Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trip Through the Pacific Northwest

Dave & I did a bumber through Washington & Oregon for his birthday last week, and it was fantastic. A lot of driving, but really fun. We covered a lot of different ground, so we saw plenty. The weather was interesting, to say the least.

We followed the Columbia River to its mouth from Longview and crossed the long bridge to Astoria. We followed a little bit of the northern Oregon Coast (saw a large herd of elk lounging in a farmer's front yard just outside of Astoria) to Cannon Beach and the sea stacks, then wound our way inland to Troutdale, just east of Portland.

We stayed a McMenamin's Edgefield, where every surface is covered in beautiful paintings of both a weird and wonderful nature. Fabulous food & beverages from the Edgefield acreage and surrounding countryside on both sides of the Columbia.

A little side-tracking off from Lacey to Yelm, Tenino to Centralia for a more rural side of life. East up the Columbia Gorge to Multnomah Falls, which were very enthusiastically jumping over the cliff.

Over the Columbia at Biggs, through rabbitbrush and Ponderosa Pines to Toppenish and Yakima.

Over the Snoqualmie Pass (not actually snowing at that point, but had a lot of snow from the winter still), and following the Snoqualmie then Snohomish Rivers, and eventually back to "civilization" near Marysville.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I love green tea lattes. But I don't like how sweet they are commercially, so I thought I'd try to make something myself. This works very well, and you can totally control the sweetness.

Green Tea Latte
(makes a grande - 2 cup size travel mug)
1 scant tsp matcha powder (same green tea used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony)
1/3 - 1 cup whole milk (or whatever you like: skim, soy milk, rice milk, etc. - and use the greater amount if you want it creamier)
1 tsp - 1 tbsp honey (again, flexible to what sweetness you want)
make up rest with boiling water

Stir & enjoy. Mmmmmm.

Another wonderful recipe that I discovered via Cake Wrecks was on Bakearella, the Chocolate Matcha Bundt Cake. Here's our version from tonight - if you use a silicone bundt pan, the cake comes out perfectly. My version is not as beautifully green as Bakearella's, and considerably less sweet, but it was very moist, rich and tasty, so give 'er a try!

Chocolate Ginger Matcha Bundt Cake

Chocolate Mixture
1 cup plus scant 1/4 cup rice flour*
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Matcha Mixture
1 cup plus scant 1/4 cup rice flour*
2 tsp matcha powder (original recipe calls for 3 tbsp of a "sweet" (?) matcha, but the original tea ceremony stuff I used is very bitter, and very expensive, so you decide!)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 baking powder

*original recipe is 1 1/2 cups flour per dry mixture, and you need 1/8 cup less rice flour per full cup of regular flour when baking; so I measured a full cup, took away 1/8, then added another 1/4 cup when measuring for this

Wet Ingredients
1 cup honey
2/3 cup olive oil**
2 duck eggs (or 3 chicken eggs), room temperature
1 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
**this version is more liquid than original, so you won't easily be able to marble batter

Preheat oven to 325 F. Dust a 10-12 cup bundt pan with cocoa powder.
Mix dry ingredients for chocolate mixture in small bowl and set aside.
Mix dry ingredients for matcha mixture in small bowl and set aside.
Cream oil & honey.
Beat eggs, then add to creamed mixture. Incorporate milk and mix until thoroughly combined.
Divide the creamed mixture evenly into two separate bowls.
Slowly add chocolate mixture to one half of the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
Slowly add matcha mixture to other half of the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
Carefully pour both mixtures in slowly & simultaneously (if possible) into bundt pan to achieve a marbling effect.

Bake about 1 hour & 15 minutes or until set and toothpick comes away clean.

Thanks, Bakearella!!