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2 eggs
A bit of feta cheese
Six small tomatoes sliced
Green onion
Sour cream
Sprinkled with pomegranate

We have too many tomatoes this year and I was challenged to find ways to use them or let them fall to the ground and rot. This turned out to be easy and can be frozen after baking as well!  Recipe:
https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/tomato-lemon-tart
I did not use the lemons however but I did use all the garlic!

Remembering Genoa

A magical city….in Italy

Not finished yet, but here are photos of the process….from a vase of flowers to a large acrylic canvas…..

Brian McMenamin

Vice President of the McMenamins chain in Portland, Oregon

Beermeister and Preservationist

we were sitting down outside the mcmenamins market pub at 10th and market in portland

Brian McMenamin, Vice-President

Visnja Clayton’s photo of Brian taken by permission at the time of the interview

About Visnja:  I am not much of a beer drinker, more of a wine and vodka person.  But through getting to know the founders and brewmasters behind these Portland breweries I began a love affair with the whole process as well as the product they created.

I wanted to understand the type of person behind a brewery and I wanted to know what it takes to stay on top, or at least, in the running.  I interviewed a dozen founders/ceo’s/brewmasters.  I sat down with each of them, face to face for about an hour and asked a series of questions I felt were pertinent to their industry and to their involvement in it. I interviewed Kurt Widmer, one of the founders of Widmer Brothers Brewing, Brian McMenamin of the Mcmenamins  chain, the founder of hair of the Dog, Alan Sprints, also John Balfe and Scott Barnum, the CEO of Pyramid Breweries and Mactarnahan, Karl Ockert, the Brewmaster and founder of Bridgeport Brewing, Ron Gansberg the founder of the Racoon Lodge and Mike De Kalb the founder and owner of the Laurelwood Brewing Co.  and a few others.  I have found them to be incredibly intelligent, kind, humble and witty.  It is exhilarating talking to people who truly love what they do.

4/4/07

Interview with Brian at the Market St. Pub downtown Portland.

What direction do you think the Beer Craft industry is going?

“Lately it seems like it’s growing again at a pretty good rate.  It was flat for a while there and it had been growing in double digits for a long time.  In the beginning days, in 1985, the city had 3 or 4 breweries now I don’t even know how many there are.  I think every pub should have a brewery if they could.  We are seeing the industry mature a lot.  The bigger guys are getting bought out and merging but I think there is still plenty of opportunity for the little guy to make this niche.   

Do people approach you asking advice on how to do it?

We get tons of phone calls, which is great but there is not enough time to sit down with every one of them, although you want to, you can’t do that.  You don’t have a chance to retrospect very often because you’re doing stuff all the time. This gives you a chance to think about what and why you’re doing something.

I think it’s healthy to combine brewing and the pub atmosphere, you create your own atmosphere.  We make our own wine too, we grow a lot of our own herbs for the kitchens.  We also grow hops just for fun not for real usage.  

What do you think is the style trend for American micro breweries?

Northwest they like hoppy beer but then in general the mass produced beer has appeal to a lot of people.  As a small guy we have the opportunity to do all kinds of beers. 

We have 23 breweries, one for each two pubs, more or less, different water sources, different age of hops, each brewer tinkers a little bit with the grain, they each like their own signatures on it.  So the beers are all a little bit different in each one of the breweries.

Budweiser would shriek at that because they want their beers to taste the same the world over.  If people don’t like a beer we’ll brew another one.  We are also marketing to a general public but more in our own town, and they can drink any beer they like there, not just ours. Our beer is always associated with food. We are more restaurants than pubs now.  Our food sales used to be 25% or 30% and now they are 65%.  

How do the American craft brewers techniques compare to those of Europe?

I think the basics are there.  People thought we were nutty to have a fruit beer, our Ruby was the first one in Oregon but they’ve been doing it in Europe for a long time. 

Do you see a big difference in beer styles in Europe as opposed to the United States?

“25 years ago Budweiser was not available in Europe, now it is everywhere”

Would you open a pub in Europe?

We’re kind of homebodies.  We do everything ourselves.  We don’t have a team that goes out and opens new places.  Our furtherest outpost I probably 3 hours from ground zero.  It is hard to manage place the farther out it is.  

Have you thought about opening more restaurants in the Portland area?

Yes, we’re always looking.  We just opened one on Killingsworth, the Chapel.

On the website:CHAPEL PUB
We bet you’ll make a vow to return again and again.

We’ve renovated the beautiful and historic Little Chapel of the Chimes (ca. 1932) to become a new community gathering spot for everyone, young and old alike! The main floor houses a family-friendly neighborhood pub with seating for 100 people, along with a picturesque outdoor patio, while the second floor serves as McMenamins company headquarters. While you’re here, check out the beautiful ironwork throughout the property, fashioned by talented craftsman O.B. Dawson in the early 1930s. Look familiar? Perhaps because Dawson’s work is also showcased at Timberline Lodge, the University of Oregon and Oregon State. Read all about Dawson in the Fall 2006 newsletter. You’re also welcome to enjoy our company artists’ quirky murals and portraits throughout, painted in homage to the building’s history and former life.

Local: (503) 286-0372 430 N. Killingsworth St. Portland, OR 97217

What do you think it takes to stay successful?

We have at times barely survived, and even now we have places that don’t make money, places that have never made money.  But we have enough places that make money so it balances out.  We make enough to keep going which is good.  If someone starts this business the first two questions are ‘how much money do you have and then, have you ever worked in the industry’?  We get a lot of calls from people that have no experience with either brewing or kitchens who want to do what we do and we say, quit your job and go work in a brewpub for a year.  They have to have enough money to open it and to float it.  

What was your beginning like?

We had a rough start, our dad helped us out.  My brother owned a restaurant and I managed it when I was 21.  Then we got into business together and opened a place.  We got out of school, we were seven years apart, we were dumb, neither of us had any business experience.  We bounced around a lot. We tried to figure out things for ourselves, the school of hard rocks.  We survived that time, we are still learning every day.  We were political science majors.  I was thinking about going into law school.  I never really knew him when we were little kids, we were far apart in age.  We became best friend when we got older and we would want to go to that pub together, just because it sounded cool.  We loved beer and we would drive all over the planet to try different beers.  In 1978 or 79 there were only 15 beers available on tap in Oregon, total.  We’d go to Washington state and sample different beers, it was fun.  Mike opened a wholesaler caus he was really interested in importing beers and making that work.  It was not successful, he was ahead of his time.  He then got back in the pub business, where we are now.  We were buying old dairy tanks and doing whatever we could just to make beer.  Our first brewery was put together for just a few thousand bucks.  It was a bunch of old stuff, whatever we could find.  Our brewery was one step above making soup on the stove.  It was just a bigger kettle.  It was ‘that tastes good, or that tastes bad, we have to throw that away’.  We had successful pubs before we started brewing.  The brewing was just a side note in 1985, when we started it.  

What is your favorite beer to drink?

IPA, I like hops.  Europe is very malt oriented, lesser hops.  This is the beer I grew up on.  The first Pyramid ale was great, filled with hops.  

What is your opinion on going green?

We’ve been doing it forever, like using windpower for example.  We also use recycled wood in all of our places.  You could find where the wood comes from in all of our places.  Some of our wood comes from a Seagram’s distillery in Kentucky.  Some comes from a tobacco plant.  We just do it, always have.

Why do you think that there are so many breweries here in Portland?

We have good hops close by, good grain, great water.  The weather, brings more people in to drink beer.  So there is the demand.   The spirit up here is a bit more experimental, big companies do test marketing here.  

Do you have a worthy competitor in the Oregon region?

We don’t even think that way.  One would rather be on a street with 30 pubs than one pub.  There is going to be that much more traffic.

Do you spend a lot of money on marketing your products?

We didn’t know marketing from a hole in the ground.  For the pubs that was great.  Then we started getting bigger properties, hotels, now we have a marketing department, although I am still afraid of it (laughs).  Word of mouth has always been our kind of deal.  We do a lot of marketing now, mostly for the big properties.

You have so many properties to manage, what is a typical day like for you?

It’s gotten a little crazier in the last couple of years.  I don’t know why.  We are pretty hands on and we just opened 3 pubs in like 6 months, which is crazy.  Now we just have a bunch of remodel projects.  We do them ourselves.  There are so many projects, just internally.  A typical day is a lot of driving.  Today I was in Eugene, then I stopped in Salem and then Portland.  Tomorrow I have to go to the office, in Portland.  Friday I am up in Seattle and Olympia.

I read that you have a $70 million empire.  Is this close?

That’s an old number. I don’t talk about numbers.  We’re doing better than that.  Numbers are not that important.  We’re getting close to $100.

Why do you think there is the grass-roots spirit here? You grew up here and why do you think it’s here?

Our parents said whatever you do, do it well.  We were not perfect children.  My mother was upset when I told her I was following my brother into the beer business.  So we said we’d name our first beer after her.  She said, ‘I’m changing my name’.  Then she became our biggest fan.  She still goes to pubs, to this day.

What qualities do the CcMenamin brothers possess that make you unique in this environment?

We survived!  I grew up a pretty introverted kid and had trouble in speech classes.  I did learn, eventually how to  communicate.

Tomato and onion tart

Home made pate brisee
One large garden tomato
A sautéed shallot
Grated comte
Mustard
Olive oil
Oregano
Bake for 30 minutes at 400

This little bowl works perfectly for broiling your piperade! Here is my recipe: Saute 1 sliced boiled potato, 1/2 sliced onion a green or red pepper and cooked corn off the cob for about 15 minutes in olive oil. Spoon into the bottom of the baking dish, add 1/2 cup fresh canned tomatoes, chopped. Add one sliced tomato and a raw egg on top, salt and pepper and a few cubes of mozarella cheese. Broil for 15 minutes on low so the egg gets cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and extra virgin olive oil from Spain! Serve with toasted sliced bread or baguette!

I used ready made raw pizza dough, just half the big ball, rolled it out and layered it with garlic scape pesto that I made with basil and feta, then layered it with thinly sliced potatoes, shredded speck, olive oil and pepper and salt, bake it for 15 minutes at 450!

sour cherry tartines

These tartines are made with my home grown sour cherries, sugar, cornstarch and storebought puff pastry dough!

Spectactular showing this year! Not sure why, last year it had one or two blooms, bumper crops this year!

I tried these for the first time this morning, used pastry dough and a mix of spinach ricotta and bechamel for the filling!Not as good as a french patisserie but will do for breakfast!

apple gallette

When winter sets in, make this smallish apple gallette!!!!!! One large apple is all you need, apple juice reduced, homemade pie dough apricot jam glaze!

Baking these little quiches is a great idea and you can freeze them for future breakfasts! Mine didn’t last long around here. The croissant ham and cheese sandwich is easy to assemble, just get super fresh croissants and insert a piece of ham and your favorite cheese, heat in mini oven for five minutes!

two eggs, scrambled, add sweet potato sliced and fried in pan
add a ham slice chopped and sauteed
cherry tomatoes
green shishito pepper fried
top with homemade pesto!

Quiche Lorraine

I made this yesterday and it was amazing,Here is the recipe:

‘adapted from (Simply Recipes)’

Use about 1/2 cup leeks, finely chopped, and sautéed in butter first, before spreading over the bottom of the quiche crust with the cubed ham.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe pie dough or a prepared frozen pie crust
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) of cubed (1/2”) ham, fried up (you can use more or less to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup (235 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste (we used about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (4 ounces, 113 g) grated gruyere or other cheese (cheddar works too)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives or fresh chopped marjoram

1 Rollout the dough, form into a tart pan, then freeze: If you are making your own pie crust, roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round. Place it in a 10-inch wide, 1 1/2-inch high tart pan, pressing the dough into the corners.

Use a rolling pin to roll over the surface of the tart pan to cleanly cut off the excess dough from the edges.

Freeze for at least half an hour before blind-baking.

2 Pre-bake the frozen crust: (also called “blind” baking) If you are using a store-bought frozen crust, follow the directions on the package for pre-baking.

If you are pre-baking a homemade crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Line the frozen crust with heavy duty aluminum foil. Allow for a couple inches to extend beyond the sides of the tart or pie pan.

Fill tart pan with dry beans, sugar, or rice, or the bottom of a smaller baking pan

If you are using a pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any spillage.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven, remove the pie weights (the easiest way to do this is to lift up the foil by the edges) and the foil, and set aside.

3 Cook the ham: Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Arrange ham cubes in a single layer on the bottom of the pan (you may need to work in batches or do two pans at once).

Slowly cook the ham until nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered out.

4 Preheat oven to 350°F.

5 Whisk eggs, add nutmeg, salt, pepper, cream, milk: Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and chives and whisk a little more. Add the milk and cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix – this keeps the texture of the quiche light and fluffy.

6 Put filling in pre-baked crust: Arrange the ham and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust.

Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust.

7 Bake: Put the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Check for doneness after 30 minutes by gently jiggling the quiche. It should still have just a little wiggle. (It will finish setting while it cools.) Cool on a wire rack.

Eat at room temperature, cold (a quiche will keep for several days in the fridge), or reheated gently in a 200-degree oven.

Pie (Quiche)dough recipe:

This recipe makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart or one bottom crust. If you are making a pie with a bottom and top crust, double this recipe and form two discs of dough instead of one.

I go back and forth on whether to use 8 Tbsp or 10 Tbsp of butter. If you are blind baking the crust (for example for a quiche), I recommend using 8 Tbsp of butter. The higher flour to fat ratio will help the crust keep its form when you pre-bake it.

If you are not pre-baking the crust I recommend using 10 Tbsp of butter, the higher fat to flour ratio will give you a flakier crust, and it will be easier to roll out.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 112 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold

Easter lamb

We hardly ever eat lamb and this was a treat, and we are not huge followers of religious events but this one, being indoors and all provided me with an opportunity to use lamb in an old fashioned way.
I marinated the rack for two days in olive oil, chopped garlic and rosemary. I then salted and peppered it before grilling it and finishing it in the oven. On the side I served a Mediterranean parsley salad and a mint and garlic sauce. Fresh and rich at the same time!

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