Fully admitting being long past the coolest that I have ever been and not even claiming that I was ever that cool to begin with, in my hey day, I could pass myself off as relatively cool. Large music collection, a dog, and a working knowledge of independent film – Jim Jarmusch films especially. One of my favorite Jarmusch films, “Coffee and Cigarettes” is a collection of short stories over … well, coffee and cigarettes. Continue reading
Turkey was never something that I would seek out outside of the Thanksgiving holiday, but after getting a Gunthorp bird last year, I have been eating turkey on the regular – specifically leg and thigh – whenever I find local turkey. The difference between the conventional turkey and one raised correctly is remarkable. Deciding if you like turkey based on conventional turkey is like deciding whether you like beer based on Milwaukee’s Best. At its worst, turkey is dry and flavorless, but this is not that.
Stuffing a leg of turkey full of greens and other animal legs was one of those “Ideas While Running”. While my favorite blog, “Ideas in Food” is slicker and far smarter than a hypothetical “Ideas While Running” blog would be, the flow of ideas while deep into a run is fast and free and would be at least interesting insight into the thought process if not a scary look at loss of filter. The filter is completely gone, which could prove to be good or bad, but there are certainly doors being turned into windows when my heart rate elevates for a long period of time. Continue reading
As we have done over the past four or five Valentine’s Days, my wife and I have retired from the restaurant dinner scene with a special dinner at home. Even if we had not had children over that same time, we likely would have made the move. The Valentine’s Day crowd makes the brunch crowd look like gourmands by comparison, which is really saying something, and we didn’t like dealing with exasperated servers or some of the step downs in menu and step ups in prices that we saw. We could go out whenever and save frustration by doing our thing in the comforts of home on days like Valentine’s or Mother’s days. Continue reading
Football fan or not, it is likely that if you turned a TV on during the Thanksgiving holiday in the last two decades, you have heard about Turducken. John Madden took a cult culinary dish and turned it in the American folklore. The turducken is a major league ballotine of a stuffed, boned chicken stuffed inside of a boned duck which, in turn, is stuck inside of a boned turkey. Calvin Trillin discusses the historical trevails of the turducken tracing mainstream turducken production to 1985 at Herbert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana from whom you can order a turducken to be shipped. As you can imagine, these beasts are far too big to have as part of a family meal with fewer than a dozen adults unless you are into days and days of leftovers. Continue reading
With taking the two bags of empties and digging out the car being the only Wisconsin traditions for New Year’s Day, I have observantly adopted the Southern traditions of greens and hoppin’ john from my father-in-law’s Low Country heritage.
According to tradition, the black eyed peas of the hoppin’ john represent luck and the greens represent the fortune to befall the eater in the coming year. Unlike the Italian NYE tradition of the luxurious cotechino, this tradition uses not always delicious ingredients. With that and having no New Year’s Day traditions, it took this Yankee a lot of hot sauce to choke down prior versions. Continue reading
For all of you duck prosciutto fans out there, and there are a bunch, if you are looking for a little change up from the deliciously easy cured and dried duck breast, but with only slightly more effort, then look here. This recipe contains less salt, more heat and the same amount of hanging time. Continue reading
After using the legs for stuffing the duck neck and the livers and heart for some offal toast toppings, I broke into the high dollar cut, the breast, and, with it, made one of the best sandwiches that I have had in months.
In general, I am a sucker for substituting duck breast in cured meat applications. Whether it be prosciutto, ham, cretons, and bacon-ish meat, it was all very good, but the pastrami may be my favorite. The nice layer of fat on the breast compares pretty favorably to the fattiness of a brisket, but the richness and ease of cure distribution are obvious plusses to working with the duck. Continue reading
Despite the title focussing on the glamorous liver, this post is broader than that. After breaking the duck into two legs, two breasts, and 4 wing pieces, you are left with the carcass (wait a few weeks), a pile of skin, and the offal. For most people who buy a duck, these three piles are trash-bound. In reality, with very little effort, these are piles can be turned into dishes that rival and/or enhance the more traditional cuts.
The duck from Gunthorp was a gift that kept on giving. Not only did it have loads of fat on it, but the regale in the cavity included two livers and a heart. It is a damned miracle of nature (TWO LIVERS!!) or rather a generous butcher. The livers would go into a mousse. Since, the recipe that I used for chicken livers from Naomi Pomeroy worked really well, I decided to adapt it to include some jarred truffles picked up on our most recent trip to Italy. Continue reading
This sausage was a long time in the making. After watching this video by Mike Pardus on Bob DelGrosso’s A Hunger Artist in March, I tackled a pair of ducks turning them into confit, proscuitto, duck stock, pate, smoked wings, and duck fat. It has taken nearly since then to find a critical piece of this dish from a well raised local duck. Thanks to the hard work of Cassie at Green Grocer Chicago, I got what I needed. Duck neck skin.
I had ordered a Gunthorp duck in August from Cassie with the request of keeping the neck skin on the duck to see if I could use the neck skin as a more delicious version of sausage casing. With modern meat inspection, it is difficult to obtain a duck with the head 0r neck skin on. I had no idea this was the case, but months later when Cassie let me know that they had the neck skin, I was ecstatic. Continue reading
With fall in full swing, it is a perfect time for potted meats. Let’s face it, there is never a bad time for potted meats, but with cooler weather, it just fits a little better. One of the favorite projects from earlier this year was making the cretons based on a recipe of a friend’s aunt. The potted spread made from ground pork and baking spices was an interesting love child of country pate and rillettes. It was great. Continue reading