Monday, April 29, 2013

Blooming Trees

There's something about Spring in Portland. It's different than Fall, when the leaves on the trees turn different colors and inevitably fall to the earth. In the Spring, the trees literally bloom. The colors are vibrant and the idea that all of these trees are growing flowers in gorgeous shades of pinks instead of leaves - is a bit magical. Just walking through a neighborhood can make you feel alive.

Of course, the petals fall to the ground like the leaves, but looking down on a walk around town isn't so bad either. There are so many flowers blooming in a bounty of colors it's just outstanding. It's all a person can do to keep from picking some, bringing them home and putting it in a vase to admire for a few more days.

Here are a few snapshots that will last longer and it might even be a lovely little escape to revisit on dark winter moments when the days short and the skies are gray.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Soup-Off: The Trophy Has Been Passed

There's been a bit of a tradition started among our friends here in Portland that happens every January. It's called Soup-Off. The holidays are over, the weather is cold and sometimes there is even snow, though it rarely sticks. We are all in the mood for some soup and solid competition. Last year, my soup potato leek soup took second place. The only good thing about coming in second is that I wouldn't be responsible for making the Soup-Off trophy.

That's right this event has taken on its own magic and last year it was decided that a trophy should be made. The right person for the job won last year. In his quest to make a Soup Trophy in the form of a heavyweight belt with a bowl in the middle and a spoon, he ended up with quite a creation. For that, we'll excuse the fact that last year he didn't actually make the winning soup. I digress. Back to the trophy. In his search for the right size spoon (the three bears story, anyone?) at Goodwill he ended up finding one of the larger spoons I've seen and a real trophy was born.

Soup's On

This year there were only four competitors and each soup had it's own style. One soup was an African inspired creation from a Top Chef recipe and it was good, but it didn't take the prize. Another soup was essentially dinner in a bowl. While you would definitely want a bowl of it on a cold winter night, it too lacked that special something to take home the trophy. Our soup, well, we made a hot and sour soup that in the end was too spicy and more of a thai-inspired soup than a true hot and sour soup. Perhaps it was the marketing, or that the other soups were just better - we also did not win.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Which of the four soups one? Well the one that took up half the table, of course. It was a chicken posole with so many sides that it resembled a bit of a make-your-own soup bar. The creator had spent at least 10 hours cooking it and found all the authentic ingredients needed to pull it off triumphantly. The soup was phenomenal and in the end many of us ended up making nachos out of all the sides.

The trophy has found a home until next year. The only question is how will the winner leave her mark on the trophy?