Drinks, Giveaway, Portland Local, Sponsored Post


TOAST Portland Giveaway | The Spicy Bee

Oregon beer is nationally recognized and world famous–but what you may not realize is that distilling in Oregon has been going on since Hood River Distilling’s inception in 1934 making delicious apple and pear brandies (they were in the Fruit Loop, after-all). Since that time, Oregon has become home to more than 50 licensed distilleries–and of those, 40+ will be participating in this year’s 5th Annual TOAST Event on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 4pm at LeftBank Annex in Portland.

Time for Another TOAST

TOAST Portland

The lineup of distilleries this year includes: Big Bottom Distilling, Aria Gin, Bull Run Distilling, Hood River Distilling, House Spirits Distilling, New Deal Distilling, McMenamins Distilling, and Wild Roots Vodka. See all participating distilleries here.

Participating chefs include: Elias Cairo of the recently renamed Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions–read more about that interesting development here), Johanna Ware of Smallwares, Scott Dolich of The Bent Brick, Matthew Fields of Stella Taco PDX, and Kevin Schantz of (soon-to-open) RingSide Grill.  The video below is an artful rendering of the Oregon distilling scene.

You can purchase tickets online now! There are 3 different tickets available:

General Admission – $45
VIP tickets – $60
Designated Driver – $15

Your GA TOAST ticket would include:

  • Unlimited spirit samples from over 40 distillers from Oregon and beyond
  • Unlimited bites from top local chefs
  • A commemorative TOAST 2015 tasting glass
  • The Oregon Distillery Trail Scout bookVIP Guests also receive:

VIP Guests also receive:

  • 2 cocktails from the Bar
  • Access to the VIP area
  • Access to the after party with the distillers

Designated Driver Tickets include:

  • Entry to the event
  • Free non-alcoholic drinks
  • Bites of food from local chefs

Looking to learn even more about the event? Missy Maki just had an entire radio episode devoted to the event! Listen to her show via podcast or through KPAM’s AM 860 site.

Oregon Distillery Trail - TOAST Giveaway |The Spicy Bee

And now on to the good stuff!!


Would you like to join in the celebration for FREE!? Now’s your chance! I am giving away an entry to TOAST Portland, and you could be the lucky winner! All you have to do is enter below–it’s as easy as clicking your awesome point :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

To increase your chances of winning, hop on over to other Portland Bloggers’ blogs including: Urban Bliss Life | Salt. Water. Coffee. | The Good Hearted Woman | Pechluck’s Food Adventures | those lovely ladies are giving a ticket away also!

Thanks for entering! Good luck!!

Recipe Time

Homemade Cast Iron Naan

Cast Iron Naan Recipe | The Spicy Bee

Naan is one of my favorite foods, though I won’t readily admit it because it has very little nutritional value. It’s also not within our staple diet at home (partially because I cannot make a good gluten-free version, and for the above reason). On Sunday, I was at a family dinner at one of my favorite Lebanese spots, Karam,  and it reminded me that I’ve been sitting (not literally of course!) on a great recipe that I adapted from Food Network just a few weeks back and haven’t shared. Now, as I’m finishing this up to share it with you, I can hear Ktams in the background whispering, “we need to make that again this week.” It’s a good thing we have all the ingredients already!

This recipe seems complicated at first, but once you get into the rhythm of things it’s actually quite logical and fun. I like having an assist in the end process (someone to watch the naan on the stove while I am stretching out the next piece on the block). That said, I enjoy these naan with some crispity burn spots on them because the flavor just cannot be beat. You are probably asking yourself what you put on/with the naan when it’s done. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Naah-Naah-Nah-Nah-Nah Naan <3


Homemade Cast Iron Naan

(adapted from Food Network)


  • 1 t active dry yeast
  • 2 t sugar
  • 3/4 c warm water (~100°F)
  • 3 T plain yogurt
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 t fine sea salt
  • 1/8 t baking powder
  • 2 T melted butter for slathering on the finished naans
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling


In a large glass, combine yeast, 1t sugar, and water and let sit until frothy (10 minutes). While that bubbles and froths, sift the flour, salt, 1t sugar and baking powder into a deep bowl.

Cast Iron Naan Recipe | The Spicy Bee

Once the yeast mixture is ready, add to the glass yogurt and olive oil and mix. Pour the contents of the glass into the deep bowl and combine with a fork, then your hands until the dough comes together–when you get to this point, STOP. Cover with plastic wrap and leave somewhere warm for 2-4 hours (I like to set oven to 200 then turn off when I start my yeast mixture–when it comes time to put the bowl somewhere warm, this space will have cooled down just enough).

Cast Iron Naan Recipe | The Spicy Bee

When it’s go time–place two bowls next to your work station. Fill one with a half cup of flour, and the other with some warm water. Prime your rolling pin (should you choose to use one), and add some flour to your work surface. Place your trusty cast iron pan on the stove, and get it hot (but not smoking). Have a lid that is large enough to cover the cast iron available–this is important as it will help the naan rise (I used a smaller lid than the pan, but one I could enclose the naan with). Melt the butter and have it off to the side with a basting brush.

The next few steps will go quite quickly–be sure to read through this all first so you aren’t pausing. The dough should be very soft (it’s some of the softest I’ve ever worked with). Carefully divide into 6 lumps and work out one at a time. Using the flour sparingly, slowly stretch the naan lump you’re working with until it is about 8 inches long by 4 inches wide–I like ours about a half inch in thickness. At this point it will be like working with pizza dough so don’t be too afraid to work your hands into it. Once to the noted size, wet your hands and “slap” both sides of the naan, just before carefully placing it into the hot pan. Set a timer for 1 minute.

Cast-Iron-Naan-Recipe 3

When that minute has passed, butter the top and flip the naan to the other side using a silicon spatula. Set for another minute, then upon finish, remove the finished product from the pan and rest on a warm plate. This is a good time to butter both sides and salt (if you have time!). Cover the plate loosely with foil to hold in the heat and move on to the next dough roll. This process will go quite quickly, and as you go you will find the perfect timing for browning the naan. Our first time, I went back to my first piece and re-browned it once I had finished the rest. Your final naan will, no doubt, be a work of art!

Cast Iron Naan Recipe | The Spicy Bee

Serve immediately to the hungry bellies that await! This recipe will serve 3-4 people as a side to the main course.

Like my hummus? Look for that recipe next week :) (don’t worry, I’ll link to it from here when it’s up!)

Reference, WordVomit

Confession: My Fear of Public Speaking & How to Handle It

5 Things I Learned About How to Handle Nerves When Interviewing | The Spicy Bee

Outwardly, I am an extroverted person. I’m great one-on-one and in small groups, larger groups when it’s needed. I am, what you would call, a natural leader. You put me on camera, however (or on mic), and my inner voice overwhelms me. I stumble over words, butcher sentences, lose trains of thought and want to run screaming from the situation. Most of this has to do with overall performance anxiety, an issue I’ve been dealing with since I was a kid (school plays, tryouts, band challenges, you name it, I likely blew it). Then the self-criticism lays it on thick. I’ve always been exceedingly hard on myself when it comes to my performance.

Recently I did an interview with Taste Trekkers, a podcast that helps those traveling figure out where to visit when in new cities (great concept, right?). When first approached about the interview by a friend, I politely declined. “No,” I thought, “I’m terrible at interviews. What would I even say?” But after much more thought, I knew I would be silly to pass up the opportunity to put my two cents in about the Portland dining scene and what’s worth hitting up for those who’ve never been to PDX. So I interviewed, and I let my nerves get the best of me. That night, I awoke in a cold sweat, unable to shake my negative feelings about the interview and my performance.

The issue is, I feel like I know about food (and drink) in Portland. It’s my life. Though when I’m put on the spot, my mind floods with so many things, I completely fail at coming up with just one or two items I want to cover. That got me to thinking–what can I learn from this? How can it help others? Thus–my fear of public speaking & to handle nerves (and equally important, self criticism). Am I still worried that my interview will be scrapped or I’ll sound like a bumbling moron when the podcast comes out? Of course, but as they say:


I hope this helps you–it’s definitely helped me.

5 Things I Learned About How to Handle Nerves When Interviewing

  1. Have a clear understanding of what is being asked of you. It will help you stay in the interviewer’s realm for content. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with a question and have all the things you would easily explain to a close friend get muddled and knotted in your mouth. What is it they are trying to clarify for their listeners/viewers? How do they see you as an asset? What sort of confusing or misconstrued items can you touch on to make things easier to understand for their followers?
  2. Ask your own follow up questions and let your interviewer prepare as well–increase the depth of your interview. No one wants to just talk fluff in an interview. Try to expand on one or two items in depth so that people can take something away from your interaction. Don’t be afraid to have an unpopular opinion, but be educated and thorough in your explanation.
  3. Write down what you want to cover–touch on key points without dwelling or getting off track.
  4. Smile–it will come across in the recording.
  5. Don’t dwell on your mistakes or mess ups. This is extra hard for me. As I am typing it might be afternoon for you but it’s 3:30am after what I considered a very embarrassing interview. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Use your learning experiences for growth and move forward.

While I know this post isn’t food-centric (sorry), I feel like food and public speaking are intertwining at an increased rate–might as well know what you’re doing ;)