Have a little extra time on your hands these days to learn a new recipe or technique, like making ice cream, nut butter or your own pickled veggies? Family finally free to sit around the dinner table together for a mindful meal? Look no further for inspiration than this slate of top cookbooks published in the last few years, written by some of Oregon’s most acclaimed chefs and food artisans. While restaurants are temporarily closed, consider supporting these businesses and others by ordering take-out meals for those days you don’t feel like cooking. Food brings everyone together, after all, and that shouldn’t stop now.
Boost Your Immunity
“Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables,” by Ava Gene’s Executive Chef Joshua McFadden, dives into what he calls “the joyful ride of eating with the seasons,” framing the year in six seasons rather than four. McFadden offers 225 recipes as a way to celebrate vegetables in all their forms — starting with early-season raw veggies to later grilling and steaming, sautes, pan roasts, braises and stews. Find fresh, local produce in a “Discovery Box” by Rubinette Produce Market in Northeast Portland, available for pickup in their store or curbside.
Ava Gene’s and its partner restaurant, Tusk, are temporarily closed but are offering various items for curbside pickup, including family meals, a la carte dishes, pizzas, soups, salads, fresh pasta, sauces, cookie dough and meal kits. Order online or by phone at 503-444-7537.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
Ice cream makes everything better. Recreate some of your favorite flavors at home from Portland’s most famous scoop shop, Salt & Straw, which is also selling pints for delivery and pickup during the temporary closure. Find approachable recipes for Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Honey Lavender and more in The Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook. Most recipes take just a few ingredients and an old ice cream maker — find one in your cupboard and get churning.
Keep Fit and Feel Good
“Run Fast. Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes,” by four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan (an Oregon native) and Portland chef Elyse Kopecky, is geared toward fellow runners and fitness-minded fans. You’ll feel like a superhero when you replicate some of the power duo’s favorites like arugula cashew pesto, high-altitude bison meatballs and double chocolate teff cookies. Read more about “How to Run Fast, Eat Slow‘” in Oregon for inspiration.
Dish Up Your Portland Favorites
“Portland Cooks,” by Portland food writer Danielle Centoni, lets home cooks replicate their favorite recipes from 40 of the city’s top restaurants and bars. Hidden in here are recipes for some of the best dishes in Oregon, including Lardo’s crave-worthy pork meatball banh mi, Salt & Straw’s goat cheese ice cream with marionberry-habanero ribbons and Biwa’s karaage (Japanese fried chicken).
Bring on the Comfort Food
“Hello! My Name Is Tasty,” by John Gorham and Liz Crain, takes you on a magical journey through Gorham’s roots in the South, inviting you to see his culinary inspirations behind many of his iconic dishes at Tasty n Sons and Tasty n Alder in Portland and Third n Tasty in the Atticus Hotel in McMinnville. The shakshuka, bulgogi short ribs and smoked trout board will inspire your next dinner party, even if it’s just for two.
Try These Wine-Pairing Recipes
Love wine? Now’s your time to the next level. Portland food authors Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker provide plenty of escapist distraction with “Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking” — a beautiful cookbook with 75 tasty recipes inspired by 75 wine styles from around the world, as well as 250 recommendations for wine producers. For more inspiration, read about their story in Cook Your Own ‘Wine Food’ Adventure.
Practice Those Fundamentals
“Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking,” by Beast chef/owner Naomi Pomeroy, is a true showstopper with the rustic refinement of Beast, one of Portland’s most steady, sought-after restaurants. Pomeroy shares tips from her 20 years as a chef, and demystifies some of her favorite recipes for the home cook — including the fundamentals behind them — as with her hollandaise, souffle and potato dumplings.
Enjoy a Mindful Meal
“Dishing Up the Dirt,” by farmer-turned-foodie Andrea Bemis, celebrates vegetables with innovative and beautifully photographed recipes she dreams up on her Parkdale farm. Treat the family to an unrushed meal of Moroccan-seared roasted chicken and carrots, and use ingredients in new ways with dishes like a miso-pesto noodle bowl and buffalo chicken chowder.
Learn to Preserve and Ferment
Ashland couple Kristen and Christopher have been fermenting foods on their homestead for decades, and with a little time and patience, you can learn the art and science of it too. From kimchi and miso to sauerkraut, pickled veggies and other simple condiments and dishes, these are excellent accompaniments to any meal and incredible for your immune system as well. Their books focus on “Miso, Tempeh and Natto” and “Fiery Ferments,” a guide to spicy condiments. Read more about their story at The Art of Fermented Foods.
Explore Russian Culture
“Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking,” by Kachka chef/owner Bonnie Frumkin Morales, with Deena Prichep, is chock full of stories as well as tantalizing inspiration. Morales takes you back to her family’s kitchen, as the daughter of immigrant Russian Jews. Kachka is known for its funky grandma’s living room vibe, pickled fish plates, caviar, dumplings, “herring under a fur coat” and ice-cold vodka cocktails. Read more about how to Explore Russian Culture with Bonnie Morales.
While Kachka is temporarily closed, the restaurant is offering prepared lunch and dinner items for curbside pickup and delivery within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant. Also order grocery and deli items from Kachka Lavka by phone or online.
Make Use of Your Asian Pantry
“My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines,” by Revelry chef/owner Rachel Yang, shines a spotlight some of her most genius Korean fusion recipes from her buzzworthy Portland restaurant, Revelry. Sure, there’s bibimbap and kimchi, but her Korean fried chicken (with peanut brittle sauce for extra crunch) will have you swooning, as will the chipotle-spiked pad thai, reminiscent of Yang’s skill in borrowing from many cultures for comfort-food favorites.
Make Your Own Nut Butters
There’s a lot more to spread on sandwiches these days than just peanut butter. The founders of Portland-based Ground Up PDX, Carolyn Cesario and Julie Sullivan, offer up more than 50 tasty nut butters and incorporating nut butters into dishes in their “Nut Butter Cookbook,” all of which are peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free so you can feel great about what you’re eating. It’s a great way to mix up the at-home lunch routine, and for picnics in the backyard.