Top | Newsletter 2011

Culinate Newsletter July 6

(mailing, James Berry)

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 h1. Dear readers,
  I know a lot of people who, when dining out, order the things that they normally don't cook at home. Generally that seems like a good rule of thumb: Treat yourself! But sometimes when a given menu contains odd combinations and out-of-season dishes, I tell myself that I'm better off ordering the tried and true. Plus, I might find a new way to put together ingredients I like.

 Or, maybe not. 

 On July 4, we found ourselves at a beautiful old lodge. It had nearly everything you would want: stunning views; lots of well-situated chairs out on the sunny lawn; comfortable beds. One thing it didn't have was a kitchen in each room, and when we grew hungry, the wood-paneled dining room beckoned.

 Early July may be the perfect time to cook pasta with fresh vegetables. But when my daughter ordered just that for dinner, it came smothered in too-sweet marinara. There was asparagus, red peppers, and locally gathered mushrooms, but any subtle flavors had been lost under the thick blanket of red sauce. (Unfortunately, she wasn't the only one among us whose dinner was overpriced and underwhelming.)

 When we arrived home last night, starved, it took a half hour or so to pull together supper on a similar theme: spaghetti with asparagus, zucchini, and — oolala — garlic spears, dressed with a nutty basil pesto, and sautéed spinach on the side. The food on our plates was really green — too monochromatic to serve in a restaurant probably — and yet it tasted bright and satisfying.

 I wouldn't have traded the view from the lodge for that of our own backyard this holiday weekend, but I definitely would have preferred last night's supper to the dinner fare there. There's bounty of beauty, and there's bounty of food: I'll happily take each when it comes along.
 Kim Carlson
 Editorial Director

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story1id: 336630
story1text: "Matthew Amster-Burton can't get enough Okowa, mochi rice steamed with flavorful ingredients." 
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story2text: "Christina Eng reviews two new books that explore food and the meaning of family."

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recipe1text: "Mojitos, heady with mint and rum, may be the quintessential summer cocktail."
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recipe2text: "Fred Carlo's sausage sandwiches are a Portland, Oregon, classic. Here's how to make them at home."

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