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Springs pick me up comes early, thanks to Gourmet Productions


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: GOURMET PRODUCTIONS  - The folks at Gourmet Productions are big fans of pickled asparagus. They like to eat it as a snack and also incorporate it into dishes, such as the Farro Salad with Pickled Asparagus and Almonds. If you are like me, about this time of year you could use a little pick me up. I’ve grown weary of going to and from work in the dark. I’m tired of wearing scarves for warmth instead of fashion and am just a little bored with winter. So I was literally thrilled to receive the email from Gourmet Productions announcing its new spring menu. Chef and owner Jim Joyce and his wife Vicky Davies must have needed a boost, too.

We rely on Gourmet Productions to make the best use of local, seasonal produce. Unveiled in the email message was information regarding the hottest food trends for 2013, and their plans to create new dishes every two weeks with the trends in mind.

Here are Gourmet Productions Top 8 Food Trends for 2013:

1 — Pucker up! Lemons can be found in everything at Gourmet Productions from salads, on main courses and in desserts. Their light fresh tart flavor enlivens everything!

2 — The Waistline. Healthy foods will continue to influence chefs and diners, with menu items we can devour and feel good about.

3— Snacks as Meals. Smaller portions are gracing menus everywhere and this year, Gourmet Production will emphasize individual portions.

4 — Vegan to Gluten Free. As global awareness grows, so does the need to accommodate all types of diets. Fortunately, it is possible to find tasty dishes and knowledgeable personnel to navigate menus.

5 — Out with the New, In with the Old?! This was noted as being one of Jim’s favorite food trends for the year; it’s time to celebrate all things retro. Old -fashioned dinners and deli favorites are back and better than ever, inspiring the staff to explore a new spin on classic foods of childhood.

6 — Ethnic foods. Gourmet Productions always favors local purveyors and is heavily influenced by Portland’s diverse population. Watch for farmstead cheese, Asian comfort foods and Latino flavors.

7 — Veggies. Whether fried, roasted, boiled, steamed or served raw with the perfect dip, veggies are featured prominently throughout the menu. (I say ‘Bring ‘em on!’)

8 — Let’s Pickle It! Using high-quality vinegar, artisan salts and spices and organic produce, a wide variety of pickled items are popping up on menus everywhere.

Inspired? Tempted? Hungry? On the menu now are Creole Salmon Cakes served with house-made tartar sauce; Chilquiles Casserole made with layers of sweet potato, squash, tomato sauce, green chilies, tortilla chips and cheese and Chicken Stir Fry with bell peppers, onions, sprouts and sweet and tangy sauce.

To kick off the list of the Top 8 Food Trends of 2013, Gourmet Productions dedicated its first blog post to dishes having to do with pickling. From the blog:

“Here at Gourmet Productions we are big fans of pickling asparagus — and not just for munching, although they are a tasty snack! — but we are also big fans of incorporating their delicious flavors into some of our favorite dishes.”

Chef Jim shares this recipe for Farro Salad with Pickled Asparagus & Almonds, which sounds like a dish that will pull me out of the duldrums of winter. You can make it at home or visit Gourmet Productions at 39 B Ave. in downtown Lake Oswego.

Bon Appetit — Eat something wonderful!

Farro Salad with Pickled Asparagus & Almonds

2 cups cooked faro

1/4 cup toasted sliced natural almonds

1/4 cup pickled asparagus (drained)

2 tablespooons meyer lemon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!

Bread and Butter Pickled Asaparagus

Yields 1 quart of pickled asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus, sliced into 1/2 inch size pieces

1 shallot, thinly sliced

3 cups unseasoned rice wine vinegar

3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons mustard seed

1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoons tumeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Place asparagus in a glass or metal bowl and set aside. Combine all other ingredients in a non-reactive pan (such as stainless steel). Bring to a boil and pour over the asparagus.

Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate over night. Drain pickles from brine as you need them. Store in the fridge.

Recipes courtesy of Gourmet Productions.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, Ext. 101 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..