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Besaw's 4th of July BBQ!

A quick update in case you missed it. Thanks to everyone who came out to help Besaw's celebrate the 4th of July! photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4 photo5 photo6 photo7


What are y'all planning for the July 4th holiday? It's on a Friday this year, so there's no excuse not to fire up that grill--or at least eat the bounty from someone else's, right?

In case you're taking on the grilling at home, here's a fun collaboration between Cheffy and our GM, Matt (also a fabulous cook in his own right):

Cheffy's BBQ Sauce Makes enough to marinade about 3 racks of ribs, with enough left over to slather on when they're done.

You'll Need: 1 quart apple cider vinegar 1/4 C black peppercorns 1 T whole cloves 1/4 C coriander 1/4 C mustard seeds 1 T garlic, chopped 1 C white wine or beer 3 quarts tomato purée 1 T fresh parsley, chopped 2 T Worcestershire 1 1/2 C molasses 1/4 C brown sugar

Bring apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, coriander & mustard seed to a boil. Strain & reserve liquid. Simmer liquid & balance of ingredients on low heat for 2-3 hours, until desired thickness is reached. You can use this tangy sauce to marinade any meat over night, and as a sauce to finish!

Matt's BBQ Baked Beans

1 Lb White beans, soaked for 24 hrs.

After soaking, salt the beans & boil--covering with fresh water by two inches--for approximately 1-1/2 hours.

3 slices bacon, diced and cooked 'til brown 1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed with bacon 1 clove minced garlic, sauéeed with bacon

Cook all above until bacon browns, strain (save bacon grease!) & add to beans.

8oz. Cider Vinegar 1 T Black Peppercorns 1tsp. Whole Cloves 1 T whole coriander 1 T Whole Mustard

Bring all above to a boil, then strain & add to below with beans:

1 T chopped garlic 4 oz. White wine 16 oz. Tomato Purée 1/2 oz. Chopped Fresh Parsley .5 oz Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 cup Molasses 2 oz. Brown Sugar

Bring above to a boil, then add everything together with reserved bacon grease.

Bake all the above at 350 degrees for approximately one hour, stirring regularly until bubbly.

Don't have 24 hours to prep? Don't want to cook at home? That's where Besaw's comes in: Our second annual 4th of July BBQ in the garden is happening from 4-7pm, allowing plenty of time to get down to the fireworks at the waterfront. Cheffy's serving up a menu of BBQ classics, along with every fabulous summertime side you can imagine. Send us an email: and we'll make you a reservation! Whether you choose a picnic blanket in the grass, or a table in the garden, this promises to be the easiest 4th of July BBQ you've ever attended.


One entrée, choice of two sides & dessert:

Laney Family Farms Ground Beef Cheeseburger Two All-Beef Hot Dogs Two Veggie Kebabs $16.00

Elk Cheeseburger Baby Back Ribs Grilled Wild Salmon $20.00

Dessert Lemon Pound Cake & Fresh Watermelon

Sides Corn on the Cobb Potato Salad Simple Green Salad House Veggie Chips Fresh Seasonal Fruit BBQ Baked Beans

 Happy Independence Day, Everyone!




Dinner with Julia

Join us in celebrating Julia Child's 100th birthday this year with a special dinner featuring her most famous dishes! Experience Julia's food just like she would have made. We're re-watching all her videos in anticipation! Here's the link to Boeuf Borguignon, Bon Appetit!




Sauvie Island Center Barn Dance & BBQ!

Hi Friends!

This July, Besaw's is donating a percentage of dinner proceeds to Sauvie Island Center and their amazing educational programming (see our blog post about them here).  We heard about this event they're doing, and we can't wait to go! Not only does the menu sound amazing (desserts by Saint Cupcake!), but we love the idea of barbecue-ing with our friends, listening to some amazing steel guitar, and supporting such an awesome cause. We're passing the word along, because we think you should go, too!



Here're the deets:

Sauvie Island Center to Host Barn Dance & Barbecue Fundraiser

More than 250 guests are expected to join the Sauvie Island Center for

live music, square dancing and a gourmet barbecue in support of the

farm-based education non-profit, and you're invited!


PORTLAND, OR – On Saturday, July 28th the Sauvie Island Center will host their 4th annual Barn Dance and Barbecue. The event, presented by Organic Valley, will feature a menu including their products.  Sponsor Bon Appetit designed the menu, which includes smoked pork with roasted peaches, bbq chicken with pickled rhubarb glaze and fresh summer sides prepared with Organic Valley cheese and yogurt and produce from Sauvie Island Organics. Dessert will be provided courtesy of Saint Cupcake. The event will also feature live music from Steel Guitar Master Scott Law and band, as well as Montanna Jane, a square dancer caller and a silent auction. Guests will be invited to walk the farm and tour the innovative hands-on, farm-based program. Widmer beer and a variety of local, Oregon wines will be available for purchase.  Tickets are available at the door and online at Barn Dance.

WHAT:                  Barn Dance & Barbecue Fundraiser

WHEN:                  Saturday, July 28th from 5:00 to 8:00 PM

WHERE:               Howell Territorial Park, 13605 NW Howell Park Rd. Portland, 97231               

WHO:                    Anna Goldrich, Executive Director of Sauvie Island Center

                                  Scott Law, award-winning steel guitar player

 TICKETS:               Adults $20/kids $5

Table for six $250 includes family-style service and beer or wine

SPONSORS:         Organic ValleyBon AppetitPortland NurserySaint Cupcake

 About Sauvie Island Center

Established in 2005, the Sauvie Island Center educates youth about food, farming and the land. Shari Raider, owner of Sauvie Island Organics, founded the center in response to frequent requests for farm tours she received from local schools. Ms. Raider teamed up with James Beard award-winning chef Cory Schreiber and recruited educator-volunteers to develop the farm-based, hands-on curriculum. This year, the Center will host more than 1250 children, which represents a significant increase over earlier years. Approximately 60% of schools visiting the Sauvie Island Center receive Title 1 funding and are only able to participate in field trips though the Center’s scholarship program.



Besaw's Throws Back to the Roaring 1920s; Join us for Supper July 25th!

In this day of Food Network, Cooking Channel and the hundreds of fabulous restaurants available to us in our culinary-obsessed city, it’s easy to scoff at dishes like “Chicken a la King” or “Oysters Rockefeller.” They’ve been around so long, and seem so old fashioned in light of the many fads in food that have come about since. In fact, the only modern Chicken a la King I’ve seen might have been on a hospital menu. It’s interesting to note, however, the time and place at which these dining room standards came about, and how recipes we’ve come to consider staples in our cooking repertoire became popular.

Prohibition had a huge effect on food and dining habits in the United States.

"When Prohibition went into effect in America on January 16, 1920, it did more than stop the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in our country...[it] increased the production of soft drinks, put hundreds of restaurants and hotels out of business, spurred the growth of tea rooms and cafeterias, and destroyed the last vestiges of fine dining in the United States...Hotels tried to reclaim some of their lost wine and spirit profits by selling candy and soda pop. The fruit cocktail cup, often garnished with marshmallows or sprinkled with powdered sugar, took the place of oysters on the half shell with champagne as a dinner party opener... The American wine industry, unable to sell its wines legally, quickly turned its vineyards over to juice grapes. But only a small portion of the juice from the grapes was marketed as juice. Most of it was sold for home-brewed wine. Needless to say, this home brew was not usually a sophisticated viniferous product, but sales of the juice kept many of the vineyards in profits throughout Prohibition. Prohibition also brought about cooking wines and artificially flavored brandy, sherry, and rum extracts. Housewives were advised to omit salt when using cooking wines, as the wines themselves had been salted to make them undrinkable... Some cooks gave up on alcoholic touches, real or faux, altogether." ---Fashionable Foods: Seven Decades of Food Fads, Sylvia Lovgren [MacMillan:New York] 1995 (p. 29-30)

"Prohibition, with its tremendous impact on the eating habits of the country, also had a great deal to do with the introduction of Italian food to the masses. Mary Grosvenor Ellsworth, in Much Depends upon Dinner, (1939), said this about Prohibition and pasta: "We cooked them [pastas] too much, we desecrated them with further additions of flour, we smothered them in baking dishes and store cheese. Prohibition changed all that. The Italians who opened up speakeasies by the thousand were our main recourse in time of trial. Whole hoards of Americans thus got exposed regularly and often to Italian food and got a taste for it. Now we know from experience that properly treated, pasta is no insipid potato substitute. The food served in the speakeasies--with Mama doing the cooking and Papa making the wine in the basement--was not quite the same as the food the Italians had eaten in the Old Country. Sicilian cooking was based on austerity...But America was rich, and protein rich country, and the immigrants were happy to add these symbols of wealth to their cooking--and happy that their new American customers liked the result. Meatballs, rich meat sauces, veal cutlets cooked with Parmesan or with lemon, clams stuffed with buttered herbed crumbs, shrimp with wine and garlic, and mozzarella in huge chunks to be eaten as appetizer were all foods of abundance, developed by Italian-Americans..." ---Fashionable Foods (p. 37-8)

At Besaw’s in the 1920s, things were—in some ways—very much the same as they are now. We still serve a Pork Loin Chop and Mashed Potatoes, for example, and a great steak. Cheffy still likes to serve up an occasional decadent Italian-American special. Maybe that’s what “comfort food” is all about; maybe it’s those recipes and ingredients that have been kitchen staples since our grandparents were kids.  In our dining room, we’d like to think we have a flair for celebrating our history, while incorporating what’s seasonally available in the abundant Pacific Northwest.

On July 25th, join us for the first in a series of Throwback Dinners, featuring an extra special menu of updated classics from the 1920s. Expect a local fruit cocktail, some jello with whipped cream, traditional mashed potatoes, gravy, and fried chicken. We’ll be serving milk, tea and coffee with supper, and –cough, cough—our servers may discreetly whisper the password for a “prohibited” summer cocktail.


1920s Traditional Supper ~ $35

Choice of salad, cup of soup, entree (with your favorite sides), dessert


Waldorf ~ Chopped Kale with Oil & Garlic ~ Wedge with Thousand Island Dressing

Cup of Tomato Soup


Veal Cutlets with Tomato Sauce

Trout Amandine

Seasonal Vegetables with Homemade Egg Noodles, Creamy Herb Sauce


Sliced Tomato

Wilted Greens

Green Beans

Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Gratin

Candied Sweet Potatoes


Peach Pie

Ice Cream

Jello with Whipped Cream

Fried Chicken Dinner ~ $25 (no substitutions, please)

Half Fried Chicken

Country Gravy

Corn Fritters

Green Peas & Sweet Potatoes

All the biscuits you can eat



Ferments, Pickles and Savoring the Season, by Kate

As an avid listener of OPB on the morning commute, I was super excited to learn about last month's annual Portland Fermentation Festival, held Thursday, October 20th at Ecotrust's Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center in the Pearl. In my salivating anticipation of all things pickled and brined, I left the workhouse early and invited a friend on our first food-tasting date.

Luckily we arrived early. By the time we'd made the rounds, there was a line of hungry pickle lovers wrapped down the stairs and out into the parking lot. Everybody was packed into the crowded room, pushed up against folding tables to sample batches of brines and ferments from over 3 professional and amateur makers.

We tasted over 10 varieties of sauerkraut alone--starting with traditional green, red and napa cabbages, adding beet, burdock, daikon radish, spring onion, chili, sea vegetables, even blueberry with lavender to make some spectacular kim chee.

We also partook of drinkable ferments: beet kvass, kombucha, ginger-lime soda, kefir and Rejuvelac, to name a few. By the time we left, our bellies were full of briny, sour pickled goodness. What else did I learn? Pickling is super fun, and easy.

Pickling is one of those things that really makes me feel connected to food. I love being able to bring traditional elements to my cooking that wake up the palette, and make my table totally unique and exciting. It's the perfect method for preserving the last of the farmers' market season, and a great way to add that extra bite to salads, meats and mixed drinks.

This fall season, our Chef has featured pickled veggies in many of our favorite menu items. Look for sweet pickled onions in our simple green salad, pickled zucchinis, peppers and onions on our House-Smoked Wild Salmon or Lox Platter, and a briny array accompanying our Chicken Liver appetizer.

I tried Chef's amazing assortment of pickled vegetables in my Bloody Mary this morning--it's really exciting to see how different veggies take to the pickling process. In mine, I had crunchy pickled cauliflower and carrot, tender stalks of chard, fancy fiddlehead ferns, spicy pickled garlic and chewy chantrelle mushrooms!

We thought we'd share a recipe for Pickled Cauliflower, so you can make fancy Bloody Mary garnish at home! Any combination of vegetables will do, just make sure you have enough to tightly pack your jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. As in cooking, your veggies will pickle more evenly if you cut them in same-size pieces.


Pickled Cauliflower

Yield: about 5 pints

3 quarts cauliflowerets (about 2 large heads)

1 1/2 Cups peeled pearl onions

1/4 Cup pickling salt

2 Cups sugar

2 tablespoons mustard seed

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 quart vinegar

1 hot red pepper (optional)

Combine cauliflowerets, onions and salt. Cover with ice; let stand 2 to 3 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric and vinegar in a large saucepot. Cut two small slits in hot red pepper. Add pepper to vinegar, if desired. Bring to a boil. Add cauliflowerets and onions; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Discard hot red pepper. Pack hot vegetables and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands (and eyes) from being burned.

Variations and Other Things of Interest:

When Chef makes pickled veggies here at Besaw's, he likes to replace half the vinegar with white wine--it gives the pickles a sweeter, subtler flavor that we all love! Almost all of the alcohol burns off during the 5 minutes of boiling, so don't worry about serving to children or teetotalers.

When packing and filling your jars, consider adding fresh herbs to your pickle! Chef likes to add fresh sage, tarragon or sprigs of rosemary. You can also pack your hot peppers in with the veggies if you like your pickles extra spicy, or add a few cloves of garlic to the bottom of the jars for zip.

The sugar in this recipe is totally optional. Most important in any pickle recipe is the salt to vinegar ratio, and the sugar is added to taste. Make sure to use pickling salt, as it has no additives, is finer and will yield more consistent results. Do not use iodized table salt, as it can darken or cloud your pickles.

If you don't have a boiling water canner (usually an extra-large stock pot with a removable tray that holds the mason jars), it's ok to store your packed and cooled pickle jars in the refrigerator. They should be really tasty immediately, but sometimes benefit from a few days' rest.

Like eating (but not cooking)? Come join us any time, we're always trying new things, and love to share!