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Mid January and counting

Sometimes it seems the most exciting part about January is the planning we do for the rest of year. We are mid-Jan and counting the days for faster times in town!  So much water!  Even our little get away plan was dampened by so much wind and rain. But I get ahead of myself. Lenore and I decided to take a short road trip. Motivated by the fact that last January we had build a bed that fits perfectly into our van for sleeping and storage of clothing, dog paraphernalia, and  food. It was allot fun last year building it with friends in Seattle in their garage–while it rained outside. The best laid plans to use it during the year for short road trips never happened. Now with the impending expiration of the lease on the van it was now or never to try out our “turtle” as Lenore has dubbed the van-bed. So it was the morning of a trip down the coast to visit our friends in Yachats; the turtle was ready, all packed, dogs eager.  But the van was not going anywhere. Battery had died as I discovered later due to the cabin lights on all night. So I jumped using Lenore’s cables and car–but when they started smoking, I unhitched before any damage to either battery and called AAA. How embarrassing to have our local tow truck pull into our drive. Anyway, once on the road, we drove to our local Les Schwab and stopped the van. If it didn’t start there we could at least buy a new battery. First thing the attendant said was, wow you could use a couple new tires! He assumed that was why we were there. So knowing I am turning in the van in a couple months, I reluctantly put on two new tires thinking of the safety of my family in the turtle! By now it is several hours later, but we can still make our dinner date before dark. The real upshot of the entire trip is that we did stay in the turtle that night. Parked in the driveway of our friends with a perfectly available guest room at the ready. They kindly left the door open in case we changed our minds during the night. Once we were all inside for the night all seemed pretty good. The poodles were assigned to their beds that were on the front seats of the van. Only one went willingly so the other scrunched in on my side–we all settled down. I immediately felt the blood rush to my head and realized we were parked with the nose of the van on a downward slant. Hoping Lenore wouldn’t notice, I didn’t speak of it. By morning, after each of us separately woke up to make a trip to the bathroom inside, the van-bed was in total disarray and Lenore was wedged between the front seats with one poodle, while our other one had the entire foot of the bed to herself. We walked out most of our kinks with the dogs–ignoring the wind and rain as best we could.  Afterward our friends prepared a great breakfast–having had a restaurant in Tuscan–you know it was wonderful, and we went to Newport aquarium to meet another friend who happened to be in town. Love going there, but by the time we were done it was already 4:00, and we could sure use a shower. We stayed the night at the Newport Hallmark where our friend was and thawed out in a spa room for dogs!

Here is the recipe of sorts for the breakfast tostada our friends made. Start with corn tortilla and cover with grated sharp cheddar. Bake to melt. Add layer of spicy sausage and rice and beans. Top with sliced avocado and two fried eggs. Serve with variety of prepared hot salsa–all of which were delicious.


Happy New Year!

It is amazing how good it feels to say so long to the old and ring in the new! Besides being thankful for a good year past, we find ourselves hopeful for this one. It is clear we are doing what we love and our plan is to keep doing it in 2011.  We had 25 guests at our dinner show last evening who made it a party! We say thanks because without planning it this way, our new way of life here in Cannon Beach seems to fulfill our need for social life too. Now I ask, how many jobs out there do that? Maybe more than I think but for sure this is the one that does it for me. Lenore too, enjoys the hospitality of our experiences here at EVOO.  She actually put together foodie games that to my surprise our guests  really seemed to enjoy. When they arrived they were given a portion of a silly food riddle and a glass of sparkling Proseco wine. They were then tasked with finding the other half of the riddle. When they found each other they were to learn as much as possible about each other that they could, then introduce each other to the rest of the guests. Nice icebreaker, as we called it in my corporate days. Then there were the guests who showed their competitive side. Dana, why we didn’t know you enjoyed winning so much! And as the games continued I was cooking. I loved the menu–we started with ahi tuna & hazelnut tartar on a toasted sesame wonton served with a hot chestnut soup shooter. My favorite course was the truffle papparadelle pasta with truffle butter and black truffle slices. We topped that with a poached duck egg and frizzled speck. Next course, we did seared scallops and marinated shrimp with potato-cauliflower hash with a hint of curry. And finally we had prime rib with a roasted vegetable pot pie. It was not a typically pot pie—no, no. It seemed to morph as we did it. Started with roasting six different vegetables separately. When we saw how beautiful these were we didn’t want to cover them up with the rich beautifully flavored veloute sauce and then pasty–how could we see these colorful roasted veggies? That is what I mean about morphing. We put the veloute on the bottom of a shallow ramekin; then veggies on the veloute; baked 15 minutes to bring up to temperature for serving and then we added a prebaked pastry top! Fun! Lots of work but resulted in a “do again” dish for me. Of course we had a great dessert finale too. Chocolate sour cream cake with toasted Swiss meringue icing sitting in a pool of warm chocolate ganache. But wait, there’s more. A scoop of chocolate cherry gelato and salted candied hazelnut. Okay! Lots of love in this menu and so appropriate for the night, because we were expressing our appreciation of where we have been and anticipating the possibilities of the new year all in one experience. May the love continue for us all and may the new year bring it for us all!