Oregon Observations Chapter 2: Rules of the Road

They have pedestrian laws in Oregon. I learned that pretty much the first day I arrived (more on that in a minute). OK, you’re thinking, doesn’t NYC have pedestrian laws? Well, yes, but I think they are more like suggestions. I’m not sure anyone has actually observed them since the advent of the horseless carriage. In the urban jungle, jaywalking is an art form, cars, bicycles and pedestrians interchangeably predator or prey, and the rule of the road is forward motion, always. New Yorkers are like sharks. They have to keep moving forward to survive.

©cookinginmyheels.com

©cookinginmyheels.com

A true Gothamite would never stand on a curb waiting for a light to change. In fact, you can easily distinguish those who live or have lived in the city with those who are just visiting simply by observing curb behavior. Guests stand on the sidewalk, a foot or so from the curb, patiently waiting their turn until the white walking guy shows up on the traffic signal. Where is the native dweller waiting to cross the same street?  Off the curb, at least a step, maybe two into the street, edging into oncoming traffic like a thoroughbred straining at the starting gate. And when the signal changes to a flashing red palm of warning? Instinctually, city slickers know exactly how many flashes that palm makes before the light turns red and multi-ton machines hurl themselves at you. So based upon all of this, just imagine what happens when a Gotham gal drives into the land of cross walk courtesy.

There I am, 2,998 miles between me and NYC, and oh so happy to have finally arrived at what I sincerely hope is a new and better life. And there I go, inching my way into the middle of the intersection, watching for a slot between cars in the oncoming lane so I can make my turn. Those wide white stripes from curb to curb? Those are pretty, breaks up the stretch of black asphalt nicely. Those people giving me the big hairy eyeball as I totally ignore them and start moving? Let me just say the surliest gothamite has nothing on a PNW pedestrian who is righteous in the knowledge that you in that big car must stop for them. The glance I got would have stopped a truck in the middle of Metropolis.

Suffice to say, these days I observe the rules, and watch for anyone even thinking of stepping off a curb as I drive by. Because in addition to driving, I’m a pedestrian too. And I’ve got a hell of a withering glance I’m just itching to use…

Ah Fall. My favorite season, filled with cooler days, cozy nights, and wonderful fall fruits, veggies and all those amazing mushrooms. We’ve had a stretch of cold damp weather the past week, so cozy comfort food was on my mind. This recipe was inspired by an absolutely adorable little butternut squash I got at the farmer’s market, the still plentiful local mushrooms, and some farro I brought from back East. Farro & Chanterelle Risotto in Butternut Squash is the best cure I can think of for 4 days of rain.

Farro & Chanterelle Risotto in Roasted Squash

Serves 2

DSC07046I used a small (1 pound) butternut because that is what I had on hand, but this would be equally wonderful in a delicato or acorn squash.

For the Squash

  • 1 lb butternut, delicato or acorn squash, sliced in half lengthwise, and cleaned of seed and membrane.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub olive oil on flesh side of the squash, and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a foil lined cookie sheet, cut side down until tender, about 35-45 minutes. If the squash is done before the risotto, cover with foil and keep warm.

For the Risotto with Chanterelles

This could stand as dinner all by itself, but I love the nuttiness of the farro against the sweet creamy roasted squash.

  • ½ cup farro
  • 1 ½ -2 ounces chanterelle mushrooms torn into strips (you could substitute creminis)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 2 ½ -3 cups low sodium chicken broth, heated
  • 1 TBSP butter, divided
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced apple
  • Salt and pepper

Put the farro in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 30 minutes. While the farro soaking, heat ½ tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon oil in a small sauté pan over medium/high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper and toss. Cover pan, turn down to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove cover, turn up heat to high and add balsamic vinegar. Stir through for a minute to glaze the mushrooms. Remove from heat and set aside.

Drain the farro. Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon butter and teaspoon oil in saucepan. Add shallot and a pinch of salt, and sauté 3-4 minutes until soft. Add farro and stir for a minute to coat. Add 1/3-cup wine and stir until absorbed. Add ½ cup heated stock, stir and let cook, stirring occasionally until absorbed. Continue to add stock and stir, ½ cup at a time until the farro is creamy and tender.

When the farro is tender, add in the mushrooms. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Toss in the diced apple. Fill the cavities of the squash halves with the risotto, finish with a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar over and serve. Calories: Approximately 500 per serving.

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5 thoughts on “Oregon Observations Chapter 2: Rules of the Road

  1. Oh yummy and I’m glad you are observing the traffic rules. Fond memories of driving in Gainesville, Florida – I had to suddenly learn patience and drop all my NY habits – geesh!

  2. I love chanterelles envy I must say and this recipe sounds delicious! I am enjoying so much your observations about life in PNW vs NY……keep the recipes and the life observations coming!!

  3. Haha! I remember my first visit to Seattle and watching how people waited to cross… even in the late evening hours when there was not a single car in sight! Now in the land of the Suthwest, it is very much the same. All part of a slower and happier pace… Love the farro ad chanterelles together! (Are you rubbing it in that you can get chanterelles anytime you want?)

    • I just picked up a half pound David, for $5! So I guess, yes…I’m rubbing! ;-). I only wish morels were that plentiful here too…that would definitely bring me over the edge to gluttony!

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