Friday, November 20, 2009

Five For Five

OK, I skipped a day, but it's not too shabby considering how much work I have to do. (And considering how half-assed most bloggers are). Even with all the many tasks at hand, I found time to make some decent dinners and write about them. (Last night we ordered pizza, because I had an article due, and I dug up a photo from the recent archives to fill in another wee lacuna). And the pizza was the first time we've ordered anything in months. You may reward me with lavish praise in the comments.

Tonight, article finished, I allowed myself a bit more time, beginning with a foray in the garden. There aren't any surprises, but the hardy stuff continues to delight with its plenitude; everything but the meat and sauce was homegrown. I gathered chioggia beets, carrots, celery root, leeks, scallion, Chinese cabbage, celery, and daikon.

The center of the meal was a lovely moulard duck breast, scored, seasoned, browned, and then covered on low heat to finish cooking. I removed it from the iron pan post-searing to finish in a little skillet so I could use the luscious renderings to cook a finely chopped mixture of all the greens (beet, celery, leek, cabbage, radish, scallion). I deglazed the greens- once wilted and beginning to brown- with a splash of smoked chicken stock sitting in the fridge. The celery root I just steamed until soft, and then blasted into a purée with yogurt and some of the steaming water. For the sauce, some red wine, cranberries, black pepper, and maple syrup cooked, strained, and then reduced to a thickness. The carrot, beet, and daikon I kneaded with salt, then rinsed and dressed with soy sauce, yuzu juice, rice and balsamic vinegars, and olive oil.

Oh, the joy. Fall offers so many pleasures, especially when it's mild like this one; the other night we had a hard frost, but last night it rained and today was bright and soft. It even smelled a little like spring. So far it's been wonderful, and things have actually grown a bit since October. It's almost making up for the shit June and July. Food like this helps too. And wine, which I've been drinking less of lately (to help reduce the fat fuck factor going into winter) can really add an exclamation point. In this case, a 2000 Thackrey Aquila Sangiovese. Brunello it ain't, but sexy, rich, and glorious it ai.


The Spiteful Chef said...

Beautiful, Peter. Those beets at the forefront look like candy.

Julia said...

I'll give you praise for using the word lacuna. It's a good'un. And this meal is luscious. Makes me feel like Betty Crocker in comparison.

Zoomie said...

I'm glad Fall is giving you some compensation for your lost summer.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

First off, happy belated birthday. I'm so half-assed these days I can't even see straight. (Or read my fave blogs).

The duck is beyond magnificent.

peter said...

Kristie: I growed them myself.

Julia: You're much better than she is.

Zoomie: Almost.

Jen: Howdy, stranger. I'm glad you made it back.

Caribbean Food Recipes said...

Nice Picture. I love Duck no matter how it is cooked but yours looks like it is cooked perfectly.


peter said...

Ian: Thanks for commenting. I tend to like it either rare or confited; in between I feel like it loses something.