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Four Twists on Classic Ingredients for the Fourth

Friday, July 1, 2016

Watershed is happy to introduce our newest intern, Joe Donovan. He is working towards a master’s degree in creative writing at OSU and will be joining us in Portland for the summer months. Joe likes running, backpacking, and Free Range Red from Laurelwood Brewing. In advance of July Fourth, Joe gave us the low-down on his foodie inspiration for the holiday:


I’m new to Portland, so I’m all about gaining exposure to the local food scene. The Fourth of July is a great time to experiment with summer food staples, even on my grad school budget. In my first few days in the Rose City, I’ve learned that a single ingredient can transform a food experience; plus, it can be a lot of fun. Even the failed experiments make for a good story.

Here’s my list of Portland-centric tasty dishes I’m whipping up this Fourth of July. I’m inviting over a few new friends, and hoping to spark conversation with twists on classic ingredients. I hope they inspire you as well:

Boozy Floats: It’s hard to argue against the marriage of alcohol and ice cream, two of my favorite things. I love the boozy float from Portland’s ice cream shop, Fifty Licks, who just opened a second shop on East Burnside, but I’ve also had success creating my own alcoholic ice cream. For example, adding a few teaspoons of bourbon to a whole vanilla bean base will deliver a more complex flavor and a softer texture.

Single Origin Honey: I’ve learned that any old recipe standby can be reimagined with an easy addition of single origin honey. If left to my own devices, I could deplete ten ounces of Bee Local honey every couple days. This weekend I’m making a Caprese Salad, and attempting to make a honey-based dressing using Bee Local’s Portland Farmland honey. The single origin, Portland Farmland honey has deep blackberry notes. It’s so good that I’ve started smuggling honey into restaurants and drizzling it over my fries!

Hard Frescos: When you take an alcoholic approach to Aguas Frescas, a traditional Mexican street fare staple, you get Hard Frescos. The drinks are a delicious departure from the light beer of summer time, and provide endless versatility as a cocktail ingredient. For example, the hibiscus base of Juicy Jamaica flavor mixes perfectly with gin, and Tangy Tamarindo makes a great Mexican beer shandy.

Spam: What’s more American than Spam? I’m not the only one who’s in love with the mystery meat from the Midwest. On a recent backpacking trip, my friend brought a couple cans of Spam to cook over a fire and mix with couscous and cilantro. I loved it. So, this weekend I’m bringing back the Spam, adding it to a batch of homemade mac ‘n cheese for a particularly decadent indulgence.

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