Food, Portland

So These Guys from Budapest Walk into a Portland Coffee Shop…

April 23, 2015

That’s it. No punchline. They walked into a Portland coffee shop, bought me an iced latte, and invited me to share pictures of food. Next thing you know, I’m cooking shrimp and sharing a photo of it on their beta app.

I love my life.

Slow cooker sweet corn polenta and chili lime shrimp, made today and shared (virtually) with my new friends over at @piqniq.

Last night’s Instagram post started it all: “Slow cooker sweet corn polenta and chili lime shrimp, made today and shared (virtually) with my new friends over at @piqniq.” I wasn’t even going to blog about it anytime soon, but with so many of my friends replying on the post (or texting direct!) asking for the recipe, I thought I’d share it here for ease of distribution…and I might as well include a little bit of the backstory.

Honestly, the meal is so, so simple. See the bottom of the post for ingredients and directions.

I love the way the world connects over a simple plate of food.

I love sharing a meal with my people (you know, the ones who know my middle name and have seen my kitchen messier than all get-out).

I love sharing a meal with strangers, hearing stories come tumbling out over glasses of wine and course after delectable course.

In fact, I love sharing meals and stories so much that I’ve been known to host digital dinner parties just to connect with friends in other corners of the world (and I’m ready to host another #RTWdinnerparty soon! Send me a note if you’d like an invitation).

I helped found and run the PDX Food Swap because I believe in the joy of grassroots projects and the ability of food to break down barriers and inspire creative lives.

I hiked and sailed and flew all over the planet to taste new flavors, make new dishes (octopus curry, anyone?), and grow a deeper appreciation for the way lives are lived and sustained on the earth…and I live now in our little NE Portland neighborhood, happy as always to meet new people, eat new foods, and greet the future with curiosity.

Naturally then, when two food-loving fellows from Budapest asked to sit down with me at Water Avenue Coffee and pitch their new world-connecting/meal-sharing project, you can understand why I was all ears.

I met Janos and Misi for an iced coffee and proceeded to chat for the better part of 40 minutes about the excitement they have for their Piqniq app, their stories of food/photo-sharing back in Budapest, their multi-national team of six developers, their choice to move to Portland, Oregon to establish their startup, and their desire now to build a digital space for people to inspire and understand one another through the language of food.

I was sincerely impressed with their enthusiasm.

Yesterday, I downloaded the beta app, shared my first meal, and grinned a little grin of excitement.

The love of good food = contagious.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! If you happen to make it, let me know what you think.

Slow Cooker Sweet Corn Polenta and Chili Lime Shrimp
Adapted from

For Polenta:
2 cups polenta (or cornmeal)
8 cups boiling water (hey-o! Ted’s gooseneck kettle* comes in handy again!)
2 teaspoons salt (more or less)
1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar (for later)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (for later)
For Shrimp:
1 pound thawed small raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail-off
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper

Place polenta in the slow cooker and add 8 cups boiling water
Stir in the frozen corn and salt
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 (I stirred once or twice during the day)
Just before mealtime, combine shrimp with olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, tossing to coat and marinate in the fridge for 10-15 minutes
While the shrimp marinates, stir both cheeses into the polenta (I reserved a little bit beforehand for Lucie since hers needed to be dairy free) and let it sit on warm while making the shrimp
Heat skillet over medium high heat and add shrimp in single layer
Cooked until lightly browned on each side and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side
Plate polenta with shrimp and a sprinkling of chopped greens, and serve immediately (slash, immediately-after taking photos for Instagram and Piqniq).

Quick note: This isn’t a sponsored post. Piqniq invited me to be a beta tester for their new app, and I agreed because I liked the founders and I liked their concept. They’d like to become the next Facebook and Instagram of the food world, and I’m intrigued enough to give it a go! If you’d like to try it too, you can add your name to the waitlist here.

(One exception: *the affiliate link is there on the gooseneck kettle because, hey, if you’re going to buy an $80 contraption to boil water for your morning pour-over or your evening polenta, might as well arm wrestle Amazon into sending a few dimes to Ted’s coffee fund. Haha. More likely: if you’d like to stop by for a shared cup of that coffee or a plate of next-time’s polenta, let’s do it! You can send me a note anytime. I really do love hearing from you.)

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  • Reply Cindy Buck April 25, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Wow!! Another brilliant blog. I’m so in love with your writing style and topics and I LOVE everything about food. Just, really, super enjoyed this!!!

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica April 26, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Destiny :-)

  • Reply Rhonda April 27, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Great concept! love it

  • Reply Heather and Melissa April 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Mmmmm polenta! This looks so good. Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Reply Mama Suz May 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Maybe Drew would like THIS from a crockpot. He says everything I make in a crockpot tastes the same.

    You are an inspiration and a treasure.

  • Reply Staci May 18, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I am intrigued by this #RTWdinnerparty concept. How does it work?

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 18, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Hey Staci,
      We have a set date when several bloggers join in for a virtual dinner party. Each participating blog posts a contribution to dinner on their site: a photo, maybe an actual recipe… And then there’s table talk where everyone writes a bit about the chosen topic of conversation. We post the links to all the participants, and readers can enjoy getting to know several bloggers and their stories all at once. It’s a lot of fun!

  • Reply Tiffiney September 23, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I would like an invitation to the RTW digital dinner parties!!
    Sounds fun!
    And I’m going to make that polenta tomorrow!!!

  • Reply Anna Ave March 31, 2017 at 4:14 am

    #RTWdinnerparty who will each bring to the table their unique travel stories, perspectives, blunders, and other adventures.
    Great idea! love it

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