Feel like pitching the 'honey do' list and having some fun this weekend? I have an enticing list of activities guaranteed to be more fun than cleaning out the gutters. Come on; let's go taste Oregon's bounty!
Hopefully you have seen advertisements inviting you to 'Come Taste Oregon's Bounty.' A promotion of Travel Oregon, 'Come Taste Oregon's Bounty' is intended to encourage tourism to Oregon's harvest events.
Travel Oregon has created a publication that is chock full of information on harvest festivals, wineries, restaurants, as well as sites to see and places to stay while enjoying Oregon's Bounty. You can access the information online at www.traveloregon.com/bounty or order a copy of the publication by calling 1-800-547-7842. This information isn't only for the benefit of tourists, my fellow Oregonians - let's get out there and sample Oregon for ourselves!
The Web site is an-easy-to- navigate cornucopia of information on everything from upcoming events, attractions, outdoor recreation, arts and culture, places to dine and stay. There is even a section titled 'Trips We Love' with suggested itineraries for day trips and longer getaways.
My site search for culinary events coming up this weekend gave me a list of 19 events; 11 of the options were close enough in proximity to link together for a leisurely Saturday outing. Here is a sampling of what my excursion could include:
n I could take a private tour of Adelsheim Vineyard and spend the night at University House Bed and Breakfast in Newberg.
n Champoeg Wine Cellars, next to Champoeg State Park, is offering a free tasting.
n I could taste Willamette Valley cheeses and compare how they pair between Willamette Valley Wines, Erath Vineyards wines or Argyle wines, at all three wineries.
n I could help pinot noir producers fund healthcare access and services to seasonal workers on Saturday by attending a preview tasting of 2005 vintages and auction at Domaine Drouhin Oregon. I can continue my support on Sunday by attending a black-tie dinner at Portland's Governor Hotel with live and silent auctions.
n I figure I can end the day by attending the event that caught my eye and appetite: Lincoln City's Chowder Cook-Off. This competition will pit chefs from all over Oregon against each other as they vie for the titles of Best Chowder, Best Seafood Chowder and Best Signature Dish. Judging the competition are Chef Leif Benson, executive chef of Timberline Lodge, Niki Price, editor of Oregon Coast Magazine and Todd King, owner of Restaurants Unlimited, a restaurant consulting company.
You can be a judge, too. Attendees will help select Best of the Best and the People's Choice Award. Festival guests may sample the chowder for 25 cents or buy a bowl for $2.50. A larger supply to take home for dinner will sell for $5.
The Chowder Cook-off will be held Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Taft High School, located at 3780 S.E. Spyglass Ridge Drive in Lincoln City. For more information you can call the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau at 1-800-452-2151.
Besides a great bowl of chowder, attendees can enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations by local chefs and arts and crafts. It will be a great way to sample Oregon bounty.
If that 'honey do' list won't allow you to get to Lincoln City this weekend, why not make your own comforting clam chowder?
This recipe comes from ace cook and long-time Lake Oswego resident Mike Davis. Be forewarned: this recipe makes a HUGE pot of chowder. Mike only cooks in 'mass quantities' to ensure he'll have some to share.
Bon Appetit! - Eat Locally!
Mike's Rich Clam Chowder
Makes about 4 ½ quarts
¼ pound bacon, diced small
6 stalks celery, diced to ½ inch
2 medium onions, diced to ½ inch
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 quart chicken stock or broth
Ground black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 ½ pound unpeeled, washed russet potatoes, diced to ½ inch
8 more tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 quart milk
3 cans minced clams, drained, juice reserved
½ cup white wine
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
In a large soup pot, fry the bacon over medium heat. Drain off bacon fat. When cooked, add the butter. When melted, add the celery, onions and garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned. Add the chicken stock and clam juice, pepper, thyme and potatoes. Adjust heat to achieve a medium simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender.
In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and stir in the flour to make a paste. Add the milk and stir to incorporate the ingredients.
Add the heated milk mixture and clams to the soup pot with the potatoes. Stir to combine. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender, but still keep their shape. Add the wine and heat thoroughly, about 10 to 15 more minutes.
Serve garnished with chopped parsley if desired.