Friday, December 24, 2010

Pine Nut Mouth

A relatively new phenomenon is emerging as people are starting to report strange taste sensations after eating pine nuts.  What is being described as a "taste disturbance" can occur when a person eats pine nuts from China.  For some unknown reason up to 2 days after eating the offending nuts one gets a bitter, metallic taste in the mouth and everything tastes bitter - for up to two weeks.  The symptoms are apparently different for each person and some people have little or no reaction at all.  For people that are affected it can be quite disturbing, but symptoms will disappear without any treatment.

Wikipedia:  Risks of eating pine nuts

The Chinese pine nuts (left) are smaller than the European variety (right) and more rounded and are probably cheaper.  Some people have reported symptoms after eating nuts from Trader Joe's and Ralph's stores in southern California.  My suggestion is to read the labels and if no origin is listed, opt for larger, longer nuts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Snow

Portland had the first real snow storm of the season last night just as evening commuters were on the roads.  During the storm's peak, Portland police were handling 50 traffic accidents throughout the city.   While it usually takes me a half hour to make it home from work, last night it took an extra hour .  Driving in snow takes some finesse and it seems not everyone possesses the delicate touch needed to make their cars behave.  Many Portland streets climb or descend hills, which is particularly difficult especially if one must stop at streetlights.  There are different approaches to deal with this, but the best advice is to keep moving.  If a light is red up ahead, approach slowly so you hopefully won't have to stop completely.  Downhill is even more tricky but slow, slow, slow is best.  If you can avoid the hills, make a detour around the steepest grades.  "For such a small amount of snow, I have never seen such chaos in my 21 years as a police officer," said Lt. Gary Hutcheson, who was the shift commander Monday night for Portland police.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Turkey day was appropriately spent in the countryside up near Augusta.  Michael lives on 10 acres off the grid in the woods and he provided and expertly roasted the fresh organic turkey.  Neighbor and good friend Jim brought chocolate mouse and acted as photo journalist throughout the food preparation.
Here is the prep of the "soffritto" or "holy trinity" for the stuffing... carrots, onions, and celery.  I also added sage (from the garden), prunes, and I can't recall what else.

This bread recipe contains cottage cheese which keeps it very moist and herbs lend a garden-fresh flavor.  The dough is being rolled into a triad dinner roll.

Otis was totally unimpressed with the spread.

Hey Jim, where is the picture of the finished buffet table?

Our black Friday was really quite white!