Thursday, June 26, 2008

Portland Farmer's Market Berry Days at Ecotrust!

It was all about berries at the Thursday's Portland Farmer's Market Berry Days! Sticky little berry-stained fingers reached delightedly into pints of just-picked strawberries and fat red raspberries, lines of berry-feverish shoppers waited for free samples of strawberry shortcake, and strawberry lemonade Sol Pops left trails of bright pink drips leading the way from stall to stall like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs.

TableTalkPortland was thrilled to be in the middle of it all, literally, emceeing the Chef in the Market demonstration set up in the center of the market. Michelle and I assisted Chef Alfred Popp, owner of Popp and Company Catering and Events, as he demonstrated how to create crunchy-luscious little Strawberry Meringues in minutes.

Chef Popp and his partner and wife Dorcas Popp were kind enough to provide us with the recipe for this tantalizing little dessert, which is the perfect dinner party finale--simple, elegant, impressive, and of course, delicious.

Popp and Company Catering * * 2420 SE Belmont * 503.233.8121

Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and marionberries may be substituted for the strawberries in this airy dessert.

4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
2 cups strawberries

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Spread unglazed paper on a baking sheet.

Begin beating the egg whites. Add the vinegar and vanilla as the mixture becomes frothy. When the egg whites become foamy, gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the oats lightly.

Make 8 mounds on meringue on the paper-covered baking sheet, using a spoon to hollow out the centers and build up the sides in the form of shells. Bake for 45 minutes, or until done (they will be dry and very lightly browned) Let cool briefly and then turn onto a serving tray. Cool thoroughly before filling.

Combine the whipped cream and orange juice, then fold in berries.

Divide equally among the cooked meringues, mounding the filling attractively.

--Makes 8 large tarts or 20 small ones.

Just before the demo, to fortify ourselves against a potential attack of stage fright, Michelle, Leigh and I sat down with Hot Lips wine guy Ryan to taste a few Pinot Gris' and my personal favorite, Vinho Verde, a light, slightly sparkly Portuguese white wine that is the very essence of summer. We had no idea up until now that Hot Lips features a selection of complementary wines every Thursday market for sampling. How nice. And Ryan is great company.

I stubbornly clung to my love for the Broadbent Vinho Verde, but everyone else preferred the admittedly stunningly labeled Van Duzer Estate Pinot Gris, 2007. Bottled by Willamette Valley's Van Duzer Vineyards, this lovely wine is processed in stainless steel barrels and has a clean, mineral quality with notes of pineapple, stone fruit, and star fruit.

Michelle and I had a fantabulous time at Berry Days, and Leigh captured THIS BIT OF VIDEO so you can see Michelle manhandling the Chef in the Market demo microphone like a future Food Network Star.

Strawberry meringues, Vinho Verde, and Chef demo stardom...could summer get any better than this? We think not. 

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