This week has been a week filled with thoughts of food. Not that any week isn’t, for me, at least. So it’s going to be a list of my five big food thoughts for the week. They’re not really revelations, but they’re close. If someone wants to take an idea and run with it, I’d be really happy. As in, if you happen to live in Bend and need some ideas for a new cafe or eatery you’re planning on opening, feel free to use these. I’d be more than happy to frequent your business and savor your twist on them.
- Idea #1: Has anyone thought of having food flights at a cafe? There are a few cafes in Portland doing it. I’d like to see more food pairings for coffee or cafe drinks. As in, bite-size little eats – savory or sweet – that pair with espresso or chai dolled up in different creative ways. Think spiced marcona almonds with some lovely milk-based espresso drink, followed by a tiny cayenne-peppered chocolate truffle paired with a strong smoky espresso straight-up. Or something like that. Someone, please think up something like this, because I’d be the first one to line up to experience it. Maybe have a sweet flight and a savory flight on the menu, changing it 4 times a year, seasonally. They do it for cheese, and wine, and beer, and whiskey. Why not coffee?
- Idea #2: Gourmet ice cream brownie sandwiches. So I actually made a pan of the brownies I mentioned in List #5. The brownies, I must say, came out quite a bit cakier than my family likes. We like crusty on the edges, chewy and gooey in the middle. These were uniformly cakey. Tasty, but not really our brownie. So they sat on the counter for a day as I wrestled with what to do with them. That was when I realized that they were the perfect consistency for ice cream sandwiches. I took out our pint of French lavender ice cream (Snoqualmie Gourmet, no less – one of our personal favorites, partly because we used to live 3 miles away from their creamery and scoop shop in Maltby, Washington) to soften on the counter. I then sliced the remaining brownies into inch-and-a-half squares, and cut out lengths of parchment paper. Using a spatula, I placed one brownie upside down on each length of parchment paper. Then came a scoop of ice cream to almost reach the edges. After flattening along the top and sides, another square of brownie came down right-side up. Each sandwich was then folded into a little package and placed in a freezer-safe air-tight box to store in the freezer. Can I just say, YUM? They were REALLY good. As in, I tried to just slice a tiny bite for myself but ended up eating a whole sandwich because I couldn’t stop. I highly recommend taking one out, cutting it into 4 little quarters with a sharp knife, and sharing with 3 close friends or family. Or, of course, you can devour one yourself. For my other batch of brownie mix I have sitting in the freezer, I plan to do some experimenting: thinking about putting a little ancho chili powder into the mix to get a little heat into the brownie part, then pairing with peanut butter ice cream or salted caramel or chocolate ice cream. I see mixing cacao nibs into chocolate ice cream for a little crunch. Lemon zest can go into the brownie mix with lemon custard or raspberry gelato in the middle. The combinations are endless and all sound pretty delicious to me. Bonta, are you listening?
- Idea #3: I have been all about sandwiches this week. But my sandwiches don’t involve bread. This is what happened with my Wasa sourdough crisp this week: One afternoon, I spread a wedge of Laughing Cow onto a Wasa sourdough crisp. I had some raw cranberry relish left over from Thanksgiving (yes, ladies and gentlemen, THANKSGIVING!) in the fridge which was actually still perfectly good. So I spread a little onto the cheese. I then placed it on a plate with a chunk of smoked salmon. And boy was it GOOD! So then I decided I’d eat this for a little after-work snack the following day. I made myself little sandwiches of crisps with Laughing Cow and cranberry relish in between, placed them in a box with the smoked salmon, and left them in the fridge for the next day. These turned soft, but I can’t say they weren’t still tasty. That was when I realized I could use these crisps like thin little pieces of bread. So now I’ve got ideas for all sorts of other combinations of wilted-Wasa sandwiches. I doubt Wasa would be too excited about this customer’s use of their “crisps” but they certainly held together nicely in my hands as I ate them in my car during my long drive home from work. Other flavor combinations could include: cream cheese, capers, and sardines; peanut butter and banana; Kalamata olive tapenade, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. The list goes on.
- Idea #4: I shamelessly share this little trick from a little flyer that was included in my bag of sweet potatoes: Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes. Peel them if you don’t like the texture/taste of peels. Slice lengthwise into quarter-inch wide slices. Place in your toaster oven at the highest setting. Toast. When they come out, they’ll be perfectly cooked (if not, repeat the toasting, but make sure you don’t overbake them, or they’ll only be good for the composting bin). Now you have little sweet potato toasts that you can spread peanut butter or cream cheese on. I had mine with my home-made “Yumm sauce.” I’ve also had them with another one of my favorite spreads: nonfat Greek yogurt plus PBFit peanut butter powder (I mix it in a ratio of a heaping cup of yogurt to 3 heaping tablespoons of PB powder, and I keep it in a working jar in the fridge to enjoy through the week). Another very tasty snack or mid-afternoon meal.
- Idea #5: This is just an idea I got from my sister. This is how they eat pizza crusts that get tossed to the edge of the plate (Also called “the bones”) by those who shun them: after everyone’s done eating pizza, they take the crusts and dip them into a little bowl of honey, to enjoy for dessert. Mmmmmm. Zero food waste.
So there you have it. 5 food ideas. Let me know what you think, or any more yummy flavor combinations you’ve come up with.