Friday, December 25, 2009

thank you mr. meat man, the duck was great.

Followed his recipe to a T and served with roasted carrots with honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg and homemade cranberry sauce.
And the rest of the wine.
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

duck shopping.

"You came here for duck breast?" The butcher's eyes twinkled from behind the counter at Puritan Poultry.

"Yep!" I said confidently. This is the response I always hope for when standing at the meat counter. Up until this point, I had only received it when inquiring about different types of intestines or insisting on grinding my own meats. "Got any tips for me?"

Grinning, he ushered me and my wrapped pair of duck breasts to the end of the market stall and told me precisely how to prepare my Christmas eve feast.

I'll be following his animated step-by-step instructions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan on stovetop over high heat.

While oven and pan are warming, score the skin of the breasts in a cross-hatched pattern, taking care to not cut score the fat. (He illustrates the pattern on the back of a ticket.)

Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of oil.

When the pan is good and hot, place breasts on bottom, skin side down. (Him: "Tsssss!" with explosive hand movement.)

Sear for 3-4 minutes or until the skin starts to curl up around the edges.

Turn and immediately slide pan into oven.

Cook for 10 minutes for medium rare and remove from pan to rest.

While breasts are in the oven, thinly slice onions or shallots, garlic, and rosemary.

As duck is resting, cook above in pan until soft.

Then, add 1/2 cup of red wine to pan (Him: "You have red wine, right?" Me: "Obviously.")

Reduce wine, then at the last second, add a tablespoon of butter (Him: "Shhh...")

And you're ready to go. (He smacks his lips. "Voila!")

Serve with your choice of sides. (Him: "Ratatouille, perhaps? You know that just means roasted vegetables.")

And, the rest of the wine.


That's my plan for tonight. Wish me luck. And a Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

things I love:

This week, just to show my cynical side, I'm going to begin with something I don't love-- lab grown meat.


Although this article raves of the wonders of this product that is being developed in the Netherlands, touting that it tastes like a "soggy form of pork" and is PETA-approved (two things I look for when shopping for meats), I think I'll skip it. Have I mentioned that I also love sarcasm?

Now here's a trend that I can get behind. Last week, the New York Times ran an article about Urban Hunting. Though somewhat disturbed by inevitable mental imagery of shotguns aimed at briefcased businessmen, cheery children with balloons, or maybe an occasional well-fed squirrel, this actually refers to groups who are taking the localvore craze a step further. A handful of ingenious folk are teaching hunting, butchery, and cookery classes to city folk in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Anyone want to start an LA chapter? Though surely not for the faint of heart, the article points out some pretty noteworthy benefits:

Provides food that is as local as you can get--
“If you can shoot a deer in your own backyard, butcher it there, that’s zero food miles,” says hunting teacher Jackson Landers.
Meats are wonderfully far from factory-farmed--
“There’s nothing more organic and free range than meat you hunt for yourself and your family,” says Anthony Licata, editor of Field & Stream magazine.
May be an economical option for budget-crunchers--
Mr. Landers, who tries to take Virginia’s full limit of six deer a year, agreed. For the cost of the necessary licenses, $36.50, he said he can stock his freezer with nearly free protein.

And as anyone who has lived in an area that is populated with deer knows, promoting hunting cuts back on the nasty possibility of deer-related car accidents, which is just a total waste of a poor animal's life, an insurance claim, and many-a-tasty steak.

For your meat-loving friends and family, can I recommend doing some Christmas shopping with Sweet Meats?

They have some clever new products-- DIY plush toys, charms, aprons... Always crafty, thoughtful, and the perfect mix of savory and sweet.

Speaking of Christmas, there are a plethora of bacon candies and treats on the market this year. A stocking stuffer's delight!
Here are some links to get you started:
Bacon Chocolate
Bacon Jelly Beans
Bacon Gumballs
Bacon Coffee
Bacon Beer