Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frito Pie

This holiday season I have been eating like I was part of the court of Henry the 8th. A Champagne party with about a dozen sparkling wines, including a 1996 vintage Dom Perignon. I brined and Hickory smoked a turkery for that party and the accompaning food was killer....Sushi, Smoked Turkey, Portugese Pork Roast, House Cured Olives, Spiced Pecans, a killer Charcuterie tray...Oh, but I digress.
So, what am I cooking in lieu of an 18 lb. Prime Rib (I should have taken photos)?
I am taking the high brow/low brow approach and pulling out that white trash favorite know as "Frito Pie". I grew up with the "Frito Banditio" (wasn't advertising so much simpler in those days?) and these chips used to be part of my school boy sack lunches.
I have to confess though, as rural and middle class as I grew up in Southern Idaho, even my Mom didn't put this mess on the table.
At the base level this recipe is merely Frito chips with Chili with beans (from a can of course) and a little cheese sprinkled on top (served in the bag is even better).
My version is a little sexier. I seasoned ground beef with cumin, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper and kosher salt then added the beef to some molten hot refried beans. I layered that unsightly mixture with the chips and then added a garnish of sour cream (yeah, like this dish needs more fat ), cilantro, sharp Tillamook cheddar, jalapeno, red onion and cherry tomatoes (from who knows where this time of year). Anyone who knows me knows that I hate processed food and as horrific as this mish-mash sounds, it tastes great. I don't know what they put into these chips but I had a second serving and was craving a third before I had to pull a Roberto Duran and say- "No mas" .

Frito Pie

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ned Ludd

The other night I had a chance to visit a brand spanking new restaurant called "Ned Ludd".
My friend Tom Harvey knew the new owner and a group of us decided to give it a try on Saturday.
The space used to be a Wood oven pizza/BBQ restaurant (pizza was great, but the BBQ was pathetic). The new owners did a quickie remodel to spiff things up, but they are using the wood oven to its full advantage. Everything on the menu is cooked in the wood burning oven. This is more than just "old school" this is a philosophy of cooking seasonally with minimal prep to showcase the ingredients. If you are into highly sauced fussy cooking this is not the restaurant for you.

The five of us had just about everything on the menu. The Trout w/Lardo was very nice and Braised Beef went well with a bottle of 2005 Pax-Lauterbach Hill Syrah that I had yanked out of the cellar. We sampled the Charcuterie plate and the Creamed Kale we ordered was so tasty we ordered a second one. This restaurant reminds me of a leaner and meaner Wildwood. Head over some cold winter night, the restaurant is warm, the service nice and the food will send you home fat and happy.

Located at:
925 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland OR.
Phone: (503) 288-6900
Hours: Thursday - Monday, 5pm till close

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lamb Shanks Braised w/ Oranges & Green Olives


Assorted Cheese Plate
Crostini with goat cheese, fig preserve & proscuitto

Lamb Shank Braised with Oranges and Green Olives
served with
Chipolte Sweet Potato Puree
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Shaved Brussel Sprouts w/Bacon & Pinenuts

Damn near the entire dessert case from Pix Patisserie

Shaved Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon & Pinenuts

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baked Penne w/Ricotta

Baked Penne w/Ricotta
After all the turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy and stuffing that I have been trying to get out of my refrigerator I thought it would be nice to have some "Italian" comfort food for dinner. I was craving pasta with a meat sauce and contemplated making lasagna but I thought that was a bit fussy for a week night. I thought of spaghetti, but I really wanted something a bit sexier. I had made a Ragu that had a pound of Italian sausage and I decided to toss it with a pound of penne then dot with some fresh ricotta and then top with some grated mozzarella.
Bon Appetit