Corn Reborn

Three Sisters Nixtamal brings back old-school tortilla-making STORY BY MATTIE JOHN BAMMAN PHOTOS BY NASHCO "What's done in here is how it's been done for thousands of years," says Pedro Ferbel-Azcárate, co-owner of the Portland-based artisan tortilla and masa company, Three Sisters Nixtamal. Standing over a huge vat of organic heirloom corn submerged in water at the Three Sisters Nixtamal facility in Southeast Portland, he's making corn tortillas the old-fashioned way — the really old-fashioned way. Three Sisters Nixtamal makes its tortillas using the crucial nixtamalization process, which gives the tortillas their heady heirloom corn flavor. Without it, you end up with the rather flavorless corn disks proliferating on grocery shelves. It's the difference between a beer and a microbrew, grocery-store white bread and...

Proven Pearings

STORY AND RECIPE BY ELLEN D. JACKSON PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHARITY BURGGRAFF I speak from experience when I say that a pastry chef’s palette of seasonal ingredients is crowded with caramel and chocolate browns when winter rolls around. But if you look closely, there are plenty of local options for satisfying your sweet tooth. From the sweet, creamy yellow flesh of a Seckel pear, to the papery mahogany skin of the hazelnut, to the deep, dark brown of extra-dark, bittersweet chocolate, what winter’s offerings lack in bright color and flavor are made up for in richness and texture. In Oregon, pears are the No. 1 fruit crop, and the state ranks third in national production. Washington leads the nation in pear production, providing close...

American Dream

Jose Perez leans out the window from his bright turquoise food cart and hands over a towering El Cubano sandwich stacked with layers of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on grilled Cuban bread. “This is what people eat all the time in Cuba,” he says....

Firebreather

"When I was pregnant, I wanted the spiciest foods ever," says Sarah Marshall, who co-founded Marshall's Haute Sauce, a line of hot sauces made with seasonal ingredients and signature recipes, with her husband, Dirk, in 2011. She's not kidding; when pressed, Sarah admits that, nothing, and she means nothing, was hot enough....

Old is New Again at Antiquum Farm

Stephen Hagen stands among rows of Pinot Noir vines at his vineyard, Antiquum Farm, a few miles outside Junction City. Hens peck at the soil. Gray sheep graze in the shade of the vines, with the Coburg Hills sleeping purple on the horizon....

Drink Chocolate

When I emailed Aaron Koch about writing an article on his instant drinking chocolate company, Treehouse Chocolate, he responded, "Do you want to come see the smallest chocolate factory in the world?" This was the first surprise. There would be more....

The Proof is in the Parsnip

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Fine words butter no parsnips.” In other words, flattery (“buttering up”) is meaningless without the behavior to back it up. A variation of sorts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it's a particularly apt turn of phrase when speaking of parsnips, that humble root vegetable whose gnarled exterior is at odds with its creamy, sweet interior....

Holidays on the Lamb

The last two months of the year are a time of celebration and giving thanks. Family and friends gather around the holiday table to reconnect and reminisce while enjoying a hearty meal together. When I was growing up, lamb often found its way onto our holiday table. An untraditional meal to many, lamb became our tradition, and to this day, the smell of lamb wafting through the house brings back all those memories of home and comfort....

Carrying the Torch

It’s 1963. You’re celebrating your anniversary at a nice restaurant. Your wife’s silk dress glimmers against the velvet banquette, and candlelight throws warm light on the coiffure that only a few hours ago absorbed half a spray can of Aqua Net. The remnants of your clams casino and dry martinis, served club-style, of course, have been whisked away....

What a Great Place to Put Jerusalem Artichokes

I am riding shotgun in a rusty farm truck bumping along an uneven dirt road late one fall day. John Eveland is driving, and I’m interviewing him about his farm when the phone rings. It’s an order for 200 pounds of Jerusalem artichokes, that strange relative of the common garden sunflower that produces edible, starchy underground tubers. The buyers want to pick the sunchokes up the next morning, and there is not much daylight left....