I ain't gonna lie; I have been MIA for waaay too long from this part of my site!  Spring brought rain and yard work--and lots of weeds!  Now I can hire someone to do that stuff (and in fact did) but I like putzing in the yard too.  Just don't have as much time as I used to (which is a good thing since it means I'm making money!). I'm FINALLY at a point where I can turn over some of the task to a landscaper/gardener and I am really pleased with how things are shaping up!  I have to be surrounded by beauty and serenity.  Hoping your efforts in your space are producing similar results, if that's your goal.  There's some food growing out there too but not as much as in the past.  It's rewarding but a lot of work; going to support more local farmers instead.  That's a win/win for everyone.

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

I'm always looking for some way to stay interested (and thus, interesting).  My goal this year is to seize as many opportunities possible, to enhance my skill set through classes and food contests.  Recently, I attended 2 classes to do just that--Sausage Making and Pig Butchering.  I've made sausage a few times before but it never hurts to witness other's methods for producing the succulent, flavorful links we all love.  Party Downtown was our host and their resident 'sausage kings' showed us (and we helped!) how to produce fresh sausage, and 'emulsified' sausages (think hot dogs, mortadella, etc.).  The Eugene Meat Collective spearheaded the class and we came away with our own stash of juicy links. Some of it is pretty labor-intensive but well worth the effort!  Really helps to have a set of SEVERAL hands for some of it.

One batch of 'emulsified sausage' courtesy of Party Downtown and Eugene Meat Collective

One batch of 'emulsified sausage' courtesy of Party Downtown and Eugene Meat Collective

The Pig Butchering class was also a EMC production.  We arrived the day AFTER the pig had been butchered to find a 1/2 of a 250# pig. Frankly, I was relieved to know that we didn't have to be involved in THAT part of the process. I want to know that an animal was treated and killed 'humanely' (and it was because that's what the EMC is all about) but I don't personally need or want to be the one to 'take it out'.  I respect the animal in the butchering and cooking process--no part left on the table, so to speak.  EVERYTHING  is used in some fashion.  Learned a LOT about an animal I grew up eating--leaf fat, bone dust, lardo, and other esoteric terms specific to swine. Left class w various cuts to play with down the road and knowing the source (Laughing Stock Farm) and how it was handled makes me feel good about eating such superior pork.

Honoring the swine--courtesy of Laughing Stock Farm and Eugene Meat Collective

Honoring the swine--courtesy of Laughing Stock Farm and Eugene Meat Collective

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

Anybody want to eat for a good cause? Food for Lane County's annual popular fundraiser, Chef's Nite Out is happening on Tuesday, April 4th 5:30pm-9pm at the Hult Center.  Six floors of Lane County's finest food and beverage purveyors will converge to raise money but to also try to outdo each other in different food categories that present an award.  All voting is done by the public and it's a blast of a time noshing and drinking and catching up with colleagues/friends/family you've lost track of.  Come out, support your favorite eatery, discover new ones and know that every dollar raised provides THREE meals for someone in need.  Stop by the Jacob's Gallery and nibble on my offering--can't tell you here or I'd have to.....well you know the rest.  But there will be a savory AND  a sweet to try and vote for (hopefully).  See y'all there!

Chef's Nite Out 2016

Chef's Nite Out 2016

Chef's Nite Out 2016---My crack crew!!!

Chef's Nite Out 2016---My crack crew!!!

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

You know I was minding my own business and a woman I met asked to interview me for the local paper.  Sure, who turns down publicity, free or otherwise when you have a business? Well goshdarnit, the dam burst wide open and my phone and social media have been blowing up!!Can I be honest?  I'd been sooo busy with catering and taxes that everyone saw the article but ME!!

I FINALLY sat down to read it last nite.  Goodness, the picture was HUGE!!! I imagined some little 2 x 3 pic with a couple of paragraphs.  Scared the hell outta me seeing my mug THAT big!! Both, the journalist and photographer, seemed to capture the essence of 'me'.  Everyone else seemed to think so too! Guess THAT many people can't be wrong! 

I'm grateful for the continued support of those I know and new connections I'm making.  "Success" and "rich" are relative and very subjective terms.  I know I could say they both apply to me right now; you define them your way.  THANK YOU to the many who continue 'to pull for me' and to those who will become a part of that group. 

When people learn what I do, the first thing they usually say is 'that's a LOT of work!' My reply always has been and still is, "it's not work to me; I LOVE what I do!"  As long as I feel that way I'll keep doing it; when it stops, I'll move on to something else.  Oh yea, because the other platitude I grew up hearing is 'don't ever put all of your eggs in one basket'.  Words of wisdom that I'm paying attention to.

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

Over the years, I've deemed myself ' a student of human behavior' which is why I love doing demos.  They're one of the ultimate ways of observing humans and all of their personalities and idiosyncrasies.  Prime example-- I demoed our rubs at the recent Eugene Truffle Festival and decided to taste test a new potential collaboration--CRICKETS seasoned with our rubs.  

During set-up I conservatively filled my tasting dishes with 'just enough' to get through the show as I just KNEW the crickets would probably not fly (omg, no pun intended! HONEST) with a whole lot of people.  Glad I'm not a bettin' woman because I'd have lost my shirt on that one! WOW!! The response was off-the-chart! I refilled my dishes 6x during the show!! Young, old, male, female, foodies, wanna-be-foodies, non-foodies and everyone in between just HAD to try the crickets! There were some 'squeamers' no doubt and for some, there wasn't enough 'liquid courage' on the planet to get a cricket near their mouths!  But for ALL of the others who 'stepped up to the plate' (especially the 12yrs/under) and indulged their curiosity, I say KUDOS for stepping out of your comfort zones!  Many of you were surprised but pleased at your own courage to overcome the mental block that keeps so many from experiencing new and different things about which we have a mental block.  I saw GROWTH at that table and what was even cooler is that once on your tongues, you wondered what the fuss was about in trying them. They taste like sunflower seeds or a mild nut or popcorn.  Then when you get the flavor of our rubs on them, well hell, give you a handful--a couple of handfuls!  LOADED w protein, sustainable, and cheaper to produce than a pound of meat or seafood, crickets are one of the 'it' foods on the list of foods that are good for us!  

I baked a batch with each of our rub flavors and sauteed another batch with the 3 flavors.  i got great feedback on the preference of not only the flavors but the textures between the two cooking methods.  THANK YOU to all who had fun just trying something you've been curious about thanks to recent media attention about the quest for alternative sources of protein.  I had a blast watching the enthusiasm and facial expressions of taste testers across the map. Stay tuned for more tasty developments and opportunities to taste test at demos around town!  Check out some pics from the show. 

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

Can't believe we are beginning a new year already!  Last year just FLEW by in a flurry of trade shows, demos, and new retail opportunities.  Before we get too deep into 2017, let me send out a personal THANK YOU! to all of our loyal and passionate foodies who used the products and shared them with friends and family.  It is so much fun getting face-time with you all and swapping recipe ideas and absorbing your enthusiasm about the products! Thanks to all who stopped by our booths during Holiday Market 2016! (check out the pic)

We're coming up with some very creative, out-of-the-box uses for the rubs so stay tuned for those and please continue to send me yours as well.  Other foodies/cooks out there appreciate hearing your ideas too!  Don't be afraid to play with these flavors--remember, we're not curing cancer we're just cooking and having fun in the kitchen creating new taste sensations for our families and friends.

As we go into this New Year, I look forward to seeing you out and about at a demo or tradeshow. Let's make this an even more flavorful, soulful, spirit-filled year!

Sincerely, 

Robin

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

We're heading into the final stretch of the holidays.  I know there are procrastinators out there who will be desperately looking for last minute holiday stocking stuffers or hostess gifts that you need (and really should be taking as a guest in someone's house).  What's that you say? "I have clients to thank; service people like my auto mechanic, banker, postman, hair stylist, manicurist...." You get my drift.  The PDS line is great for so many occasions; easy to gift wrap or ship!  So come see me at the LAST weekend for the Holiday Market at the Fairgrounds from Dec 22-24, Booth #157.  My other 2 weekends saw fast and furious sales because the product is good and the price is even better!  Free nibbles always help too, LOL so come keep me company and check out the other vendors too.  There are some really artistic, gorgeous gifts for everyone on your list!

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

I am on a mission to 'save the leaves of celery'.  Recently, at a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner, she was prepping celery and the next thing I knew, she tosses these gorgeous celery leaves in the trash!  "Stop (I say to myself); should I say something?" Well because it goes against EVERY fiber of my being to waste ANYTHING, within reason, I gave her a mini education about the FLAVOR in celery leaves and how it's a sin to waste them.  She was a good friend and took the 'lesson' well but I was soooo tempted to retrieve them from the trash to 'save' them but I didn't...they were already part of the 'landfill' trash so we moved on.  My message to you, if you cook, want to cook, can't cook a lick---USE THE CELERY LEAVES! There's FLAVOR in those leaves and at the very least, FREEZE them to use for stock later!!! Yikes, there really are starving people who would've 'dumpster-dove' for those leaves!!!!

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

Membrillo in Eugene is the kind of place I could eat at several times a week and not get bored--ever!  I had THE most memorable meal there recently---was going to order an entree but decided to jump right in and went for the Chef's Tasting Menu Deluxe.  It did NOT disappoint!! OMG--10 courses, 10 sublime, soul-satisfying, beautifully presented courses that filled my belly and soul like none have in a while!  My friends were thoroughly impressed as well and we 'rolled' out of there totally sated!  I didn't take a single pic--too busy taking it all in w my eyes--and mouth.  You're going to have to go for yourself and enjoy the experience.  So nice to have this caliber of eatery in Eugene.  Slowly, but surely, we're getting there.  Thanks for your passion and vision, Corey.

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood

Those of us who cook for a living rarely get the opportunity to eat food cooked by someone else but when we do and it's off-the chart amazing, praise must be given.  I try to get around as often as I can to see, to taste, to be inspired, to fill my soul and a few recent meals deserve high praise indeed.  The Blind Sparrow is this new eatery in Vancouver, BC that creates out-of-the-box dishes and cocktails.  Tapas-style menu, lively atmosphere, alfresco dining (much quieter and cozy). Their hamburger sliders are the bomb! Ordered some garlic mashed potatoes as a side--yummy comfort food!

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AuthorRobin Brown-Wood