Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
For us it was the building process which was the most fun so why bother with the laborious task of measuring out perfectly shaped gingerbread in order to make a solid foundation for the house.
The only issue we had this year was the chimney. It began when I attached it facing the back of the house. The chimney and the house's condition only got worst as it would not stand up straight and kept ruining our other designs.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Yes, this looks unsanitary to me too. But after hours online researching how to roast the perfect duck Jordan was also able to find out that duck liver and duck fat are indispensable. The obvious use of liver would be to make Foie gras. Duck fat itself is used to make some of the most delicious tasting French fries around. I was aware of this and even know of a few restaurants that actually make their fries in this manner even though I have never tasted them. I never thought however that I would be the one making them for my first tasting adventure.
Needless to say after the whole fat draining duck roasting experience I was not ready for another adventure into fry making. However, Jordan could not bare to see the beloved liver be tossed in the trash. Simply sauteing the liver in garlic and butter made a very tasty appetizer.
Scrumptious looking right? Well I will never look at duck in the same way after I now know what goes into roasting a duck. This all came about because Jordan has been begging to make game meat dishes he finds on his "manly" websites. I have no problem with game meat but its not a staple in the local grocery store. Thus, unless he goes out and brings me said game meat, I cannot make his "manly" meals.
Well in comes a trip to Union Square farmer's market in New York City and low and behold there sit Quattro's game farm stand. They had tubs of duck, venison and all sorts of other exotic meat. At the moment I disappointingly realized I obviously could not purchase the meat on the spot and truck it back with me on the train. Such a splendid opportunity gone to waste until I realized Quattro's was in Pleasant Valley, not very far from where I actually live. I am convinced it was fate.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and off I was up to Pleasant Valley to seek out the prized game meat. They had a great variety of all sorts of game meat and cuts. They also make their own various sausages. I ended up with a 6 lbs duck. Apparently 6 lbs is about the right size for two servings. Sounds crazy right? That is what I thought too but sadly most of the 6 lbs is fat. I always knew duck was a fatty meat but really? My sad thoughts turn into grossness as the roast process begin.
At this point, right before it enters the oven it still looks cute. Notice how you have to cook it on a rack so it does sit in the odd some 1-2 cups of fat that will eventually comes out of the duck.
Although there was multiple ideas floating around the Internet about how exactly you should roast a whole duck, we ended up going with Mark Bittman's method from "How to cook everything". The thought process is to cook the duck slowly at a low temperature to get more fat off without over cooking the meat. We set the temperature at 300 degrees and got ready to wait for 3 hours. You set the timer for 60 minutes and at every hour you flip the whole duck over to drain the fat from each side. With each turn you add additional pokes into the fat to again help the fat drain off. I really believe this is what liposuction would look like in real life. At this point I was done with the process besides making sure Jordan didn't completely burn his hands off with the flipping method.
In the end it came out beautifully, and delicious no less. No wonder duck is expensive though. The 6 lb bird was just enough for 2 servings and it was a pain in the butt to cook.