Keep Portland weird?
I say: “Keep Portland delish, too!”
This Pacific Northwest city is famous for embracing and celebrating the quirky, the off-beat, and the unconventional in everything.
Of course, the most fun way get to know any city is through its food. Whether you’re planning your first trip to Portland or wanting a keepsake that pays tribute to the city’s vast culinary treasures, “Portland Cooks: Recipes From the City’s Best Restaurants & Bars” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy, is sure to rev the appetite.
The book is by James Beard Award-winning food writer Danielle Centoni, a former colleague of mine who was once the food editor of the Oakland Tribune, and now lives in Portland.
Forty restaurants, bakeries and bars are spotlighted, with each showcasing their distinctiveness in two recipes apiece. Indulge in everything from Ataula’s “Salt Cod Croquetas” to DOC Yakuza’s ” Okonomiyaki with Wild Mushrooms” to Olympia Provisions’ “Pan-Roasted Halibut with Shrimp, Clam, and Andouille Stew” to Salt & Straw Wiz Bang Bar’s “Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Marionberry-Habanero Ribbons.”
“Aebleskiver with Lemon Curd” from Broder restaurant sounded so good that I had to dig out my aebleskiver pan just to make them. The restaurant is famous for its Scandinavian-inspired breakfasts and lunches. And these puffy, doughnut-hole-shaped pancakes are super popular.
They’re scented with your choice of cardamom or cinnamon (I chose the former). They get dusted with a shower of powdered sugar before you pick them up with your fingers or stab them with the tines of a fork to dunk into thick, velvety, home-made lemon curd.
You can make the lemon curd the day before to speed things along. Then, the easy aebleskiver batter gets whisked together in no time flat.
The trickiest part is just forming the aeblisker in the special divot-ringed pan that you will need for this. It takes a little practice to rotate them just so in order for them to become perfectly spherical. I’ve made aebleskiver before, but it’s not something I do on a regular basis. As such, I was a little rusty, and my first few were a little lopsided to be sure. But after that, I got the hang of it again. I found that using a teaspoon and thin chopsticks or skewers help enormously in turning the aeblisker in the pan.
The aebleskiver are barely sweet and the cardamom is quite subtle. You could always add more cardamom or cinnamon, if you like. The lemon curd is a perfect accompaniment. Besides its sunshine-y color, it adds a lovely bright tang, a bit of sweetness, and a luxuriant creaminess.
It’s a sweet taste of Denmark — and Portland — in two bites.
CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a copy of “Portland Cooks” by Danielle Centoni. Entries, open only to those in the continental United States, will be accepted until midnight PST Aug. 25. Winner will be announced Aug. 28.
How to win?
Just tell me what you love most about Portland, Ore. Best answer wins.
Here’s my own answer:
“Portland will always hold a special place in my heart because it was where I had my first newspaper summer internship way back when I was in college. It was my first time in the city, and I fell for it immediately. It’s a beautiful city that had the foresight to create so many parks and plazas that just invite people to gather and linger on a sunny day. It sported regular food trucks and food kiosks long before that became a thing. And it still grows some of the most spectacular berries you’ll ever eat.”
Aebleskiver with Lemon Curd
(Serves 4; makes about 32-36 aebleskiber)
For Lemon Curd:
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter (divided)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
Powdered sugar, for serving
To make lemon curd: In a food processor, pulse lemon zest and sugar until well combined. Add the butter and blend until the mixture is smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the lemon juice, processing until incorporated.
Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is 175 degrees. Pour the hot lemon curd into a bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. (Lemon curd can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.)
To make aebleskivers: Combine the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until mixture is light in color and doubles in volume, about 5 minutes. (Alternately, you can do this in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Slowly mix in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cardamom or cinnamon, and salt. Alternate stirring the dry ingredients and the milk into the egg mixture, mixing just until combined.
Place an aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat. Set a small bowl of the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and a pastry brush near the stove. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and set a baking sheet inside to keep the finished aebleskiver warm until serving. When the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, brush each cup lightly with melted butter and use a ladle to fill batter up to slightly below the rim.
In about 1 1/2 minutes, thin crusts will form on the bottoms of the aebleskiver, but the centers will still be wet. Insert a slender wood skewer or chopstick all the way through and push to gently rotate each aebleskive until about half the crust is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into the cup. Cook until a crust starts to form on the bottom again, about 30 seconds. Use two skewers to rotate each aebleskive again, this time turning them all the way over to form a ball (it helps to make a more rounded ball if you turn them diagonally this time.) Cook, turning occasionally with the skewer, for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the balls are evenly browned and no longer moist in the center. (A skewer inserted into the center of the last ball should come out clean.) If balls start to get too brown, turn heat to low until they are cooked in the center. Lift cooked balls from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
Arrange aebleskiver on a serving platter or pile into bowls. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with lemon curd on the side.
From Broder restaurant as published in “Portland Cooks” by Danielle Centoni
What Else to Make With An Aebleskiver Pan: Charles Phan’s Crispy Rice Cakes
And: Filled Ebelsiver