Wednesday, January 30, 2008

elaborate grand schemes

I really had wanted to include duck confit in the cassoulet, but didn't really have the time to make some. But since it was already on my brain, I had to get it out of my system. Unfortunately, the whole plan involved buying and butchering 3 whole ducks.

pan-seared duck breast with butternut squash gratin
The natural by-product of harvesting duck legs, is duck breasts. I seared these and made a spicy port sauce to go with them. The butternut squash had been sitting in my root veggie bin for ages already, so I thought a gratin would be a nice complement to the duck.
[duck: duck breast, salt, pepper; sauce: ancho chile, chipotle chile, shallots, port, thyme; gratin: butternut squash, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese]

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mushy mushrooms

Why does it always seem like I'm catching up with my grocery shopping? I never seem to use things until they're just barely hanging on as food and not garbage. This is quite a problem.

mushroom omelette
So, they weren't really mushy, but another couple of days and they would have been in the trash. Blue cheese only accentuated the funkyness of the mushrooms.
[mushrooms, eggs, blue cheese]

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

inventive leftovers

I came home from a hot pot dinner with my parents with some nice, plump prawns and corn. (I know, weird hot pot, but that's the beauty of it - you can cook anything you like!)

shrimp lettuce wrap
These turned out to be really good. It felt more like a summer meal, but it was a nice light dinner.
[shrimp, corn, mayonnaise, green onions, salt, pepper, romaine lettuce]

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

comfort food

A good friend of ours has been put on temporary bed rest, so we went to visit with dinner and lots of entertainment.

cassoulet
This is one of my favorite dishes to make. I use Mark Bittman's recipe from How To Cook Everything, although I suspect I use more meat than I really should.
[white beans, lamb shoulder, sausage, pork shoulder, bacon, tomatoes, thyme, garlic, bread crumbs olive oil, salt, pepper]

chocolate caramel sandwich cookies
Another recipe from Food & Wine. I'm surprised I managed to pull these off, since I'm not normally very precise. They were really good, not that hard, although very time consuming. I was really nervous about the caramel, and kept worrying that it was taking too long. The caramel was wonderfully soft the first two days, and the started to crystallize. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep it soft and chewy for longer?
[cookies: butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder; caramel: sugar, honey, corn syrup, heavy cream]

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

international spice exchange

In exchange for my chipotle spice rub, my friend's sister sent me a tin of her tandoori chicken rub. Here are the results.

tandoori chicken grill
This is a great recipe for a big group. I marinated the chicken parts in yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger and the spice rub overnight, and then grilled it up. Needless to say, it was great.
[chicken thighs and legs, yogurt, onions, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, tandoori spice rub

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ultimate antioxidant food

We had this dish at a restaurant on the westside, and it was so great, I wanted to try making it at home. Unfortunately, mine looks nothing at all like theirs, nor does it really taste the same, but it was an interesting experiment with tasty, if not exactly the desired, results.

chicken fesenjan
The combination of pomegranate and walnuts is really good. And to put it into a savory dish brings a whole new dimension of flavors. All in all, the dish looks kind of nondescript, if not gross, but it really did taste good. I also probably messed with it by eating it with short-grain rice (it was all we had in the house). Traditionally it would be served with some sort of long-grain pilaf.
[chicken, stock, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, onions, garlic

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Friday, January 11, 2008

broccoli and cheese

We mysteriously started receiving food & wine magazine, so i thought i'd try some of the recipes. What sold me on this was the cheddar crisps.

broccoli soup and cheddar crisps
The color is pretty gross on this. The truth is, the soup is a few days old at this point, so the vibrant green of the broccoli has faded into this dull gray-green. For a soup without cream, this had a very creamy texture. The cheddar crisps were just great and extremely easy. Just grate some cheese onto some parchment and bake until bubbly and crisp.
[soup: broccoli, onions, garlic, water, salt, pepper; crisps: cheddar cheese]

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

ma-po eggplant

As more of the Curry House bounty, some sort of packaged ma-po tofu sauce was included. I thought I might as well try it out, and I had already prepped the eggplants, so I thought we might as well combine the two.

ma-po eggplant
Overall, the sauce was unoffensive, but it did have a weird consistency to it. It's definitely not as good as making your own sauce, and really, not that much more convenient. Let's say I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase it. But it's good enough in a pinch.
[eggplant, tofu, onions, garlic, ginger, oil, Curry House ma-po tofu sauce, mild]

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