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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

Oregon - The Beaver State

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Official Motto “She Flies With Her Own Wings”

Suggested Motto: “It’s Wil-LAM-ette dammit!”

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Weird Wine Cookies

Immortalized in a 90s computer game, the Oregon Trail was an overland route by which hundreds of thousands of settlers made a weary and often dangerous trek across the prairies and mountains. Their reward was rich farmland in the fertile valleys of Oregon. Today these valleys are notable for producing more blackberries, hazelnuts, peppermint, cranberries, rhubarb, grass seed, and Christmas trees than anywhere else in the U.S.

Oregon is also notable these days for being one of the most vegan-friendly states in the nation. So I decided to make these cookies vegan, and as long as I was addressing specialty diets, I went gluten-free as well. I started with hazelnuts. I lightly roasted and skinned them before grinding them into a meal. (Nut meal is simply a nut flour without the skin removed so flecks of brown are seen.) Flavoring with chocolate would have been an easy choice, but I wanted to pick something less obvious to honor Portland’s reputation for weirdness.

Pinot Noir grows exceptionally well in the climate and soils of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. A rather heavy pour went into a saucepan and I reduced it to a fragrant tablespoon of liquid. A little coconut oil, golden syrup, baking soda, and salt completed the dough. The dough had a lovely deep burgundy color and smelled amazing.

They baked well but lost their jewel tone. I dusted them with powdered sugar to make them pretty. The roasted hazelnut flavor came through first, with the pinot noir lingering on the tongue after. All the wonderful fat in hazelnuts meant these were moist, soft, and fell apart in the mouth. I happily paired them with coffee so I could enjoy a bit of wine at breakfast with no qualms.

Want to experience Oregon for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

The Oregon coast is misty and magical, even when you’re a teenager with cramps who is sick of her family. As a young adult, I returned to the state and had a grand time tramping about Eugene with some local hippies. Most recently I road-tripped across the state and saw the splendid painted desert, but Smith Rock State Park blew me away. I don’t think I have ever camped in a more picturesque spot. (See below)

On my bookshelf, I have Run Fast Eat Slow and its sequel by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. These cookbooks changed my life. Before I always meant to eat more vegetables but usually defaulted to nachos or takeout. Their advice turned me into a resourceful, confident cook who routinely turns out healthy meals. This cookie was inspired by one of their recipes.

Time for the whole truth

The peaks in the Cascades are called the "Three Sisters" and pioneers called them Faith, Hope, and Charity.

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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