Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Driving

I've been keeping it pretty clean lately, taking a break from red meat, alcohol and other things as required by my occasional shamanic tune-ups. Some of the limitations- especially on soy and all fermented things- make cooking interesting food a challenge. The key has been to go the small-plates route, and let variety compensate for the quieter flavors. And I LOVE multi-course meals. Love them.

First up, the finally-ready duck prosciutto, with perfectly ripe local pears. I trimmed the fat, so it didn't take months to dry like the last batch, and tweaked the cure a little to make it a tad spicier. It's insane. The texture, saltiness, depth of flavor- it's the best yet. Earlier today we gave a few slices to some friends who stopped by and they got really quiet for a few minutes, and then kept looking at the empty plate suggestively.

Next, we had made some teff in the rice cooker last night, and then forgot about it, so I popped out the solidified disc (it sets up just like polenta) and stamped little circles out of it with a cookie cutter then crisped them up in oil. I had a bunch of red, black, and rose-heart daikon radish greens (the radishes are going in the next batch of kimchi) so I cooked them in a little chicken broth with mustard and fenugreek seeds and then puréed and strained them. I caramelized shiitake with garlic and deglazed with more of the chicken broth. They made for nice little layered dishes with good flavor and texture contrasts. Aren't the radishes pretty? And the way the green sauce is the same color? I totally meant to do that.

Last, adzuki beans cooked slowly with herbs, garlic, beet greens (which are deep red) and tomato paste. I roasted the beets and sliced them with oil and lemon juice for a little side dish, and made a salad of galia endive as well. This approach to eating always leaves me more perfectly full than the one big plate kind of meal, though it dirties the holy hell out of the kitchen. So it kind of evens out, I guess. This coming week is going to be very busy for me; I'm installing a show that includes a large wall piece, so I'll be in the gallery all week painting. If I make anything other than one-pot wonders or pre-fab copouts I will post them. But otherwise, after the opening we've got some eating (and drinking, again, finally) to do. See you then.


The Spiteful Chef said...

Your food is always so purdy. And the dish worked very well with the beans. You homemaker, you. All making pots out of clay from the earth and shit like a true Native American. Next thing you know you'll find yourself in a field looking at a discarded Wendy's cup and a gum wrapper and crying silent tears.

Now the important question--how does one make prosciutto??

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

So lovely and so creative! My son's favorite meat is duck proscuitto, which he tried recently - I'm impressed you cure your own!

Anonymous said...

The radishes ARE pretty! :)

cook eat FRET said...

so for how long do you detox? do you stay away from fermented stuff as a yeast thing?

i'm always curious about alla that...

pretty pretty food
how was the teff?

peter said...

Kristie: Did you see the Sopranos where they had a thing about how that actor wasn't actually an Indian?

Take a good duck breast, trim the fat, pack it in salt, pepper and herbs/spices of your choice for 24 hours, then rinse, tie in cheesecloth and hang somewhere cool, humid, and drafty- like inside Sarah Palin's skull. It takes about a month.

Jen: It's really easy. I try to have one going on a regular basis, because it goes so fast.

Maryann: They are, but I wish I'd planted them earlier so they would have gotten bigger.

Claudia: It's more about avoiding any adverse reaction with the plants in the ceremony. The teff was good; next time I'm going to mix it with polenta and cook it on the stove with a little more water.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Nice duck prosciutto! I am planning on making it with snow geese this year...if I can only shoot a few...