I’m not much of a baker. Good bread is everywhere, and Portland pastry chefs make a lot of great desserts. When I do bake something sweet, it’s usually my standard olive oil cake. I’ll experiment with different flours or fruit, but the basic approach doesn’t change much. That was before I made this cake. It was so good I made it three times in one week. This cake is what I’ll be baking from now on.
Winter in the northwest is invariably gray and wet, but the season does have its upsides: that’s right, we’re still thinking about citrus. If you missed it, we recently hung out with Dan and Elise Gold of Sebastiano’s while they showed us how to candy citrus peel, and we keep their marmellata in good supply at the shop to brighten up these rainy days. We’ve got a handful of other citrus-inflected products too, stuff we turn to while real sunshine is in short supply and we need to be transported (at least mentally) to a sandy California beach.
O-Med presses whole, Spanish-grown Yuzu with their olives to make this aromatic olive oil. With its bright citrus profile, yuzu comes off like a cross between a Meyer lemon and grapefruit (though less tart than either) and gives this oil a subtle flavor that works well with seafood and simple salads. For something more indulgent, pour some on a plate and use as a dip for dark chocolate.
Sicilian-style deli Sebastiano’s has quickly become a local favorite since opening in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood in 2020. Their muffalettas, cannoli, and other house-made Italian favorites draw devoted customers from across the city, and now their delightful Pasticcini di Mandorle – a traditional Sicilian cookie made with almond flour, honey, and candied orange – are finally available to enjoy at home.
A floral, aromatic twist on a classic condiment, Poi Dog’s Lavender Ponzu utilizes native Hawai’ian lavender blossoms steeped with katsuobushi, yuzu juice, shoyu and rice vinegar to produce this flavorful sauce. Perfect as a dip for fried dumplings, sushi, or sashimi, it’s also nice mixed with a little olive oil for a quick and easy tropical vinaigrette, or splashed over noodles as a simple sauce.
Split lemons cured in salt are a staple of Levant cooking, and NY Shuk’s preserved lemon paste makes it even easier to add the citrusy, umami-rich flavor to whatever you’re making. For inspiration, check out their list of 34 different ways to use preserved lemon paste.
Join us Sunday March 20th for the Market di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Market), a celebration of Spring with a southern Italian twist. As ever, we’ll have tasty bites and beverages along with delicious treats from our friends at Sebastiano’s and the Culinary Breeding Network. More details forthcoming!