Thanksgiving Day Duck

Posted by johngl

Home demolition and Thanksgiving turkey just do not make for a good combination, especially since said demolition takes place within several feet of the food preparation area.

Seeking out a simple, yet delicious substitute for the spared gobbling fowl, most glorious spousal unit and myself, in true Pilgrim tradition, rummaged around the freezer and, what ho! a pre-roasted duck appeared.

duck_in_fat_bath

Above, the prepared duck halves are submerged in just over a quart of duck fat. If you don’t have this in your larder, you should be ashamed.

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Study in Sous Vide Top Sirloin: Sirloin “Tips” over Duck Egg Noodles with Bordelaise Sauce

Posted by johngl

Last week, I presented a wonderfully dismembered hunk of Prime Grade top sirloin that I’d immersed in my sous vide rig for about four hours. That little piece in the middle was just perfect for this dish:

Sous Vide Sirloin "Tips" over Duck Egg Noodles with Bordelaise Sauce

This was really a quick and easy dish, but before we get too far into the meatier portions, let’s talk about how to make those duck egg noodles.

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Beef: Sous Vide Top Sirloin

Posted by johngl

I’ll admit it: when I began this adventure, I didn’t know a whole lot about sirloin. I never paid much attention to it since my favorite cuts of beef were ribeye and porterhouse steaks, in that order. These “favorite” steaks come from primal cuts located mid-cow.  Sirloins hail from an area behind the short loin (where porterhouses call home) and in front of the “round” portion at the back end of the cow.

This is a representation of a cow!

Notice that tenderloin strip (white) whose big end (sometimes called the “head”) rests between two hunks of sirloin. The Top Sirloin (light green) rests directly beneath the “head” end of the tenderloin primal.

Below is seven and a half pounds of prime grade top sirloin. It cost me less than $5/lb, so I had no problem doing some experiments with it. It’s not easy to find a prime grade of anything at that price. My first run at it was a nine hour sous vide at 132°F.

Top Sirloin sous vide

I just love that edge to edge color that sous vide cooking brings.

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Duck Eggs and Ham (Duck Eggs Benedict)

Posted by JohnGL

It was a week ago today. Cloudless sky. Blindingly bright. A perfect day to be alive. We met up with Doc and The Redhead at the Farmers’ Market downtown. They brought friends. It was a regular party.

This time, I brought the package: some of that Ragù of Wild Pig. I hoped they’d enjoy it.

The Redhead suggested that we finally meet the source of the that now infamous wild pig head.

Sebastien Bonneu

It is obvious that this man kills for a living. Chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, little lambs, and wild hog. Nothing is safe. He even speaks with an accent. Classic.

I walked away with a stiff rabbit and a dozen duck eggs. He got the contents of my wallet. The man likes cash. A fair exchange.

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Third Annual 4th of July Paella (& Pizza!) Fest

Posted by johngl

I was having so much fun cooking last weekend, I neglected writing about it.  I guess I must enjoy cooking more than writing. Perhaps I enjoy eating more than cooking. I’ll have to think on that one some more…

Anyway, it’s always about 100°F (or hotter) here in Austin around the Fourth holiday and my friend BigDMcC and I somehow decided it was a good idea to stand around a fire pit and cook paella. This was our third official Fourth of July Paella Fest. If that weren’t enough, pizza found it’s way on the menu for lunch: one must keep up their strength when setting out to cook paella.

Prosciutto, Arugula, and Cheese Pizza

Cute little tomatoes, eh? Those are actually supposed to be that orange color — these aren’t unripe Texas 200’s — and I think I will just call them acid bombs. Adding these to my prosciutto, arugula, and cheese pizza recipe was BigDMcC’s idea.  He likes to change things up when I’m not paying attention.  Such is the nature of our friendship.

We’d been sampling this pizza about 20 minutes earlier:

Previous Pizza

I’m still working on finding that perfect pizza-stone temperature: I’ve tried 425°, 450°, 525°, 625°, and that foray into the 725° range that I spoke of in an earlier post. I’m now throwing in measuring air temp.  The pizza above was cooked on 425°F tiles with air temps in the 700° range. It took between 4 and 5 minutes to cook.

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Crêpes With Confit of Duck

Posted by johngl

I haven’t made crêpes in a couple of decades and a recent visit to Aquarelle Restaurant Français inspired me to tune up my long-idle technique. Making crêpes is really pretty easy — quite like pancakes — and once you get down the proper technique, they’re a snap.

crêpes packed with confit of duck

Crêpes come in two types: savory and sweet. Since I’m not making dessert, I’m going to go for the savory ones.

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Confit of Duck Sandwich

Posted by johngl

What is it about some of us that drive us to spend hours in the kitchen just to get a sandwich out of the deal a day later (other than impressing one’s most glorious mom-in-law)?

This particular quest was (mostly) driven by the fact that I had a frozen roasted duck that thawed the day my fridge died (is there a song in there somewhere?). Not one to enjoy wasting food, I couldn’t just toss it; it had only half-thawed by the time I (re)discovered it.

Inspired by facebook friend Daniel Notsayin’s suggestion of sous-vide-ing everything in the dead fridge, I decided to go old school.  While confit is not the same thing as sous-vide, the techniques are similar in that things are submerged in a hot fluid and cooked for many hours.

Confit of Duck Sandwich

Ah, but the sandwich was merely the end result.  The quest…now that’s where the real action happens.

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Pan-Seared Duck Breast & Hash Browns

Posted by johngl

I like duck. You may even have seen the duck burger I whipped up a couple of weeks ago. Well, I had the breast left over and last weekend, I made it up for our 18th wedding anniversary lunch.  Not a bad thing to cook for someone who’s put up with me for a lot of years.

Duck breast and hash browns

People tend to rush cooking a duck breast.  It is really a relatively long, slow frying process.

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Duck Burgers (with Foie Gras) — Labor Day Finale

Posted by johngl

Labor Day is upon us!  Time to wrap up this Burger Quest.

You might wonder: Why would anyone in their right mind grind a duck into burger meat?

Well, I like duck and I think duck is under-appreciated in this part of the world.  Why not burgers?  We burger everything else! Is it really such a stretch?  I’ve roasted it, confit’d it, grilled it, and made stock out of it.  I hadn’t yet tried burgering it (spell check is trying to turn “burgering” into “buggering” which would give that last statement a whole new meaning).

So when Brittany (aka: Stems) suggested that for my finale, I should do “duck burgers and fries cooked in duck fat” it took about 10 seconds before I said: “OK! You’ve got something there.”

I hereby introduce to the world: The Maple Leaf Farms Duck Burger!

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Burger! With fries cooked in duck fat!

What do you mean it looks just like a hamburger?  Of course it does, that is the whole point.

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The Original Duck Eggs Benedict

Posted by johngl

Back in 1942, a retired Wall Street stock broker, Lemuel Benedict, stated that he had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and ordered “”buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise”  (I think hooker had a different meaning in 1894).  He further claimed that Oscar Tschirky, the famed maître d’hôtel, was so impressed with the dish that he put it on the breakfast and luncheon menus but substituted ham and a toasted English muffin for the bacon and toast.

Whether this is true is up for debate, but this morning, I put my own spin on it:

Duck Eggs Atop Toast Rounds, Crispy Applewood-Smoked Bacon, and Duck-Yolk Hollandaise
Duck Eggs atop Toast Rounds and Crispy Bacon Smothered in Duck Yolk Hollandaise

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