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February 2009
Recipes Contributed by:
Jacksonville Mercantile

Dear Fellow Foodies:

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you don’t want to go out to a restaurant, the following is a menu that is easy and fun. Don’t be a stupid cupid and forget to do something nice for your significant other this Valentine’s Day. One idea is to have The Jacksonville Mercantile put together a nice basket and you can have a romantic picnic on the living room floor. The Jacksonville Mercantile also has another way to send flowers, with flower syrups or jellies from the South of France or flowering teas and Fleur du Sel gift set– the "flower of the sea"; salt which comes with a beautiful hand painted salt cellar and hand carved olive wood salt spoon. Or if you are planning on a party for Valentine’s Day, the Jacksonville Mercantile has many new items. We just got in from the fancy food show a wonderful fresh mozzarella that rolls. You roll out the mozzarella fill it with pesto or other filling, roll back up and slice. We liked to put tomato pesto inside and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Voila! Instant appetizer that is delicious and easy. The Mercantile has caviar and a local sparkler from Longsword Vineyards that would make a wonderful start to your evening. Just put a few drops of the flower syrups in the sparkling wine and watch the romance unfold.

Porchini and Black Olive Chicken Stew
Meyer Lemon Panna Cottas
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Porchini and Black Olive Chicken Stew - Serves 4

The following recipe is one you can put together quickly and while it is cooking, you can be as romantic as you like. This stew would go well with a local Southern Oregon Syrah or Cabernet.

½ ounce dried porchini mushrooms
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil (I like using Robbins Family)
1 Large Chicken cut into 8 pieces (if the Chicken breasts are unusually large, cut in half)
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper (try an unusual peppercorn here)
Flour for dredging
½ cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons fresh garlic – minced fine
½ teaspoon hot paprika or Basque Chili Pepper Piment D'Espelette
fresh herbs – use what you may have on hand or try available winter herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine or Dry Vermouth
15 ounces San Marzano Tomatoes – chopped fine with the liquid from the container
1 cup Chicken Stock (I like to use the chicken demi-glace to create my stock – it has a better flavor)
Soft Polenta – to serve the stew over

Soak the dried mushrooms in 3 cups of hot water until soft (about ½ hour) Remove mushrooms from water and save 2 cups of water being sure not to get the sediment from the bottom.

Salt and pepper the chicken, dredge the chicken in flour, then sear in the olive oil in a deep pot that can be put into the oven. After the chicken is browned, remove from the pot and reserve.

Add the vegetables and cook for approximately 15 minutes, add lemon juice.

Add wine to deglaze the pot and be sure to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes to reduce the wine and cook off the alcohol. Add the mushroom water, chicken stock, tomatoes and olives. Cook until starting to bubble, then add the chicken back to the pot. Place pan in the oven and cook at 350 for approximately 1 hour, basting the chicken every once in a while. When chicken is tender, serve over soft polenta.

One thing I found when I traveled to Europe years ago was they served a cheese course in between dinner and dessert. The rule of thumb with a cheese course is to keep the portions small and varied. For a nice cheese course I would suggest Roquefort blue Cheese, A goat cheese (local is always best), Pierre Robert Triple Crème and a Vermont Cheddar or White Stilton type cheese such as Wallace Gromitt Wensleydale. Serve the cheeses with something interesting like Candied Chestnuts in syrup, Plain Chestnut Honey or Dried White Calabrian Figs in Chestnut Honey and a small handful of Crème Brulee Almonds. The sweet and salty is a nice balance of flavors and would work really well with a local port.

Click here for printable version

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Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta - 4 Servings

If you have room for dessert the following is a light creamy dessert, which would go well with tea or coffee. We like to have this with Babas in Limoncello drizzled over the top. Babas are small cakes that are typically soaked in rum or liquor. If you can’t find gelatin sheets, the rule of thumb with sheets vs. dry is 3-4 gelatin sheets = 2 ½ teaspoons dry gelatin.

1 1/2 sheets gelatin
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Caster sugar
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt or Plain yogurt that has been drained of excess liquid
1/2 Cup Crème Fraiche
1 Tablespoon Meyer Lemon Juice
¾ Tablespoon Meyer Lemon Zest

1. Place gelatin sheets in a bowl of water to soften

2. Heat the Cream and sugar together until sugar is dissolved

3. Squeeze water from gelatin sheets and add to hot cream mixture

4. Stir in yogurt and Crème Fraiche, juice and zest

5. Fill Ramekins and cool for at least 2 hours or 2 days

6. To serve: Unmold Panna Cotta and drizzle with Baba Cakes in Limoncello

Click here for printable version

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Jacksonville Mercantile News

Jacksonville Mercantile
Store location: Jacksonville
online ordering available

Remember, if you can’t find any ingredients near you, the Jacksonville Mercantile is on-line and we can ship any of the gourmet essentials right to your door. Just go to

If you haven’t been in to the shop in a little while, we have just received some wonderful goodies for the upcoming holiday season. All of the English Cheeses have arrived, including the real Stilton in a ceramic crock. After we have eaten all the cheese, I use the crock to store my gray sea salt in it. We have available Wallace Grommet Wensleydale cheese and also white Cheddar from England, in addition to white stilton with Mango and Ginger. And of course we have the infamous (waitlisted) Rogue River Blue Cheese from our local creamery. Can’t decide? We would be happy to help you put together a fabulous cheese tray for any of your upcoming events.

Don’t forget, if you want a perfectly moist turkey, the key is to brine. We have Gobbler Kits available to help you make the perfect turkey this holiday season. The Gourmet Gobbler Kit comes with a large brining bag, brine and herbs. The Jacksonville Mercantile also has fun games like “Foodie Fight” and wine tasting kits for fun evenings during the holidays and into the winter months when many of us entertain at home. Lots of items under $10 and $20, perfect for all your family and friends who have everything. German, Italian, French and Local baked goods are available. And we have all of our wonderful local wines available. In fact, The Jacksonville Mercantile has just started wine tasting too! We will be featuring local wines on the weekends.

Happy Cooking and Baking Everyone!
Constance Jesser
Jacksonville Mercantile “A Delicious Discovery”
120 E. California Street
Jacksonville, OR 97530

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