Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Broadway House in Myrtle Creek

If you have not yet eaten at The Broadway House in Myrtle Creek, what are you waiting for? This rich chocolate tart was my dessert today, but first, I enjoyed a cup of creamy poblano chile, chicken and corn soup with a piece of pesto-cheese bread for lunch.

The menu and selection of baked goods, artfully prepared by owner Tanya Buchanan, changes daily. This afternoon the counter was filled a variety of freshly baked cookies, a cheesecake with apricot topping, a raspberry tart, chocolate tarts, and an assortment of muffins.

The Broadway House, located at 132 Broadway (next door to the post office) is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm. A delightful spot for breakfast, lunch, or just popping in for a cup of tea and a pastry.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Greatest Thing About the 100 Valleys of the Umpqua

The News Review is compiling a list of "The Greatest Things About the 100 Valleys of the Umpqua" for a special newspaper section. Everyone in the area is encouraged to submit their "greatest thing."

Here's a link to the article with the details. Let them know what you think is great about our area.

This is what I sent in...

It's the abundance of fresh food! Local farmers grow: apples, apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, berries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, hazelnuts, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, rutabagas, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, squash, walnuts, and zucchini.

Add to that the beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and eggs raised on our local farms and ranches, wild salmon, steelhead, deer and elk in our rivers and forests, sweeten it all with a dash of local honey and you have a food-lover's paradise.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Food Finds in Grants Pass

Yesterday a friend and I were driving home from Central Point and decided to have lunch in Grants Pass. Summer Jo's is always delightful, but it was close to 2:00 pm and they would be closed. We headed west from I-5 on 6th Street. You have to go quite a ways, past all the fast food franchises into downtown, to find a local restaurant. I had eaten some good soup at Rosso's Trattoria before and I had some sort of wrap or sandwich at Ethereal Cafe one time, but as we drove around the corner looking for a place to park we passed Chocolate Affair Bakery and were definitely tempted to eat dessert first. More on that in a bit.

Another right turn landed us on H Street across from Sunshine Natural Foods and the sign in the window advertised fresh, organic soups, salads, and sandwiches. Soups of the day were Old Fashioned Minestrone and Lentil-Barley. I chose the all-organic salad bar, which you pay for by the pound, so I took small portions of several types of salad and enjoyed them all. I tried the Green Bean and Basil Pasta Salad and it was excellent, though my scoop had mainly broccoli instead of beans. The Quinoa and Corn salad was delicious, as was the potato salad. In addition to organic greens and two types of dressing (one vegan), the bar offered dairy-free tuna salad, egg salad, tempeh noodle salad, seasoned pumpkin seeds and almonds, sliced turkey and teriyaki tofu strips. After lunch, we sampled some of their homemade granola and I bought a loaf of organic raisin-walnut bread. I would definitely eat there again.

Before heading home, we walked around the corner to the Chocolate Affair Bakery. "For Serious Chocoholics" is what their brochure says and my friend and I certainly qualify. Shelves were filled with cookies, muffins, brownies and truffles, but it was the beautiful specialty cakes that caught our fancy. I don't often make cake at home so it's a real treat to indulge in a thick slice of decadent layer cake when I have the chance. Too many choices! German Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Black & White, Chocolate Buttercrunch, Black Forest, Chocolate-Raspberry, Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache, Chocolate Capppuccino, and even a few that didn't involve chocolate, like Lemon Curd Torte and Coconut Cream. Well, we didn't agonize over it; we both chose a slice of the Original Triple Chocolate layer cake and made up our minds that we'll just have to stop by every time we go through Grants Pass until we have tried them all.

Mmmmmmmm! "Handmade dark chocolate sponge cake layered with bittersweet chocolate mousse filling, iced with a rich buttercream icing, topped with a rich dark chocolate ganache glaze." Lived up to every expectation.

As we offered our compliments and headed out the door I was struck with an uneasy feeling. What if they went out of business before we ate our way through the menu? One never knew, with an economy like this. "How long have you been in business?" I inquired. "Since 1990," came the reply and my fears were relieved. If they have been around for twenty years, I am confident they won't be closing their doors anytime soon. I can't believe it took me this long to discover them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last of the local produce

Kruse Farms is having their annual "everything 20% off sale" in preparation for winter closing. Don't wait. The last day to shop is January 16th. I stopped by Saturday to check out the selection. Not all of the produce they sell is local, but they still have their own green cabbage, red beets, turnips, rutabagas and lots of varieties of winter squash. You can also pick up some Umpqua Valley lamb, Willamette Valley apples, California almonds, walnuts, and dried prunes. I even bought a can of Chuck's Seafood albacore tuna that was packed right over in Charleston, Oregon. I also bought a 50 pound box of keeper potatoes from Malin, Oregon.

Tonight we'll be having Potato-Corn Chowder, coleslaw, and Whole Wheat Pumpkin muffins for dinner. How's that for a local winter menu!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas Croquembouche

Our attempt at a croquembouche

I realize it's been weeks since I posted anything. Both daughters (plus one future son-in-law) were here for the holidays. My oldest daughter, Christine, and I made this croquembouche to take to my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner. It's a challenging dessert. More of a project, really. It can't be made too far in advance because the caramel will turn sticky if you refrigerate the croquembouche and, for safety's sake (cream filling), you wouldn't want to leave it at room temperature for more than a few hours.

I made the vanilla pastry cream the night before. Christine and I made the choux paste, piped it out onto parchment lined pans and baked the puffs in the morning and then, just a couple hours before dinner, we made the caramel, filled (injected) the puffs with the pastry cream and assembled the croquembouche with the caramel "glue."