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Bacon Cooking Uncategorized

Duck Breasteses & Brussel Sprout Hash





Someday soon I’m going to learn how to make duck breasts some other way, but this way is just so effortless, with perfect results, that a deviation from the norm just seems . . . inadvisable. I learned how to make them from the cookbook Bouchon, a book that I am an unrepentant disciple of, and highly recommend, even though I’m sure it doesn’t require any more endorsements. The duck breast technique actually requires a slight bit more prep and foresight than is displayed in this post, but it’s all really easy. Gabrielle just happened to demand meat for dinner, and so I hopped down to the butcher and picked these up on the fly. That’s why I didn’t get to finesse them like usual.







For a side, we made a brussel sprout hash with chantrelles, potatoes and bacon. This is a pretty standard, tried and true combination. And, you know how it is with brussels–you have to smother them in some kind of fat; it might as well be a combination of bacon and duck. We got loads of them in our CSA, and so we made a huge batch of this.



Below is the scene on the stovetop. This photo is from a little late in the game, but this is what it’s all about: the white bowl is to hold all the individual ingredients for the hash while the others cook—separately. You want to be able to fry, char, caramelize, and so on rapidly. Unless you want to do a bunch of separate pans, this is the way to go. To do this kind of cooking you need like killer high heat, and if you throw everything in at once, you’ll just end up with a big mushy mess. If you had a wok with one of those rapid fire furnace burners, this would all be superfluous, but whose got that at home? You need two frying pans for the duck breasts, or rather, one for each of them if you make more than two, and then a bowl between the pans for the duck fat run-off, which is actually the main reason we’re even messing around with this cut at all. Seriously, duck fat is immeasurably valuable! Something about it makes everything more amazing!







Brussel Sprout Hash:



• a gang of brussels, sliced in half
• a pile of chantrelles, roughly chopped
• a bevy of bacon; slab, cut into 1/4″ lardons and cooked off, fat reserved
• a few potatoes, 1/4″ dice
• 2 shallots, finely diced
• s&p, and maybe some cayenne and coriander if you’re so inclined.



Heat a large sauté pan up on high heat. Throw a tablespoon or so of the reserved bacon fat into the pan. Once it starts to smoke a little, throw in the shallot and potato together, season wit a little salt and pepper and other spices if you want, and let them brown up on the side they fall on before tossing them around in the pan for a minute or two, and then remove to the bowl set to the side. Repeat with the chantrelles, and then finally with the brussels. If your cooking the breasts at the same time, it’s always a good bet to throw in some duck fat instead of or in combination with the bacon fat. The brussels will take a bit longer than the other components, but once they’re browned nicely, add the other things back into the pan, stir it up, and let it ride on low until the duck is done.







Duck Breasts:



• duck breasts
• salt and pepper
• nutmeg
• thyme



Take each breast, and cut a cross hatch into the fat, being careful not to cut into flesh. This is easier when they are very cold, so try to do it as soon as you take them out of the fridge. Salt the fat side heavily with a kosher salt, or otherwise, and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. Rub it into the grooves, flip the breast, and lightly salt, and pepper the flesh sides. Lay a whole sprig or two of thyme over the top, place on a plate and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Take the breasts out of the fridge at least a half hour before you want to cook them. Preheat your frying pans to medium low, and your oven to 375º. Place the breasts in the pans skin side down, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, holding the breast in place and pouring off the rendered fat from time to time. The fat will crisp up and will become irresistible. At this point you can transfer them all to one pan if they’ll fit, and cook them flesh side down for a minute or two before transferring them to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Duck can be cooked to the same degree as steak, and therefore rare is fine, but I’ve found medium to medium rare to be more appetizing. However, DO NOT OVERCOOK them. The same rules as steak do indeed apply in this regard. Represent what? My Duck:







Categories
Cooking Uncategorized

A Healthy Meal!? Quinoa Beets & Celery Root





I’m just going to be upfront about it and let ya’ll know that I basically jacked this idea from the Mango & Tomato site. However, our two quinoa salads are quite different apart from the beets, and the, uhh, quinoa. This also happens to be composed from just about everything that I had left in the fridge, the dregs of last weeks CSA share. I like cooking this way, though. Having virtually nothing to eat except a bunch of random vegetables, if you’re lucky, and maybe a grain is a great way to dig deep and test your ability to come up with something. In most of these circumstances, I whip up a bacon gravy, and give a nice slosh to a bunch of boiled carrots. You can imagine the scene: I’m nosing around the fridge hoping that this time, a ribeye or similar will reveal itself, and being left hopelessly out of luck, I start trying to think of who I’ll call for a delivery, but then I see the big jar of quinoa that’s been sitting in the cupboard for a good probably year or more (I like quinoa in theory, just not in practice–I mean I never make it, but I should more often.) With the itemized list of veggies I have tucked away in the veggie drawer floating through my mind, I turn to a Tastespotting quinoa search, and find the beet based recipe. This is indeed what Tastespotting is for!



Quinoa Beets & Celery Root



I just wing these things. This is enough for a family of 10.

• quinoa – 2 cups
• beets – 1 bunch, raw, shredded one way or another
• celery root – cubed
• greens from black radishes (or whatever) – cut into chiffonade
• craisins – a good amount (or another dried fruit)
• salt & pepper
• toasted almond slivers
• goat cheese

Cook the quinoa. It’s made by simmering 1 part grain to 2 parts water, the same as rice. I tried shredding the beets with a microplane, then a box grater, and then I finally just sliced them into rounds, and then into very thin batons. It was a pain in the ass, but less of one then actually grating them. I had small beets, though. It’s probably easier with bigger ones. Do it the way it works best for you. Cut the celery root into 1/2″ cubes, toss with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Heat a large skillet on high heat, and add a little canola. once the oil is smoking throw the cubes in the pan. Smooth the cubes into a single layer, and cook until they brown, then toss around in the pan until they’re toothsome, but not mushy. Take your leafy green, and cut it into a very thin chiffonade. Once the quinoa is down cooking, take a bowl or a pot large enough to hold everything, and mix it all together, throwing in the craisins, (a good variation or addition would be crisp, tart apple) and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer servings to separate bowls, and top with toasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese. This is good hot or cold, which makes it a great go-to lunch for the next day, and the main reason that I made so much.

Categories
Uncategorized

Holy Fuck – Red Lights Vid

In which a cat plays Bullitt, and some other cats get funky. (this is for cat ppl)



Categories
Music Uncategorized

Autumn Mix





This is the first digital mixtape that I have ever attempted, and as such it is a bit rough around the edges. However, I stand by the content. I spent a while trying to work my way through the GarageBand program that my laptop came equipped with, and which I ignored for 5 years until today. Since I figured out how it works on a very basic level, this is a very basic mix, but I like doing it, so hopefully I will learn a bit more sophisticated techniques for future mixes. I hope someone enjoys it . . . !



Welcome to Autumn – m4a Mixtape



The mp3 Version



1. Alpha – Come from Heaven
2. Grimes – AVI
3. Teen Porn – Living End
4. Fred Thomas – Little Songs
5. Crystal Stilts – The Dazzled
6. Warpaint – Burgundy
7. Ms. John Soda – Solid Ground
8. Plastic Flowers – Take Me Home
9. Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station
10. Active Child – I’m in your Church at Night
11. Fela Kuti – Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am

ps. I’m hoping to find a way to set up a worthwhile embedded player. I tried 2 different services today that were shoddy at best, and that is why there is only the download link.

Categories
Cooking Portland Uncategorized

Pata(y)ta Pizza





Edit: Title modified per Jacinda’s admonishment in the comments



Gabrielle was so excited that she came home and there was a ‘patayta’ pizza waiting for her. I became so enraged (again) that she pronounces ‘potato’ this way that I forbade her to eat any of it until she said it the right way. OK. I lie. But it eats me up! I mean she mize well be one of these people that says ‘sangwich’! But how could I withhold this beautiful pizza from anyone who wanted a slice! (O cruel world, how you make us endure such senseless injustices!) I been killing it on the pizza front lately, though. The one I made before this should have been dag-nasty, because I’ve had it that way before—and the only guy I know who ever loved it probably lost his legs in a gambling debt by now—but the BBQ chicken joint was actually pretty good. This one, however, was slammin’! Talking ’bout a Baked Potato Pizza!!



So, yeah, I buy my pizza dough and I always keep one in the freezer. I’ve tried for years to make my own pizza dough, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth the effort, especially when there is someone out there who knows how to already, and sells it for a song. I like making pizza for dinner because it’s so easy. Sometimes I don’t feel like braising short ribs on a wednesday night. And we’re not all intellectuals, so I spent my whole day at work thinking about what I wanted to go on it. I changed my mind at the last minute once I remembered that I had some left-over baby dutch potatoes languishing in the fridge. I swung by the market and picke3d up a half-pound of Neuske’s applewood smoked bacon, a block of cheddar, and a bunch of chives. Everything else I had on hand.







In order to make quality pizza at home you need a pizza stone, and in my opinion, one of these^^ things. It’s a circular grate. I bought it at a kitchen supply wholesale place, but I’m sure they have them at the box stores, as well. I’ve only been using this for about 4 pizzas, and they just keep getting better the more I make. I took too long (I’m meticulous) with the first pizza I made on it, and the dough got stuck in the grate grooves, which sucked. After that I learned to put a sheet of parchment between the dough and the grate. The way it works is you make the pizza on this and put it in the oven on top of the pizza stone. Once it has par-baked, you pull the grate out from underneath the pizza and finish cooking the pizza on the stone. It works great!

    Baked Potato Pizza:

• 1 Pizza Dough
• Olive Oil & Garlic base (minced garlic, S&P, a little cayanne, dried basil, maybe some dried italian herbs)
• A good amount of equal part shredded cheddar and mozzarella (not too much; too much cheese ruins pizza!)
• Yukon or russet potato, precooked, and sliced thin
• 1/2lb bacon, sliced pretty thin, cooked halfway. I bake mine in the oven (see this post)
• caramelized onion (see this post)
• baby spinach (optional)
• chives



Preheat Oven to 550º (some people say you should let the stone heat up for at least an hour)

Roll out the dough, and then stretch it to your desired size. If you go all out and get one of the grates, you should just stretch it to that big. Mine is a 15″ diameter one. Place a sheet of parchment between the dough and the grate, or work quickly. Spread a layer of the oil & garlic on the dough, covering as much area as possible. Then disperse the caramelized onions here and there along with a small bit of cheese. Add a layer of baby spinach, but not so much you cover the whole surface area. Spread the slices of potato around, covering essentially the whole pie, and then top with the remainder of your cheese. Finally, add the strips of bacon.

Slide the pie into the oven and let it bake for 5-10, checking occasionally to make sure that there aren’t any bubbles ballooning out of the crust. If so, pop them straight away with something sharp. Once the outer layer of crust just starts to brown, pull the pizza out, and carefully remove it from the circular grate. Return it to the pizza stone, and bake for about another 10 minutes, or until the crust is a deep auburn brown, but just before it starts to char. I finish mine off by cranking up the broiler for a minute or two, so that the cheese, and in this case, the bacon crisps up just a bit much more. Finish with some finely minced chives. Oh, man, this is a good pizza. Enjoy!

Categories
Cooking Uncategorized

I Bought a Cookbook: Canal House Cooking Vol. 2





There’s a huge box of walnuts in my kitchen at the moment. Having gotten it into my head that it was high-time I use these walnuts, I began consulting my cookbook shelf for recipes and inspiration. I found a good number that I liked, but nothing that sent me to the moon, so i took a stroll down to the flagship Powell’s and did a browse, hoping to find the ultimate walnut blow-out recipe. Instead, I found the Canal House Cooking series. I said to myself: well look at that filthy dutch oven on the cover there, it looks just like mine doesn’t it? With all manner of crusted braises from, perhaps, years gone by. The image immediately struck a nerve, so I leaned up against the bookshelf there and started to peruse. What I discovered touched me in that special place that is responsible for me always being ravenously hungry: page after page of simple accessible recipes with gorgeous photography (helps, don’t it!?)



The authors are Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, both former editors for Saveur magazine, among other publications, and a food styling and cookbook production team. The Canal House Cooking series compiles recipes that they cook for themselves; recipes that are seasonal traditions, and heirlooms passed down from family and friends. The books publications, and indeed the trajectory of the content within each volume, follow the sequence of seasonality. This edition was published last fall, and as such features recipes celebrating the autumn harvest, and the holiday season. They run the gamut from the easy Fennel Gratin, which I’ve featured in this post, to the borderline-ridiculous Crown Roast of Pork, which is two center-cut rib roasts, tied together rib-side-out in order to resemble an immense crown. (If I could count on enough people over for dinner this Xmas, I’d promise it to the blog.) I expect to get a lot of use out of these volumes, and I urge everyone to check them out. I understand Volume 5 is due out later this month. Keep an eye out for it.







Fennel Gratin



• 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and halved lengthwise, the outer-most layer removed
• 2 cups of milk
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 clove of garlic
• s&p
• 3 Tbl butter, soft
• Parmigiano-reggiano
• fresh grated nutmeg



Lay the halved fennel bulbs in a medium saucepan in a single layer with the milk, bay leaf, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer on medium low, and poach the fennel, turning occasionally, until tender, about 45 minutes.







Preheat the broiler. Butter a gratin dish, then add the fennel in a single layer, cut side up. Shred some Parmigiano over the top, along with a few gratings of nutmeg, and black pepper. Dot the bulbs randomly with small pats of the butter, and add to the broiler. Broil until the cheese browns, 1-2 minutes.







http://www.thecanalhouse.com/

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