• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 12th, 2014, 9:21 AM

    Alma Handmade Chocolates is my favorite sweets shop in Portland, and not just because they make these adorbs hazelnut hedgehogs. Alma’s confections (like their pistachio-filled bon bons, Thai peanut butter cups, and epic barks) foreground flavor, not just sweetness. The sugar is ratcheted down, and the inspired fillings and toppings–and, of course, the ethically sourced pure dark chocolate–amped up. I love popping in on a winter’s day for a demitasse of pudding-thick hot chocolate, looking out their big windows at the rainy streets…They are, to me, pure Portland, and now Alma is doubling down on its Oregon-ness by teaming up with Pendleton Woolen Mills, a true local institution. A select line of Alma chocolates featuring Oregon-produced ingredients like sea salt, cherries, and hazelnuts, will be available in gorgeous Pendleton-designed packaging now through the holidays at all Pendleton stores (including outlet locations). Go here to find the location nearest you, and stock up. The holidays are closer than you think, and I can think of no better way to share a taste of Oregon.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on March 21st, 2013, 10:35 AM

    It’s not very fashionable to admit, but I like Jell-O, tomato aspic, panna cotta, and marshmallows. That is, I like food made with gelatin. (I even once jelled gazpacho; it looked like rubies.) I bought the Jellymongers book by Bompas & Parr, the British duo who make what can only be called jelly art, and really want to make their black cherry and prosecco jelly come June. And homemade minted marshmallows are one of my favorite things in hot chocolate (follow the lovely recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook, and add mint extract).

    However, gelatin, as you must know, comes from boiled pig bones. It’s a terrific source of collagen if you want to improve your hair, skin and nails or if you have joint problems. But, again, pig bones. So, since I only buy organic meat these days, it’s been no more jellies for me, alas.

    UNTIL NOW! (Cue infomercial graphics.)

    The Canadians are no longer just your source for affordable prescription drugs, they now also offer us suffering Americans 100% organic gelatin. The Canadian company GoBIO! offers 100% organic gelatin in powder and sheets, and it doesn’t cost a fortune (about $2 for six gelatin sheets). They also sell marshmallows, which you might as well throw in your cart too.

    Limoncello Jell-O shot anyone?

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on October 8th, 2012, 5:33 AM

    I like sweets for breakfast, mostly because I drink coffee, and there’s just nothing like a sweet with a cup of coffee. So I’m always seeking ways to indulge my cravings while still getting a shred of nutrition to start my day and balance out the caffeine. I’m new to coconut oil, the healthy fat du jour, and have mostly been using the jar I bought as body lotion. (It’s FAB as body lotion.) Could it compete with butter in a batch of banana muffins? Combined with honey, ginger, pecans, and a handful of coconut chips, the coconut oil not only competed, it beat butter at its own game. These muffins are damned delicious.

    Makes 12 large muffins. Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on June 7th, 2012, 10:03 AM

    I don’t know if it’s the weather or the transit of Venus, or just that it takes 22 years for them to reach maturity, but our olallieberry bushes are going bonkers. For the uninitiated, an olallieberry is a cross between a loganberry and a youngberry, which are in turn crosses between a raspberry and a blackberry, and a blackberry and a dewberry, respectively. I have no idea what a dewberry is. (Wikipedia has the full, Game of Thrones-worthy pedigree.) They only fruit for about three weeks a year, and we normally get just a few precious handfuls. But not the class of 2012! I’ve been putting the berries on everything (including these corncakes), and even had to freeze some (!). Olallieberries are terrific for any sweet preparation as they are quite tart—unlike Game of Thrones, ancestry is not destiny here. (And…now I’ll stop with that analogy.) They make the most delicious, dark purple ice cream you could ever hope to eat, but I don’t have an ice cream maker so I made this tart, featuring a nice layer of frangipane studded with the tangy berries. If you find yourself in the company of some ollalieberries, try it; but any of their progenitors would work well too.

    Makes one 9″ tart Read on… »

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