Whether you’re an ardent foodie regularly out sampling delicious meals at the city’s hundreds of superb restaurants, or you’re just an occasional Portland visitor with an appreciation for the city’s stellar dining scene, if you find yourself wishing you could reproduce some of the area’s top dishes at home, the new cookbook Portland Cooks, by talented local food scribe Danielle Centoni, will come as a welcome resource. This well-organized and beautifully photographed 256-page hardcover tome contains some 80 recipes by 40 different Portland chefs—including several based in the Pearl District—and each is clearly geared toward home cooks—packed with flavor, but using relatively uncomplicated techniques as well as locally available ingredients. Both savory and sweet dishes are included, too.
Among the Pearl District restaurants featured in the book, our mouths watered after reading the recipe’s contributed by the Platt family at Andina, which include quinoa tabbouleh—sort of a South American–Middle Eastern culinary fusion—as well as the restaurant’s renowned cebiche “five elements,” with lime juice, chopped onion, whitefish trimmings, aji limo or habanero chiles, ginger, and other tempting flavors. You’ll also learn how to make decadent foie gras biscuits from Chris Carriker at Bluehour, along with his refreshing salad of Belgian endive and frisée with apples, fonduta, and cider vinaigrette.
Sarah Schafer, the culinary wiz behind Irving Street Kitchen, shares her recipe for one of the restaurant’s brunch faves, Moroccan poached eggs with garlic-rubbed levain bread, along with a tempting dessert of blueberry–and–smoked cheddar beignets with honey ice cream. You’ll also find the steps behind making two delectable dishes from Kasey Mills at Mediterranean Exploration Company: fennel salad with candied pecans, tarragon, and grilled-lemon vinaigrette, and Moroccan chicken with arugula salad. And we were also delighted to learn how to make cardoon sformati custards from talented Cathy Whims of Oven and Shaker and Nostrama fame, along with a quintessential negroni cocktail. You’ll also find dishes by Scott Dolich and David Sapp of Park Kitchen, Cana Flug of Solo Club, Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Lisa Shroeder of Mother’s Bistro, and a number of other culinary luminaries with restaurants within walking distance of the Pearl District.
If you regularly read about food in Portland, you already know the work of the book’s author, Danielle Centoni, who’s written for and been the editor of Eater Portland, Imbibe Magazine, MIX Magazine, and the Oregonian, and also written for a number of national publications. She does a terrific job providing concise and clear recipes and engaging intro to each one, and she’s also added a very handy Conversion Chart to the end of the book. You can pick up a copy of Portland Cooks at bookstores around town, including Powell’s, which also sells it online for $32.95.