I was all set to tell you about the weekend [and these awesome brownies], but I wound up in bed by 9pm last night. I had an incredibly fun and crazy weekend, and my bed wooed me from the laptop into its warm embrace. I’m such a sucker. After dropping off my friends at the airport at noon, Andrew and I crashed out on the couches. He slept, and I may or may not have watched four episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t judge!
I was on taxi service Thursday night. Andrew came home from out of town at 5pm, and we were back at 8:30pm for our friends. After a quick drive through the city [complete with fireworks show from the top deck of the Marquam Bridge!], we ended up at Interurban for dinner [a massive roasted pork loin sandwich, creamed spinach, and a cocktail] and Prost for an after dinner beer. I’m savoring all the evenings that I can still be outside on a patio. Success at both spots since the weather was practically perfect the entire time.
Friday morning we headed for brunch at Helser’s on Alberta. It’s a place that gets notoriously packed on the weekends, so Friday morning we had little-to-no wait at all. Plus an outside table. CONFESSION: this was actually my second choice. I wanted to go to Screen Door, but they don’t do brunch on Friday’s. Wah-wah. Helser’s is solid, though, and they have crumpets. I am a sucker for a crumpet. And a bloody mary. But mostly the crumpets. Speaking of, that’s the only photo I took all weekend—my crumpet breakfast sandwich [scrambled eggs, pepper bacon, sliced tomato, fresh cilantro, and chèvre] and fruit. It’s probably 10x more delicious than it looks, and it looks delicious. How often does one get kiwi as a fruit side anyway?
The rest of Friday consisted of coffee, shopping, lots of driving around, boutique shopping, scotch, Pad Khee Mao from Sawasdee, a super fun Timbers game, a post-game drink at Kask [a shot of whiskey and a pickle juice chaser? Wild.], and two slices of pizza at Sizzle Pie.
We might have gotten a slower start on Saturday because we had so much fun on Friday. We parked downtown at my office, and walked over to the Portland Farmer’s Market for a ton of samples and bottles of raw honey and truffle oil. It inspired a cheese board that we’d have later. After a beer or two at the Rogue Hall and sandwiches from East Side Deli [mmmm hot pastrami on rye], a quick tour of Powell’s City of Books was in order. Then a nap because, well, people get tired from all that eating and walking around all day every day. We rallied later with temptations of Italian food at A Cena. It’s the first place I’ve seen in the city that had a bottle of something we actually had on the tour. I went with the special of the day, a cioppino [dungeonous crab legs, clams, mussels, and shrimp in a tomato and wine sauce] with black squid ink pasta. It was kind of odd having the pasta instead of the more traditional bread, but it was every bit as delicious. There would be no room for dessert on this trip out. Eating late + huge portions will do that to a girl. We finished the night with a drink at Departure, the roof top restaurant and bar. The view is really something special as we don’t have another rooftop patio in the city.
Sunday meant going to Mother’s Bistro for lunch [1/2 meatloaf sandwich with roasted potato, leek, and corn chowder], a trip through 2nd Avenue Records and the Burnside Skatepark, wandering down Hawthorne Ave., and shopping at Presents of Mind. We built an epic cheese board [11 various cheeses, baguette, crackers, prosciutto, raw honey, truffle oil, fig spread, peaches, and wine], stuffed it in a picnic basket with a blanket and headed to Peninsula Park to have a picnic in the middle of the rose garden. We ended the night at The Old Gold and The Nite Hawk because why not? Oh, and in case you were wondering, a bread knife [the one that I cut the brownies with] is absolutely capable of slicing off the tip of your finger/fingernail, especially if you’re trying to cut a baguette. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. At least I didn’t need stitches.
That brings us back to yesterday. We had Dutch tacos from Flavour Spot, and tried to send them on their way with Voodoo Doughnuts, but everyone else had the same Labor Day plans. The lines were massive at both locations. Saying goodbye at the airport is never fun. True story. I miss them already. So does Roma.
I made these brownies as a Welcome Home/To Portland gesture. I believe there are only two left downstairs, which is impressive considering how much eating we did. I had the idea to make pistachio brownies ever since the cookies. It came to me while talking to my grandma [Hi, Grammy!] one afternoon. Adding sprinkles was just fun. I seriously went the store just for a bottle of $1.79 sprinkles. Sprinkles to call my very own. That was actually my first sprinkle purchase in all of my life now that I think about it. Can you tell how much I love the people in my life? Sprinkles, people. Pistachios add a nice, soft crunch and some salt just like adding sea salt would. I really, really liked it, especially compared to walnuts. Walnuts are boooooring [but I’ll still eat them, no discrimination here].
Inspiration: Smitten Kitchen
- 3oz high quality unsweetened chocolate
- 1 stick [4oz] unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line an 8×8 pan with foil or parchment. I went with foil because apparently I don’t like to restock my kitchen when I run out of something. Who doesn’t love a challenge?
- Spray the foil with cooking spray or rub with extra butter for good measure.
- Melt your chocolate into the sugar in your favorite double boiler or microwave method. I did the double boiler thing, but by way of putting the stand mixer bowl on top of the pot with the simmering water. Brilliant, no?
- Stir the butter and chocolate together, removing it from the heat when there are only small chunks of butter left.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two. Have you ever tried cooking scrambled eggs in brownie mix? Me either.
- Whisk in the sugar, eggs one at a time, and the vanilla and salt. It’ll be smooth and delicious by this point. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Fold in the flour and pistachios. You can chop them up first if you want. I didn’t. Rebel.
- At this point you can put sprinkles in your batter if you want or just put them on the top. It’s your call. Your destiny is in your hands.
- Pour the prepared batter into the pan. Smooth it so it’s even.
- Cover the top with a liberal layer of sprinkles. Are they the herpes of the cooking world like glitter is to the art world?
- Bake for 25 minutes. Start checking with a tooth pick until the middle comes out clean. My oven took about 27 minutes.
- Allow to cool fully before cutting if you can be so patient. Throw them in the fridge for an even faster [and fudgier] brownie.