, Muskogee, OK

August 20, 2013

Dish makes use of surplus food

By Melony Carey
Food by the Book

— Portland, Oregon, is a special place with special people, among them Colin Meloy, lead singer of the indie folk rock band The Decemberists and quintessential Portlander. Not only is Meloy a talented musician, he has also penned a children’s trilogy, The Wildwood Chronicles, set in the Impassable Wilderness, a magical wood inspired by Portland’s Forest Park, an 8 mile tract of natural woods within the city limits overlooking the Willamette River.

The Wildwood Chronicles will immediately remind readers of classic children’s fantasy stories, such as Labyrinth or The Chronicles of Narnia, mixed with elements of Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Prue McKeel, the story’s heroine, packs her 1-year-old brother Mac into a Radio Flyer hitched to the back of her bike and takes off for a day of errands. When she stops at the public library and leaves Mac in the wagon while she zips inside, a murder of crows appears and picks the baby up, carrying him away. Prue gives chase across the city, but is halted by the Willamette River. She is determined to save her brother and is unwillingly aided by Curtis, a nerdy classmate. Together the two brave the Wildwood, a secret world where animal governments are at war and Mac is the key to an evil plot to destroy everything in the wood.

Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis, illustrated the Wildwood trilogy. Other children’s book illustrations to her credit are “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Lemony Snicket: The Composer is Dead.” Put on The Decemberists’ latest album, “The King is Dead,” and cook up a flavorful summer meal.

Luis’s Chunky Guacamole

3 avocados, roughly diced

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or use as a garnish for Mexican dishes. Source:

Creamed Corn, Bacon and Fettuccine

1 can creamed corn

1 cup Southwest-style corn, canned or frozen

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 thin slices of a fresh jalapeno

6 slices good bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

16 oz. fettuccine, cooked

2 oz. cotija or parmesan cheese, grated

In skillet add creamed corn, southwest corn, cream, bacon, and jalapeno slices. Bring to a simmer. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Pour into pasta dish and top with grated cheese.

Margarita Bars


2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (2 sticks)


1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

1 cup key lime juice (bottled is fine)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons reposado tequila


1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons packed grated lime zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Place a sheet of parchment in the bottom of the dish, letting the ends hang over the two long sides of the dish. Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks pale yellow and crumbly. Transfer the mixture to the bottom of the dish and spread it out evenly. With the back of a small, dry measuring cup, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the dish. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake crust until lightly golden, about 30 minutes.

To make filling: While crust is baking, mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add eggs and egg yolks and mix to combine. Stir in lime juice and tequila. When crust is golden, pour mixture over the hot crust and return to the oven. Bake 30 minutes, or until set (filling won't jiggle and may have begun to crack). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before cutting.

To make topping: In a small bowl mix together sugar, lime zest and salt until zest is evenly distributed. Just before serving, sprinkle mixture evenly over uncut dessert until lightly coated (you may not use all of it). Run a knife around the edge of the pan before lifting the dessert out using the ends of the parchment. Trim off edges of dessert, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and serve, but not to children. Source: The Oregonian Cookbook is at