Looking for unique gifts to give this holiday season? I've got a couple suggestions that are sure to please even the most difficult to shop for on your list.
One of the hottest items you can put under the tree this year will be a copy of 'Cooking Up Oswego Memories,' fresh off the press this week from Oswego Heritage Council.
Jude Graham, OHC executive director, told me she was working down in the basement of the Heritage House and discovered a handwritten cookbook by Lucy Pollard.
'Long story short,' Jude wrote in an email, 'Lucy cooked for the wealthy families of Oswego in the very early 1900s. She was very poor and yet took time to volunteer to raise money for the orphanage at Marlyhurst. At that point, I wanted to know more about Lucy, her recipes and that started the process. I wanted to know what everyone remembered about the great cooks in their own families.'
The book is packed with not only tried and true family recipes intertwined with histories about the women and men who cooked them and historic photos of Oswego life. Some recipes are included in the cook's original handwriting.
Each decade from 1900 to the present is represented. Some folks might recall the Beachcomber and Ireland restaurants. Jude has included photos of their building fronts and some of their signature recipes. Present-day restaurants were asked to submit recipes along with a little history about themselves.
'It's a book that nobody can put ... down,' she said. 'It represents a wide variety of foods and people. Even those who don't cook are going to enjoy reading the history included in the book.'
You can buy 'Cooking Up Oswego Memories' for $20 online at www.oswegoheritage.org/store.html and pick it up at the Oswego Heritage House or you can purchase it at Graham's Book Store in downtown Lake Oswego.
My second recommendation is a ticket for Chef2Go's PDX Asian Food Market Tour with West Linn's Chef Surja Tjahaja. I've taken the tour twice and give it two huge thumbs up for being a delicious and delightful excursion. Surja takes you to shops you wouldn't discover on your own. He knows which stores are the best places to get fresh, inexpensive produce, seafood, spices and other Asian food supplies all around town. There is a tour of the east side stores scheduled for Jan. 28, which is perfectly timed so you can be in the know for the Lunar New Year.
Cost is $40 per person, which includes an outstanding Asian gourmet lunch.
If you want to go for just the gourmet lunch and not take the tour, the fee is $25. For complete details visit www.chef2go.biz and then book the tour by calling 503-656-8910.
You can fill those stockings with goodies from Elan Hagens' Temptress Truffles. She has dried matsutake and oyster mushrooms and fresh maitake, morel and shiitake mushrooms. She doesn't have any mushroom hunting tours scheduled at this time, but you can always give a gift certificate for tours coming up next year.
Visit www.temptresstruffles.com for more information about Elan's offerings.
The recipe today is from 'Cooking Up Oswego Memories.' Don't be fooled by the name - Jude says she made the Coffee Jelly for Thanksgiving as well as Bernard C Chocolate's chocolate mousse recipe which is also included in the cookbook. She layered them and topped the whole thing with whipped cream. Tasted just like mocha, she said. Better try it!
Bon appétit! Eat something wonderful!
Coffee Jelly (Like Jell-O)
We found this recipe in some loose notes, handwritten in a cookbook dated 1908. When tested plain Knox gelatin was used.
This is wonderful in a layered dessert. Coffee Jell-O, then chocolate mousse and whipped cream on top.
2 envelopes Knox sparkling gelatin
1 ½ cups cold water
3 cups clear strong hot coffee
¾ cup sugar
Juice of one lemon
Soak the gelatin in the cold water five minutes and dissolve in the hot coffee, add lemon juice and sugar, stir until dissolved.
Turn (pour) into a mold, first dipped in cold water. Chill. Serve with whipped cream.
From Cooking Up Oswego Memories