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I know there are fancier ways to start  Christmas day but I doubt there are any better ones. Fresh eggs on toasted  homemade bread.  
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We did group dinner on Saturday instead of Sunday this week.  Roasted pear salad
 

 
roasted artichoke salad
 

 
cheesy garlic bread
 

 
chicken parmesean
 
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Getting good all-over results with roasting a whole duck is very challenging.  If you cook it to keep the breasts rare, there will be a lot of unrendered fat by the legs, and they legs won't be as tender as you might like.  If you cook so that the legs are done nicely, then the breasts are typically overcooked.
 
I've had best success by butchering it... I cook the breasts either sous vide (if that's an option for you) or traditionally by slowly cooking skin side down in a pan (score the skin first) until most of the fat is rendered, then roast for a few more minutes until done.   The do the legs by confit... That's how I think gets the best results...

Larb over rice noodles.   Moe had it for breakfast and I'm taking mine with me to work for lunch.
 
 
 
 
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Now the money shot.  Beef that was actually the last savory course but was the highlight of the meal.   It arrived rare, glistening with fatty juices, incredibly tender.  You get to choose the steak knife.  Carbon steel for me, thank you.
 


 
 
 
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This is an easy nibble that really impresses folks.  At first they think its fondue but it's actually Hot Dungeness Crab Dip.  My Father always made this every December or his neighborhood cocktail party and to celebrate the opening of crab season here in the Northwest.
 
It's a mixture of cream cheese, cream, lots of fresh crab, Worcestershire, Old Bay seasoning, toasted slivered almonds, green onions and Tabasco.  I change the seasonings depending on what I think might go well with the crab.  Heat the mixture in a fondue pot over the stove then take it to your buffet table and place on the stand and light the flame.  I serve it with buttered toast. 
 
It takes a bit of effort and equipment, but the thin little toasts are much better than dried out melba toast out of a box.  I take a baguette and slice it really thin using my meat slicer.  Works fast and gives you uniform slices.  Then brushed with melted butter and popped into a hot oven until crisp and golden. 
 
 
 
 
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Christmas Santa ... To be broken into pieces and handed out to the kids in the shop next friday alongside chocolate presents. Will post a picture of the finished presentation - sometime next weekend. 
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One that has been grating on me recently is The Pioneer Woman.  I normally never watch it, but I'm spending way too much time watching television right now as I recover from my broken arm.  Herewith is just one example that came across the television this morning. 
 
Most stupid quote on a cooking show? This morning, from Ree Drummond the so-named "Pioneer Woman,"..."Whenever I go out of town I make sure the fridge is stocked with food so the people I leave behind don't go hungry......" As if her husband and sons are cave dwellers and could only roast some of the beef they raise on the farm.  Then in the next segment her sons and husband raid the fridge and he makes a caveman-like statement, "let's see what the girls left us to eat."  Poor fellow needs to learn how to get along, maybe boil an egg and make some toast.....
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Cliff Old Fashioned from Dave Arnold's Liquid Intelligence 

Built over ice with Elijah Craig, ango bitters and a coriander syrup (which I could have filtered a bit better) as the sweetener.  The red chile flakes in the coriander syrup add a nice warming touch.
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Pork marinated with garlic, ginger, chilli and Shaoxing wine. Stir fried with mushrooms, spinach and scallions and finished with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. Rice.
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Review:
On the plus side the aroma isn't as bad as the taste. More of an very sweet cider than a beer. The initial sip hits you like an over-ripe mango to the face and then transitions to a strong taste of WTF then a long tail reminiscent of diesel. I'm sure I've put worse things in my mouth but not willingly. Can't wait until they release their Durian Dunkel.
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I made a Mont Blanc for dessert yesterday.  It was nice, but I couldn't help monkeying around with the flavours (adding ginger and lemon) so it didn't really taste like a Mont Blanc.
 
Still tasty, though.
 
Mont Blanc
 

 
Speculoos, ginger and chestnut base
Chestnut and brandy buttercream
Lemon chantilly
French meringue batons
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This mustard is great on bagels with cream cheese , tomato, and onion. Great little business in Trinidad CA. Wish I could find it locally. 

I am always amazed at the amount of pomposity and puffed-up bravado displayed by the contestants.
Then a simple error in the kitchen takes them down. "Uhm, your potato chip was burnt."
And there's their personal takes on fusion cuisines..."No one else is cooking this way!" ("Well, perhaps there's a reason why...")...it's all becoming irritating.
Can they even do any of the classics? Give me a simple pot roast and save the spin on it for the next customer. 
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Two more pops.  Lime paletas from Paletas, using limes from my tree:

 
And using the same ingredients as the Cucumber Ginger Limeade I posted about in the Deep Run Roots thread, I made Cucumber-Lime-Ginger pops:
 
 
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For anyone who still doubts or is somehow unaware of the extreme deliciousness of whole roasted cauliflower . . . it's true:

I enjoyed the movie "Canela" 2012 on one of our Spanish language locally broadcast channels tonight. There are many scenes with lovely ingredients, food prep and meals being served, so you may enjoy it, if you can find it. I did, and my Spanish isn't good enough to keep up with all the dialogue. I tried to find it with subtitles, but failed. If anyone runs across it with English translation, please share it with us.

I've been playing with the 75 degrees/15 minutes technique this weekend.  Yesterday's 15 minute eggs still had the tiniest bit of slop to their whites, although the yolks were great, so this morning I went with 16 minutes.  Well, sort of 16 minutes - I forgot to immediately set the timer, then dawdled a little over taking them out at the end.  But it wouldn't have been much over 16, honest!
 
Eggs in.  I find the seive very useful to stop them wandering around the pot:
 

 
And eggs out.  A quick rinse under the cold tap helps make it possible to break the shells without burned fingers:
 

 
Both whites and yolks were pretty close to perfect.  An observation, for what it's worth: I've always liked my poached or fried eggs to be nice and runny, so as to soak into my underlying toast.  Wifey, on the other hand, has always liked hers solid.  This method makes both of us happy!
 
As has been pointed out above, don't think of these as poached or soft boiled.  They're sous vide, and proud of it.
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Last night, it was the 2012 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
 
This is the second bottle I've opened from a mixed case of John's pinots that we picked up on our swing through Sonoma last month. The first, a bottle of 'The True' Sonoma Coast, was spectacular. I served it to my winemaker father-in-law who just kept saying, "So well made..." after every sip. The flavors on this one were quintessential RRV, but I probably won't open another for a couple more years, it has the structure & tannin to age well beyond the expectations set by its $35 price tag, and I look forward to seeing it evolve.
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We had Risotto (?) for Dinner. 
If I could get a do-over I'd probably rename myself "ITryReallyHardToCookButIhaveNeverEatenTheseThingsBeforeSoIDon'tKnowIfI'mDoingItRight' - Catchy no? My food experience is extremely limited restaurant wise, all I have to go on are my beloved cook books and the Internet. So I don't know if this is Risotto, I don't know if I got the "slow wave" texture the recipe required (I've lived in the UK and Australia and only know 'No Waves' and 'Frick thats a big Wave'). 
I used Arborio Rice, Homemade chicken stock (thank you freezer clearing post), white wine, enough butter to make James Martin proud and a (un)Healthy amount of Parmesan. Then I put in some peas because it looked like my Nannys rice pudding. I liked it, my carnivores said they did... have a feeling they were looking for the main course though.
 
Edited to add: I don't think It's 'Gooey' enough... I know it's not quite runny enough.. it was gooey to me but, I'm ooze phobic. 
 

 
 
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caramels
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Last week at a local restaurant they served a fantastic appetizer of fresh pretzels with a warm beer cheese sauce.  I've always loved beer cheese soup, so why not take a try at homemade pretzels with beer cheese dipping sauce?  My first attempt at making pretzel rolls wasn't bad for a rookie effort, but I need some help from our pretzel bakers.  The crust didn't have a deep-brown color.  Texture good and chewy and a yeasty flavor, just didn't hit the color spectrum on my first try.
 
For the beer cheese sauce, I used the Ninkasi Brewing Company Spring Reign Ale that I had used for the beer-battered onion rings.  Interesting how the character of the beer changed from being used in a batter to being cooked in a beer cheese sauce.  In a very good way in terms of flavor, the beer turned bitter, with a pronounced flavor and scent of malt and yeast.  I don't think the bitterness would suit everyone's tastes but I thought it worked well with sharp cheddar cheese.
 
Pimento Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce-
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp. chopped shallot
1/4 cup flour
1 12oz. bottle of beer
1 cup milk
2 tsp. Tabasco hot sauce
1 tbsp. canned, chopped red pimento
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/3 cup chopped green onion
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
 
Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot.  Saute until the shallot is soft, then add the flour and stir to make a roux.  Don't let the roux cook too long, this isn't a traditional dark brown roux.  Once the butter and flour and combined, add the beer.  Let the mixture come to a low boil and add the milk.  Once the sauce thickens, add the Tabasco, pimento and cheddar and stir the sauce until it is smooth.  Reduce the heat to low, then stir in the chopped green onions.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm pretzel rolls or soft pretzels.
 
 
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 Fried bread, bacon and a crispy olive oil fried egg. 
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Final update for this trip.  My sister and my niece went home Monday morning as niece started school today.  The rest of us went to the Beachcomber to close it for the season.
 

 
Fried clams, of course
 

 
Steamers
 

 
fishwich 
 

 
Oyster po boy
 

 
 
Fish and chips
 

 
Shrimp caesar
 

 
Then everyone left except my husband and myself.  We had dinner at Mac's Shack.  Oysters Mexican (chiles, cilantro and lime)
 

 
Ritz cracker crusted bluefish
 

 
Roasted halibut with polenta, kale, and mushrooms with asparagus sauce
 

 
Final meal, husband and I had lunch at the Pearl.  Oysters
 

 
Shrimp tacos
 

 
Five spice crusted toro with sesame slaw
 

 
And that's it!  I'll be returning for 10 days in October, which will encompass the Wellfleet Oysterfest.  Hopefully this year there will actually be oysters!  Last year there was a salmonella outbreak and the beds were closed.  Until next time, here's a photo of Cahoon Hollow, one of my favorite beaches for long walks.
 

 
 
 
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French fries made in the air fryer.  MDe with about 1 Tbsp. of melted coconut oil.  Cooked for 20 mins. At 400F.
1 largish russet in a medium slices.  The smell of coconut while frying was a bit off-putting but there was no taste of it.
Next time I'll use about a third less oil.
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