Monday, April 21, 2008

Livin' in the Blurbs: Class Acts

Those of you who read the Oregonian's Homes & Gardens NW section have no doubt read Vern Nelson's column about edible landscaping and wondered what in heaven's name he's going to suggest we try eating next. Last week it was begonias, next week...nibbling on the shrubbery? Farmington Gardens is going to give you the chance to put that question to Mr. Nelson himself on May 3 in his presentation on how to grow a successful edible garden, then on May 17 garden writer Lisa Albert will present tips on "Going Green" by choosing plants that attract birds and beneficial insects and that require less maintenance and fewer resources. Time to dig in!

Details: Sat., May 3: Edible Gardens with Vern Nelson. Sat., May 17: Going Green with Lisa Albert. 11 am; free with registration. Farmington Gardens, 21815 SW Farmington Rd., Beaverton. 503-649-4568.

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Then the weekend of May 16th through the 18th, Seattle will be invaded by hordes of cheeseheads at the fourth annual Seattle Cheese Festival at the Pike Place Market. There will be cheese tasting, of course, and seminars by leading cheesemakers and writers like Peter Dixon from Vermont; Jeffrey Roberts, author of the Atlas of American Artisan Cheese; and Daphne Zepos of the Essex St. Cheese Co. in New York, all of whom have been featured on this very blog. (Ahem!) And Tami at the Pacific NW Cheese Project informs us that there will also be a grilled cheese contest, a "Truckle Roll" where teams race to roll wheels of cheese over a finish line (apparently hilarious to behold) and a children's parade. Not to mention wine tasting, cheese sampling, cooking demos...if it's cheesy, they're doing it!

Details: 4th Annual Seattle Cheese Festival, Fri.-Sun., May 16-18. See the website for event times and locations.

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And while not a class in the classic sense, I guarantee your tastebuds will come away well-educated from Castagna's spring dinner double-header. Spring asparagus is the focus of the first dinner on May 7th, featuring asparagus soup with fried morels, pork schnitzel with asparagus and elder flower ice cream. Then on May 21st it'll be a spring morel dinner of vol au vent with morels and asparagus, coq au vin Jaune with morels and a rhubarb crème brulée tart. The whole dinner is only $45 a person and includes wine. I've been to a couple of these dinners in the past and I guarantee the food will be mind-blowing. Have you made your reservation yet?

Details: "Spring Means Green" dinners at Castagna. Spring Asparagus Dinner, Wed., May 7. Spring Morel Dinner, Wed., May 21. 6:30 pm; $45 per person includes wine. Reservations required. Castagna, 1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd. at the corner of 18th. Phone 503-231-7373.

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