Pacific NW Snapshots: Portland Market Peppers + Morels
In my previous wrap-up of our vacation, I mentioned the fabulous North Portland coffee shop Random Order where we had locally-roasted espresso and pies featuring locally-grown ingredients. I have a few more food highlights to share from our trip to the Pacific Northwest, where everything is big and bold, from the mountains to the coffee, the produce and the rain!
We spent a rainy morning at the midweek Portland Farmers Market downtown. Located just a few blocks from my old alma mater, this relatively small market was still a total sensory overload. So much variety and unique items, such as the Picklopolis stand, fresh Columbia River salmon and one of my favorites, Rogue River Creamery cheeses. We only bought a few things for dinner that evening as we were headed to the Coast the next day, so settled on some glorious baby artichokes, padron peppers and morels.
We were also blown away by Hot Lips’ local berry sodas. The label even specifies the farm where the berries were grown. How’s that for knowing where your food comes from?! Hot Lips is a local pizza joint where my classmates and I, after turning in all the soda cans we could round up (Oregon’s refundable cans, the husband couldn’t understand why we had to save all our cans), would fork over our change for delicious pizza. Now they make this awesome soda and in addition to the flavors at market – blackberry, blueberry, marionberry, strawberry, each with just a touch of real cane sugar and carbonated water – they serve a black raspberry from the tap. Sadly, we didn’t make it into the store to try that one.
We also bought some fresh tamales, mine was artichoke and peppers, and devoured them right there in the rain, while the toddler made his way through a pint of blackberries.
That night, we simply steamed the artichokes, sauteed the morels in butter, and fried up the peppers according to the instructions provided by the vendor. Each was remarkably fresh and flavorful and a great compliment to my Dad’s spaghetti.
I’ll post a weekly Pacific NW feature for the rest of the month, so check back every Monday! And on tap for the remainder of this week, a special series on Preserving the Tastes of Summer.