Saturday, May 12, 2012

Poppy Seed Oregon's Markets, Edible Voo-Doo, and Mt. Hood Sushi!

We love Oregon. Period.  Love.Love.Love.

If we could pick a state that would suit our family well, it would be the beautiful, varied, blustery state of Oregon.

We packed our bags for the journey West, keeping the tropical clothing in the closets and instead tucking in  hats, pullovers, and cozy scarves. Oh! how we love cozy scarves.

Chester and Polly knew just what we were up to.  When suitcases come out, they become velcro pets.  Chester climbs right into the middle of the clothes that I've laid out on the bed and Polly tries to snuggle in any suitcase she can pleading with her big green eyes to be taken with us.

I was trying to think of something delicious tasting I could bring to my family as gifts.  Again, a recipe in Saveur Magazine's April 2012 issue caught my eye.  

Mak Pirog (or Poppy Seed Strudel) is a wonderful rustic brioche-like yeast bread roulade rolled with a moist poppy seed paste.  The bread is eaten throughout Eastern and Central Europe where poppy seeds are commonly harvested from the poppy flower (not the opium producing kind).  

We made three loaves of the bread the day before our flight.  They smelled divine baking in the oven. We froze them, wrapped them up really well and added them to  gift bags along with tea and some Texas wildflower honey.

Visiting with our new nephew, Luca, was a complete delight!  He is healthy, good spirited, and a super easy-going baby.  Snuggling him close and walking outside with him was such a pleasure that I don't often have in a house of teens.

One meal we always anticipate is John's bbq Smoked Cedar Salmon.  Slathered with basil pesto and placed on the grill until it is slightly charred, smokey, and moist ~ this is one of the choicest natural gifts of the Pacific Northwest. 

For mornings, the poppy seed bread was enjoyed at breakfast.  These ancient seeds lend a rich and mysterious flavor to sweet breads.  They give this rustic bread a rich almost floral flavor but have a bit of bite to them, like nuts.

Oregonians are so inspired to live clean, healthy lives.  It's no wonder ~ their bounty of foods like alvocados, hazelnuts, fresh cheeses, and their growing acclaim in wine production is often found on the tables of homes and restaurants.

With the beautiful mountains on one side, the wild and tempestuous coast on the other and the rolling temperate hills of the wine country to the south - this state just has it all.

So many wonderful meals around the table were enjoyed with funny and sentimental stories to share.  We roasted vegetables of turnips, beets, onions, and carrots.  We tossed fresh greens with homemade herb dressing.  

Since our family spans four generations, stories from retirement celebrations, high school graduations, and baby's first bites are all celebrated and shared at once.

With their lush wet climate, it seems that Oregonians can just about get anything and everything to grow in their soil.  Flowering trees and flowering vines seem to ooze out of every available plot of soil. 

Just as the heat is beginning to sore in Texas, Oregon was at the height of their beautiful spring so we enjoyed cool breezes during the day, warm fires at night, and best of humidity!

Just after coming off the heels of Houston's fabulous International Festival, we took the opportunity of plunging right into yet another fantastic market event that happens every Saturday in Portland.


Having no expectations of the market, we were thrilled and bedazzled by Portland's finest craftspeople, artisans, musicians, and food vendors.

The vibe in Portland is so definite and palpable.  Overall, Portlanders demonstrate a definite love of natural surroundings, homegrown skills, and simplicity of lifestyle.

The city doesn't necessarily seem "bike friendly" by design but Portlanders have carved niches wherever possible to leave the cars home and bike from one place to another.  

Bikers, skateboarders, motorcyclists, and scooters give the city a slight European feel.  Moreover, it makes people more accessible to and communicative with one another instead of always being behind the wheels of cars.

The food stalls looked fabulous.  As usual, I was eyeing the falafels and the gyros.  Missed out on snatching up that woven hat (above) and now I sorely regret it.

How lucky we were to have hardly any rain.  When we arrived in Portland, we were greeted with this big beautiful rainbow slung over the sky.

Friendly. Relaxed. Open-minded.  That is how I would describe the personality of the market as a whole.  I think Oregonians know they have a good thing going but they are appreciative of it at the same time.

M. and I have a 'thing' for owls.  If she were around 10 again, she would have gone straight for this adorable handmade owl purse.  

All crafts for sale at the market must be locally made in order to reserve a booth.

Open since 1974, The Saturday Market is the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the U.S.  It's located in the beautiful Waterfront and Ankeny Park in historic Oldtown-Chinatown.

Many families and groups were clustered around the many varied food stalls.  Right in the center, under a covered tent, the lively group, Boka Marimba,  played enchanting tunes from Zimbabwe on their xylophones.  What a sweet sound that promoted a joyful and festive energy to the atmosphere of the market.

There was a whimsical and free-thinking atmosphere at this lively market filled with artisans of every type.  Often people delighted me with quirky grins, silly antics, and genuine smiles.

I am most happy when wandering through markets.  Always dreaming of the french street markets in Paris or small Provencal towns, I was so proud to be attending so many fabulous markets right here in the U.S. this year.

One of the highlighted snacks at the market were the tall cups filled with fruit and cucumber sticks.  A sprinkle of spice was dusted on top of this cold fresh treat.

Around the market are many fun Portland restaurants.  Several of them had lines of eager hopefuls that stretched down the block.

We were in the mood for sushi and had been recommended to head to Mio Sushi a short car ride  from the market.

It did not disappoint.  From steaming mugs of green tea to the cold soba noodles with flavored dipping sauce.

All of the fish at Mio Sushi are sourced  from sustainable fisheries where possible.  "Sustainable" means that the food source is not depleted from one growing season to the next.

Sushi creations such as the "The Mount Hood Roll" and "The Mount St. Helen Roll" were fun varieties that tie in the local landscape to the menu selections.

We had certainly worked up quite the appetite walking all over the market and smelling the delicious food there.  Also, we were super strong and passed up on devouring a few doughnuts at...

Voo-Doo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon!!

Can you imagine sinking your teeth into one of those doughnuts piled high with Fruit Loops?  Crazy fun idea for a quirky way to sell sweet treats.  

Now as much as Portlanders love their healthy lifestyle approach, I think their weakness is Voo-Doo doughnuts.  The line of people waiting to get in was down the block!

Several people were sitting at the picnic tables outside having 'zen-like' moments while preparing to devour their doughnut prizes.  It was all rather comical since the shop is a stone's throw away from the health-centric atmosphere of the Saturday Market.

So much more coming up to see in the gorgeous state of Oregon.  Next stops are:

Youngberg Inn and B&B perched on a hill top in Oregon's lush Willamette Wine Country next to the all-American town of McMinnville.

followed by:

The rugged, blustery, and wild Oregon coastline...with a sweet stop off at Tillamook as well as the bustling little port town, Newport!

Poppy Seed Strudel (Mak Pirog)
(from Saveur Magazine April 2012)

(makes 2 small loaves)
6 tbsp. milk, heated to 115°, plus ⅓ cup
1 ¼-oz. package active dry yeast
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
¾ cup ground poppy seeds (available at Kalustyan's)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Zest of ½ lemon
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp. heavy cream, for egg wash
Whole poppy seeds, to garnish

Make the dough: Whisk together 6 tbsp. heated milk and yeast in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in ¼ cup sugar, the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and the egg and yolk; add flour, and stir until dough forms. Transfer to a floured work surface; knead until smooth, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down dough; cover, and let sit until puffed, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat remaining milk, sugar, and salt, and ground poppy seeds, butter, and zest in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla, and let cool.

Heat oven to 350°. Punch down the dough, and halve it; transfer each half to a work surface and, using a rolling pin, flatten each into a 10″ x 14″ rectangle. Spread half the poppy seed filling over each rectangle and fold the longer sides 1″ toward the center; starting from one short side, fold up rectangles into 3″-4″-wide flat loaves. Transfer loaves, seam side down, to a parchment paper—lined baking sheet, and brush tops with egg wash; sprinkle with whole poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.


  1. Sarah, such a beautiful post from beginning to end. The strudel caught my eye, as my Hungarian mother used to make something similar, called Beigli. Love your work.

  2. Looks like a great trip! I really enjoyed Portland when I was there a couple years ago. You have such a talent for photographing people!

  3. I've always wanted to visit the wine country out there, so many wonderful wineries!

  4. These posts just keep getting better and better. That large shot of the cooked salmon should be on the cover of something! I have good friends in Oregon and they want us to visit them so badly, you've convinced me to go!

  5. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest but it's definitely on my list of places to go. Love all of your photos as usual! I have a papillon also and he is very smart and so intuitive it's scary at times lol, but I love him!

  6. Wow, you have so so many amazing pictures. I definitely need a cedar plank - that salmon looks delicious!

  7. I'm going to have to add Oregon to my list. My cousin lives out there, but haven't had the opportunity to visit him before. I love the people you capture in your photos. They each tell a story of their own. Always look forward to your new posts! Thanks for sharing. And those donuts look ridiculous! haha :)

  8. Strudel with poppy seeds is very popular in Poland.
    In you, looks great!

  9. Your bread looks delicious with the poppy seed swirl! What a great gift to receive. And, that salmon. Beautiful. Sounds like a great trip. I have to try those doughnuts some day!

  10. I grew up eating poppy seed strudle and I still love it... thanks for sharing your recipe. I'll compare it to mum's. The market looks awesome... and I adore your photos.

  11. Sarah, Such a great post about your Oregon trip…your photos are gorgeous …I feel like I’m there with you!
    My father was Hungarian and one of the breads my grandmother and mother always made were these poppy seed rolls…they also filled them with walnuts. We make them every holiday season! Yours came out beautiful…so delicious looking! Happy Mother’s Day!

  12. Sarah so good to meet you and your wonderful site!! A great account of your time in Oregon, the food the faces the markets!! I love this post!

    I want to invite you to join my Giveaway from The Enchanted Home!

    Art by Karena

  13. once again i'm in awe of your photography, you just capture it so perfectly, felt like i was there with you.

  14. Except for the doughnuts and septum piercings, it sure looks like the spirit of the 1890s is alive in Portland! Sorry, couldn't resist quoting Portlandia in some shape or form.

    I have a 'thing' with owls too, and how amazing is it that I just received a pillow made by my boyfriend's mother that looks almost identical to the purse you showed here?! Crazy.

    I need to give poppy seed bread another chance. I haven't had it since I was young, and it seemed very gross at the time. But I know it can't be, it's got to be delicious!

  15. There's a Russian deli near my house where I normally get my Mak Pirog. Now that I found the recipe, I can try and make it myself. Crossing my fingers it would be as good as yours :)

  16. No humidity sounds like heaven to me. May is our best month for low humidity. So I am enjoying while it lasts. Oregon sounds like my kind of state too. What's not to love about mountains and coasts?

  17. Thanks for sharing this recipe, poppyseeds are one of my absolute favourites in the world :D
    Your photography is awe-inspiring my friend!

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Poppy seeds are magical, the ancient Greeks used them a lot in cakes. I've just recently started using them and you're right, they add something special to breads.
    I also have a thing for owls, I've got lots of them around my house :)

  19. Oh, yes...I'm ready to book my flight to Portland after viewing all your amazing photos! I'm dying for some PNW's the best...and with pesto on a cedar plank sounds sublime. And your poppyseed strudel looks marvelous, too...perfect for breakfast :)

  20. Ahh I love Portland!! What a wonderful city. Your photos, as always are gorgeous and like Liz I'm ready to hop on a plane right now :-) At least for a bite of a Voodoo maple bacon donut! Oh man.

  21. I can't handle all this food! It looks so good! I was drawn in by the poppyseed and am now leaving totally starving. Good to hear you had a delicious trip!!

  22. I live in Portland and you captured Saturday Market very well in your beautiful photos! I do have to say though that 90% of the people standing in line at Voo Doo are from out of town - most Portlanders wouldn't be interested in waiting in line and others know there's another branch across the river that rarely has lines! (and still others know that there are many more and better donut shops all around town - we have some seriously delicious sugary treats here!)

  23. SLS: I totally believe you! The people in line didn't look as healthy and robust as the Portlanders that we know how would wrinkle their noses at waiting in that line! So impressed by the dedication of the people in Oregon to follow sustainable farming, eating, and living practices. But with skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, options there are to be super healthy and fit...naturally!

  24. Poppy seed is not sold in Singapore as it's classified as prohibited good. Your strudel looks so beautiful!! I must try it one day. ;)

  25. How fun! I want to see Portland, have heard so much about it and it is all good. Definitely that north-west region has a different life perspective. Glad you are spending good time with the family.
    Now that you have the books on Turkey, you must be ready to get going :) Let me know when you plan! I might add several locations to your itinerary :) Wouldn't it be fun to meet there?

  26. Orgeon is high on my list of places I MUST go!! You and your magical lens have rendered it quite extraordinary. As always -!

  27. Sarah, your blog is absolutely gorgeous! I wandered here by way of Kulsum's blog and am so glad I did. I had such a lovely time the last time I was in Portland and your stunning pictures totally took me back. Thanks for sharing your trip! :)

  28. The Poppy Seed Strudel looks devine - I will definitely file it away and try to work up the nerve to try it. You have a talent for photojournalism. You really evoke an atmosphere. Funny thing, I too love Oregon. I was totally in awe of the rugged Oregon coastline when I saw it for the first time. It is hauntingly beautiful. I did some work many years ago in Salem Oregon - the capital. So, I ended up spending quite a bit of time in Portland and liked it very much. You indeed get around to markets don't you! Wow. It has been a while since I have been; the weather is just nice enough now for the outdoor markets and festivals to start coming alive here. Thanks for sharing your time in Portland...

  29. Dear Sarah - First off you're killing me with that bread and that salmon. I almost cried out when I couldn't reach across the screen and dig in.

    OREGON is def on the list ans pics as always underscore in thick felt that point!

    Have a wonderful time and aren't home baked gifts the best! I wish more people took the time :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  30. Sounds like a fantastic time! That sushi looks so good. There's an all you can eat sushi place near my campus for a relatively cheap price, but the quality is average. I'd love to visit such an outdoor market sometime, I've never been!

  31. What a gorgeous post - I feel I've been there!! the salmon looks incredible - as well as the strudel - what a fabulous market!
    Mary x

  32. I love your post. You sure know how to have a good time! Wonderful recipes also. Salmon looks sooo good-)))

  33. Look at that bread filling, so luscious!!! Amazing pictures by the way.

  34. Ohhh! I've seen that donut store from....Man vs food! Would love to have some right now.. This must be a very satisfying trip! Lots of food, lots of fun! And a cute easy-going baby. What more could you have?! Oh maybe one more slice of that bread you baked.

  35. Sarah,

    Loved the blog post and the gorgeous photos. How wonderful, I felt as if I was there. Thanks for sharing your journeys.


  36. thank you so much for all your lovely comments!
    unfortunately in europe we don't have wilde we have to visit Usa to see that!
    i'm italian and i really don't love our kind of i prefer france which has different landscape, from oceanic to mediterranean...

  37. The other thing I wanted to say is that, like you, I am happiest when wandering around markets. Hence, they are the focus of my own web site and blog, Sarah. You are a kindred spirit. Really love your work!

  38. I just found your blog tonight while searching for Macarons! I will try your recipe next. I have tried twice so far & they are improving. How nice to see you were just in Oregon and had many great experiences in many of my favorite places for food and fun. Your photos are beautiful and its nice you enjoyed our wet spring!

  39. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.


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