Sandy, Salmon and the Sixes

I admit, I got sucked into the drama of Hurricane Sandy this week. My brother lives in Philly, and while I talked to him the morning it was supposed to hit Pennsylvania and he wasn’t too worried, it was still pretty nerve-wracking to see the progression of the storm and the horrifying photos of New York and New Jersey! I hope everyone on the East coast is okay and that the property damage isn’t too much. Mother Nature is absolutely amazing and it just goes to show you things can change on a dime.

It got me thinking: am I prepared for any kind of natural disaster? Not really. Michael and I have a bunch of canned food. And our BBQ outside is gas, so we could cook on that if the power ever went out. (We did have the power go out over Christmas a few years ago. We woke up Christmas morning to no power or heat! That was not pleasant.) We have a little bit of firewood from last winter to heat the fireplace, but not much. We do not have enough bottled water for the two of us and the cats. This is probably something I should be more diligent about. After all, Portland is due for a “mega earthquake” and the city is definitely not prepared! Hell, most of our bridges would end up in the Willamette River.

To keep busy, I tried to get caught up on season 4 of “White Collar”, tried not to check CNN and every 10 minutes, and made dinner on Monday night. I wanted a recipe I could use the leftover ricotta in. It had been sitting in my fridge for a week after making my first attempt at lasagna. I haven’t cooked with ricotta very much so I went to google. What do I do with ricotta?? I found this recipe and it sounded pretty good to me. Easy peasy.

I added a few things to the mixture because it was a tad on the bland side. I added a no-salt seasoning we got from Costco recently. I also added a pinch of dill, onion powder, and extra garlic. I think I got the ratio right according to my taste test as I mixed it all together.

Originally, I was going to make salmon with some tiny tortellinis for dinner. But considering that ricotta is cheese, and the tortellinis were stuffed with three different kinds of cheese, I thought that might be overkill. Although, I debated for a very long time on giving up on the pasta. It sounded so good to me! And cheese is awesome, so why not use more cheese? 🙂 Yeah, I guess not.

Plan B: the salmon on top of a green salad. I chopped up red peppers, yellow peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli and added some sunflower seeds to the salad.

I wrapped the salmon in little foil “pockets.” It’s the usual way I bake salmon. It’s so easy, there’s nothing to really clean up because you just throw away the foil, and it cooks the salmon evenly. I wrap the foil loosely.

The entire dinner was less than 500 calories and filled me up for most of the evening. Salmon is always really satisfying to me. I bet this recipe would work great with the tortellini….next time! If you wanted to get fancy and pair a nice wine with a dish like this, you’d probably want a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio (which I happen to be out of at the moment). I think the tartness would have balanced out the richness of the salmon and the ricotta.

Michael’s opinion of the dinner: it was okay. He said he liked some of the other salmon dinners I’ve made better than this one (like the Wild Salmon with Dill and Cucumber Salad).

I liked the flavors a lot. The additions I made to the ricotta mixture made it more flavorful. I probably could have added a bit more lemon juice, and maybe some salt? It was a bit weird putting it on the salad…even though I liked the flavors mixing with the veggies. I’d probably make it with a side salad (or tortellini!!!) next time.

After dinner, I headed to bed–away from the news, the endless twitter updates and anxious feelings about mother nature, and settled in with a good book. I discovered a new author (new to me, anyway) and wanted to pass on the tip. Check out “The Sixes” for a good read!

Follow-up:  I went back to physical therapy this week and he showed me a few different option for taping my knees. Then he had me walk and jog on the treadmill to test them out. I jogged for about half a mile with no pain! Yay! It was encouraging.

He taped both knees differently to see if I felt a difference. One knee looks like the photo above, the other knee was taped to directly address the internal rotation I have in that kneecap. I’m going to try these two methods for 3 weeks and when I return to see him in November, he is going to show me another method to try. I hope one of these methods turns out to be the magic cure.

QUESTION: Did Sandy pay a visit to your town? 

East Coast Invasion

After our delectable dinner at Toast, my brother Andy and his wife arrived! They flew out to Portland from Philly. My sister-in-law (also named Lisa, yes it causes quite the confusion in the family) is in medical school and my brother is getting his Masters Degree in German history and socialism. They’ve been living in Philly for a few years now and desperately miss the Northwest. Their first comment was “It’s cold here.” Which cracked me up. It’s been in the high 70’s all week! Andy’s comment was that he’s finally “not sweating 24/7”. Poor guy! I’ve never been to the East Coast so I can’t relate.

Last Year's Visit

I love when Andy comes to visit but unfortunately it’s always a short visit. We stayed up late catching up but they were on East Coast time so they wanted to crash soon after they arrived. Thursday we all got up around the same time. Michael started making bacon and I joined Andy for a run around the track.

I hadn’t planned on running but I was feeling pretty good. I joined Andy for a jog/walk. I did more walking than running but that was okay. I was really just out there to spend time with my brother.  I didn’t count the laps, didn’t track my mileage. I just jogged and walked.

Run Stats:

Time: 34 minutes
Calories Burned: 302
Distance: Who knows??

We all cleaned up and ate breakfast together before heading out for the day. My brother rides his bike every day in Philly–it’s his sole transportation. I’m pretty impressed! He’s biking rain or shine, all year round–even when it’s 10 degrees below! He said the only time he won’t bike to school/work is when it’s snowing. Hard core. I’m such a wuss. Even the threat of rain deters me! The first stop of the morning was River City Bikes.

River City Bikes is a great bike store in Portland. That’s where Michael bought his Carbon fiber bike (and got a great deal for it too).  Andy and Michael shopped for bike parts and I bought some arm warmers. Finally!

After that we headed to Washington Park. I only took a half day off from work (I wished I had taken the whole day off) so we had to do things close-in to downtown. We parked at the Archery Range in Washington park and walked along the trails in Forest Park.


It was a cool, overcast morning and it was a nice stroll on the Wildwood Trail.

We were passed by a lot of trail runners, which is very cool and something I’ve always wanted to try. We were also passed by the new soccer team!

The Wildwood Trail looped through the park and up to Hoyt Arboretum. The trees are so pretty in the arboretum.

This tree was a Birch Bark Cherry. The colors on the bark were amazing and it felt like copper to the touch! It was very strange but beautiful.

After about an hour of hiking around we headed back downtown for lunch. The lunch spot: Clyde Common. I’ve been wanting to eat here for ages. I’ve heard nothing but good things. I walk by this place all the time and it’s always packed.

We arrived about noon and it wasn’t full yet. The place is trendy and cool–very typical of Portland. It felt like warehouse space. It’s “family style” seating, where you sit next to strangers.

We were seated right away and the service was so fast. I had to be to work by 1pm and I was worried I’d be late. They have the lunch hour rush to a SCIENCE. The service was super speedy.

Michael ordered the burger for lunch (with blue cheese) and gave me a bite. It was really tasty.

Andy ordered the pastrami panini. He gave me a bite and the pastrami was super smokey and delicious. Lisa ordered the fried oyster sandwich with lettuce, radishes, buttermilk dressing and guacamole. She said it was amazing. It looked huge to me and it smelled fantastic. I’m not a huge oyster fan though.

I ordered the sliced pork shoulder sandwich. It came with a  yogurt, cucumber, za’atar dressing and iceberg lettuce with chunks of cucumber. The bun was a little dry and plain but the flavors of the pork and sauce were really good. It reminded me of a gyro.

The salads were simple with Green Goddess dressing (I must find this recipe!). I love that I can always order a salad as a side dish in Portland Restaurants. I’ve never gotten grief either.

Andy enjoyed a Ninkasi beer and I had iced tea (with real sugar cubes! Oh the memories…).  According to Andy, the liquor laws in Pennsylvania are super wacky and it’s near impossible to get good beer and wine from anywhere else. That made me sad!

We finished lunch and said goodbye. I headed to work and they headed to Powell’s Bookstore (a must stop every visit).

I was sad to say goodbye. I wish they lived closer! 🙁

QUESTION: Oysters–yay or nay? Soccer– a fan or no?