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David Ross

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  1. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Last weekend I ended a 20-year search to find some decent Chinese food in Spokane. I knew it all along, but finally came to the conclusion I can cook better, authentic, Chinese at home. I didn't get a photo of the true Kung Pao Chicken, but these are Chinese Barbecue Ribs. Instead of cutting them into single ribs I cut double ribs. Photos are blurry, but the ribs were quite good. Next one of my favorites, (nothing even close on a menu up here), Scallops with Wood Ear Fungus.
  2. The Fruitcake Topic

    I just pour some of the liquor in a large spoon then drizzle that on top of the fruitcake. I don't follow a specific schedule, but I'd say I add liquor about 3 times a year and only about a tablespoon to each fruitcake at a time.
  3. The Fruitcake Topic

    This is the fruitcake recipe I use. In recent years I've added dark molasses for some deeper color and another layer of sweetness. The best fruitcake I ever had was from my dear Great Aunt Bertie Pink, a wonderful Jewish cook. But her fruitcake recipe was never written down in full form. I did inherit her recipe box, which includes something like 20 different fruitcake recipes, but still nothing close to her original.
  4. The Fruitcake Topic

    Well, this morning I thought I'd be ahead of the game and bring out the fruitcake for a bath in booze. But to my surprise, I haven't been planning properly and these two are just babies, a mere one year old pair of fruitcakes. I suppose I'll eat one of them, but honestly, I should be at least 5 years out on aging fruitcake. We're not sure, but we think my Great Aunt Bertie's were aged somewhere between 10 and 15 years!
  5. Salad 2016 –

    Going through this discussion reminded me of this delicious and refreshing salad I do every summer. It's really best when your local produce is in season, but you can stil make it year round. Watermelon that I cut into balls, strawberries, cucumber, green Italian olives, then feta. The dressing is just olive oil and lemon juice, then basil and mint, chives and some dried oregano. I use Mexican oregano because it has the buds attached and is really fragrant.
  6. Recommended Sous Vide Circulator?

    I have to admit I was skeptical of anything to do with Sous Vide in the past. I think it was my disregard during the "molecular gastronomy" phase that was gaining so much popularity in restaurants. I think I was becoming too snooty in thinking anything like sous vide was an accepted method of cooking. How silly I was in thinking through such a narrow hole. But now, after having seen the results and knowing the possibilities, I'm using all of your feedback to purchase one. And boy do I have ideas on how to use it.
  7. First of the season WA apple crop is in and it's going to be a good year. The long hot summer didn't seem to hurt the apples, and how were back into cool nights and days and the apples seem to be getting really sweet. You'd think being in apple country would keep our prices down, but some of the varietals like the Honey Crisp and newer apples are still at $3.95 a pound. Too much in my view but they are delicious. In any case, this is my first of many Apple Tarte Tatins. This year I cut the apples differently. I usually just peel, core and cut them either in half or in quarters to put in the skillet. This time I cut them on my apple peeler and corer gadget, then let them fan out in the caramel. Looks interesting for presentation and the end result is apples more tender than usual. Now I have to make another one with the apples cut like I usually do to do a taste comparison. Our Apple Cook-Off below includes a post with my recipe for Apple Tarte Tatin.
  8. How wonderful. And ironic as right now I'm posting photos of my own first of the season Tarte Tatin. And I've been wondering about doing individual ones so your photo will help me a lot as I start the planning.
  9. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    I keep my duck confit congealed in the lard in the pot in the fridge for about a month. But it can go much longer. I just can't store it long because it's so delicious. Remember this is a very, very old classic French method of preservation long before there was modern refrigerators like we have today. I'd venture though to say it will keep in the cools of your fridge for about three or four months.
  10. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Oh I'm so glad you asked about chicken and yes! I do it with chicken. I keep the rub the same, but I'll probably cut down the cooking in the fat time by an hour. And it's delicious pulled apart and served with pasta. Sometimes I'll pull the skin off the confit and then crisp it under the broiler. I've always thought it odd folks, especially in my neck of the woods, don't eat more duck. We have many hunters who harvest wild ducks, but not many folks buy farmed duck. It's so delicious but I concede spendy. The Asian market sells two hindquarters for about 4 bucks. The frozen is about 11 dollars for two hindquarters. You can buy it online, but the darn shipping is nearly, or sometimes more, than the cost of the product since it has to be shipped overnight.
  11. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Over the years I've gotten to the point where I've perfected the curing process for my duck confit and it couldn't be easier. I buy fresh duck hindquarters at a local Asian market, and if those aren't available, frozen from Maple Leaf Farms in the supermarket works just as good. A good measure of Kosher salt, some black peppercorns, fragrant bay leaves, crushed garlic and some crushed juniper berries. That gets sprinkled generously on both sides of the duckies, then covered and into the fridge to cure. This batch cured three days, which is my standard. Then rinsed off before going into the pot for cooking. I'm not a man of great means, i.e. in terms of spending shards of money to buy great vats of duck fat. So I use pork lard that I buy at the local Mexican market. Does a fine job in my opinion. So I melt the lard in a Le Creuset pot, in go the duck hindquarters covered in pork fat. Into the oven at 275 for four hours. Then I take the pot out, let the lard congeal, and the duck confit goes into the fridge until ready to use. I just reheat the pot to melt the fat and gently pull out one of the hindquarters. Then on a rack over a cookie sheet in a blistering hot over to crisp the skin on the duck. This was a good batch, not overly salty and the meat is so tender. Rancho Gordo beans are very easy to work with. Just a soak for about 4 hours in water. Then keep the soaking water to cook the beans, maybe add a little fresh water. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. This time I cooked them about 2 1/2 hours with a large smoked ham hock. The greens went in about the last 30 minutes. These beans stew off their own delicious bean broth, so you don't need to add much seasoning nor add something like chicken or vegetable stock. That's it.
  12. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    We've all been thinking about you in Western Montana all summer long and wishing the best. It's been a terrible wildfire season. I don't think a lot of people realize that we really don't get full relief until the first heavy snows! As far as cooking, I'm doing my first of the year Apple Tarte Tatin today, and I'm already doing planning for Fall dishes.
  13. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    After 80 days of searing heat, (for Spokane) with no rain, finally Fall weather has arrived. Which for me is a blessing as it's my favorite time of year for cooking. This is the third batch of duck confit I've made so far. This time served with a Cassoulet Bean Stew I came up with. The beans are from our friends at Rancho Gordo.
  14. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    I never thought of green peppers but I'll try it next time. Would add some more crispness and another flavor.
  15. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    This is my recipe. I buy Feta at a small gourmet market. It's tangy and a bit salty, but not overly strong flavored. I didn't keep the package so I'm not sure where it's made. I didn't like the fresh oregano I found in a couple of markets, so I went with my reliable dried Mexican oregano. I buy it at a local Mexican store and they dry it themselves. It's the full bud of the oregano flower and leaves then dried. When you rub it between your hands it releases a wonderful fragrance and aroma. But I'm sure your Greek oregano would be much better. I basically cut the tomatoes and cucumbers in about a 1/4" dice. 3/4 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber 3/4 cup seeded diced tomatoes, (I used Roma's since our local tomatoes are just now coming into good flavor) 3/4 cup peeled and diced red onion 1/2 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata and Greek green olives 3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese 1/3 cup minced parsley 2 tsp. rubbed dried Mexican oregano 2 tsp. dried lemon peel 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes 3 tbsp. olive oil Salt and black pepper to taste I've also made it by adding some diced zucchini which is also very good. The cheese in the photo has taken on a bit of pink color from the Kalamata olives since it was a day old, but usually it's best eaten the day you make it and not stored in the fridge for the next day for the flavors to stay fresh and the vegetables crisp.