Food and football…in Portland

This has nothing to do with the building project, but I’m putting this here because I don’t know a more efficient way to share these. Then again-who doesn’t like a good recipe or two (or three, in this case).

Recently prepared the food for an event at the Portland Museum. It was a very cool neighborhood tour led by former Green Bay Packers player and Portland native-Paul Hornung. If you’re interested in Portland and aren’t familiar with Mr. Hornung-here’s his lengthy wiki entry. The Portland Museum also has a nice exhibit about his Portland childhood. It is a real tribute to his mother’s strength and very touching. Might even cheer for the Packers this year (as long as they’re not playing the Saints).

At any rate, a very nice lady requested some of the recipes from the “tailgating menu” from the event. Here they are:

Beer Cheese

There are a ton of beer cheese recipes out there. I like the ones that use dry mustard and horseradish. Don’t recall where this one came from, but it’s my favorite. It’s rather spicy, but you can adjust the cayenne. I use very little cayenne because I prefer the heat from the mustard and horseradish.

  • 1 lb sharp cheddar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 yellow onion (or any onion really-but not a red/purple one)
  • 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 12-oz beer, flat – I used an Against the Grain beer, but Guinness works well or any beer that has some body but isn’t too dark

Drop onion and garlic into a food processor. Pulse to mince. Add all remaining ingredients except beer. Pulse till well-mixed, scraping down the sides. Pour beer in a stream while running food processor until cheese reaches desired consistency.

This is best if it sits for a day or two. And, it keeps, refrigerated for a long time.
Cole Slaw w/Dried Cranberries and Smoked Almonds

This is better if served a few hours after dressing, but not too long because it can get soggy. It still tastes good, but looks a little “tired” if it sits too long and you want the almonds to stay crunchy. This is a Southern Living magazine recipe.

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 (10-oz.) packages shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup chopped, smoked almonds
  • 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced

Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until blended. Stir together coleslaw mix and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add vinegar mixture, tossing to coat.
Cream Puffs w/Whipped Cream Filling

I used the cream puff dough for a Coffee Eclair recipe from my absolute favorite cookbook – Paris Sweets. In my next life, I will have a shop that makes and sells only items from this book. It’s an assemblage of some of the very best French desserts. I haven’t made everything in there yet, but will in this lifetime.

Cream Puff Dough

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature (this is important)

Position the racks of the oven to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat to 375 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them nearby.

Fit a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Keep this nearby as well.

Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium low, and quickly stir – energetically- with a wooden spoon. Th  dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring – with vigor – for another two minutes to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or, continue by hand. (Note:  I always do this by hand and always end up with a blister-but it is do-able. You don’t have to have a stand mixer.) Add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is shiny and and thick. Don’t worry if the dough falls apart-by the time the last egg goes in, it will come together again. once all eggs are incorporated-the still warm dough must be used immediately.

At this point, you can spoon the doughy into the pastry bag and plop out some pretty round cream puffs. Or, you can spoon out the dough for the size cream puff you want onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave about two inches between each one.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 8 minutes before slipping the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door to keep it slightly ajar. When the puffs have baked for another 12 minutes, rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking approximately 8 more minutes until they’re golden and firm. (Note:  I poke a tiny hole in each puff after about the first 8 minutes, I read somewhere it helps them rise a bit-that may or may not be true-but I do it anyway).

Remove thepuffs to a rack and let them cool.

Whipped Cream

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Chill a metal bowl and the mixer beaters. Place sugar in bowl. Add heavy cream. Beat until stiff peaks form.

To fill the Cream Puffs

Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag. Poke a small hole in the bottom or side of a puff, insert pastry tip and fill puff. You can also just cut the puff in half and spoon a generous amount of whipped cream into the middle. (The spoon technique is especially good when you run out of time preparing these for an event and realize you’ve forgotten to bring a pastry bag and tip).

Filled puffs can be refrigerated for a few hours. Upon serving they can be drizzled with a chocolate ganache or coated with a bit of confectioner’s sugar. (If you choose the sugar route, don’t do this in advance as the puff will absorb the sugar).