Duck Prosciutto

My two greatest culinary passions are a) methods of preserving food- the simpler and more flavourful the better – and b) duck! The former being a tether to the distant past when salting and fermenting meant survival for crafty cooks and the latter being the tastiest damn animal know to man.

Now I know I’ve already done a ton of duck recipes, including the great-granddaddy of all preserved duck dishes: confit du canard, but bear with me one more time ‘cause this one’s a keeper. It’s a technique for preserving breasts that results in a semi-cured, dense and beautifully salty-sweet taste reminiscent of prosciutto de parma.  It’s dead-easy and a great entry-level way to get into more serious charcuterie. (more…)

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Love The Life: How To Stay Sane In The Culinary Industry

It was a night like so many others:  A hurricane of twittering servers running to and fro, The Clash blaring from the prep area, orders billowing like Tibetan prayer flags on the line and the hungry ghosts of a hundred tables whispering in my ear that they’re food’s taking too damn long to…

“Y’know, I’m really thinking about taking the Culinary Arts Course at the college… This feels right. I’ve already learned a lot already and I really like this place.” I overhear one of my prep boys debating his future over in no-man’s land and I automatically shout back, “You’re too damn smart for this industry! Go be an undersea wielder or whatever the hell makes more money!”

Everybody has a laugh and goes back to business but as I dug out another plateful of mashed potatoes I hear my own words ringing in my head. It was the same stuff I’d heard before and been told a million times by other, usually older cooks. Now I was the “lifer” on the line: The grizzled old man chiding the younger guys to get out fast and find a better path to fame and fortune far away from the hard slog of kitchen life. (more…)

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New Horizon Cocktail

New Horizon CocktailWell kids, we made it!

Judging from all the puffy eyes, shambling and moans I assume everyone had a great time on New Years and probably toasted the end of 2016 with a variety of libations that they’re now regretting. That’s great! We needed a party to forget last year’s unrelenting weirdness and tragedy.

We lost a lot of great people who filled our lives with music and fantasy and all the things that keep us young. I lost my grandfather, my dog, my house was ravaged twice by floods and my shed collapsed with both bikes inside. It was a hellish year!

But enough doom! Like many others, we mixed up a couple of custom cocktails on New Year’s Eve and celebrated with a loud sigh of relief. Now that we’ve survived I’ve been tinkering with the recipe and figure I’d share it, even though most of us are still nursing a week-long hangover. *laughs* (more…)

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Radish Kimchee

radish-kimcheeEveryone I know has been hiding from the snow (we got a foot and a half! Wtf!?) and pre-Christmas congestion in their kitchens, baking cookies into festive shapes and filling the world with the often-neglected scent of nutmeg. I on the other hand, leave the sweet stuff to Crystal and have spent the last couple weeks pickling and preserving whatever herbs and veg the weather didn’t manage to wipe out.

Its slim pickings… If we were legit homesteaders we’d starve this winter *laughs* I’ve got a handful of radishes left from my mid-August sowing in the ‘ol Zen garden, some chard and a couple knobbly carrots. I’m thinking the chard will get eaten right away while the radishes ‘n carrots will live on, packed into mason jars and swimming in Korean chillies.

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2016 Gift Guide : Bistro Cookbooks

27_septime3_11172The weirdest year most of us can remember has almost lurched across the finish line, but before we can all raise a glass to 2017 there’s still the matter of Christmas. I ‘dunno about ya’ll but this year we plan to keep our holiday festivities as low key as possible and focus on family, with moments set aside here and there to escape to the blanket fort with a good book.

The last couple of years I’ve suggested all manner of gadgets and do-dads for the kitchen, but this Christmas I’d like to go oldschool and point out a couple great cookbooks that I’ve collected over the years that have inspired me. Some of them were given to me as gifts and many I have gifted to others with similar results so they are 100% vetted for giftabillity! (more…)

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