Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane baking

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on us here in New England, and like many others I found myself facing probably imminent power outage with a fridge full of food, including a full carton of eggs.  We had bacon and eggs for breakfast, which left me with 8 to bake away.  After thoroughly reviewing the cookbooks for what would best use up what I have, I settled on:

Brownies (3 eggs, 1 stick of butter):
 My go-to brownie recipe calls for 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, but I only had 2, so I selected a different recipe that used 2 ounces unsweetened and 5 ounces semi-sweet.  They came out great.

Lime bundt cake with coconut glaze (4 eggs, 2 1/2 sticks of butter, 1/4 cup milk):
 The recipe, which was a variation, was for Lemon bundt cake.  But I had limes.  And frankly, limes are superior to lemons anyway so why shouldn't they get the glory?  I then selected the coconut glaze as the best match (after discovering I did in fact have coconut extract on hand).

I think this is the first time I've ever used my cake stand!

I still have one egg.  That'll be breakfast, assuming we haven't lost power before then.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

chipotle-lime shrimp

This was simple but good.  The shrimp were broiled with a glaze of peach jam, adobo sauce (aka the sauce in the chipotle can), and lime juice.  Served with corn, and chard (with a little bit of leftover leek) sauteed in duck fat.  Because I liked the chard so much last time.  The shrimp would be better grilled, but I had to do everything together in the kitchen for baby management purposes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mighty Duck

My uncle, who lives in upstate New York, raised some ducks and recently had them slaughtered.  He gave some frozen ones to my parents, who gave one to me.  Dan and I love duck, and I've cooked a breast or two before, but I'd never tackled the whole beast.  I went to the Test Kitchen book, and was surprised to find no mention whatsoever of duck. So, I took to the internet and found an Alton Brown recipe called Mighty Duck.  So here we go:

The whole bird, defrosted and coming out of its wrapping:

Backbone removed, split down the breast, quartered and put in the fridge to brine (pineapple-orange juice, lots of kosher salt, peppercorns, garlic, thyme).

Quarters getting ready to steam for 45 minutes:

After steaming, they were moved to a pre-heated cast iron skillet in a very hot oven (legs first, then breasts 10 minutes later).  They made a very satisfying sizzle when placed in the skillet.  Here they are done:

Evacuate the duck to a plate, then toss shredded chard and minced shallots in the hot duck fat with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Plated, with couscous and dried cherries:

Verdict: Sadly, way over cooked.  I followed the recipe exactly so I think it is a flaw in the timing there.  But, it was still mighty tasty, especially with the crispy skin.  If the breast were cooked to a more proper medium this could have been fantastic.  I think my favorite part was actually the chard wilted in the fat.  Mmmm.

After we ate, we moved to the bonus round: saving the precious liquid in the bottom of the steamer pot.  After three batches through the fat separator, I have about a half gallon of duck stock and a few cups of duck fat.  Coming soon: some kind of soup, and duck fat hash browns!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

French Pig Pizza

Another one from the Guy Fieri book... pizza (I cheated with prefab crust) topped with sauteed leeks and apples, brie, and pancetta, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  In essence, this was delicious. I would definitely make it again with two variations:

1. It had about twice as much pancetta as it needed.  And if this girl says there's too much pork in something, there's WAY too much pork! 
2. I really need to get GOOD balsamic vinegar.  The thick syrupy drizzly kind.  That's what's meant to go on this.  But all I have, because all you can get in Stop & Shop, is just the... vinegary kind of balsamic vinegar. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mac & Cheese and toaster oven s'mores

 I like this mac & cheese, which I've been making for years, because it's very mild and somewhat fancy (it uses fontina and mascarpone).  This time I added some par-cooked spinach, which I think was an improvement, because it can be a little TOO mild.  I'm thinking of branching out into other cheese blends.
And this photo pretty much speaks for itself. 

Sunday: Chipotle-peach glazed pork tenderloin

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pesto pasta with arugula

The pesto is more or less pre-fabulous.  Added to pasta with mushrooms, and in a stroke of genius, a bag of arugula.  Yummy and so pretty!

I also made brownies, but forgot to take a picture.  They looked like brownies.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Dessert for a little summer cookout with the parents:

Fresh graham-cracker crust, lightly baked key lime custard...

Set in the fridge for 3 hours, whip up some cream and spread on top:

This recipe actually called for regular limes, saying key limes weren't worth the trouble.  That's nonsense.  I used key limes anyway and it tasted as good as any I've had in a restaurant.  They are a pain in the ass, but they ARE worth the trouble.