Tuesday, December 28, 2010

wild duck stir fry

A friend of mine who is an avid duck hunter asked me if I wanted one of his kills. Heck yeah! I told him I wasn't sure how I was gonna cook it... I wouldn't mind attempting a whole roasted duck again, but wasn't sure I'd have the time. Because I was so unsure of what I wanted, he just went ahead and brought me a whole duck... and by whole duck, I mean, head, feathers, et al. SQUICK!!

I remained calm as he explained to me my options. He showed me where to cut and how to get the breasts out, and also explained plucking. *deep breath* After some twitter discussion about how it plucking wouldn't be worth the trouble, as whole ducks are really lean this time of year. So I just breasted it out. It was really easy... just a few simple cuts and they came right out without much damage. I had to avoid looking at the ducks face, but other than that...

After a bit of research, I thought it best to stick with a stir fry. I am very comfortable cooking Asian-style dishes, and I had most of the ingredients. Wild duck is a very dark and flavorful meat, so I treated it like beef, similar to this Nam Tok Beef recipe. This turned out to be a good way to cook duck. It was not overly gamy, but plenty rich and flavorful.

Wild Duck Breast Stir Fry

2 Wild duck breasts
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for cooking
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
shredded raw cabbage
sliced green onions
cooked white rice

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic, white pepper and red pepper flakes in a container with the duck breasts. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Once marinated, slice duck breasts thinly, reserving the marinade. Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and cook until they start to soften. Add a couple splashes of soy sauce to the onions, and cook another few minutes. Push the onions around the edge of the skillet, and add the sliced duck and marinade tot he middle. Cook the duck, turning often, tossing with the onions until meat is cooked through. Add sesame seeds and cook another minute or so. Serve on top of white rice and raw cabbage.

Monday, December 20, 2010

tater tot pizza

I've done tater tot tacos. It's only natural that I attempt to make those little golden nuggets of trashy deliciousness work on top of a pizza. I mean I've made potato pizza before. Tots are potatoes. Right? Right.

Oh. So. Right. This turned out better than I expected! Seriously. Tots rule.

Tater Tot Pizza

-3 Slices of thick cut bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
-3-4 Tablespoons flour
-2 Cups milk
-1 clove garlic, grated
-a couple handfuls of frozen tater tots
-1 pizza crust
-about 1 cup canned corn, drained and rinsed
-about 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-Handful of sliced green onion tops

1. Preheat the oven to cook the tots according to directions.

2. In a skillet, cook the bacon until just crisp. Set aside on a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the pan. There should be about 3 Tablespoons. Add the flour... about an equal amount to the bacon grease (you're making a basic bechemel, with bacon grease instead of butter), stir over medium heat until it starts to turn a slightly darker brown, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, put the tots in the oven... let them bake for about 10 minutes.

4. Heat milk and garlic in the microwave for about a minute (watch it to make sure it doesn't boil over!). Add the milk and garlic to the bacon grease roux, and sir constantly, taking care to scrape the sides and bottom, until it thickens into a sauce, about 7 minutes. A silicone whisk works best for this. Take off heat.

5. Spread the sauce on your pizza crust. Top with tater tots, bacon, corn, cheese and green onions. Bake according to pizza crust directions.

6. Carbo-load!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

bunny with noodles

I had a rabbit from my pals at Yellowtree Farms. I kept referring to it as a bunny, which, considering I was always referring to it as food, made me sound sinister. Bunnies are cute. And they are delicious. Sorry, bunnies!!

I told a chef friend of mine I had a bunny, and that I had never cooked rabbit. His girlfriend recommended this recipe from Cooking Light heartily. I love that it's filled with bunnies' favorite vegetables... turnips and carrots. Man, why am I taking so much delight in the slight wrongness of cooking and eating something so adorable? Also, as I was prepping, I kept telling my cat, Noodles, that the "noodles" part of the dish meant him. It didn't phase him. I do it every time I cook noodles. He finds the joke tiresome. I don't think cats can roll their eyes, but I can see him trying.

The dish was really tasty. Comforting, like chicken and dumplings, with some neat flavors from tarragon, cloves and the spicy, bitter turnips. A perfect winter dish. I veered from some of the refined steps in the recipe, as noted below. Happy bunny eating!

Rabbit à la Moutard
From Cooking Light

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled turnip ( I used closer to 2 cups...)
1 cup chopped peeled carrot
1 (3-pound) rabbit, cut into 8 pieces (mine was probably only 2 lbs.)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs (I subbed 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leek
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives ( I skipped these completely)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
12 ounces fettuccine or egg noodles

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Stir in turnip and carrot; sauté 12 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from pan; set aside.

3. Sprinkle both sides of rabbit evenly with salt and pepper. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of rabbit; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove rabbit from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 1/4 teaspoons oil and rabbit. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.

4. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add leek, celery, shallots, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bay leaf, cloves, thyme; bring to a boil. Stir in broth and stone-ground mustard; return rabbit to pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until rabbit is done.

5. Remove rabbit from bones; shred with 2 forks. Discard bones. Strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl; discard solids (I put about half of the leeks back into the broth...I hate wasting leeks!). Return meat and cooking liquid to pan. Stir in reserved turnip mixture, Dijon mustard, and cream; bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chives, parsley, and tarragon.

6. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place about 1 cup hot cooked noodles in each of 6 shallow bowls, and divide rabbit mixture evenly among servings.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

thai potstickers

I had a bowl of chopped cabbage and carrots that I had meant to use for a stir-fry, but ran out of room in the pan, so I stuck 'em in the fridge for future use. Fast forward to tonight... driving home from work I started obsessing about that bowl of carrots and cabbage. They are not expensice ingredients by any means, but I hate to waste food, and I spent time chopping them! While getting my hair cut, it randomly occured to me to make potstickers.

Using my iPhone while wandering the grocery store, I found several recipes that gave me a good idea of how to prepare and cook potstickers, and some recipe ideas, and this is what I ended up with. These are good for a weeknight because they cook fast. Assembly takes a while, but not forever (especially when you are a sloppy folder like myself). And this used the whole package of wonton wrappers, so I have a bag full of frozen potstickers for future dinners! They had great flavor, too. Mmmmm....ginger.

Thai Chicken Potstickers

-2 cups sliced red cabbage
-5 carrots, sliced
-thumb of ginger, grated
-3 cloves garlic, grated
-2 cups cooked chicken
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
-1 Tablespoon fish sauce
-1 teaspoon white pepper
-a couple pinches of red pepper flakes
-green onion tops from 1 bunch, sliced
-handful of cilantro

-12 oz. package of refrigerated wonton wrappers

-oil for cooking
-chicken stock for cooking (about 1/2 cup per batch of 10-12 potstickers)

Combine first 12 ingredients in a food processor, adding more soy sauce as needed to make everything come together. Place about 1 Tablespoon of the filling in each wonton wrapper. Wet 2 edges of the wonton wrapper with water, and fold over corner to corner, pressing the edges to seal. Fold the side corners over. Repeat until filling and/or wonton wrappers are used up. Heat about 1 Tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Place potstickers in pan in a single layer without overcrowding. Let cook about 2 minutes on one side, then flip and let cook another minute or two until they are golden-brown. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, cover, and let cook about 5 minutes until the liquid is gone, carefully remove from pan (some might be stuck! they're potstickers!), and serve, or keep warm in a 200º oven while you cook other batches. Serve with peanut sauce and Sriracha for dipping.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

fennel bacon bread pudding

I am a big big fan of savory bread pudding, especially on cold winter nights. The toasty, crunchy bites of the bread on the top and corners, and the custardy delicious middle. Ultimate comfort food. With a long baking time, bread pudding is not exactly feasible on a weeknight. But I figured out a way to make it work. You can prepare all the ingredients one night, and do the assembly and baking the next night!

This bread pudding has my favorite winter vegetable, fennel, and every one's favorite non-vegetable, bacon! I also added some black garlic, which I had for the first time a week ago. Black garlic is really sweet, and almost dried fruit-like. I thought to add it because raisins worked so well in another savory bread pudding I made. And yes, I have also posted a fennel bread pudding recipe on here in the past. I told you, these are some of my favorite things, the fennels and the bread puddings.

Fennel Bacon Bread Pudding

5 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced
2 medium fennel bulbs, quartered and sliced
small handful fennel fronds, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper
7-8 cloves black garlic, chopped
1 lb. loaf of french bread, cubed and lightly toasted
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
6 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper

Cook the bacon until slightly crisp. Set aside on a paper towel. Cook the onions in about 3 Tablespoons of the bacon grease until opaque and starting to brown. Add in the fennel and garlic, season with the white pepper, nutmeg and salt & pepper, cook until soft and opaque and starting to brown. Add in black garlic and cook another minute or so. Add bacon to vegetables.

Gently combine the vegetable/bacon mixture with the bread cubes.

Butter a 9"x13" baking dish. Sprinkle half of the Gruyere on the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the bread cube-vegetable mixture in the dish, distributing evenly. Beat the eggs, cream, milk, thyme, salt & pepper together in a large bowl. Slowly pour the liquid over the bread cubes. Smoosh the bread cubes down a bit to make sure they are all soaked with some of the liquid. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Bake at 400ºF for 1.5 hours, adding the rest of the cheese to the top about an hour in. Serve warm.

Friday, November 26, 2010

health, happiness, food

"if you inhibit the body's pleasure, you provoke disease."

Yesterday I came across this article, The Case Against Health by Richard Klein. It is a fantastic look at food/eating/drinking philosophy, and how the current view of what's "healthy" in our country is actually quite unhealthy. Basically, we are so obsessed with all the numbers and the hype, that we are forgetting to live and be truly happy. People are eating all this stuff from boxes and cans that tout "low-fat" "low-calorie"... depriving themselves of food flavored with natural fats merely because "OMG FAT!! NO!" Yet, we are becoming a more fat and more unhappy country.

"In our time, it has become un-American to be Epicurean, to consider pleasure, even moderately indulged, to be the highest good. An old strain of American Puritanism to which Jefferson was immune, if not allergic, has become the new morality. Dressing itself up in the language of public health, this new morality views the least indulgence in adult pleasure as the sign of a nascent habit on the way to becoming a dangerous compulsion."

"In America, we have become strangely divorced from our bodies, counting calories on every product in the supermarket, watching blood pressure, measuring cholesterol, and sacrificing pleasure out of an excess of caution. These days we eat not for pleasure, but to lower our numbers. Yet we are one of the fattest nations in the world and growing every day more obese."

I celebrated the end of my 20's with this sandwich. Bread, cheese, chocolate. 3 of my favorite things. This was a very happy time for me, and this meal reflected that. I did not feel guilty about eating this sandwich at all. I'm not eating these every day for every meal. Special occasions should have special foods. It is good for you!

"Whenever anyone asked Julia Child to name her guilty pleasures, she responded, "I don't have any guilt." Epicureanism not only absolves us of guilt but says that our guilty pleasures might actually be keeping us healthy—mentally, physically, or both. "

Why do I have this food blog? Simple. Food makes me happy. You don't have to be gluttonous to be have a love affair with food... in fact, gluttony is the opposite of loving food. It is disrespectful to food and to your body. Respecting food, respecting yourself, means letting yourself do/eat what makes you happy. And happy = health. You dig?

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, so this post is also driven by warm thoughts of all the things I am grateful for. I have an AMAZING family and the best friends anyone could ask for. I love spending time with all of them. Sometimes these times revolve around food, sometimes they don't. I do have a special place in my heart for cooking & eating & drinking with my loved ones. Laughter, adventure, hugs, relaxation, venting. All stuff vital for a good life.

Drinking with friends. Fountain of Youth... I'm sure of it.

Neither or the article or I am saying to go out and eat only rich foods. Just don't try so hard to resist them. If you like something, eat it. But moderation is important. It shouldn't be hard. If you can shovel something down mindlessly without feeling full or satisfied, you probably are eating something with tons of preservatives and additives that make it addicting. If, rather you have a few very very pleasurable bites of something so flavorful, rich and gorgeous, you don't need much to keep you smiling all day.

I'm also a big advocate of home-cooking. I truly feel that if you are taking even a little bit of time to cook fresh food for yourself and your family, you are way better off than eating out all the time, even if you stick to the "lite" menu items. Cooking for people is so happy-making, also. Nourishing your loved ones, making them happy. It doesn't have to be a ton of work, either. I mean, it can be simple, or it can be a fun project that takes all day. (or days...)

"In The Physiology of Taste, the 19th-century Epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin writes: "When we eat, we receive a certain indefinable and peculiar impression of happiness originating in instinctive consciousness. When we eat, too, we repair our losses and prolong our lives." Pleasure may thus be a form of intelligence, an intuitive science as well as an art. "

Have fun with your food! Fun is so very important in health. Yeah, these tater tot tacos are not nutritionally healthful, but they made me immensely happy that one night, and the alternative was a depressing binge of just plain tater tots. Fun, aesthetics, adventure. Don't treat food as your enemy! Also? DANCE! :)

"Socrates believed in dancing every morning. We could do more for public health if the government spent a fraction of what it spends curbing smoking on promoting dancing."

I could ramble on and on about this... but I have some hedonism to attend to. So, In conclusion....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Yes yes, ANOTHER edamame post. What can I say, ever since I made these edamame burgers, I've had an idea. Hummus. See, hummus is made of a bean (chick pea), a nut (tahini, which is ground sesame seeds) and a couple of aromatics (garlic and lemon) blended together into a dippable paste. Edameme burgers had a very similar list of properties... beans (edamame), nuts (cashews), flavorings... all blended together. Basically, before I added the eggs and breadcrumbs which made the mix formable for hamburger patties, the edamame burgers were hummus. I decided to test this theory at a recent party. It was easy to make, and people really liked it!


-handful of cashew pieces
-12 oz. shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-3 Tablespoon soy sauce
-3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
-1 Tablespoon wasabi paste (I would use more next time... but this is an okay start to be safe)
-1 teaspoon powdered ginger (fresh ginger would be awesome, too)
-about 1/2 cup olive oil

Process the cashews in food processor until pulverized. Add edamame and process into a paste. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, wasabi, and ginger, pulse to combine. Slowly add olive oil while processing until the edamummus reaches a consistency you like. Mine was pretty thick. Garnish with sesame seeds and dried Shiso, or your favorite furikake. Serve with rice crackers.

Related posts from the archive:
sushi ceviche
bacon & strawberry jam edamame
sesame edamame salad with almonds

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

roasted green tomato tart

What to do with a big bag of end-of-season green tomatoes? This was my dilemma. After them sitting on the counter for almost a week, with no free time to attempt canning them, I panicked and roasted most of them off in the oven. I cut them up into even sizes, rubbed them with olive oil, salt & pepper, and roasted them at 425ºF for about an hour, stirring a couple times, until they were pretty much obliterated into a sticky, thick sauce. I stuck them in the fridge and a couple nights later decided to attempt a simple tart with them. The roasting made the tart tomatoes significantly sweeter, but they still retained some sourness. I went with ricotta for the filling of the tart, the tomatoes as a topping, almost. Why ricotta? I guess I was inspired by lasagna. Anyway, it worked out well. I wish I could describe the taste of roasted green tomatoes better... it's a really unique flavor.

Roasted Green Tomato Ricotta Tart

-1 pie crust
-15 oz. whole milk ricotta
-2 garlic cloves, grated
-1 large egg
-a few chives, chopped fine
-1 1/2 cups roasted green tomatoes
-pine nuts
-Parmesan cheese
-salt and pepper

Line the bottom of a spring form pan with the pie crust, going up around the edges about 1 inch. Mix the ricotta, garlic, egg, chives, salt and pepper together and spread it over the pie crust. Spread the green tomato over the cheese mixture. Bake in a preheated 425ºF oven for about 45 minutes, sprinkling the top with pine nuts and Parmesan after about 30 minutes. Let set about 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

twistin' sisters

I don't have an actual recipe to share this week, though I have had a good food week. Last night I went to my FBM buddy Kelly's house for a girls' night of kvetching and cooking. We had decided to make pretzels and rarebit. Neither of us have ever made pretzels... in fact we both have a slight fear of yeast doughs. But together, we overcame that fear and turned out some darned tasty pretzels. So, I had nothing to do with the mixing of the dough. Due to scheduling, Kelly started the dough before I got there, but she assured me this was a simple task. While we waited for the dough to rise we drank beer, bitched, laughed, and made Chard gratin with some gorgeous chard I had gotten from Yellowtree Farm. I traded a bit of logo design work for food, you see. We also snacked on some Yellowtree radishes sprinkled with salt... a simple but amazing delight.

We used Alton Brown's pretzel recipe. It seemed traditional and well-tested. We also used Alton's recipe for the rarebit. Rarebit, in case you are not familiar, is a beer cheese sace. It is manna from the goddesses, really. Tangy, creamy, salty, cheesy. It's magic lava... put it on toast, fries, burgers, potatoes.... whatever tickles your pickle. Mmmm... pickle.

We made the pretzels half the size that the Alton recipe said to.... because they are cute, and you can eat more of them! :) The pretzels turned out sooo good. They tasted like soft pretzels, but more fresh and more buttery than what you'll find off a rotating sunlamp at the ballpark. Not as buttery as mall pretzels, though. And the rarebit? I mean. I am drooling remembering this dinner. And I am smiling thinking about the laughs we had throughout the evening. Cooking with friends... just do it, people. It will make your soul swell.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Edamame Burgers with Wasabi Slaw

Green Burgers?! Yes. Edamame burgers. Yeah, I know I posted an edamame recipe last week. What can I say? I love those little green nuggets of soy joy. I have been wanting to make these burgers for some time. In fact, they are what I wanted to make last week, I just did not think far enough ahead (you need to let them firm up in the fridge for a few hours before you cook them.) I ganked this recipe from my friend Andrew Veety's blog. I knew they were going to be good because Andrew is the founder and organizer of (sometimes controversial) The Church of Burger. The dude knows burgers, so, while this is not a traditional beef hamburger (not that CoB is exclusive to beef burgers), I knew if Andrew said it was good... then it's good. And you know what? It's really really GOOD.

As a topping, I made a simple wasabi slaw. I was inspired by a burger I had in Kansas City at a place called Swagger. You see, my friend Eric might be Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' biggest fanboi, so whenever I travel with him we end up going to places where Guy has been (see my Mid-South epic roadtrip post for example). While I don't particularly like Guy Fieri (get those effing sunglasses of the back of your damn head, dude!), he does seem to go to some good joints with big fatty delicious food. I ordered the Suribachi, which is a burger that has been tempura battered and fried and topped with wasabi slaw and Srirachi sauce:

It was damn tasty! Eric, the fanboi, got the Dead Texan, which is a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on it... with grilled cheese sandwiches (one with bacon, one with jalapeno) acting as buns. !!!! Not sure I am surprised, but the Dead Texan was a disappointment... not nearly the flavor explosion I expected. Definitely not worth the quadruple bypass surgery. But it was fun to look at:

Anyway, on to the edamame burgers.

Edamame Burgers
copied almost directly from Andrew Mark Veety's blog

16 oz. shelled edamame (thawed if frozen)
1 finger of ginger, about 2 inches, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup of cashews, try to use unsalted or adjust your seasoning as needed.
Garlic - minced fine - to taste.
4 scallions - whites and a small part of the green. Cut super fine.
3 or 4 good shots of soy sauce.
1 egg.
Salt and pepper
Panko bread crumbs (I estimate I used about 1 1/2 cups)

Run the edamame through a food processor, pulsing several times to make a mix of smooth and chunky. Run the cashews through a food processor or give a fine chop with a chef knife. Add the Edamame, cashews, ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce and egg to a bowl. Use your hands to mix well. Add panko bread crumbs until the mixture comes together into something you can form a good patty out of. Form into 4 large patties, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours. Cook for a few minutes per side in oil in a "rocket-hot" skillet. Serve on a toasted bun.

Wasabi Slaw

2 teaspoons wasabi paste (or more to taste)
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thin
the rest of the scallions you didn't use in the burger, sliced thin
salt and pepper

whisk together the wasabi, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. pour over cabbage and scallions and toss. Refrigerate until ready to use. I made this first to give the cabbage time to marinate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

peanut butter & jelly. and bacon. and edamame.

My friend Aims posted this recipe, strawberry-glazed edamame with bacon, and I was so intrigued. I never would have put these ingredients together! So I had to try it. And, wow, it works! The strawberry preserves give the dish a slight sweetness, making the bacon seem almost candied. What a discovery!

While I had the bacon going, I cooked an extra piece to make a peanut butter bacon sandwich. This was one of my favorites as a kid. At least twice a month my family had BLT night. Problem was, I didn't like tomatoes or mayo (still can't stand mayo), so my dad would make me this sandwich instead. My childhood peanut butter sandwich was just peanut butter on toast. This time I made the sandwich and cooked it in a pan with a little butter, like a grilled cheese. I also put a little honey on it. Yum. The edamame was a perfect side for it, too. What with the jelly and all :)

Strawberry-Glazed Edamame with Bacon
From Sweet & Saucy Blog(with slight adaptations)

8oz. frozen, shelled edamame
1-2 Tbsp. strawberry preserves
4 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook/steam edamame according to package instructions. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain excess fat, reserving about a teaspoon of drippings. Add cooked edamame and grated garlic to skillet and stir to coat. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of strawberry preserves into the mixture and stir well to combine. Add liberal amount of fresh ground black pepper. Serve warm.

related posts from the archive:
Edamame salad with almonds
Local band pasta salad with strawberries and asparagus
cannellini beans with bacon & fennel

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

old lady bruschetta

When I was at the store buying the ingredients for this dinner, I looked down into my red hand basket and thought "wow, this is all old lady food!" Smoked herring, pickled beets, prepared horseradish? I may as well have done all my cat food and yarn shopping at the same time! Well, my cat has plenty of food, I have yet to learn to learn to crochet beyond the most basic row, and my hair is not permed. (I did by pralines and cream ice cream during this trip though. not as old lady as rum raisin (mmmmm), but still).

WHATEVER. so I have reached a point in my life where I like old lady foods. I was in Wisconsin for work last week, and one of the menu items at this adorable pub was a smoked whitefish/horseradish appetizer, that I couldn't talk my colleagues into ordering. So I had to take matters into my own (not liver-spotted-yet!) hands and make a smoked fish, horseradish-involved dinner my own-dang self. And I couldn't leave out the beets. It just seemed natural... smoke fish, preserved horseradish... I needed a sweet, colorful, shelf-stable root veg to round out the equation! You see the logic... right?

WHATEVER. this was good. Smokey, fishy canned fish, zingy, nostril-tweaking horseradish, creamy...erm.. cream cheese, and sweet, earthy pickled beets. I ate this by my lonesome old-ladyish self, but this is a quick dinner party starter idea. What? You don't have a Russian-themed dinner party planned? Get on it!

Smoked Herring Horseradish Spread

1 block cream cheese
3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 8 oz. can smoked herring
1 clove garlic, grated
dash of white pepper
as much black pepper as you can stand to grind

Mix together. Refrigerate until use. Spread on slices of baguette that have been sprinkled with olive oil and toasted. Top with julienned pickled beets and chopped fresh chives.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

bacon corn pesto with pierogies

I've been wanting to try this recipe all summer. Unfortunately, I seem to have waited too long, and just missed corn season. Frozen corn is perfectly good, though. So I decided to still make it even though it is October. It sounded good, okay? After I grabbed my frozen corn, I walked past the frozen pierogies. I turned around and got some, knowing I needed to use these instead of plain pasta. Why? They are pasta... filled with mashed potatoes. I have always mixed my corn with my mashed potatoes! It was meant to be! This turned out yummy. Creamy, sweet corn with salty bacon and pockets of potatoey goodness. It's not very photogenic, but it sure is tummy-genic!

Bacon Corn Pesto with Pierogies

4 slices of thick bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
2 16 oz. bags frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
12 pierogies

Cooke the bacon until just crisp. set aside, leaving the grease in the pan. Cook the corn in the bacon grease with some salt and the thyme for about 5 minutes. Put corn in food processor with garlic. pine nuts and cheese. Process until pureed, adding water as needed. Dribble in olive oil with processor running. Taste and season.

Boil Pierogies according to directions. Reserve some of the cooking water. Drain, add about 1 1/2 cups of the corn pesto to the pierogies, toss, and heat through. Serve topped with bacon and more Parmesan.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

cock-a-leekie pie

One of my BFF's, Cathy, and her hubby John, made me a birthday feast for my last birthday. Last week it was Cathy's birthday, so it was my turn to feed them. John is a chef (lookit him on the t.v.!!), so I had a tough act to follow. One of Cathy's favorite places to go is The Scottish Arms, and I have seen her on more than one occasion order the Cock-a-Leekie pie. In fact, local food publication Sauce Magazine had published the Arms' recipe for this amusingly-named pie a couple of years ago, an I remembered cutting it out to give to her. That's how I knew I could find the recipe for an awesome birthday dinner!

This pie took a few steps, but it was not difficult. A good special Sunday cookin' kind of a meal. Special also in that it contains 9 cups of heavy cream. NINE CUPS. It makes 10 pies (well, my pies were kinda big... I made 8 pies in 16 oz. chili bowls). And, no surprise, these are GOOD pies. So rich and comforting. Mmmmmm... a crowd pleaser to be sure.

Cock-A-Leekie Pie
Courtesy of The Scottish Arms’ Carl Hazel
Published by Sauce Magazine

10 servings

2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups white wine
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, divided
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 cup flour
2 1/4 quarts (9 cups) heavy cream
1 box frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

• Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
• In a large stock pot, combine the chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the chicken breasts and poach for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.
• Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid; reserve the liquid. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
• In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the leeks and sweat until just tender.
• In a large sauté pan, make a thick roux by melting 8 tablespoons butter, then adding the flour and stirring constantly until lightly golden.
• Add the cream to the poaching liquid and bring to a boil. Whisk in the roux and reduce to low heat.
• Add the leeks and shredded chicken and simmer for 20 minutes.
• Preheat the oven to the called-for temperature on the box of puff pastry.
• Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
• Fill soup bowls to within ½ inch from the rim with hot Leekie.
• Top each bowl with a square of puff pastry and brush each with melted butter.
• Bake per the instructions on the puff pastry box or until the pastry is golden brown.
• Serve hot.

I made a trio of bruschettas for appetizers... my roasted garlic ricotta spread (from my own Sauce mag article), a simple roasted tomato, and, my new favorite, artichoke bacon, which was simply a can of artichoke hearts (drained), cooked bacon and raw garlic thrown into the food processor!

Speaking of BFF's, I'm very excited to go with most of the Food Blog Mafia to see Anthony Bourdain speak live tomorrow night!! Here are some past posts in which I swoon over Tony... (these are extremely old-skool... don't laugh too hard).

Nasty Bits
Vietnamese food
Mushroom Soup
Coq Au Vin