Homemade Marshmallows

There's nothing better than hot chocolate and peppermint to keep warm when we get a rare snow storm in our area. It's been something like 8 years since the snow last stuck for more than a few hours. It's early in the year, too, so we might expect to see more of it.

We decided to make some homemade marshmallows to give to our friends and neighbors. You can create some awesome varieties using some alternate ingredients. We chose peppermint to pair with our hot cocoa, because 'tis the season, but vanilla makes the most incredible campfire s'more you can enjoy all summer long.


Butter for greasing
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure extract (use vanilla, peppermint, strawberry, or other pure extract for flavoring)
Food coloring (if desired)

Line an 11x8-ish glass or metal baking dish with parchment paper and grease liberally with butter. You can make larger marshmallows by using a smaller square or rectangular dish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add the gelatin powder to 1/3 cup of cold water and let it sit while heating granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and water over low heat, stirring constantly. Increase the heat a bit to boil. Then, simmer without stirring about 25 minutes. Slowly pour syrup into softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Increase speed to med-high for about 10 minutes. Add extract of choice. Beat a few more minutes. Pour evenly into baking dish.

Drop food color randomly onto top of marshmallow mixture. Pull a butter knife through to create a swirl pattern.

Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours.

Dust a cutting board with powdered sugar. Place remaining powdered sugar in small bowl. Loosen sides from dish and lift onto the cutting board. Using a sharp knife greased with butter, cut into small squares. Dust the sides of each marshmallow with powdered sugar. 


Mint Julep Prawns

This shrimp cocktail recipe was inspired by the Mint Julep cocktail. Essentially, mint and bourbon. The prawns are marinated with mint, seared, and served with Chef's tomato bourbon chutney. Both delicious and beautiful, these are sure to impress at your next gathering.

1/4 cup Avocado or Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Mint
2 Tbsp. Basil
1/2 tsp. Salt
5 Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Ginger

For the marinade, blend all of the ingredients above until smooth. The herbs will remain a little leafy. Add prawns to marinade and refrigerate.

2 Tbsp. Avocado or Olive Oil
1 Whole Red Onion, chopped
1 Sweet Red Apple, chopped
1/4 cup Garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Ginger, chopped
1 cup of Bourbon
2 cups of tomatoes, stewed or blanched
1 cup of Real Honey
1 cup of Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 Lemon

If you choose to use fresh tomatoes, you will need about 8 large tomatoes. Blanch them, de-seed, and chop into cubes. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Saute onions, apples, garlic, and ginger until browned. Add in bourbon to deglaze. Add remaining ingredients and reduce by half on slow-simmer. Once reduced, add juice from 1 whole lemon and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cool.

Remove prawns from marinade. Grill or pan-sear for 2 and a half minutes on each side.

We like to serve ours in glass shooters so they're easy for guests to grab and enjoy. 


CTV Channel 5 Interview

Our chef whipped up a few of our menu items to showcase on Canby's very own Channel 5. We had fun working with the amazing guys that give us this great community resource (did you know they record and post our city council meetings to Youtube?!).

Anyways, we are totally grateful to Diane Dennis, Tony, Ken, and Greg for helping us with our TV debut!

Baked Brie with Grape Preserves
Mint Julep Prawns
Artichoke-stuffed Baguette
Tea Sandwhichs

Harper's Playground Community Play Day

We joined the team from Harper's Playground to serve up some tasty chef made tacos for Community Play Day. A friend introduced us to this important organization that is building playgrounds accessible for alter-abled children. 

Oh, and there was a horse there. In a park. In the middle of North Portland!

Joe gave away a few tacos throughout the day to any and all rabbit taco naysayers. If you're unfamiliar with our gourmet taco menu or our catering menu, Joe doesn't shy away from using game. Of course, we offer the more familiar choices, too. What makes our tacos special is the unique integration of authentic methods and recipes and Pacific Northwest ingredients.

Blackberry Hand Pies

There's no better symbol of the American Summer than fresh picked blackberries mixed with organic cane sugar, zesty lemon, and a pinch of nutmeg - and folded into a flaky, buttery homemade crust. And better for us when we don't have to share.

I love single-serving presentations. Not only are they easier for picking up in buffet lines, but they're just more fun at any meal of the day. Sea scallops served in clam shells, fried chicken served on miniature waffles, and best of all - for dessert - your very own pie.

Have a try at making your own pie. It's not as daunting as it may seem. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by Kate Lebo. A short read will give you all the information you need about making perfect crusts - double crust, cheese crust, galette, and more. You can turn a double pie crust recipe into 6 - 6" hand pies, fun for gatherings or on-the-go.

Here's my own recipe for an easy blackberry & goat cheese pie:

Step One: Purchase blackberries from a local farm or farmer's market. You'll also need a lemon, salt, nutmeg, and organic flour and butter.

Step Two:  Follow instructions in Pie School for a double crust. This is basically a double batch of pie crust and can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Step Three: Mix 5 cups of blackberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pinch of each, salt and nutmeg.

Step Four: Roll out your dough. Use a 6" plate or round pastry cutter to cut out 6 rounds. In each round, spread 1 tablespoon of softened goat cheese in the center of your pastry. Add enough pie filling to leave the edges exposed. Fold the pie over, and press with a fork around the adjoining edges.

Step Five: Place your hand pies on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 on the middle rack until the top is golden brown.



Roasted Beet Borscht

  • 3 medium red beets
  • 2 dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt & freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • 2 small red onions, diced small
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3⁄4 cup shredded or thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomato puree
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the beets and place them in a roasting dish with the apricots, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour enough water into the pan so that it comes 1/3 of the way up the beets. Turn the beets once so they are coated, cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven. Turn the beets over then cook for another 20-35 minutes, until a chef’s knife easily slides through the middle of the beets. Remove from the oven and let cool, then peel and finely dice the beets and chop the apricots and set aside in a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the coriander, fenugreek and cabbage and stir for a minute, until the spices become fragrant. Add the tomato, stock, beets and apricots and bring to a boil, then cover with a lid, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.