A perfect Portland get together!

sally2_gwJuly 28, 2012

We had a wonderful time with Johnliu and his swmbo last night at their home. He put on what could only be called a feast, with two versions of paella - one with seafood and one with chicken and chorizo, both loaded with lots of great extras. He also made ceviche, oxtails and ribs. Oohs and ahhhs were abundant as we dug into to the food. I made roasted asparagus and sungold tomatoes, and brought a simple salad to complete the meal, but the star was the paella. John is quite the chef and his swambo is a sweetheart. Jerry took lots of pics, which we'll try to get posted when we return to our own computer and can download them.

Thank you, John and Swmbo, for inviting Jerry and me, and our daughter and friend to your home and for sharing your wonderful food.


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It does sound like a "perfect Portland get together". I would love to meet John. To me, John is an intriguing CF member (vs me who is on the boring side to say the least). My DH doesn't even know what ceviche is much less how to cook it. I would be interested in knowing Jerry's take on this virtual friend thing that we have going on.

I look forward to the pictures Sally.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Can't wait for the pics! John's a great guy and based on his descriptions and pictures of other dinner parties there's no doubt in my mind it was an incredible meal.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:43PM
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We are getting ready to head to the Bend area to camp, so we may not be posting much till we get back. I bet Jerry will post then, and when he gets his 1000 + pictures downloaded. Don't worry, we won't share all the pictures!

I certainly don't find you boring, Mustangs!


    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:44PM
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It was great to meet you and Jerry, and meeting Mary and Warren was a bonus prize! Thanks very much for the presents. Have a good time at the beach (?) and a safe return to TX. Jerry's paintings are awesome!

FYI the fire was under control this time, so the paella production wasn't so dramatic. Sally brought a tasty salad and roasted a pretty combination of bright green asparagus and yellow cherry tomatoes. Because she knew I am vegetable-challenged!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:25PM
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John is definitely on my bucket list of CF friends to visit. I've had the pleasure of spending a day and evening with Sally and her DH ......really fine folk.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:47PM
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It sounds like delicious fun, how great you got to meet each other.

So, where are the pictures?


    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 10:29PM
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So looking forward to pictures! John is on a CF bucket list for me too!

Cathy, you are so not boring. I have to run to keep up with you in a kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 11:13PM
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We finally made it back to Texas and miss Portland already. What a wonderful city! Dinner with John and SWMBO was the icing on the cake. We geeked on food, bikes, art, music, dance ... the conversations were scintillating and wide ranging, and the food!!!!! The food was five star (even if, from what I understand, the performance art was understated this time). I'm going to attempt to embed some pictures, so be warned, if this works this post will be pic heavy.
The appetizers:

John At Work:

The Simmer:

End of Phase One. Next -- The Spread

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Is that orzo in that last pic? I'm so intrigued.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:17PM
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OMG, that food looks so good. What a treat. Keep the pics coming.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:30PM
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I keep losing this post before I can send it, so this will be short.

The spread:

The Oxtail:

The Aspargus and tomatoes:

There you have it. These pictures do not come close to doing the experience justice. Thank you John and SWMBO. It was truly a night to remember.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Wow, what a great looking dinner. The serving dishes are wonderful too. I love the plates with the numbers and the little dishes with the fleur-de-lis.

I hope John will share the recipes.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Wow, I am not surprised. I've seen the feasts that John put on in the past for his dinner guests.

Hey John, you keep talking about your weight, as in needing to lose some. You look lean as anything!

Yum, paella, and the oxtails look mouthwatering. I'll bet you guys all had a ball.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Somehow in all this, I just now realized I forgot to get a picture of the desert. Believe it or not, John found time to make an amazing raspberry sorbet to finish this meal. It was not only the perfect complement to this feast, but was fantastic eye candy as well. That's what I get for getting caught up in the eating!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Ok, you got me checking the pantry for bomba rice. I've got 3/4 cup, a little light but I think I can make that work for a small paella for two.

It all looks very delicious. Love the fire pit!

I agree with jasdip, John, looks like your various wacky diets are working!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:26PM
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The pictures are so great that I can almost taste the food and I really, really want to.

John is like I imagined--handsome.

Thanks for share your get together.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Jerry has a nice camera! And the lens - very slimming :-)

Recipes -

Paellas were of standard make. Saute and set aside a sofrito and some green beans, then brown chorizo and chicken for one dish, shrimp and salmon for the other. Combine arborio rice, saffron, paprika, and stock with the sofrito, beans, and the meat or the seafood. Add clams and mussels to the seafood paella. Cook, adding stock to the pan and wood to the fire, until rice is crusty and very brown on the bottom. One paella was finished on the gas grill, it is hard to get the crusty bottom there. The wood fire - or a charcoal grill - works better.

Pork short ribs were marinated overnight in hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic and scallions, then baked in a covered pot for a few hours. Move pot to burner, remove lid and ribs, cook down the liquid, return ribs to pot, mix and cook down a bit more.

Oxtail was browned then pressure cooked, submerged in red wine with garlic and onion. After 90 min at high pressure, move to burner, remove lid and meat, reduce the liquid as before.

There was going to be black & white rice-crusted meatballs, a dim sum recipe, but with tofu and mushroom subbed for the ground beef - for meatless Sally - but it didn't work out. The tofu/mushroom wouldn't stick together well enough.

Ceviche was cod, yellowtail, and prawns with plums, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, marinated in lime juice for about 3 hours.

Served with salsa fresca. I've taken to mixing in some pureed tomatoes and tomato paste to thicken it up a bit, also some peaches for sweetness.

Roast asparagus and yellow cherry tomatoes, and the yummy salad, were Sally's creations.

Ice cream was courtesy of my 25-year old SIMAC Il Gelataio "Ice Cream Boy". Basic custard with pureed berries. Tiramisu was courtesy of our other friends.

The numbered dishes are SWMBO's glaze tests - potters do this to see how different glazes combine. The red fleur-de-lis dishes are by her too. Also the off-white bowl with the carved lip.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:04PM
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John, your wife made those dishes? WOW!!! I love her glaze test plates. Colours are amazing.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:21PM
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John, you are a great cook, a great host, and a great event planner.

Those glaze test plates are works of art. I can see custom tapestry table cloth made of the same design for them to go on.

Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Jeals. As my daughter would say. :)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Not only are you an innovative and creative cook, but SWMBO is a talented potter as well. Those dishes would definitely find a home down here too. Thanks for sharing the meal and the experience. It surely was a night to remember!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:50AM
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OMG you guys do pottery too!! Two of my favorite things, pottery and food. And they go so well together! Thanks for sharing those lovely pictures of a lovely get together. Like Barnmom said, jeals!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:08AM
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I feel a little bit rested now from our marathon visit to Portland and at least half of the rest of Oregon. I want to again thank John and his wonderful and talented wife and son for such a wonderful dinner. I don't think my original post was enough - I was rushed and tired. Thank you, John, from the bottom of my heart and beyond.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Portland is a pretty cool place. I didn't know much about it when we moved here, all I knew is that we wanted a change from the SF Bay Area, a more affordable city, and to stay on the West Coast.

It has been a pleasant surprise to discover that we happened to alight in one of the most interesting cities in America, a center of micro-beers and locavores, cycling, youthful energy, and hipster culture.

The endless rainy winter and the plunge in housing values were less pleasant surprises, but I'm now used to the first and the second was expected in direction if not degree, and appears to be reversing anyway.

I'm glad you got to see some of the place, and hope you come back - maybe we'll do some Asian food next time.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 1:51PM
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OMG - what's that in-ground oven thingy?!!!

Is there no end to the creativity of the folks on this forum? John, you really done good on dinner for Sally - jeals indeed!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:55PM
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It looks and sounds perfect! John, it's always amazing that you make so many dishes and so well. Thanks to all of you for sharing a great evening.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 3:02PM
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John, what a wonderful host you are! The pictures are amazing. I'm also glad you kept that fire tamed this go-around. (grin) Your meal looks just delicious & SWMBO's dishes should be for sale in one of Portand's artisan shops, they are wonderful.

Sally, welcome home. Sure sounds like you had a fabulous trip.

P.S. John, I really like that fire pit!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Another who likes the fire pit! What a wonderful get together, all the food looks delicious! Wonderful hosts and gracious guests, doesn't get any better than that.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Awesome, just awesome!

The meal, the company, the fire pit. Perfection.
So glad you had a chance to meet and enjoy some time together.


FYI...John is as nice as he is handsome too!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 5:32PM
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Yum! and SO Beautiful - both the food and the dishes! I just wanted to click "like" to so many of the above comments. Thanks so much for sharing your hospitality and skill with us all. ... DH and I may need to schedule a trip to Portland!! :-D

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Paging SWMBO and AnnT: those pottery pieces are SWAP MATERIAL!!!!! (hint hint)

Dang it I don't have a college tour excuse to go back to Portland. But I may be back in Dallas, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:52AM
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