David Ross

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  1. Hospital Time

    Well I had pre-stocked my pantry knowing that someday I'd get out of the rehab facility food jail. This is the first thing I went for when I got home.
  2. Hospital Time

    Well best wishes for your recovery. I too am in the midst of recovery. May 30 had a total right knee replacement and 4 days in the hospital. It may be my good fortune because honestly I don't remember a thing about the food! I was then transferred to a rehab facility for three weeks. The move to rehab was precipitated by the fact I live alone, but I'd recommend it to anyone have knee replacement. I got home yesterday, but the memories of the food are all too clear. The facility was 3-stories and about 100 patients. When they recently remodeled they tore down the kitchen, thinking it was a better idea to have a second gym. So, our food was cooked across the street at a assisted living facility then put in warmers and pushed in large ovens across the street! The food was awful, awful. To give you an idea. One morning the aides warned us about the scrambled eggs but didn't let on. So they take off the covers and voila. Green eggs! Really it wasn't a Dr. Suess nursery rhyme. The apparently use dehydrated eggs. But when this batch was mixed with water, they let the eggs sit too long under the heat lamp. They oxidized and turned green! Yet the poor sap dishing up the plates, who saw the color of the eggs, continued to plate them. They apparently thought we wouldn't notice and eat them. And the eggs looked like they were poured into some sort of sponge mold. Because in addition to looking green they looked like little shards of brains. Well on the way home we stopped and I got a double bacon cheeseburger! And thankfully I had pre-stocked the freezer with real meals I made prior to surgery.
  3. I've been fascinated with UK recipes for years, especially their love of rhubarb and how they craft it into so many different recipes. For this dish I started with a recipe for lemon posset with roasted rhubarb from BBC Good Food. I'd never made a posset and was surprised at how incredibly soft and creamy it turned out. The crumble on top was an accident. I wanted some crunch on top of the rhubarb and the original idea was to make a basic crumble topping. Well I hadn't figured that out, but I did make a batch of oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries. As it turns out, I muffed up the ratio of butter, (doubled it), and the cookies basically flattened out like a lace cookie during baking. But that was a gift as it now was brittle enough to top the rhubarb. I'm not nearly as fine a baker and everyone who posts here, but I do get lucky sometimes ...
  4. I've always been amazed how my delicate chive plants come back every Spring after a harsh winter. Well, this past winter was a doozy. It kept snowing, and snowing and snowing. But the chive plants are thriving, as every other plant and tree is in Eastern, WA. The chive flowers are delicious, but I'll let them take the course of Mother Nature.
  5. Dinner 2017 (Part 4)

    Another dish with our spring asparagus from Central WA. It looks sort of fussy, but it was incredibly easy. Cream of Asparagus Soup with Butter-Poached Prawns and Smoked Cheddar Toast. I started with some asparagus in vegetable stock along with a chopped onion, a clove of garlic, a bay leaf and about 2 cups of spinach. I used a LOT of asparagus, about 2lbs. and I'd say about 6 cups vegetable stock. After about 10 minutes cooking over a medium high heat, covered, then into the blender to puree. Then into a stockpot with about 3/4 cup heavy cream added. The drizzle is just hollandaise I make in the blender and some crispy fried onions that I buy at the local Asian grocery. The prawns were just cooked over low heat with some butter and water. I placed the prawns on top of a crouton so they wouldn't sink in the soup. And I use my meat slicer to cut very thin shards of bread, topped with smoked cheddar and broiled. The soup was better the next day, sans all the fussy dressing garnishes. Just good old asparagus soup.
  6. Dinner 2017 (Part 4)

    Typically I don't do fussy presentations, but given the fact that I only get wild, fresh WA morels once a year, and the first of our crop of WA asparagus, I put on a few extra touches with this dish. I've been doing a dish of steamed asparagus and hollandaise with crispy prosciutto for years, but I wanted to work in the fresh fava beans I found at the market and the wild morels. And I happened to find some extra small oysters harvested from off the Oregon Coast, so I thought the ingredients might make a good Spring dish. I fried oysters in a garlic dry mix from out local Korean market. You can add water or beer to make a batter, but I like to just dredge meat or seafood in the dry mix and it fries up very crispy. Then a basic hollandaise for the dressing on the bottom of the plate. The morels were simply steamed, but I also like to saute them in butter and garlic. Then the fava beans and the trimmed asparagus blanched. I always trim the asparagus spears which gives them a very tender texture. Then a few little celery leaves tossed in olive oil for garnish and a few fresh marjoram leaves. Really delicious and now in my Spring recipe files.
  7. Dinner 2017 (Part 4)

    Braised Beef in Verde Mole- This was one of those dishes where I just sort of mish-mashed ingredients and got lucky I suppose. The sauce was a blend of a prepared, bottled mole verde that has pumpkin seeds, spices, and a hint of Mexican chocolate. I combined it with my recipe for tomatillo salsa, which is a blend of roasted tomatillos, charred onion and garlic, Mexican oregano, then some toasted cumin seeds and a bit of chili powder. Beef chuck in the slow cooker with the sauce for about 6 hours.
  8. Thanks. Sometimes I do use regular white granulated sugar, but for rhubarb I happen to like dark brown sugar (with molasses added) because it gives a bit more texture to the crumb topping and I like the flavor of brown sugar melting with the rhubarb juices.
  9. One of my favorite Spring ingredients, rhubarb. In a simple crisp. Just rhubarb tosses with sugar and a bit of cornstarch as a thickener, a few pats of butter. Then into a dish and baked about 15 minutes. Then the topping--1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 6tbsp. butter. Pulsed to blend and cut the butter into pebbles, then on top of the rhubarb. Back into the oven for another 25 minutes. And I'll be making a rhubarb chutney next, and rhubarb pie, and rhubarb...
  10. Oh how this brought back some great memories. I spend many days in Louisville at horse shows and at Churchill Downs, yet never got to the Derby. But if I did, my menu would feature mint julep's with Maker's Mark, and country ham on buttered biscuits!
  11. And along with a fresh berry on top of each bar, (I'm using raspberries right now), a nice dollop of whipped cream is great for a plated lemon bar.
  12. I made them again this weekend for Easter dinner, but I think I cut them too big. I cut about 9 bars, but they are so rich I noticed folks take a few bites and stop. I would recommend cutting it into 12 bars.
  13. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    Well, you know, it's that old line we use, "now due to the magic of television, we already have a cassoulet ready".....
  14. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    I typically make duck confit for cassoulet, but at the class we had 17 folks so I substituted chicken hindquarters due to cost. Turns out incredibly well with chicken. And I use pork lard rather than duck fat, again due to cost. The confit doesn't suffer at all by using pork lard. Takes time but isn't very difficult and the results are worth it. I use the duck confit in cassoulet, but it's also good just seared in a skillet to brown and crisp the skin, then served with a salad. The beans take some time and steps, but it's really worth the result. Duck Confit- 4 duck hindquarters 1 tbsp. crushed juniper berries 1 tbsp. black peppercorns 3 bay leaves 3 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme 6 garlic cloves, crushed Kosher salt Pork lard About a week before I make the cassoulet, I start on the confit. Place the duck hindquarters in a glass baking dish and liberally sprinkle with Kosher salt. Add the juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves. Cover the dish and let the duck marinate in the refrigerator for two days. Heat the oven to 275. Remove the duck from the refrigerator and rinse off the salt and spices. Heat enough pork lard in a heavy pot to cover the duck completely. Cover the pot and place in the oven and let the duck cook for about 4 hours. Remove, let cool to room temperature than cover and refrigerate. To use the confit place the pot on the stovetop over low heat to melt the lard, then gently remove the duck to use in the confit. At this stage you can just put the confit together, but I saute the confit, skin side down to brown and crisp the skin before putting it in the confit. Cassoulet- 1 lb. dried cassoulet beans, (we used Rancho Gordo's French tarbais/cassoulet beans) 9 quarts cold water 2 cups beef stock 2 tbsp. tomato paste 6 cloves garlic, skinned and crushed 2 stalks celery, chopped 3 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf 4 sprigs parsley 1 tbsp. black peppercorns 1lb. smoke pork hock or neck bones 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes Duck confit 1lb. garlic sausage, cut into chunks Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the beans and place in a large stockpot and cook the beans over medium-low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until they are soft. At this point I add the beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and black peppercorns and the pork hocks and crushed tomatoes and cook the beans for another 45 minutes over medium-low heat. You'll have tender beans and an incredible cooking stock. I heat the oven to 350 and start to assemble the cassoulet in a heavy Le Creuset pot. Strain the beans out of the cooking stock and place a layer of the beans in the pot. Now nestle in some of the sausage. Then another layer of beans. Place the duck confit on top of the beans, then ladle in enough of the bean cooking stock to cover the beans, yet not cover the duck confit. Into the oven it goes, uncovered, to cook about 1 1/ 2 hours. Take a look while it cooks and if necessary, add more stock. You'll see that the duck confit skin will turn golden and start to crisp up. I usually give the cassoulet about 2 1/2 hours. It will develop that characteristic crust, (and you won't need to top it with breadcrumbs as some recipes suggest). I wish I had a photo, but we devoured it very quickly. It takes time and some cooking steps, but is incredibly delicious and worth the time.
  15. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    The cassoulet class was a great hit. Everyone remarked how flavorful and creamy the beans were and they had no idea how easy it is to start with dried beans and end up with a wonderful cassoulet.