Sunday, October 28, 2007

6.0 Our Chef in Sellwood

Starring Erin, Mike & Allee
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood
Soundtrack: Planet Waves by Bob Dylan / Our Man in Paris by Dexter Gordon

A spooky dish awaits you at the end of this long, dark article! Brush away the cobwebs and… wait a minute. What’s today? The 1st? Rats! Halloween was yesterday! Oh well, so much for that meal!

The chill of Oregon’s autumn touches me with tendrils of mist. Brrr! Brrr! Brrring on the soup! Turn up the heat! Drop a platter on the turntable! How about Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves? Backed up by The Band, it sounds like November to me.

“On a Night Like This”: Dinner for three – our Maid of Honor is coming over! Erin begins creating the soup. What kind of soup? I’m not sure yet. She’s slicing up a kielbasa. Our kitten is skittish. Simba, our elder cat, is casual, airy. Subtle, even. They nest in the living room this evening. Rainclouds nudge their way through the suppertime sky.
“Tough Mama”: I nibble on candy corns, writing in a notebook on the coffee table. Erin peels sweet potatoes. The sidewalks of Sellwood are feathered with small yellowed leaves. The trees fade like flats of atmosphere, guiding your stare through depths of dappled orange.

“Something There is About You”: Mascara streaks down Erin’s face as she chops a yellow onion. I laugh – when did Alice Cooper get here? Next, celery is executed. Knock, knock… our guest arrives.

“You Angel You”: (Dylan flubs the first line – it’s great!) The stock pot’s on the stove top. Wine is poured. I abstain (for a change). Allee and Erin chat in the warm kitchen. Wonderful smells start wafting into the living room. Sometimes I help with the cooking. But tonight I’m too occupied with writing. Or acting like I’m writing. I put on a new album, Our Man in Paris by Dexter Gordon. I found it for fifty cents. Scratched to heck, but his horn leaps from the ragged grooves. I read the liner notes. They’re by Nat Hentoff. You know…Nat Hentoff? Oh, forget it. Can you hear someone rolling their eyes? I think I just did.

“Scrapple from the Apple”: She’s putting apples in the soup! It appears to be a variation on mulligatawny! Erin cooks like Ornette Coleman plays horn. It’s free jazz! Better – it’s free soup! She’s bebopping with the spices!
“A Night in Tunisia”: Soup’s on! But not just soup! There’s homemade biscuits! (When did that happen?) Steam rushes from their split sides. The soup is… transplendent! Two bowls, I eat. I’m stuffed. I can’t eat another bite. Erin brings each of us a slice of warm apple pie (she baked that, too) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I guess I can eat another bite.

At the core of Erin’s commitment to cooking is a restless desire to learn. Before I lay down for the night, I ask Erin a question. She answers, “No, I’m not wholly satisfied at the moment; my recipes are just beginning.”

Thanks to Nat Hentoff and Dexter Gordon.


1 yellow onion
2 carrots
1 apple
1 kielbasa
3 celery stalks
2 small cans diced tomatoes
1 quart of vegetable broth
I cup of water
I sweet potato
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of curry powder
Dash Nutmeg, cumin, salt & pepper
1 cup of chopped parsley

Brown sliced kielbasa. Set aside. Sautee diced onions, celery, carrots and garlic in stock pot for a few minutes. Add broth, kielbasa, diced sweet potato, diced apple and water. Spice with curry powder, a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of cumin and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. After simmering, stir in fresh chopped parsley. Ladle into bowls. Serve with homemade biscuits (oh yeah, that’s another recipe!). Enjoy with any one of Dylan’s early-70s albums.

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

5.0 A New Pork State of Mind

Starring Erin, Mike, Adam & Josh
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood
Soundtrack: Selling England by the Pound by Genesis

“So I married the chef! But fear not! Not even the greatest honeymoon since the dawn of room service will deny our adoring public the latest offering from the Sellwood Kitchen.”

That’s how I started this article back in August. What was I thinking? We were on our honeymoon! In Disneyland! The last thing on my mind was everything! Except us.

Now here we are, a month later, the September issue on your coffee table, or recycling bin, and the October issue fresh out of your mailbox.

So now what? How do I present this latest recipe? I always try to think of new wrapping to deliver each meal. Let’s go with this…

Late in July, Erin and I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with our friends Adam and Josh in their Sellwood home. As usual, I just sat, quaffed an English-style old porter, and watched Erin and Adam cook. Josh, working late, was also spared what I call the misfortune of slaving over a hot stove.

Lounging in Adam and Josh’s living room is a visual feast. Adam’s a collector. A connoisseur of the hidden treasure. He likes to dust off the 1950s and set it in his early 21st century duplex. Adam’s found gold at the Goodwill Outlet, but all I ever got was a sneezing fit. Well, what do you expect? It’s a warehouse full of dusty junk. Or is it?

The living room’s filled with old 78s, magazines with ads for the “kitchen of the future,” roller skates with nicked metal wheels, electric fans and mixers, a Royal typewriter, and pastel painted kitchen gadgets galore – none of which, I’m relieved to say, was harmed in the preparation of this month’s meal.

And what, pray tell, complements newlyweds and antiquarians? Why, pan-seared pork loin with fennel! Fennel, I’ve recently discovered, carries the flavor of licorice in its spicy materialization. I loathe licorice. But fennel? Wow! What a delightful hue! Of course, there was more than just pork, yet another delicacy I’ve come to appreciate with age. Our old friend, the roasted rosemary red potatoes (say that 3 times fast!) A green salad with mint/lime dressing served as the delectable roughage.

The beverage of choice, Sweet Lambrusco, a sparkly Italian varietal wine, inspired both chefs and diners, after the meal, to leave the dishes…


2 Boneless Pork Loins
Salt & Pepper
White wine
Olive Oil

Season two pork loins with salt, pepper, fennel and rosemary. Sear in pan with olive oil until browned. Add a splash of white wine. Bake at 350 degrees (20 minutes per pound). Mix sliced red potatoes in bowl with olive oil, minced garlic and chopped rosemary. Roast in pan with pork loin. Plate and serve. Flip through pages of Good Housekeeping, April 1957.

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at: