Monthly Archives: April 2016

Could I be the next contestant on “Clash of the Grandmas”?!

Well, Lordy me.  I never thought I’d see the day when … gasp … a cooking competition show would send out a casting call for grandmothers!  It’s all about the new and the young, isn’t it?

But that’s just what showed up in my e-mail box today.  It’s a new show called “Clash of the Grandmas” on the Food Network.

Guess who wrote them a letter? Why not!!!  I may be able to cook circles around Nigella Lawson or Giada de Laurentiis, but  I’m no longer of the illusion that I’d look good standing next to them. But Grandma Sally from DesMoines? Bringing it on, honey. I can hold me own with the other old ladies, no problem.

Go Granny Go! Get a little hit on the Little Old Lady From Passadena



Feeling so Italian, under a big blue Oregon sky

For the legions of Americans who feel compelled to torture a sweet little pork loin until it tastes like someone waived a meat wand over a sawdust heap, I give you the Italian solution: porketta.porketta

Porketta is a pork loin that has been brined a bit, then smothered in fresh herbs, garlic, and my own special touch: dried pears poached in cognac, then wrapped in pork belly (uncured bacon my friends). Then it’s roasted until the belly is cracking and brown on the outside, and the pork loin is insouciant and juicy on the inside, completely untroubled by that oven roasting.

And that’s our main course next Saturday, April 9 when I cook again at the Balch Hotel in Dufur.

The rest of the meal is inspired by Italy, too. We start with an antipasti plate: savory goat cheese panna cotta with preserved lemon, Italian artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes, basil oil, with crostini. Then it’s that porketta with fennel potato gratin, lacinato kale and pork pan sauce. And for dessert? Honey lemon ricotta cake, lemoncello creme anglaise, fresh strawberries. All that, and the Balch will just separate $45 from your wallet (plus gratuity, which is up to you.) We’ll have some nice wines, and a wine flight, to choose too.

The Balch is a short hop (I say that because we are three days away from opening season for major league baseball, and I’m remembering all my favorite shortstops who can pick up a grounder and swing around to first with the fine liquid movement of chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream) from Hood River, and elsewhere in the Gorge. If you’ve never stayed there, you’ll love what they’ve done with their beds, baths and beyond. Course, you can just drive home afterward, watching the last shreds of April sun slide down the Gorge.

Visit for the details. Hope to cook for you again soon.