From beans to wine, there is something for everyone

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The second annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium will be held May 4 at Red Ridge Farms in Dayton. Reserve your seat by calling Red Ridge Farms at 503-864-8502.I’ve had information about a number of food events cross my desk recently that I think you might enjoy taking part in. Here is information about some you can add to your calendar right away.

n Know beans about beans? Then attend Beautiful Beans: Grow. Cook. Eat. tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ecotrust Building, 721 NW Ninth, suite 200 in Portland. Hosted by the Portland Culinary Alliance, this is an educational event featuring a panel of bean enthusiasts, including Hannah Kullberg, Carol Boutard, Katherine Deumling and Dr. Samantha Brody, who will share their experiences growing dry beans in Oregon, cooking and storing the beans and the healthy benefits of eating them.

Admission is $15 and a no-host bar with beer and wine is available.

n The Food for Thought Festival is going on today through Sunday at various locations about Portland. The event is a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank and sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. The festival grew from the seed of an idea about how to engage and empower the community to tackle the critical problem of hunger where we live.

“We believe that like a smorgasbord, this festival offers a little something for everyone and a bounty for those who are hungry,” said Cheryl Tonkin, representing the Food for Thought Festival committee. “We’ve set the community table with programming to entertain, inform, surprise and inspire. We’re counting on you to bring the food!”

To see the complete lineup of events, go to

n Teutonic Wine Company in Oregon City is hosting an open house on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. so you can sample its spring 2012 white wines and some other vintages. Cost is $10, which is waived with the purchase of any wines. The business is located at 15640 S. Spangler Road in Oregon City.

n National Picnic Day, the kickoff to the picnic season is April 23. Even though we still have a little rain in the forecast, I see no reason to delay picnicking. We tailgate all fall wearing gloves, hats and scarves without as much as a whimper, let’s take that same adventurous spirit and head outdoors to eat in the spring.

Our friends at Gourmet Productions are going all out for National Picnic Day. They have a special menu planned which includes Spinach Feta Pie, French Carrot Salad, Red Potato Salad with Dill and Classic Brownies. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with any of the foods from GP — so if something else in the case looks more enticing to you, order it, too.

I’ve discovered a cool tool for hauling picnic foods and equipment from the car to the table. It’s a modernized Adirondack packbasket called The Grocer made by ADK Packworks. It is insulated, “stands tall and folds small.” What I like most about it is that the straps are adjustable. You can convert the strap to have the bag be two-handled, over the shoulder or backpack-style, which frees up your hands for carrying other items. You can learn more about this cool bag at

n The second annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium is planned for May 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Red Ridge Farms. This was so much fun last year — and so informative. This year’s event begins with an educational and interactive panel discussion, featuring the winemakers from Arterberry Maresh, Big Table Farms, Crowley, Division Winemaking Company, Durant Vineyards, EIEIO, Matello and Walter Scott. Joining them for the panel discussion will be Paul Gregutt, “Wine Adviser” columnist for “The Seattle Times” and NW editor of “Wine Enthusiast Magazine” and W. Blake Gray, author of the Gray Report blog, winner of the 2012 Wine Blog Awards for Best Industry Blog and columnist for The discussion will include a technical tasting of very limited production chardonnays from the panelists.

A walk-around tasting at the Durant Vineyards Tasting Room will follow the panel discussion, featuring wines from the participating wineries along with charcuterie plates accompanied by Oregon Olive Mill olive oils. Participants will be provided with seminar notes, tasting notes and logo wineglass. There are 60 tickets available for the event; cost is $60.. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Red Ridge Farms at 503-864-8502.

n Want to be a better baker? In Good Taste cooking school is offering a Baking Boot Camp, which will be held over several weekends this spring. The camp is taught by expert chefs Dan Brophy and Nancy Crampton-Brophy. The boot camps will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 4, 5, 18, 19 and June 1 and 2. Students can expect hands-on training and blend one-to-one and group instruction.

The IGT Baking Boot Camp will immerse students into the world of cakes and pastries, exposing them to a variety of baking techniques. Brophy and Crampton-Brophy have been co-teaching IGT’s culinary boot camps with great success and have experience teaching all levels of talent. Together, they crafted a course to gradually introduce students to baking, starting with basic cakes and cookies and ending with more complex baked goods, including fruit fillings, sauces and glazes.

“Baking can be an intimidating discipline for even the advanced cook,” said IGT co-owner Barbara Dawson. “We’re introducing the Baking Book Camp to help familiarize our students with a range of techniques and skill sets, so that they can be confident in the kitchen when making the simplest of baked goods to the more complex cakes and pastries.”

Registration is required and the boot camp is limited to 10 students. The three-weekend long course costs $1,200 and includes expert instruction, lunch served daily and an IGT Baker’s Kit, which consists of recipes from the course, a custom monogrammed chef’s jacket and apron, bench scraper, offset spatula, silicone mat, pastry bag and more. For more information about IGT’s Baking Boot Camp visit or call 503-248-2015.

That pretty much cleans out the in basket. If you attend any of these events, please report back on the adventure.

The recipe shared today is Gourmet Production’s French Carrot Salad. The texture of this salad is remarkable — the carrots are finely shredded and are very soft — not crunchy at all. Try it — it is sure to be your new favorite carrot salad recipe.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

French Carrot Salad

7 large carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic


Ground white pepper

Finely grate carrots. Squeeze in cheesecloth and reserve the juice.

Mix in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and add to carrots.

Adjust moisture of salad by adding small amounts of reserved carrot juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Just before serving toss with parsley.

Gourmet Productions

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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