04 February 2013

Crispy Duck Legs

I was excited to do another batch of duck wings for my Superb Owl festivities; tragically, none were available at the farmer's market. But they did have legs! And so I modified, using a similar preparation, and was well rewarded for my efforts.



1. Wash duck legs; pat dry.
2. Place in Dutch Oven with cover; cover in water.
3. Heat oven to 275 degrees.
4. Place pot in middle rack of oven; let simmer for 3 hours.
5. Remove from oven; place legs on paper-towel-covered plate; put in the fridge for an hour, and conserve the water or stock for later (you'll be able to skim off the amazing creamy duck fat, which is prefect for... pretty much everything).
6. Heat oven to 375 degrees
7. Toss duck legs in sweet soy sauce and place in cast iron skillet(s) (three fit perfectly into one), skin side up.
8. Cook for 30 minutes, add a bit of water to the pan to keep from sticking, and cook for another 60 minutes
9. Remove, let cool, and enjoy.


Remarkable. The simmering gets off enough of the fat that the duck isn't chewy, but not so much to make it dry. The skin separates and is beautifully crispy, with a warm, gooey layer of fat and tender meat underneath. Heat a bit of the sweet soy to drizzle over top, as well - these are amazing either on their own, or as part of a good winter meal with potatoes and greens.

28 January 2013

Collard Greens with Indian Spices

Had some lovely rainbow collards and needed an accompaniment so fish curry, so whipped this up - with great success.


  • 1/2 bunch collard greens, chopped very small (1/2")
  • three cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
  • one small hot or medium-hot pepper, diced fine (I used jalapeño)
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • several ounces high-temperature oil (sunflower or similar)


  1. Add enough oil to coat and have a thin layer in base of wok, and heat to medium-high
  2. When oil is shimmering, add mustard seed and fry until grey and popping, 2-3 min.
  3. Add garlic; fry for 20-30 sec.
  4. Add ginger and pepper, and fry for 3-4 min.
  5. Add remainder of spices and mix well
  6. Add collards and stir well so all are covered in oil and spices; cover wok
  7. Cook covered 10-15 min., occasionally stirring to keep from all sticking to wok
  8. Serve hot and enjoy!


Fantastic. Spicy, flavorful, and a nice charred flavor on the edges. Worked very well with my fish-potato curry.

14 January 2013

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shoulder

Via Alton Brown, a great recipe.


  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2-3 lb. lamb shoulder
  • 16 oz. red wine blend, plus 1 tablespoon (recommended: Syrah, Grenache or Mourvedre)
  • 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves
  • one medium onion, quartered
  • four cloves garlic, sma
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. 
  2. Toss the lamb with the vegetable oil in a medium mixing bowl. When the pan is hot, sear the lamb for 1 minute on each side. 
  3. Remove to a plate and cool for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  4. Add the meat to a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, then pour in the 16 ounces of wine and 4 rosemary sprigs, along with the garlic and onion. Remove as much air as possible so that the wine is completely surrounding the meat. Put the bag in a container to prevent leaks and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  5. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  6. Transfer the contents of the bag back to the 10-inch straight-sided saute pan or Dutch oven and cover. Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and braise until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone, about 4 hours.
  7. Remove the meat from the oven to a platter. Discard the rosemary. Cover the meat with aluminum foil to keep warm while finishing the sauce.
  8. Filter the sauce, and set the pan over medium-low heat
  9. Simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour slowly at a time, adding as it absorbs
  10. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of wine and the remaining chopped rosemary and continue to cook for another minute. 
  11. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper, if needed.
  12. Drizzle over meat as served, and enjoy!


Fantastic. Tender, flavorful, not overly lamb-y. 

13 January 2013

Cream of Potato Soup with Sausage and Scallops

Pretty thrown-together, but a huge success.


  • Four medium or two large potatoes, diced small (1/4" cubes)
  • 5-6 oz. scallops, diced small (1/2" cubes)
  • 8-10 oz. sausage (either loose or liberated from its casings)
  • 6 oz. milk
  • 6 oz. heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • butter


  1. Warm butter over medium heat in heavy, deep-sided cast iron skillet with cover
  2. Put potatoes in skillet, and mix around in butter
  3. Add salt and pepper
  4. Making sure to mix the potatoes to keep from sticking, sautée for 15 min. until soft
  5. Add sausage and mix well; cover, and cook for another 15-20 min.
  6. Add milk and raise heat to medium high; cook for 5 min.
  7. Add scallops and cook for 5 min.
  8. Add heavy cream, raise to a low boil, and cook for 5 min.
  9. Serve hot or lower temperature to lowest setting, and keep warm on stove until serving
  10. Enjoy!


Just fantastic - good blend of flavors and textures, and a great way to start a meal.

05 April 2012

From Poland

Horseradish isn't bad to start off with, especially in Central Europe. Add a bit of orange zest to it though, and it becomes downright charming. Over the last couple of days I've been developing a bit of an obsession with it, to tell you the truth, having it on virtually anything I can get my hands on: black beans, Hungarian sausage, with sardines and raw zucchini shavings...
When this jar runs out, I'm thinking of hopping to the market and buying the homemade horseradish jars, I'll add my own orange zest to it.
(On the photo here you can't really see the little bits of zest, but they are there and so lovely).

18 March 2012


I made another big batch of pulled turkey - further recipe to come - and was left with just a bit more meat than fix into one of my standard large Pyrexes. What to do? Well: meat pies is what. After perusing the standard recipes for English-style meat pies – most of which seem to involve weird things like cooking in boiling water – I decided to look into empanada recipes instead. Bingo. Many called for frying the pies, which while okay was not either a) the kind of messy effort I wanted to put in, or b) the effect I was going for. I wanted a nice flaky meat pie, and that's what I got.


  • 1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. shortening [I of course used duck fat]
  • 1/3 C. milk


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk or stir with a fork until well mixed. 
  2. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Sprinkle with milk. Stir pastry with a fork until mixture begins to hold together; if mixture is too dry, sprinkle on another tablespoon of milk.
  4. The pastry should not be sticky. Knead on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. Let rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight before using. [I went overnight, wrapped in plastic]
  5. Before baking, pre-heat oven to 375 F
  6. Pinch off several tablespoons and roll into balls.
  7. On a well floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll balls out into 5 or 6 inch circles 1/8-inch thick.
  8. Fill with a tablespoon or so of filling; brush edges with water and fold over to make half moon shapes. Crimp to seal edge with a fork or pinch with your fingertips.
  9. Bake for 25 min. or until golden brown
  10. Enjoy! 


Fantastic. Nice and flaky and savory; can also be wrapped in foil and frozen or kept in fridge for future reheating.

25 February 2012

I don't get it

No, seriously: how come eggs are so tasty, and chicken breast so bland? Get it together, chickens.