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Archive for 2010

There’s no place like Portland….a fascinating gourmet experience.

Portland, Oregon is a virtual epicurean wonderland ! And we are trying our best to take full advantage of all opportunites every time we have a chance to be there.

In our short visit, we were treated to fantastic Korean food at the Be Won on North 23rd Street in the heart of downtown Portland.

us_at_be_won

From their menu we were introduced to the different types of Korean food….

which can be divided into the following categories:

Juk:
a rice porridge often served as a restorative, can include chicken, vegetables, beans, ginseng and mushrooms

Jeon:

pan fried vegetables or seafood; there are also pancake-like Jeon that consist of meat and vegetables integrated into a batter

Guk and Tang
soup made from a variety of different vegetables, meats and seafood

Chi-ge and Jeongol

traditional Korean stews and casseroles

Jim and Jorim
dishes of meat or fish simmered in many ingredients and spices

Gui

broiled or barbecued dishes


Namul

lightly seasoned fresh vegetables or wild green dishes

Bokkum

stir fried dishes made with variety of vegetables, seafood or meat

Bap

boiled rice, often garnished with beans, barley, millet or other grains to enhance flavor or nutritional value

Kimchi

kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish made with Korean cabbage, cucumbers or radishes with a mixture of other vegetables and seasonings, there are more than 160 kimchi varieties differentiated by region and ingredients

Check out their fantastic menu items at this site:

http://www.bewonrestaurant.com/menu.asp

One evening, we had dinner at Hakatamon Restaurant next to the Beaverton Uwajimaya Asian Market. Hakatamon serves fresh udon noodles, made by hand by Chef Kato each day for the delicious udon soups. After we ate, we strolled through the incredible market with aisles full of speciality Asian groceries and gifts. A fantastic treat !

http://www.uwajimaya.com/

You can find out how the fascinating history of the Uwajimaya Market is connected to Northern California at this site…..

http://www.uwajimaya.com/history.html

At our next stop, (one of our favorite chain restaurants), we ordered classical Chinese food. PF Changs is delightfully consistent in their presentation and quality. The Gluten Free Menu is quite extensive and even includes dessert ! There are several locations listed on their website:

http://www.pfchangs.com/index.aspx

For a treat, we found the Saint Honore Boulangerie in Lake Oswego. This French bakery features handcrafted French breads and pastries. Quiches, sandwiches, salads and soups are also on the menu. Two of us ordered the Choquettes….puffy baked pastry with pate a choux and dusted with rock sugar. Two of us decided on the Gateau….Gateau Orange and Gateau au Chocolate….both flourless cakes, rich and flavorful.

http://www.sainthonorebakery.com/

One of these beautiful spring days, we might try…..

An Epicurean Walking Tour

http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com/tours/epicurean_excursion.php


Bon Vivant and Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com



Who the ? Where the ? Why the ?

My Sweet Husband and I relished the thought of being at our ranch for a few days !

We left Redding and after about two and half hours we started up Cedar Pass.

cedar_pass

On top, we encountered snow ! What a wonderful sight.

Dropping down into Surprise Valley, the snow disappeared.

coming_into_cedarville

Well, there were patches here and there.

After we did the arrival clean up, we took our tea and stood on our front porch

marveling at the quiet and peaceful view.

looking_towards_ft_bidwell

And then we decided to take a walk out in the corral.

who_the_hell

My Sweet Husband…”Who the hell built this fence?”

where_the_hell

“Where the hell is that blankety, bleep, bleep, badger?”

why_the_hell

“Why the hell is that dog so happy?”

I suggested it might be time for another cup of calming tea !

May all your cares be soothed with a cuppa !

Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com

Out of the Blue

Our collection of Blue Willow started with My Sweet Husband’s grandmother in 1968. Married and struggling to work our way through college, we had purchased most of our dishes at the Salvation Army store. We received a lovely set of silverware, and lots of Corning Ware for wedding presents. Good dishes, we didn’t have.

One day, out of the blue, Grandma and Grandpa arrived with two boxes of wrapped dish ware. She had been saving these Blue Willow dishes for My Sweet Husband. She told me that when he was a little boy, she was cleaning her dish cabinet and had set all the Blue Willow dishes in the give-away pile. My Sweet Husband ask her why she was giving them away, and she replied she didn’t need them anymore. “But Grandma, I love those dishes,” he said. So she stuck them back in her cabinet and moved them several times, saving them for this very moment.

She had purchased the Blue Willow from a restaurant in Alturas, California that was buying a new set of serving dishes. These particular Blue Willow are known as “grill plates”.

blue_willow_plate

Popular during the 1930’s to the 1950’s, these plates were ideal for the “Blue Plate Special” that was standard fare at many diners and cafes.

Blue_plate_special_sign

The deep blue color and the the Legend of Blue Willow are part of what contributes to it’s long term appeal for collectors.

There are many versions of The Legend, but here is one: Once a wealthy Chinese mandarin, Li Chi, had a beautiful daughter, Koong-see. She fell in love with her father’s humble accountant, Chang. Her father was very angry, since it would be inappropriate for them to marry, due to their different social classes. The mandarin dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to try and keep the lovers apart. Her father arranged for her to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bringing a box of jewels as a gift. On the day the blossoms fell from the willow tree the Duke was to marry Koong-see.

The night before the wedding, the young account, disguised himself as a servant and slipped into the palace unnoticed. The lovers, escaping over the bridge, with the jewels, were spotted. The alarm was sounded and the mandarin chased after them. They escaped on the Duke’s boat and arrived at a secluded island where they lived happily for many years. One day, the Duke discovered their secret. In revenge, he sent soldiers who captured them and put them to death. The Gods, moved by their misfortune, transformed the lovers into a pair of lovebirds so they could fly together forever, over the willow tree where they first declared their love for one another.

If you look closely at Blue Willow, you will be able to find many elements of the legend.

We have enjoyed adding to our collection when we travel or go “antiquing”. One treasure I found in an old antique store in Missouri is this precious child’s tin tea set. I can just imagine the mud pies placed delicately on those little plates and the delicious “tea” poured from the teapot into the cups.

chilrens_bluewillow_tin_tea_set

One other great find was the Blue Willow measuring cup we found in a small shop in Fall River Mills, California.

bluewillow_measuring_cup

Out of the blue, we were given a gift that has given us joy in continuing to accumulate. I hope you, too, have a collection that gives you immense pleasure every time you find another new piece !

Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com

Keemun In A Cup

It’s always like Christmas when new tea arrives !


Keemun_arrives_package

I can’t wait to open the box and then empty the tea into it’s jar and steep a pot …..oh the aroma and the sight of that wonderful tea that has traveled so far to come into my life !

This particular tea, Keemun Mao Feng comes from the Anhui Province in China. It was around 1875 that a young man, She Ganchen, recently dismissed from government service in Fujian, decided to produce black teas in his home town region. Keemun became famous because it was the first black tea in a green tea area. Keemun is also prized because of myrcenal, an essential oil, not found in other tea leaves, which gives this tea its exceptional sweetness. Mao Feng is one of the rarest and best grades of Keemun tea.

Sometimes, unfortunately, this lovely tea is used in blending an “English Breakfast” style tea.

It is superb all by itself and should be enjoyed as such !

Keemun_Mao_Feng_leaves_in_a_bowl

These perfect tea leaves produce an amber color, a sweet taste and a divine aroma !

Let it rain or snow…..brew a pot of Keemun Mao Feng and pour a cup….tea time is anytime !

Keemun_for_infusions_site

Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com



From Russia with Love

My tea from Russia was almost gone.

I decided to crank up, well, plug in, the Samovar, and make the last of the Russian tea in as traditional a manner as I know how.

bright__shiny_samovar

A Samovar is a utensil consisting of a boiler with a faucet near the bottom, steam-holes and a teapot which sits on top, and some type of heating device. This is not just an ordinary piece of equipment, but a revered symbol of Russian hospitality.

The evolution of the Samovar is a study in technology and adaptability. Traditionally, a Samovar used charcoal to heat the water in the boiler. Today, nickel-plated electric Samovars reign. Only the Trans-Siberian Railroad has clung to the traditional smoky, charcoal heated Samovar.

I poured water into the base and plugged it in.

I made the concentrated tea for the little teapot on top. This step is very important and cannot be made with tea bags. Only good loose tea is suitable. The tea should be strong; the color of a chestnut. I delighted in the ritual of making tea and thinking of my tea from Russia.

A Mongolian ruler gave Tsar Michael I a gift of about 140 pounds of tea about 1638. Catherine the Great established regular imports of tea around 1736. The tea caravans brought more than 3 million pounds of loose tea and tea bricks by camel along the silk road. This amount of imported tea allowed the price to be lowered and thus in Russia, the lower and middle class could enjoy tea. Today, tea is grown in Georgia, and neighboring Azerbaijan, both countries a part of the former Soviet Union.

“Good tea takes patience and commitment.” ( Daniel Nagy)

First, I added the concentrated tea to my cup…..

pouring_concentrate

The concentrate is very strong, and as one writer said, “Never drink it undiluted, because it has a strong narcotic effect, causing increased heart rate, hallucinations and restlessness.”

concentrate_in_cup

Next, hot water from the spout…..add_hot_water.….dilutes the concentrate to suit my taste.

tea_is_ready_And my tea is ready !!! Of course, some like lemon, or milk (but not together), sugar, honey, rum or vodka ! I like my tea straight up ! No additions. I will use my Samovar again, and again.

Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com

From Russia with Love

My tea from Russia was almost gone. I decided to crank up the Samovar and make the last of the tea.

Help for Haiti…World Vision

Haiti…. we have friends who came to the United States from Haiti. They still have family in Haiti. Our hearts and prayers are with the Haitian people as they strive to survive the devastation of the 7.0 earthquake which struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th.

Americans have already donated millions to the Red Cross and other organizations ready to invade Haiti with life saving supplies We are cautioned to be aware of schemers who would fleece those wishing to “do something”. Wisdom, old fashioned good sense, needs to prevail in choosing which groups to support.

For years, our choice has been World Vision, a “Christian Humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” World Vision started in the 1950’s because Dr. Bob Pierce wanted to help orphan children in Korea. (Some of you will understand why this group has my heart !). Over the next several decades World Vision expanded it’s work world wide to include disaster relief, work with communities in education, health care, vocational and agricultural training for families to become self-supporting and healthy.

World Vision has been working in Haiti for over 30 years and at the time of the earthquake had about 370 staff based in Haiti. The relief director of World Vision, Edward Brown, said, ” We would be very concerned about a quake of this magnitude anywhere in the world, but it is especially devastating in Haiti, where people are acutely vulnerable because of poor infrastructure and extreme poverty.”

So please, pray for the people of Haiti, donate, give as you are able, but with wisdom. And if you choose World Vision, here is their website:

http://worldvision.org

Blessings,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com


How Many Tubs Can You Stack & Carry ?

The day we decided to take down Christmas, I ask My Sweet Husband to carry in the storage tubs from the garage.

I scooped the stockings off the mantle and carefully carried the angels to the table to be bubble- wrapped.

My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.

I dismantled the snowman display and gathered the nutcracker collection together.

Still, My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.

I unplugged the church and village scene. I wrapped baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph in tissue.

And still, My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.

Just as I was wrapping up the shepherds and wise men,

My Sweet Husband brought in the tubs !

All of them at one time !

putting_up_Christmas_Decorations

Yep….you can move the guy to the city, but ya just can’t take the country out of him !!

Happy Infusions,

Kate

http://tea4kate.com

The Party Isn’t Over….

teas_in_tea_room

That’s right. The party isn’t over.

We continue to celebrate….January is National Hot Tea Month !! Yay !! Those windy, snowy days of winter draw us to hot beverages like children compelled to step in mud puddles. We love our hot chocolate, hot coffee, and of course, the most healthy choice, hot tea !!

Tea is no longer limited to those old flavorless paper tea bags. Our choices are bountiful and delightful. Tea from around the world is widely available on the internet, and, in bigger cities, tea rooms or tea shops specializing in loose tea offer a tantalizing selection.

This ancient beverage, believed by generations to improve a myriad of body and mental issues, has, in the last decade, been studied, researched and proven to have attributes contributing to enhanced health. (There is a lot of information about tea online, however, I highly recommend this site http://www.teausa.com/general/teaandhealth/218g.cfm ).

Apart from the scientific studies, I propose, that the time it takes for preparing, and the wait (infusion) that is required for tea to be ready to drink, affords us, in our hectic world, moments of respite. Instituting “tea time” releases us from the daily intensity of life and has to contribute to our health.

I have resolved to institute a little change in my tea times for 2010. I intend to choose one teapot a week from my eclectic collection. I’m starting the New Year with this whimsical Koi teapot made especially for me by an artist in Southern California.

Koi_fish_teapot

I am dependent on tea times: mornings, afternoons and evenings. It’s my breathing space.

I encourage you to institute ” tea time” in your life, if you haven’t already, as part of your healthy resolutions for this New Year !

Happy Infusions in 2010 !!

Kate

http://tea4kate.com

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