First look: Pine Street Market, downtown Portland’s new food hall

-36dffb6c9b4cbf21After months of construction and permitting delays, Pine Street Market, downtown Portland’s hotly-anticipated food hall, is set to open in the coming weeks.

The 10,000-square-foot food hall spans entire ground floor of the 1886 United Carriage and Baggage Transfer Building and will bring nine, big-name Portland restaurants, bakeries and more together under its skylit roof.

Pine Street Market, from project developers Jean Pierre Veillet, David Davies and Rob Brewster and culinary curator Mike Thelin, will give Portland its first taste of a red-hot modern food trend, the curated food hall, which has already found success in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Get to know all the tenants opening inside Pine Street Market:

Source: First look: Pine Street Market, downtown Portland’s new food hall | OregonLive.com

Genoise… the thing that dreams are made of

Back in July I mentioned that I was working on mastering the French genoise.  I am still at it and am more impressed than ever with the amount of technique and skill required to pull this off.  When you consider it is just a basic recipe of eggs, a little sugar, a bit of flour and a smidgen of butter, you wonder how anything so simple could be so complicated.

Well, this could easily stand as a metaphor for any one of life’s lessons that come our way regularly.  In this case it is all about knowing when to follow the rules:  to recognize that tricks in fine baking have been passed down because they work.  For example, bakers weigh their ingredients because proportions and formulas are the backbone of their craft.

In the case of the genoise, nothing could more essential to its success than the eggs.  It is recommended that eggs and sugar be beaten over simmering water:  the gentle heat further binds the eggs and sugar and creates the massive volume.  Of course, I resisted this process until attempt number three, and it worked beautifully. Then you have to maintain its structure since there is no other leavener.

To deal with egg deflation, the other vital trick I learned was how to fold.  I had to practice the process of correctly lowering a wide spatula into the batter, bringing it up, dragging it gently over the top, turning the spatula in a gentle folding motion down into the batter, and back up again. Genoise folding This slow folding is used to incorporate the flour and even more crucial, the butter—which lends richness and texture to a fairly dry cake.

With a description like that, why bother with such a  dreary cake?  Because it is lean and incredibly versatile.  The genoise is regarded as the foundation in a world of sweet fantasies.  So well structured, it can be torted, or cut into multiple layers.  These layers can be brushed with a wild variety of syrups which soak into the cake, tailoring both flavor and moisture.  The sky is the limit when it comes to accessorized fillings:  curds, creams, chocolate fillings, you name it.

Finally, I actually achieved a cake tall enough to safely cut in half (so very proud).Genoise layer I brushed the layers with hibiscus syrup (made from hibiscus jelly) and heaped on an Italian style ricotta filling laced with almond and chocolate.   Since I had extra chocolate on hand, the rest was drizzled across the top.

Genoise cakeWords fail me.  The genoise was amazing and got better the longer it sat.  On average, I like a cake that is not loaded with heavy creams and butter, and this one hit the mark.  It is  not your average cake…

genoise slice

It is the thing that dreams are made of.  

Genoise

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8” or spray 8” cake pan, line it with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside in a 2 cup bowl to melt further and re-thicken.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl over simmering heat, until the mixture feels lukewarm. In bowl of standing mixer using wire whisk attachment, whisk the eggs until they have tripled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. They should be thick, creamy and fall from the whisk resting in ribbons onto the batter surface. Whip in the vanilla or other flavoring.
  4. Sift the flour while the eggs are beating. Re-measure to ¾ level cup and sift again with salt.
  5. Fold in the flour: for ease, pour the egg mixture into a wider bowl. Using a wide spatula carefully sift flour onto surface in 3 portions, To fold in the flour, carefully cut down and fold up and over, stretching the batter to lighten and incorporate the flour in about 10 turns each time – scrape the sides and bottom, too.
  6. Add butter to batter: re-combine the melted butter; it should be slightly warm and creamy. Gently spoon out about 1 cup of batter and fold into the butter until thoroughly mixed and light. Gently pour this onto the side of the batter and fold another 10 times to incorporate. The batter is at its weakest point: it may not be completely smooth, still have streaks, and begin to deflate. Fold cautiously.
  7. Pour batter into pan, gently smoothing surface from middle out. Tap the pan on counter a few times to remove lingering air bubbles.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees in center of oven 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges begin to come away from pan and the center springs back when touched and is golden brown.
  9. Let cake rest briefly, run a sharp knife around the edge of pan and cool 5 to 10 minutes on rack. Unmold the cake, remove paper from bottom and cool right side up. If not using same day, it can be held at room temperature overnight, well wrapped. Can be stored well wrapped – up to 3 days in refrigerator or in freezer for up to 2 months.
  10. If frozen, defrost wrapped cake at room temperature. It is ready to be sliced horizontally into 2 or 3 layers, filled and decorated.

Note:  Above, you’ll note I am still resisting the weighing of ingredients. So far, I have good luck with careful measuring  (I measure the flour twice).  It seems to work deliciously!

A Facelift!

Hello, again. I’ve been gone too long from this space, and much like a separation between old friends, something valuable was missing in my life. 
For the past several months my energies and focus have been dedicated to ongoing studies at the University of Oregon. It is a very exciting time at UO because we are in the early stages of formulating a food program which will be uniquely Oregon in scope and will include a strong humanities component.  After long viewing food studies options in New York, California, the mid-west, and elsewhere, it’s still difficult to believe a high caliber resource may actually spring forth right here! 
It’s good to be back on these pages again.  There were been plenty of times when I  wanted to share thoughts and ideas rumbling in my mind, but deadlines and projects always loomed larger and took precedent.  One of my early tasks here is to clean up the ole blog space; it has been a while since my last revision.  In the spirit of a simpler format, as many of my fellow food bloggers are discovering, a much needed index is in the works to assist in locating buried recipes and resources. 
The composition of the blog is shifting, too.  Anyone who may have followed this space in the past knows that the focus was primarily recipe driven by my ‘fiestas and fiascoes from the food fringe’.  No doubt the fiestas and fiascoes will continue, since they are unavoidably too much a part of me to deny!
 
However, the new blog tag refers to a composium of food and culture. Right.  If the word is unfamiliar, it is because it is does not formally exist: it is not in the dictionary.  Thus, I am claiming composium to describe my blog as a collection of writings in various content, styles, and formats. 
That pretty much says it all. 

Right Turn on Menu of Life

This post is a quick statement to say I am back and couldn’t be happier!  I have deeply missed my blog time and hopefully my new schedule will once again permit regular posting.  
   
Part of my delay in returning to my beloved blog has been due to a little soul searching on my part. I wanted to redefine my purpose here so that this space remains meaningful.  My current needs and demands have caused a shift away from my obsessive tinkering and playing in the kitchen to a fairly uninteresting and repetitious cooking regimen, with little worthy of reporting.

Since I love cooking so much, I suspect this will all get sorted out.  In the meantime, I hope to continue writing about food but not necessarily focused on kitchen antics.  My intentions are to keep writing about the fascinating world of food – and take a look at other aspects that catch my eye.  We’ll see what develops…
The friendly gourmet ant is visiting from a great photo resource http://www.istockphoto.com/. 

Relocation Fixation

One year, two moves, 3,000 miles later and I’m back!

A re-location to Greenville, South Carolina seemed like a terrific opportunity and I was right. New surrounds, new friends, and efforts to support the Sustainable Ag movement was thrilling and distracting, posting here shifted to low priority.

This spring an unexpected series of events surfaced and in mid-May I re-valuated, minimized my life, re-packed my van, and ventured west on a life altering trip across the US with a return to Oregon and family.

Too much infomation for now, but enough to say there is a vibrant thread from those days still running through me, evident in a deepening thoughtfulness and appreciation for my daily food supply – with all that entails.

Very early this morning, in twilight thought, I realized how much has happened – and continues to play out each and every day. I’m guilty of not fully acknowledging these times and for not placing more importance on the simplest pleasures. It’s a little late for regrets, the immediacy of the moment is lost, but there’s a great likelihood that there will be more to come and more to share.

“Take the time to give each task its due –
it comes out in the food: a generosity of spirit.
Call it rejoicing, tenderness, graciousness,
or simple attention to detail,
the quality of caring
is an ingredient everyone can taste.”
– Tenzo Kyonkun

The Starting Place

This is my uno numero post and I’m trusting that it will become easier as I move along.

To begin, I’ll confess that broadcasting my culinary experiences as well as my successes and failures in the kitchen is a stretch and definitely out of my comfort zone. Inwardly I’m asking, “What am I doing!? Why bother?” Of course the answer back is, “Because you need to.”

Yes, this blog is titled accurately (…and with humor), I’m hoping that my undisputed love and commitment to the culinary realm will provide me with the impetus and discipline to keep it relevant – and regular.

One of my favorite quotes:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and has magic it it.” – Goethe

Perhaps more answers will come.