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.

16 February 2012


via Shorpy, my goal is really to be this guy.

13 February 2012

Salty Duck Fat Cranberry Yogurt Scones

Okay, haters gonna hate but this is some REAL scone action. Modified from an Alton Brown recipe, and glad I changed the things I did.


2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sugar
4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. duck fat (or other shortening - but do yourself a favor and go for duck fat)
3/4 c. whole milk yogurt (subbing for cream)
1 egg
Handful dried currants or dried cranberries

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. 
  3. Cut in butter and shortening. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. 
  5. Stir in fruit. 
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds (should make 12-15).
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown.
  8. Enjoy!


Amazing. I was going for a little more salty than called for, and it worked - and the yogurt made the scones nice and fluffy. Fantastic stuff.

Duck Wings

An amazing deal the other week at the farmer's market: 10 duck wings for $10. I wasn't about to pass up that opportunity, especially with the Super Bowl upcoming and hot wings needed. And I'm glad that I did.


  1. Wash duck wings; pat dry.
  2. Place in Dutch Oven with cover; cover in duck stock and/or water.
  3. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  4. Place pot in middle rack of oven; let simmer for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove from oven; place wings on paper-towel-covered plate, and cover with another paper towel. 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 425 degrees
  7. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and put wings on top
  8. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until crispy; turn and do the same on the other side.
  9. Remove and toss with sauce (detailed below)

Hot Wing Sauce (for 8-10 wings)

  1. Melt 3 oz. unsalted butter butter in a small bowl along with the 2 cloves minced garlic. 
  2. Pour this along with 1/4 c. hot sauce and 1/2 tsp. salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the wings, and stir to combine.

Chipotle Sauce

Same, but with one chipotle pepper and sauce diced in place of the hot sauce.

Sweet Soy 


  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 c. dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 star anise pod
  • 2-4 cardamom pods
  • 1 (1") piece fresh ginger root, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Heat sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar becomes lightly brown. 
  2. Slowly stir in soy sauce. 
  3. Once the sugar and soy sauce are combined, stir in the water, star anise, cardamom, ginger, and garlic. Increase heat and bring to a boil. 
  4. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 15 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and cool. 
  6. Strain sauce and pour into a lidded bottle or jar. 
  7. Store in the refrigerator.

Sweet Soy Sauce

Using a ratio of 2 Tbs. sweet soy to 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, whisk until combined, and toss wings in mixture. You also will need to pour it back over to cover completely - but it's worth it. The wings for the sweet soy round were also smoked for 3 hours before being put in the Dutch Oven - worth it.


One of the better things I've made. Just fantastic.

Pork Belly

After an initial experiment with pork belly-to-bacon that went good-not-great, I was determined to learn my lessons and treat that most excellent of meats with the care it deserves. This was not simple, but it was totally worth it.


  1. Take pork belly, wash and pat dry
  2. Put belly in a brine - I won't go over it again here, but a basic not-too-salty brine is recommended (bourbon and maple don't hurt - I added onion powder and fried garlic to this one [with excellent results]) - and put in the fridge for five days to a week. Either a sealed Ziploc or airtight tupperware will do.
  3. When ready to smoke, remove from brine, rinse and pat dry.
  4. Smoke for three hours; remove and let cool.
  5. At this point it makes a great bacon (I used one for this purpose), but there's also a highly recommended second step.
  6. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  7. Put pork belly in covered Dutch oven or Pyrex container, and cover with either pork stock or water (if, for some reason, you don't have pork stock - which you should)
  8. Let simmer in oven for three hours
  9. Remove from oven and set pork belly aside; reserve stock either for later or add to simmering broth for ramen or other soup. Not surprisingly, it adds a deliciously smoky, creamy wondrousness to any soup.
  10. When soup is ready - or maybe a pork bun, or really anything - heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Don't be shy! 
  11. Drop the belly in the pan with tongs and spatula at the ready to prevent from sticking. It will sizzle something wonderful.
  12. Cook for about a minute on each side to crisp up the belly proper
  13. Set aside, slice and serve with soup or direct application to mouth.
  14. Enjoy! 


Well, just amazing. Really.

15 January 2012

Perfect Fried Chicken

I've been trying for a while to find a fried chicken recipe that works for me, with mixed results - until now. The solution came from the fantastic Bill Neal's Southern Cooking - every recipe I've used out of there is fantastic - and a slightly modified version follows below.


  • 1 chicken (3-4 lbs.), cut into 9 pieces [I used four thighs and four drumsticks, instead]
  • 1 c. buttermilk [no buttermilk available - I used 1 c. whole milk with 1 tbs. lemon juice, let it sit for 5 min. to curdle]
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper [I also added 1 tsp. red pepper]
  • 1 c. lard [yes - this is important. Duck fat or schmaltz can also do][see also more on LARD]
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut oil [I used corn oil instead]


  1. Put the chicken pieces in a glass or stainless steel bowl and toss with the buttermilk - marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours [next time I may also add 1 tbsp. hot sauce to the buttermilk for spicier chicken]
  2. Combine flour, salt and pepper(s) in a large paper bag
  3. Preheat lard and oil in deep cast iron skillet on medium-high heat to 375F (190C)
  4. Drop the chicken pieces into the paper bag, shaking well to coat evenly with the seasoned flour
  5. Add dark meat pieces to the skillet first, skin side down, followed by white meat pieces
  6. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and fry for 15 min.
  7. Remove cover, turn each piece, and fry for another 10-15 min.
  8. Remove chicken and let drain in a second paper bag
  9. Serve and enjoy! (preferably with biscuits and greens)