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Mallet

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Posts posted by Mallet

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

    DSCF2857.jpeg

    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

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    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.

    IMG_2130.jpg

  4. 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?

    lobster_mushrooms.jpg

  6. 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. 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. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 :wink:

  11. This year we managed to put together another round of the game dinner, and I daresay it was the best so far. As our hunting success increase we tend to focus on the "choice" species, so the diversity of animals was not as high.

    Charcuterie Plate

    Canada goose prosciutto, terrine of canada goose liver and snowshoe hare, hooded merguez

    gallery_27988_2906_44956.jpg

    The goose prosciutto was very good, but I miss my bar fridge/curing chamber (I had to get rid of it in the last move). I had to cure this one in the fridge. The merguez was made with hooded merganser. Mergansers are generally reviled by hunters and the butt of several similar-sounding jokes ("how do you cook a merganser? place in pot with a large brick, cook for 12 hours, eat the brick" etc...), but there was nothing objectionable whatsoever about this bird. There may be a few less mergansers around come next fall :wink:.

    Hearts and Gizzards

    Confit hearts and gizzards (many species), glazed turnips, toasted pecans, poached blackcurrants.

    gallery_27988_2906_174360.jpg

    This was the first year I've made a concerted effort to keep all hearts and gizzards from the game animals' I've harvested. This dish confirmed that this is a good idea. I made a few converts too!

    Perch

    Yellow perch with scallop/morel mousse and asparagus

    gallery_27988_2906_80107.jpg

    The mousse was fairly intense but complemented the perch rather than overwhelmed. I was supposed to make a mousseline for the asparagus but ran out of gas near the end of prep. It was very good, but I do regret skipping the sauce (the plate looks naked!)

    Cod

    Atlantic cod with roasted red pepper stew

    gallery_27988_2906_127414.jpg

    The only dish with protein not harvested by one of us. I cooked the cod sous-vide in olive oil, I think I should have given it a sear or something, because it was a little bland for my taste. On the other hand, I am very conservative with my fresh cod dishes (I ALWAYS dredge in flour and cook in butter, like we do back home), so I may simply be rebelling to change.

    Wild turkey garganelle

    Wild turkey, asparagus, oyster mushrooms

    gallery_27988_2906_131662.jpg

    A super-simple pasta sauce (combine ingredients with stock, cook to reduce), but it turned out really well. The pasta dough was the craziest recipe I've seen. 1kg flour to 40 egg yolks! It made for a super-stiff dough that was hard to work initially, but once it made it through the roller a few times it turned into a dream. The dough would not stick to anything except itself, but only when we wanted it too. Magic.

    Deer

    Deer backstrap with coriander/vanilla endives, king oyster mushrooms, balsamic reduction, guinness emulsion.

    gallery_27988_2906_224466.jpg

    The sleeper hit. For whatever reason this dish did not take up a lot of my mental attention when cooking the dinner, but it was very good and shows that even the chef can get a surprise! The guinness foam did not hold up for very long.

    Dry shot

    breadcrumbs, red pepper powder, black olive powder, fried capers, fried oregano, garlic chips

    gallery_27988_2906_148210.jpg

    Pretty tasty, but much too salty for me. Methinks I should have used capers in vinegar instead of salt-packed ones.

    Goose confit

    Canada goose leg confit, yam cake, plum sauce/mustard

    gallery_27988_2906_33237.jpg

    I thought this dish was going to be polarizing, because of the yam cake (it's rice-flour based, and also has dried shrimp). It had a little bit of a glutinous texture and tasted a little odd on its own, but it really went well with the confit. Confit goose legs are awesome. Goose legs in general are one of my favourite things.

    Cranberry

    frozen/chewy cranberry, orange purée

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    A fun and tasty bite, made possible by Ultratex-3.

    Apple

    Poached apples, apple génoise, apple sorbet, apple chip, ginger custard, milk jam

    gallery_27988_2906_270667.jpg

    Usually I finish a meal like this with a simple sorbet, but this time we went for the grand finale. This dish was probably the most labour-intensive to make, because there were so many components. Totally worth it.

  12. Nordic Ware makes a microwave egg cooker that will make soft or hard "boiled" eggs. It cooks 4 eggs at a time. The lower section has water added to it. In the upper section, the eggs are shielded from micro waves by being in a metal compartment. The whole thing is shrouded in plastic. The water boils and sends steam into the upper part through small holes. Eggs cook in under 10 minutes depending on how powerful the microwave is and how well done you want your eggs cooked. I was skeptical when my son brought one home but it works well.

    Neat!

  13. I believe there is an earlier topic about this. Poached eggs in microwave.

    I cook them in the microwave - covered with a silicone lid - and at 40% power, or less - you have to experiment with the times to get the correct degree of doneness.

    I wasn't looking for a poached eggs technique, which is why I started a new topic. Cooking eggs in their shell presents its own risks/challenge (see exhibit A above :laugh:).

    Low power seems like an excellent suggestion, thank you.

  14. Lately, I have been eating a lot of instant noodles for lunch (Doog Ji cold noodles in chilled broth), and playing with easy additions. I might chop up a baby bok choy, or add some frozen dumplings. One particularly successful addition has been to put a whole egg in the bowl with the noodles in the microwave. I've done this maybe 3-4 times, and the eggs have come out very well, with a nice gradient of somewhat runny in the middle to cooked on the edge of the yolk.

    So I thought nothing of it when I decided to put three eggs in a small bowl, about 3/4 covered in water, in the microwave for 4 minutes. After a while we heard a loud "POP" and discovered this scene...

    IMG_1821.jpg

    The explosion was sufficient to blow the microwave door open, and all 3 eggs were completely obliterated. What gives? Does anyone have a reliable way to make soft boiled eggs in the microwave?

  15. It was a lot of fun to make, and I have enough wood for a few more so I can incorporate lessons from this version.

    I haven't experienced any problems with rotational slippage. The gouged out area has good grip, and the underside of the oyster shells are fairly rough themselves: this should get more pronounced with use. I do keep a towel under the board though (it can be seen poking out of the video), which is used to wipe off the knife periodically.

  16. Well, my predicted windfall of oysters from January was a bust, as someone stole the oysters that were dropped off on my doorstep the night of the party!

    As it happens, though, I recently discovered that the Chien Noir, a local restaurant, has oysters on the menu. So we picked up a dozen St-Simons to go and I got to try out my shucking board. I've uploaded a video of me shucking an oyster with it. Not the greatest shuck, but not completely embarassing either. The depression definitely holds the oyster more than laying it on a towel, and 1 shucked the dozen oysters with minimal mess (juices were well contained, no need to completely dirty up a towel). The walnut "clamp" also does a good job of pinning the oyster, and I need to apply very little pressure to hold the oyster in place.

    One thing I would change would be to move the shucking area to the back of the board, and also to move the bench hook to the very front. That way using the depression would be optional (not every oyster will fit into this shape), and the chance of flipping the board when you are working near the edge would be minimized.

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