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Mallet

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    Halifax, NS (currently in Kingston ON)

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  1. Mallet

    eG Cook-Off #64: Confit

    I recently did a wild canada goose confit (12 hours at 80C). Terrific flavour, but still pretty tough. Has anyone experimented with even longer cooking times? Can you overcook confit? I am thinking of courting heresy by cooking the cured legs in a pressure cooker and applying the fat afterwards.
  2. Mallet

    Wild Game Cookery

    A few days ago we roasted a few birds. It's always cool to have different species side by side, in this case mallard (background) and ring-necked duck (foreground). Ring-necks are not a duck I eat terribly often, I simply don't target them and they are less common in the habitats I frequent. The ring-neck beat this particular mallard hands-down. It was way fatter, which probably helped, but the fat itself was very good, mild and meaty, not funky at all. This particular bird's crop was chock-full of aquatic invertebrates when harvested, so I was skeptical of it at first. More and more I am finding these tales of inedible fishy or otherwise funky ducks to be greatly exaggerated, although I have not yet eaten common or red-necked merganser.
  3. We ended up making a mushroom risotto with the lobsters, which was pretty tasty. The mushrooms themselves are fairly mild but have a nice firm texture. This time of the year, I've moved on to better fodder. Chicken of the woods Also, while we were out we saw several giant swallowtail caterpillars on a prickly ash bush. Normally they just look like bird droppings but when you touch them they rear up a snake-like osmeterium, which apparently releases some pretty foul odour.
  4. Mallet

    Grouse

    Red grouse is known in North America as willow ptarmigan. I've never had it, as it only occurs in Northern Canada (and BC). Is the meat dark or light? Ruffed grouse are a very light meat, but still very tasty. I usually roast them. I've not had much success plucking them without tearing off the skin (it is extremely fragile), so I usually end up covering the bird with bacon to keep it moist as it cooks. Also delicious in pâtés.
  5. A came upon a good quantity of lobster mushrooms. Although they are not uncommon, it's very rare for me to get at them before the slugs do, so I've never picked them before. I fried up a few in butter and they were pretty good, but not particularly distinctive. Any favourite preparations?
  6. Mallet

    Grouse

    Heck yes (when I can find them)! Although in my neck of the woods, grouse (ruffed and spruce) doesn't start for another month. What species do you normally eat?
  7. Mallet

    HBO's "Treme"

    A little late to the party here, but I loved the culinary aspect of the second season, especially Jeannette's stint at "Lucky Peach" and seeing alternate-reality versions of dishes I encountered in the Momofuku cookbook being "invented" onscreen.
  8. Is this early for Ontario? Last year I was picking blueberries in NB in the first week of August and I was still about a 1-2 weeks too early.
  9. If I'm inviting people over for a food-focused event (esp. a multi-course meal), I make it crystal clear in the invitation that food will start exactly at time X, with or without them. I also encourage my guests to show up half an hour early, as by that time most of the prep work is already done and we can relax and hang out a little before service starts. I might wait 15 minutes for a late guest, but then the little guy on my shoulder who has been planning and cooking to a precise schedule for up to several days beforehand gets really angry.
  10. What sort of heat lamp did you use?
  11. Heated plates only go so far when your plating 12 plates simultaneously each with several elements and a precise arrangement, there's simply not enough time to plate everything before the food cools down. I have experienced that problem at home when cooking multi-course meals for several people, but I assumed restaurants had solved it (in Kingston the only elaborate tasting menus I get to eat are the ones I make). One strategy I've resolved to adopt is to more carefully think about the mechanics of plating (sous-wide ingredients, for example, shouldn't be taken out of the bag until the last second, IMO). I wonder how much attention is paid to this in your 'average' high-end restaurant.
  12. I guess the question is also what you want to do with it? 15 pounds seems quite small to me, a pig that size would probably feed 8-12 people (just a guess, but I am thinking 15 pounds of carcass translates to roughly 8-ish pounds of meat?). At that size, you might be better off doing something with the head, something with the whole loin + saddle (maybe debone it?), and something with the legs. Unless of course you are practicing for something bigger down the road
  13. Yajna, can you talk a bit more about making vin de pêche? It sounds great (and my parents have a peach tree!)
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