Posts tagged ‘restaurant’

June 3, 2012

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

This recipe comes from a local restaurant Lucy’s Table, in Portland, OR.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was a casualty of the economy and closed last year.  It was sad to see a local favorite go, but luckily their wonderful ravioli recipe will live on.  It is amazingly simple to make and utilizes wonton skins in place of the traditional pasta dough.  Before you pass judgement on the nontraditional approach, you have to try it.  It allows this to be made on a weeknight, in no time at all.


  •  2.5 lbs. goat cheese (Chèvre)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 package of fresh wonton skins
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, blend goat cheese, egg, bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Spoon 1 Tbsp. of stuffing onto wonton wrapper. Brush edges with beaten egg.  Fold over to form triangle. Press with fork to seal edges.

Drop raviolis into boiling water. When ravioli floats, they are done.  Drain and serve with Brown Butter Sauce and toppings.

Brown Butter Sauce

  • 1/2 lb. salted butter
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
  • 1.5 qt. heavy cream

Over medium heat, cook butter until light brown. Whisk in heavy cream and 
continue cooking until sauce thickens.


  • 1/2 lb. parmesan reggiano – shredded
  • 1/2 lb. pancetta – diced into 1/4-inch cubes and rendered in olive oil over low heat until crisp
  • 1 small shallot, diced and carmelized
  • Equal parts chopped italian parsley and chives for topping/garnish

ravioli assembly line

cooking the shallots and pancetta

dinner time!

The richness of the dish is amazing.  It’s not at all heart healthy and is truly a splurge. Enjoy!

July 12, 2011


Margie and I recently spent a weekend away in the wine country of Walla Walla, Washington.  Walla Walla is about 4.5 hours NE of Portland and home to some great hearty red wine production.  We had previously travelled there two years ago and had a fabulous time and had been itching to get back.  The last trip went just perfectly for us with the perfect quaint, modern hotel, right on main street downtown, the perfect restaurants and great wineries.  We were looking to duplicate that again and weren’t disappointed.

We ate at a local restaurant on the south side of town, called South Fork Grill.  The menu had looked good, so Margie had gotten us a reservation.  When we arrived, we were a little surprised.  It wasn’t what we expected.  It was in a small strip mall and looked pretty suburban.  (sorry, we can be food snobs  🙂 )

Despite the atmosphere, the food really surprised me.  I had ordered a Halibut w/Green Curry as my main course mostly because I was feeling like fish and I love a good halibut.  (I guess you could say I just got it for the hal-i-but….hahah)  It really hit the spot and knocked my socks off.  It had a great fresh taste with just the right amount of heat to it.  I also loved the zesty cilantro, red pepper, lime juice topping on it.  It all really came together as a dish.

When I got home from the weekend, I was still craving the halibut dish.  I HAD TO HAVE IT AGAIN.  I set out to recreate the dish at home.  It was my mission and I was not to fail.  The recipe below is what I made and both Margie and I agree, it is pretty darn close to what we tasted at the restaurant.

This is going to be a regular staple in our house for years to come.  It’s not too difficult to make and the curry paste can be made  in a larger batch and frozen for a week or two.  If the photo of the dish doesn’t entice you to make it, I don’t know what will.


Halibut w/ Thai Green Curry

 Curry paste ingredients

  • 1 stalk lemongrass minced
  • 1-3 green chilies, sliced (thai green chilies or jalapeno)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves & stems
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
  • 1-2 tsp. brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 can coconut milk (15 oz.) , reserve 1/4 for cooking

Place all ingredients in a food processor.

Process well to form Thai green curry sauce. Taste the sauce for salt and spice. If too salty for your taste, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce or salt. Add more chili for more heat.

Topping ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • ¼ red bell pepper, julienned small
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

Gently mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate, until serving

Main ingredients

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, portioned, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil (grapeseed, olive, or vegetable)
  • 2 cups steamed rice


Assemble curry paste and topping according to directions above.

Cook rice in rice cooker until it is cooked through and still sticky.

Heat curry paste and remaining coconut milk over medium heat in sauce pan.  Add more Coconut milk if needed to get a medium consistency curry sauce.

Heat cooking oil for fish in a large sauté pan.   Sauté halibut fillets in oil until browned on both sides and just barely opaque all the way through.

Using a small bowl (Pyrex dishes work well), spoon cooked rice into prep bowl.  This will then be used to create a nice mound of rice in the serving bowl on which the curry and fish will be placed.  Flip the molding bowl onto the large serving bowl and remove.  You should have a nice, neat mound of rice in the center.

Spoon desired amount of curry around the rice mound.  Top with halibut.

Sprinkle red pepper/cilantro topping on top of halibut.

June 7, 2011

Restaurant review – Aviary

In thinking about what our blog would be comprised of, we thought it might be fun to add some diversity and also do restaurant reviews.  Most restaurant reviews will be in our home city of Portland, Oregon, but if we come across any notable restaurants on our CULINARY EXPEDITIONS out of town, we will be sure to include them.

First up… Aviary  (

The restaurant is a fairly new one in the PDX scene and had recently gotten some good reviews online, as well as an endorsement from a friend that had eaten there.  It is in the trendy up-and-coming Alberta area, which is one that I have not spent a lot of time, but intend to explore more in the future.  The restaurant is located in the lower courtyard level of and new building on NE Alberta, between 16th and 17th.  The decor is a nice, contemporary industrial chic space with some seating available outside in the courtyard.  Portland got its first sunny and warm weekend of 2011 (finally!) and we were lucky enough to score a table outside.

The menu is very interesting at first glance, with a great diversity of items.  The waitress explained that the menu was mostly small plate dishes with a couple of entrée-esque items that were a touch bigger.  There was a variety of foods that you don’t often see on menus such as pig’s ears, sea urchin and the relatively tame octopus.  It was shaping up to be an interesting adventure.

Our group of four decided to get three “appetizers” to share and then each order an “entrée.”  Tempura Pumpkin, a Dungeness Crab Strudel and a Seared Octopus Salad were ordered for sharing.  They all came out looking amazing.  It was obvious that a lot of care was taken in the presentation and I always appreciate that.  Good tasting food MUST also look good!  I was suspicious of the pumpkin, with it being a vegetable and all, but they deep-fried it, so I figured it was worth a try!  It was very good and the spicy curry sauce that accompanied it was what really made the dish.  That sauce was tasty!  The other two appetizers really didn’t impress me too much.  They looked good, but both were pretty plain and one noted.  The Crab Strudel really sounded like it had potential, but I think pastry most often over powers the delicate, sweet crab flavor.  Maybe I just like crab in its pure form….with melted butter, of course.

I was feeling brave this night and ordered the Crispy Pig Ears.  It was described as being braised and then fried, with a bacon-like taste.  With a description like that, I thought I had a sure winner.  The dish came out in a small skillet, which was a nice touch, giving it much more of a table presence.  On the bottom was a bed of rice, topped by the crispy pig ears and sausage, all with some avocado slices and micro greens.  I searched for what I was expecting to see in pig’s ears, but they were thin, chip-like pieces, not the thicker appendage I was expecting.  The sauce on them tasted good, but overall, I was disappointed with the dish.  It wasn’t nearly what i had hoped.

The other entrées ordered were a Shao Xing Chicken, NY Strip Steak and Brioche Crusted Halibut.  I didn’t get enough of a sample of the three to give a thorough review, but the small tastes I did get were not all that impressive.  They all appeared well presented and interesting to look at, but fell flat on taste.  I think it was mostly just a lack of flavor throughout.  The dishes looked and sounded like they would pack a good punch, but nothing showed up.

Dessert came through for them though.  With Beer Ice Cream on the menu, it was a MUST ORDER.  It was subtly beer flavored and topped with a nice caramel sauce.  I gotta say, it was good and I would definitely order it again.

With the bill came a nice treat; they included a breakfast curry muffin for each person.  I thought that was a great touch that I rarely see.

Overall, it was a fun experience, but the food was underwhelming.  I really wanted to like Aviary.  It was well crafted food that had high hopes, but the lack of flavor couldn’t be overcome. Opening a restaurant in the culinary city of Portland is tough, and with it being a relatively new restaurant, I will likely give it another try after some months pass. We are so fortunate that there are just so many other “great” restaurants to choose from, so restaurants really need to make you HAVE to come back.


Addendum: Call Aviary before you attempt to go. Aviary closed temporarily due to a fire on the 4th of July.