Cooking with Chef Wendy at Bounty of Yamhill County

The Bounty of Yamhill County made it to the big leagues of food festivals this year. It had to live up to being ranked #2 nationwide by USA TODAY. But what’s not to love about local (but world-class) wine, chefs and farms?

I was invited to the Food + Wine Pairing class on Sunday, Aug. 30th, 2015 at Dobbes Family Estate. Chef Wendy Bennett led the interactive cooking class while the winery poured their excellent vintages.

Dobbes 2013 Grenache Blanc
Dobbes 2013 Grenache Blanc

The class got rolling at 10 am, which is not too early to enjoy the 2013 Dobbes Grenache Blanc. The class was set up in the cellar room amidst the wine barrels.

While we enjoyed snacks of Moroccan-spiced popcorn and peaches wrapped in proscuitto, Chef Wendy explained how we were going to cook our own Mediterranean-inspired lunch with the bounty from local farms. Ruh-roh! I guess I’d be the second Chef Wendy for the day. Luckily, I’d just be part of a team.

Moroccan-spiced popcorn and proscuitto wraps
Moroccan-spiced popcorn and proscuitto wraps

Chef Wendy’s popcorn secret is to pop it in duck fat, then add olive oil and spice mixture to season instead of butter.

Chef Wendy Bennett
Chef Wendy Bennett

I enjoyed the REAL Chef Wendy’s demonstration of how to grind the lamb, make the couscous, panzanella salad and chocolate budino. The recipes were elegant but easy enough for beginners. By the end of the demo I thought I could take the recipes and put together a great brunch for friends.  This made me look forward to taking a class at her Wine Country Cooking Studio in Dundee.

Cooking at Dobbes
Cooking at Dobbes

We split into three teams to get cooking. The ingredients were laid out for us and pre-measured. That didn’t stop us from making some mistakes, but in the end everything tasted fantastic. I avoided the knife-work and managed not to draw blood with the mandolin slicer.

Panzanella Salad
Panzanella Salad

The Panzanella-inspired salad with grilled bread, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, summer greens, quick summer pickles and kalamata olive and caper salsa was super. It truly celebrated the tomato crop.  I somehow have avoided making my own pickles since we canned them when I was a kid. Now I’ll be brave to do a quick pickle.

Grilled Lamb Koftka with tzatziki sauce and couscous
Grilled Lamb Koftka with tzatziki sauce and couscous and Dobbes 2011 Pinot Noir

The lamb koftka were easy to prepare (if you have either ground lamb or a meat grinder). I loved the seasoning. I’m a big fan of couscous and I appreciated the cilantro and lemon juice seasoning.

The Dobbes 2011 Meyer Vineyard Pinot Noir is a good accompaniment to meat and a beautiful expression of our great local wine.

Dark chocolate budino
Dark chocolate budino

A dark chocolate budino is a decadent finish, especially on the heels of great red wine.

The cooking class was a blast and it whet my appetite for future classes with the real Chef Wendy. I took home great recipes that I’ll be able to use. I look forward to the August 26-28th, 2016 Bounty of Yamhill County, it will be worth the trip!

The culinary festival benefits Yamhill Enrichment Society (YES). This charity has a Books for Babies program to send home books with every baby born at McMinnville Hospital. Books in the home are the biggest predictor of success in school and life, and this is a cause everyone needs to support. They further sponsor programs in building equitable food systems, music enrichment and living history. It feels great to enjoy an event that has year-round benefits to the local community.

BBQ in the ‘Burbs – Pine Shed Smokes It

Barbecue artists end up in interesting locales. Pine Shed Ribs & Barbecue is tucked off -the-beaten path near Lower Boones Ferry Road and I-5 in what is nominally Lake Oswego. Matt Ramey set up his unique smokers in a shed in the parking lot of a tiny strip mall. He’s been serving up great ribs, tri-tip, smoked sausage and chicken “till it’s gone.”

I make Pine Shed a stop on my way back from wine tasting excursions in Dundee. But it’s probably safer to pick it up on your way to wine country, lest they run out of your favorites – they can only smoke 800 pounds of meat at time.

Pine Shed Ribs and Chicken
Pine Shed Ribs and Chicken

Since I first visited the shed, they’ve created a covered outdoor seating area with picnic tables for 60 people, plus the indoor dining room.

Ramey hosted a group of food bloggers for #BlogACue and we tore through a full slate of food and enjoyed beer samplers from their 10 taps.

Beer Sampler at Pine Shed
Beer Sampler at Pine Shed

A beer sampler is available for $10 and arrives on a cute pig tray. They also have wine available. It was great to see award-winning Pallet Jack IPA on tap.

Matt Ramey
Matt Ramey

Ramey cut his barbecue teeth in San Luis Obispo. While Santa Maria-style barbecue isn’t as smoky, he gets a good smoke ring into the meat and uses local oak. He’s been cooking it in Lake Oswego at a stand or shed since 2001 and has a big following.

A couple of years back I had brisket at Pine Shed, but Ramey has shifted to tri-tip. He thinks it meets what his customers prefer for a less-fatty sliced beef. He sources meat locally from Carlton Farms, St. Helens and Draper valley.

Pork Links - Cheddar Bacon Mac - Beans
Pork Links – Cheddar Bacon Mac – Beans

I hadn’t tried the smoked pork links before and I was impressed.  It wasn’t too hot and was wonderfully seasoned. I also enjoyed the smoked chicken.

The cornbread was super. Ramey says the bacon cheddar mac sells the most of the sides.

If you’re headed south on I-5 or west towards the coast or wine country, Pine Shed Ribs and Barbecue is worth the stop.

Pine Shed Ribs & Barbecue
17730 Pilkington Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Open Monday – Saturday 11 am – 8 pm (or sold out)