BEANS – West African

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Thursday September 29, 2005

West African Beans #15522

(but modified by Mark after talking to Maggie Tschala…..at the OHSU Xmas party 2003)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
2 DRY RED beans =
(Maggie uses dry RED Beans soaked, then cooked next day.)
2 cups water
1 pinch salt

* cayenne pepper (to YOUR taste!

The West African brand is very hot and needs less. The Spanish Cayenne is milder in t)
(NO…use dried Chilis – chopped finely )

PROCESS:

1. In skillet, add Oil, Onion, Garlic.

2. Cook on med heat, stirring often.

3. When onion is lightly browned, add Tomato Paste.

(mark says, “Make sure you brown it, not just soften…BROWNING flavor needed for end product…cooked till almost burned…you MUST continue stirring)

4. Stirring constantly until the Paste has separated’ and is a deep burgundy/brown color.

(mark says, “again, make sure the paste cooks complete and turns brown as described above)

5. Be careful not to let burn! (but ALMOST burned)

6. Takes about 10-15 minutes.

7. Stir in Bean’juice’. – – Don’t add much juice.

8. Then, add the beans, salt and 1cup of the water. (I didn’t add a cup of water….beans were already too cooked. / mh)

9. Let simmer about 10min.

10. Stir occasionally.

11. When mixture begins to thicken, stir in Cayenne Pepper, to taste and continue to simmer til you have a thick, velvety’sauce’.

12. Use remaining water to adjust consistency to your liking.
13. Serve over Rice.

6-8 servings
45 minutes ( 15 mins prep time, 30 mins cook time )

TOMATO SAUCE – Fresh w/HERBS

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden by mark Thursday September 29, 2005

MARK Says: We had so many Roma Tomatoes ripening, we decided to try this, and the result was an outstanding “fresh” sauce we are freezing in pints to use later………. I’m sure it’s not only the fresh tomatoes that made this great, but the fresh herbs we were able to use from the garden…………….. Source: Internet

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

2 tb Olive oil
1 md Yellow onion; finely chopped
2 lg Garlic cloves — peeled and mashed
2 1/2 lb Ripe fresh tomatoes (we used 3 lbs or so)

-or- Imported canned tomatoes — drained, in 1/2″ dice — reserve juice

2 TB Fresh rosemary; chopped
2 ts Fresh sage; chopped
1 TB Fresh parsley; chopped
3 TB Basil – chopped
Salt and pepper; to taste

1/2 to 3/4 cup dry white wine

Hill and Barclay write: “This tomato sauce, made without the usual paste, is wonderful to keep on hand in the freezer for pasta, omelets, and grilled meats and poultry.”

Heat olive oil in large skillet over moderately high heat; sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add tomatoes gradually, keeping heat as high as possible without browning. Stir in herbs, wine and any reserved tomato juice; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or just until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add more
wine or water if needed, to prevent sticking and maintain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: About 4-5 cups.

ST JOHNS – The Bridge is Back !

Bloged in Oregon,Portland by mark Thursday September 29, 2005

FALL is in the Air………………and on the Town

The bad part about having too much going on around you at once is that by the time you can put something in your boring diary, you can’t remember what it WAS three weeks ago that was so demanding………….the thrill of being 58.8 in human years, over 350 in dog years.

But for THIS area, the BIG affair-o-the month had to be the re-opening of the St Johns Bridge weekend (A really BEAUTIFUL suspension bridge who’s designer was involved with the design of the Golden Gate as well)……..the supports have huge cathedral window like openings so the park underneath the bridge has always been called, “Cathedral Park”, of course. For over two years now, the bridge has been closed every night after 8:00 pm and open to one lane each way during the days. That’s not pleasant since this gateway bridge leads to industry after industrial warehouse on the land extending out from St Johns. The worlds largest grain belt is there for loading international ships with the grain that comes down the Columbia on barges from Eastern points in WA & OR as well as Idaho.

So St Johns was sort of opened up in the late 30’s when the bridge was completed.
However, with all the industry, this little area became BIG time blue-collar country with warehousemen, longshoremen, rail traffic etc etc etc. So, it got a little seamy as time went on and sort of forgotten over the 70 years since the bridge was built. With the economic boom all over the area though, this little hidden spot has become one of the last bastions of affordable housing for young couples, and cheap(er) places to open businesses. Since we’ve been here, the old Safeway’s been torn out with Condominiums going up, a Starbucks is in, gourmet dining is beginning to appear and these new upgrades are beginning to outlast places like “Shagnasty’s Stripper Joint”, “DAD’s BAR and PRIME RIB”, “SLIMS Joint”, the Portland Rose Chinese and American Food Chop-Suey House, the Salvation Army Thrift Center, etc etc. It’s a happening place!

It was about the last bastion for affordable housing and finally drew in first some artists and gays , and now rapidly getting bought into by young couples and young families. Under the St Johns Bridge, a huge loft area was set up as an artist’s enclave offering cheap rent while they create their artistic wares (Thanks to one of Portland’s rich and generous Art Benefactors).

The merriment of these changes is showing:

pot office

For the Bridge Grand “Re-Opening”, we attended both days events with Brenda and Thomas that began with Saturday evening’s romp in Cathedral Park under the bridge.

Cathedral Park has quite the gorgeous setting…….

The big surprise was watching the hip (or is it Hippie) Marching band come through complete with men on stilts. The crowd followed them to they performed for a long while. While watching the band, one of the men on stilts had to go…………..and honestly, if you’d seen it you would have a hard time believing it but he became a contortionist (really) straight out of the old time circus, bending over sharply, and entering the porta-potty….. and then began to appear again where he admitted to Rodger’s question, “That was difficult.”

And finally back to full stature:

he went right back to dancing with the band.

We toured, danced, and finally went uptown St Johns where we ALL went to DAD’s BAR (yep, it looks like it sounds) for our first time since moving here (HEY….it was a momentous occasion).. …(DAD’s is right at the end of the bridge). We enjoyed a couple cool ones and great fun. Rodger was challenged at pool and won:

Thomas and Brenda are Wisconsin Natives, but thoroughly enjoying Oregon. Brenda works in Rodger’s Croet Group and Thomas is finishing up his University Work in Environment Studies (Yea, Thomas). They are LOTS-o-FUN and even brought us some very great “Boutique Dairy” Cheese on return from their last Wisconsin trip:

Not the greatest poses I’m sure they will say, but what the hell, we were in DAD’s after all! OKAY Thomas & Brenda, now you can see we gotta get a better picture of you.

We ended the night with a bite to eat at Café Ole’ next door and made it home to rest up for the Bridge Walk next day. With the ribbon-cutting at high noon, we were there and ready for the walk:

OUR house is on the hilltop in this view just about an inch right of the first bridge light fixture on the right. SO off we go across just like they did in 1938 when things were new and the great FDR, a democrat was in office using our tax dollars to create great public works:


This shows the cathedral openings of the bridge and the suspension spans. This view from the south side.

This view shows what you see on the bridge looking toward downtown Portland 8 miles away:

Sadly, although beautiful downtown is in the distant view, you can certainly see the sad installation of polluting industry closer to the bridge. The Amtrak Bridge is the one in the picture……that leads to Bill Gates personal city, Seattle. Well, I guess Boeing owns a little of it too.

Here we were at the south end ready to cross back to St Johns:

It was a lot of fun and a great chance to see detail on the bridge we never had a chance to stop and look at.

from the outside of the walkway, note the pier supports ….nice concrete.

OKAY, then we headed home to cook. It’s easy to see that even though the kitchen ain’t quite done (the last two lights are almost in, but one is not working and we have the door on order)………….trim is stained but sitting waiting on the door, but anyways, we ARE learning how to cook again, and the kitchen no longer has that great clean wide-open-spaces look….You can see that finally THIS week, we go very busy there even we hadn’t planned to can anything this summer…..HERE’s that NEW Kitchen at WORK:


This was two days tomato harvest………….(about September 15)…and now we are all done. We found a fabulous frozen Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe that used EVERYTHING we were growing in our own garden. So lots of that ended up in the freezer lightly cooked along with thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, some garlic and wine….. then frozen. WE plan on having some fabulous Pasta Sauce this winter.

Our corn actually finally ripened and we thoroughly enjoyed it and shared it and finally had to freeze some of that too. For a GARDEN that got so little attention, it provided lots-o-fun here at the last.

We’re trying to get Fennel Seed saved as cousins Kevin and Bruce are mutual Fennel Fans, so we hope to send them some as soon as we get more harvested and dried. There are about 100 of these still green on the plant:

Here’s the plant still out in the weather:

So there you have it……………….the deer have since these pictures completely finished off the garden and are now stripping the roses by the house during the wee hours. We’d decided they weren’t going to do anything to the roses and put the deer sprinkler away, however, friend Karen advises here Deer Sprinkler did NOT stop the deer this year from chewing away. I’m still convinced that because of the deforestation of the three acres next to us, the deer were left with no choice.

Oh well, I can’t complain with all the bad news around us. We’re eating well, sleeping warm, have a puppy who seems fairly content, and so far, paying bills. We still miss so many friends from days long ago in California………………we are loving it here however learning so many new things along with great new friends who are, we must say, quite fabulous.

Mark & Rodger.

Ps: The FRESH Tomato Sauce Recipe has been posted in our new Category Section, “RECIPES” .

fashion omission

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Friday September 16, 2005

A few friends HAVE made note to us that we overlooked the return of the 70s Hip-Hugger Pants too……. A fact maybe true because neither of us every wore them.

I think it was worthy though because: The very clerk at Meier and Frank I made the “ugly” comments to about all the new clothes was probably 19-21, about 6 foot tall and about 80 pounds wearing a big fluffy off-white big-collar whitish dress shirt and tight as you can paint hip-hugging denim pants that were pre-faded. His only comment back to me was, “Hmmmm. is there any article of clothing in particular here you didn’t like?” In other words, he truly WAS too young to even know what I was talking about when venting about 70s clothes.

Yes, get out there and get the new tight pants…………who knows then they’ll be back around. HAH

Fashion Coma

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Thursday September 15, 2005


Has THIS happened to YOU this summer?

It’s been a long while since Rodger had any “new” things to wear at the office, so some of our old shirts are looking old. We set off to get him something on sale maybe at Mervyns…..you know, go to a sale, save bucks, don’t be pretentious, etc.

Well. That little trip gave us a real wake up call. We discovered we’ve been in a fashion coma (Rodger’s words) for about 25 years. We truly had felt content to know that the 1970’s clothing fads died, you know: bright orange, lime greens, rust browns in wide irregular striping with BIG Collars on shirts……………..

And if that was not enough, look at the Denim Pant situation. Try to find a nice new darkly-dyed-blue pair of Denim (Levi) Jeans, Pants, or whatever you call them…………. It is now truly almost impossible unless you sternly go straight to the original LEVI 501 pattern and pay the price. That’s Mark’s choice still and probably suffers less stress because of it. But Rodger tried Mervyns, Old Navy, Meier & Frank (Macy now), Urban Outfitters and a couple more stores: ALL the Denim Pants are now pre-faded, and MOST even stressed enough that the holes in them have patches over them. You can’t be serious! You are NOW PAYING someone to beat the crap out of and wear down the fabric in your pants before you buy them at an inflated price. So part of that newly inflated high price on “new” pants is simply to pay labor costs to beat the crap out the fabric before you get it. Is THAT a logical statement? I ALWAYS hated the 70’s styles…..always.

The funny thing is Mark had just put on his oldest pair of Levi 501s this past Monday and told those around him this would that pant’s last public outing that they were to be relegated to dirty garden use only ………… THEN we spent that next day shopping and saw pants that looked just like mine but were selling now for $70………….hard to believe. Mine are 10 years old. WHO is buying that? Next Year the fashion will be gone and they can’t restore the beat up pants to something new.

By the way, also resurrected as fresh as a daisy this fall is a shirt I ALWAYS liked: Rugby Shirts are back with those wide nice stripes. I think I liked them because it took about two years to wear them down. So, the fashion nightmare trip wasn’t a total loss.

With that persistence, Rodger found 5 shirts on seasonal close outs for about $100. So he did okay………….but no pants.

Okay, back to the kitchen where Mark couldn’t resist putting a little food by for winter since that garden actually is pouring out tomatoes, corn, Tomatillos, peppers, to beat the band……….and he can’t stant to throw them away after the work growing them. Yesterday, he dried MORE Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, and began on Fennel Seed. Maybe with the end of Blackberry Jam now, Spices will have to be our Christmas Gimmick. HAH………….You want some Fennel Seed for Christmas?

silver falls and mac gets tutored

Bloged in Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday September 8, 2005

Headline: Skyline Dog Taken to Vet for Tutoring

Mac reported to neighboring dogs last week about excitement looming as the Subaru rear door was opened last Friday and an invitation extended for him to board:

Unknown to the young stud Mac, the Vet used another word on him when he arrived at the Silver Creek Animal Clinic in Silverton. Once again, friend Mike Stewart allowed us into his Vet Clinic an hour out of town to get Mac fixed for life. Chief Surgeon Jason Kimball performed the surgery and we were in/out with an $80. total bill. Estimates for the very same work here in Portland ranged around the $200-250 mark. THANKS Mike!

So, I guess, Mac had his day as every dog should:

Having said that, we left home about 6:45 am Friday to be in the Clinic by 8:00. Mac would have to remain there until about 4:00 pm for recovery. So we figured out what we could do while in the area. Rodger renewed his drivers license in Stayton by 9:30, and then we figured we’d head for Silver Falls State Park. On the way, we passed “Cooper’s Fried Chicken” Grand Opening and had to check it out. That was very tasty, juicy, fried chicken! We found it is a NW chain but have only one in our area at some obscure Chevron Gas Station in Vancouver somewhere….so probably won’t try it again.

Silver Falls State Park is one of many beautiful Oregon Forested State Park’s, and this one with several waterfalls located along miles of hiking trails. All trails hike down into the little canyon and eventually you must hike out, but along the way, the sightseeing is unforgettable.

Just beginning the walk, we passed something too funny……..a sign is posted in front of a very nice customized windowed Log Structure built for meetings, etc. The sign says “LOG CABIN” as if to suggest this beautifully maintained building is what all the pioneers had to live in, HAH!

Your trail first places you at the top of South Falls where you can look into the stream as it simply disappears from sight (over a high cliff of course). You then walk around to view the front of the falls and hike switchback trails to get below and behind along solid rock paths viewing the fall from the back side.

This is South Falls 1 ….you can see the tiny people on the trail to get a perspective.

Walk another three hundred feet and you get a different feeling:

Along the way we were reminded what an old growth tree must have looked like by seeing the remains of the trunk along the trail:

The little canyon is a beautiful place to hike:

We continued hiking down the canyon to the next falls:

Here we also looked out from behind the falls:

We also chose to take a family portrait (hah) because the setting was inspiring:

This is where we crossed the river and began the steep climb back up to return to the origin point.

Yes, we were there at low water mark for the year so perhaps the water level looks disappointing. Come back in February or March and the level will be several times what we saw that day.

We had a nice lunch at a family run Taqueria Diner in Silverton…..good fresh food and were able then to pick up the dog about 3:30. MAC seemed happy to see us for sure, and probably only thought he’d been there just a little bit since he was out most of the time.

That was a nice trip, and so we returned for the Labor Day weekend where we spent much of it being lazy watching the U.S. Open Round 3 Playoffs for the next two days so Mac would take it easy.

It WAS time to use up some of the basil off the big plants so Mark made an oil/basil paste and put these bags into the freezer so we can make great PESTO this winter. Also, we are getting so many tomatoes we may just can up a few quarts of Whole Tomatoes for some winter supplies (hah) and we DID eat a few ears of baby corn last night. We only have two days of sunshine left before some cool wet air arrives from the north, so we’re going to make the most of it.

NO, we haven’t finished the kitchen. We’re still having what we’ll tastefully call some “discussion” about light fixtures and a door. We will have to complete this major decision soon and get this thing finished.

UPDATE – Thursday, Sept 8:
MAC is recovering nicely and has spent the afternoon chasing a Booda ball (a nice size firm rubber ball attached to a rope) that can easily be thrown 50 yards. He’s looking healthy:

So. Off to give MAC a bath, harvest ‘maters, and get some lunch made.

Our Giant Sunflowers are making seeds….they are about 9 feet tall and getting comments from passersby.

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