by Jon Sullivan - 2024-01-26 - Food

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Moving to Oregon = Go all the places, take all the photos, eat all the food. I didn't realize I'd be cooking most of it myself.

I have said the ravioli throwdown that Marilee organized last year was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. Even if that was hyperbole, it was at a minimum a truly great dinner party. Which there have been many of here. Which I didn't see coming a few years ago. When I made it a goal to "eat all the food" I was thinking it meant exploring all the food trucks in Portland, eating at all the crab shacks on the coast, finding all the hidden foodie places in the woods. But a year plus into living here I find cooking for my new friends is a joy I hadn't even considered. Let's be clear - Before Oregon I only cooked boring food for myself, pretty food to photograph, or fancy stuff for Sharon's solstice party. Here I cook for others. So.... I guess we add "cook for all the people" to my Oregon mantra???

  • Apple, Hazelnut and Butternut Squash Soup
  • Smoked Poblano Vegetarian Pozole
  • Roasted Carrot, Mushroom and Fennel
  • Soup With Cashew Cream
  • Wonton Soup With Mushroom-Zucchini Meatballs

    And..... getting back on track.... The main complaint about the ravioli throwdown was some people decided not to come and that's somehow my fault so now we need another chef cooking throwdown. As one does. A future soup throwdown was suggested. And since none of the cooks were smart or quick enough to refuse something as banal as a soup competition, we're doing soup. So....... if I have this right...... A bus load of chefs will be packed in a smallish kitchen in the woods and cooking 7-8 people about 15 original gourmet soups??? Yeah. Okay. This is my life now? Yes, it seems to be so. You're welcome.

  • Beet, Rhubarb, and Ginger Soup
  • Purple Sweet Potato Soup With Wild Mushrooms
  • Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin
  • Black Bean and Chocolate Mole Soup

    Now I need to find/invent one or two completely badass but somehow original soup preparations. With vegetarian versions, because Marilee. And yes, of course, Marilee will say there is zero need to make veggie versions for her. Which is advice only suckers will fall for. When the event is at her house, and she's facilitating the whole thing, and she's only inviting her close friends, and she is not only judging but also making the rules..... Let's just say princess Marilee will be getting a few veggie versions. As I've learned the hard way, to my own peril. "No it's totally fine, I'll just give you zero points." As a wise man once said - Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me again.... you can't get fooled again. Thus, veggie versions.

  • Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese
  • Wild Mushroom Chowder with Bacon and Leeks
  • Orzo and Chickpeas with Turmeric-Ginger Broth
  • Burmese Samosa Soup

    An obvious choice would be an all-in farmer's market cioppino. Boring. Overdone. So last century. A San Diego style gourmet ramen would be incredible. But you need a huge frickin portion for that to work and we're serving too many bowls. It needs to be good in a dainty portion. So flavor > garnishes. I have no great ideas yet. Next month all dinners will be soup oriented test versions. So far I have no plan. But there will be soup. So much soup it'll be squirting out our ears.

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