Naked Asparagus

Fresh raw asparagus, think of the outcome

Fresh raw asparagus, think of the outcome

This is a great starter salad or side for barbecued meat. Make sure to use fresh young asparagus stalks.

Raw Asparagus Salad

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus stalks, about 12
  • Romano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt/pepper

Using a vegetable peeler peel stalks of asparagus from the tip to the base into thin long ribbons. Snap off the tips and leave them whole. Grate Romano into thin strips until there is about a quarter cup of cheese. Mix everything together and season to taste with salt pepper and more olive oil and cheese if need be.

Posted in Appetizers, Food, Italian, Recipes, Sides, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Tropical Thunder

Very fruity

Very fruity

I came up with this drink recipe after realizing we only had one type of rum in the house and a whole mess of different fruit juices. Increase the ratios to make a pitcher full of fruity fun.

Tropical Thunder

  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz clear rum
  • 1/2 oz triple sec

Mix everything together and pour over a glass filled with ice.

Posted in Recipes, Spirits | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Duck Breasts with Cranberry-Orange Sauce

This sauce is fantastic

This sauce is fantastic

I came up with this sauce as a way to use up some of the whole cranberries stocked in the freezer from Thanksgiving. I like to wait until they go on sale, then buy enough to last all year long. This year Katherine had the same idea, so we have slightly more than we normally consume. This sauce is a bit of work, but the ends justify the extra work.

The sauce is perfect with wild duck and would work equally well over venison. Do not throw away the leftover fruit pulp, it can be used for many things. Do not substitute pre-made orange juice for fresh squeezed. If using farm-raised duck then reduce the amount of fat used to sear the meat and increase cooking times to match the weight of the breasts.

Cranberry Duck Breasts

  • 6-7 wild duck breasts
  • 2 cups whole cranberries
  • 3 tbsp sorghum (honey may be substituted)
  • 2-3 large oranges
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Juice oranges and pour liquid through strainer removing any pulp until there is one cup of fresh juice. Set strained orange juice aside. In a small sauce pan add cranberries, sorghum, water and pulp from juiced oranges. Bring cranberries to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and continue to cook until all berries burst and mash into a paste. Cook for two minutes more then pour cranberries through a fine mess strainer, pressing all the liquid from the pulp until there is two cups of liquid (a little more will not hurt). Set the solids aside for another recipe. In a large saute pan heat four tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add duck breasts and quickly sear each side, about two minutes a side. Remove meat from pan to a plate and tent with foil. Add onion to pan and saute until beginning to brown. Add cranberry and orange juices and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook sauce until reduced and beginning to thicken. Return duck to pan along with any accumulated juices and coat in sauce. Cook for two minutes more and serve topped with fresh parsley.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

German Spice Cookies

These cookies have to be dunked before eating or you may lose a tooth

These cookies have to be dunked before eating or you may lose a tooth

These cookies taste a lot like gingerbread, but are very hard due to all the sugar in the dough. This makes them perfect to dip in coffee or other hot beverages. Keep the size small to encourage extra dunking.

This dough is very sticky and as it cools becomes harder to drop onto the baking sheets so have everything ready before adding the melted sugars to the flour. The recipe below is slightly adapted from the Time Life “Foods of the World” series book Recipes: The Cooking of Germany.

German Spice Cookies

  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sorghum or honey
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease two cookie sheets. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan heat all the sugar (including sorghum and corn syrup) until they dissolve. Turn heat to low and cook sugars for five minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until it melts. Pour sugars into mixing bowl and beat until a smooth batter forms. Working quickly spoon small teaspoons of batter onto baking sheets, leaving about an inch space around each cookie. Bake until light brown and center is almost firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Pecan Chicken on a Bed of Swiss Chard

This is not shake in bake no matter how much it looks like it

This is not shake in bake no matter how much it looks like it

This recipe makes use of fresh Swiss chard. If it is not in season yet then wait. Swiss chard is similar in taste to spinach but tougher like kale. The stems need to be cooked longer than the leaves and taste a lot like celery.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Wilted Swiss Chard

  • 2 chicken breasts deboned and skinned
  • 1/2 cup pecans ground to a powder
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup Romano
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 head Swiss chard
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt/pepper

Wash greens and tear leaves into large bites from the stems. Chop stems into small dice. Season chicken with salt and pepper and let stand for 15 minutes. Place meat into egg wash and let stand five minutes. Mix pecans, breadcrumbs, dill and cheese together. Season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess liquid and roll meat in coating. Place on a greased baking dish and bake at 365 degrees until chicken is done, about 40 minutes. When chicken is close heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add stems and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic and saute one minute. Add wine, deglaze pan and bring to a high simmer. Reduce by half, then add torn leaves and stock. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and cover partially. Continue to cook leaves until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Serve chicken on top of a bed of cooked greens.

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, Garden, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Sunday Suppers: Easter’s Coming

We’ll have a budget-friendly Easter meal next week. This week, we’re going fancy pants.

Roasted Lamb with Fennel

So moist and tender

So moist and tender

Lemon Asparagus

The lemon is really good after roasting

The lemon is really good after roasting

Duchess Potatoes

My oh my potato pie

My oh my potato pie

Challah

So pretty

So pretty

Lemon Bars

They are like pie on a cookie

They are like pie on a cookie

Posted in Dessert, Dinner, Food, Sides | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Split a Chicken

Ready for the grill

Ready for the grill

Spatchcocking a chicken is a great method for cooking a whole chicken on a barbecue, especially if you do not want to smoke it. By splitting the bird in half the cooking time is shortened and the meat cooks more evenly over the fire. You still want to use indirect heat to cook the bird, and it will take an hour at least to be done. There is no need to brine a split chicken but many types of marinades and spice rubs can be applied before grilling.

The start

The spine is in the center

To begin remove giblets, extra fat and rinse the chicken well in cold water. Flip it on the breasts and find the spine.

Is a chicken more chicken if it is spineless

Is a chicken more chicken if it is spineless

Using kitchen shears remove the entire spine. The bones are small and easily cut on both sides of the spine. Then look for the white diamond in the center of the breasts. This is the keel (breast) bone.

Make sure to cut slowly

Make sure to cut slowly

Slowly cut between the keel bone and arm joint of the chicken. Be sure not to slice all the way down or you will cut the chicken into two pieces. Score along the keel bone on each side until it is removed from the breast meat. Do not cut the wishbone out, it is what holds the two halves together. The chicken is now done and should lie flat.

The keel bone removed

The keel bone removed

 

Posted in Chicken, Grilling/Smoking, How to | Tagged , | 7 Comments