Taqueria Santa Cruz for some amazing tacos or burritos. (I highly recommend the chorizo and if you are feeling adventurous, the lenqua.)

To keep everything “hands-free”, all chips were individually bowled up, the sauces were separated and tongs were used to serve the tacos.

And it never hurts to have a little hand sanitizer at the ready for anyone who feels the need.

And once the cocktails are in hand and the tacos are plated, its time to relax and catch up.

No carne asada for the puppers…

And with these beautiful summer evenings, what better and safer way to get home than on your bicycle?

So, there you have a solid groundwork for a full evening of entertainment to reconnect with whomever in your life you have been missing. All we ask is that you stay safe and responsible and of course keep those
#pinkiesdown.

Photography, Recipe & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)