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eG Foodblog: Alcuin (2011) - In the middle: Eating and Drinking on the


Alcuin
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. . . .

It's a very straightforward braise. I cut up an onion, a carrot, a stalk of celery. After the rabbit was browned I removed it and softened those vegetables. I added about a teaspoon of fresh time. Then I added a cup of wine and reduced it by half, added the rabbit back in, and added stock to come halfway up. I braised it in the oven at 300F. While that was happening, I cooked some kohlrabi, carrot, and leeks. Those I tossed in butter. I sauteed some mushrooms in butter. When the rabbit was coming off the bone cleanly (but not falling off) I took it out and finished the sauce. I reduced it by about half, added some butter, and thickened with cornstarch slurry. I also added some more fresh time at this point. Et voila. Simple rabbit braised in wine with vegetables. We had parsleyed potatoes on the side.

For the wine, I splurged a bit and bought a macon-fuisse instead of a simpler macon-villages. I was thinking I'd give the rabbit the full burgundy treatment (lardons, shrooms, pearl onions) but in the end I ended up not doing that. I do think that a white burgundy is my favorite wine to have with rabbit though.

At what point did you add the heart, liver, and kidneys, and how did you prep them before adding them to the braise? This looks delicious, and has inspired me to bite the bullet and shell out for a bunny (wish the ones they sold here were as robust as yours).

Sorry I forgot that part. Before I added the mushrooms I sauteed them in butter in a pan. I then used that same pan to sear the liver, kidneys, and heart. This was at the last moment, and they were simply added to the rest. I do it that way because the liver is so good, I only want it done medium at the most. It seared up well and had a nice rosy interior.

nunc est bibendum...

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I realize I haven't taken any shots of my kitchen. You'll have to figure these bad pictures; it was dark when I took them before leaving for the office this morning. It's pretty small as you can see, but it's amazing how much stuff you can pack into it.

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There is no counter space in the entire kitchen, so the rolling dishwasher is what I use for counterspace. This means I have to be a model of efficiency at all times. With such little space, things can get out of control pretty quickly.

Here's the liquor cabinet, with a big upright steamer I use to make sticky rice, the container I use to brine big things, and some cocktail books.

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Here's a shot from the opposite corner of the kitchen.

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Here you can see the pantry in the corner. You can walk in there. I keep Asian sauces, pastas, grains, spices, oils, flours, my standmixer, my sausage stuffer, a pet food container with lockable top filled with rice (everything must be hermetically sealed to keep out moths). I will also hang a pancetta, or a duck prosciutto, or guanciale back there too.

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Here's a shot of the cabinet, showing the extent of my glass addiction

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It's hard to take pictures of this room, because the lighting is not great (I like it that way) and its either very sunny and shadowy because of the two windows facing westward or its pretty dark inside. It's certainly not the best kitchen, but it does the job. And, amazingly, it fits all my stuff.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here's a shot of the crumb of the loaf I cooked last night.

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It's very open, but not too much so. I'm happy with it. And this method makes for a reliably cool and creamy crumb with a nice toasty crust.

nunc est bibendum...

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I had lunch today at my favorite Chinese restaurant in town, Fugu. I would say they are handsdown the best, but I've heard good things about another place, Ichiban, and haven't had a chance to get there yet.

Why these Chinese places have Japanese names is beyond me, as is Fugu's insistence that it is a "fusion" restaurant. Because while there are a few clear sops thrown to the person who walks into an "Asian restaurant" and wants their pad thai and their crab rangoon, Fugu's core is really good Sichuan food. That's what's on offer on their lunch menu. Here's what we had.

Sichuan spicy cucumber

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The cucumber is dressed with what seems to my palate to be Chinkiang vinegar, chili oil, and Sichuan peppercorn. I'm sure there's more involved, but that's what I can make out. It's something cool and crunchy to complement the rest.

Shredded pork with dried bean curd

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This is a nice subtle dish. The contrast between the tofu and the pork is great, and the sauce is perfectly done with just enough to coat the dish.

Homestyle tofu

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Perfectly fried tofu with bell pepper, bamboo shoot tips, and wood ear mushroom braised so that it is gelatinous but preserves the woodear crunch.

Pork tripe in spicy sauce

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This is the best tripe dish I've ever had. The texture of the tripe is spongy and rich, which contrasts to the fresh and dried peppers it's mixed with. My favorite dish at Fugu, with their deep fried intestine and double cooked pork closely tied for second.

The dishes come out sequentially, when they are done, so you get them right out of the wok. This confuses some people, especially when you get your rice toward the end, but I like that they give it to you when it's at its best. They also deliver, but it goes without saying that it's best had right then and there.

nunc est bibendum...

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Thanks for the compliments on the bread. I've been working on this one bread for about five years and I make it every week, so I know it pretty well by now.

I got the starter from my mom. We always had bread around the house; my mom's a prolific baker and very versatile too. When I moved to WI, I realized I couldn't live in a house that didn't have a loaf of bread sitting cut down on the counter, the omphalos of the kitchen. So I tried to make my own, but when I failed the first time, I told her about it on the phone. A couple of days later, I got a package and I opened it up to find a pint container of starter that exploded in the box! I called her and she told me just to scrape as much of it as I could into something, and begin feeding it. It worked and I've been using it ever since.

nunc est bibendum...

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For whatever rabbit meat you have left over, if any, and the stock from those bones, try rabbit and dressing. It was the prep of choice for the wild rabbit we ate when I was a kid. Just shred the meat up into the cornbread-based dressing. Yummm!

And yes, that bread is a thing of beauty. I, however, will pass on the tripe from the Chinese restaurant. I was permanently traumatized by chitterlings when I was a kid, and have never been able to stomach tripe, menudo, you-name-it since.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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For whatever rabbit meat you have left over, if any, and the stock from those bones, try rabbit and dressing. It was the prep of choice for the wild rabbit we ate when I was a kid. Just shred the meat up into the cornbread-based dressing. Yummm!

And yes, that bread is a thing of beauty. I, however, will pass on the tripe from the Chinese restaurant. I was permanently traumatized by chitterlings when I was a kid, and have never been able to stomach tripe, menudo, you-name-it since.

That sounds good. I eat rabbit frequently enough since I have easy access to it, so I'll definitely give that a try.

And as for the tripe, I have to say that I've convinced a lot of people to eat it and everyone loves it even not very adventurous eaters. It really has no funkiness to the flavor at all. Now if the texture's your problem, that's another story altogether!

nunc est bibendum...

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I'm looking at the space beside your liquor shelf, where the food dish and water bowl are - and thinking a nice little stainless prep table there would give you another little chunk of 'counter space'.

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Wow, that bread looks superb!

Another admirer of that handsome loaf. It looks like the perfect amount of chewy white and a deep golden Maillard-y crust . . . mmmm.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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We went to the Old Fashioned tonight. This must be, without a doubt, the most popular restaurant around. It is a "Wisconsin" restaurant, but I wouldn't call it a theme restaurant. They do WI standards and they do them well, with great ingredients. The emphasis is squarely on WI, which means that everything is local. They have 150 WI beers, 30 of which are on tap, and they only serve WI beers (which is too bad if you're a lover of 3 Floyds and Bells, like me). Here's the beer

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I had a Hopasauras Rex from Titletown brewery in Green Bay. It was mediocre. I also had a Tyranena Bitter Woman, which was also just ok. I've had the Bitter Woman before; I just wanted to see if it had improved since last I drank it. I could have gotten an O'so or Lakefront or Ale Asylum beer that's more of a known quantity and more quality breweries, but I like to see how some other beers are tasting sometimes.

While waiting I saw they were getting some Cherry Bounce ready for Winter, which I thought was interesting.

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We got fried cheese curds, with horseradish sauce. As with many things, the Old Fashioned makes some of the best cheese curds I've had.

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And it's Friday so that means fish fry. You can get Walleye, Perch, or Cod. We both got walleye.

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It's a good rendition of traditional WI fare. That's true of the Old Fashioned right down to the landjagers and pickled pork hocks. What might come off as a gimmicky place isn't one at all because of the real care, quality, and most importantly consistency they put into the food. But if you go on a Friday, expect to wait over an hour to be seated. Even though they've expanded to the swallow up the next space over beside them (with no loss of quality for the food whatsoever), they are always packed.

nunc est bibendum...

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Love the concept of the fried curds with horseradish sauce. When fried are they creamy, chewy ????

So the fish fry is a constant Friday thing regardless of the religious calendar? The fish looks well done and the slaw appears not too over-dressed. The whole meal just screams comfort to me :)

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Love the concept of the fried curds with horseradish sauce. When fried are they creamy, chewy ????

So the fish fry is a constant Friday thing regardless of the religious calendar? The fish looks well done and the slaw appears not too over-dressed. The whole meal just screams comfort to me :)

The slaw is quite good. As for the curds, when they are very hot they have a melted interior. But cheese curds in general have a very tough consistency for a cheese, kind of rubbery. That's what makes them squeaky when they're really fresh, which is the only way to eat them. So when the curds start to cool down, they start to get rubbery. That's why they must first be hot out of the fryer, and second eaten as quickly as possible. If you can satisfy that first condition, the second takes care of itself.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here's a shot of the crumb of the loaf I cooked last night.

crumb shot.jpg

It's very open, but not too much so. I'm happy with it. And this method makes for a reliably cool and creamy crumb with a nice toasty crust.

Stop! You are killing me. Bread AND rabbit. Superb.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I just got back from the Dane County Farmer's Market, the biggest one around here and according to the website, "the largest producer-only farmer's market in the country." It takes place on the square that surrounds the capital building. Here's the view from one angle

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There are many farmer's markets that take place over the course of the week, but this one's of course the most popular because it brings in a wide range of vendors and food carts. The square is packed with people by noon, so much so that it can be difficult to walk. And traffic goes one way around the square, clockwise, so if you need to go back to something you will literally have to get out of the stream of people to backtrack and get back in to where you want to go. The only time I've ever seen it more packed than that was for political reasons. That's why I go early to beat the rush.

The market will move indoors in November. As for now, it's all fall produce. Brussel sprout stalks, apples, squashes, etc., but there are some tomatoes and peppers. For the latter, everybody was saying that this week they pretty much pulled everything up because it's starting to get colder at night and there's going to be some frosting. So this was definitely the last week for that: summer is no more. That's ok though, Fall's got plenty to offer and besides, I was getting tired of Summer anyway.

It's prime apple season

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I got some of these Stayman Winesaps, which are supposed to be tart but plenty fruity too with a very crisp texture. That sounds right up my ally.

I also got some potatoes

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This guy's got some really interesting potato varieties. I picked up some German butterballs, because the name sounds good and they looked freshly dug.

Then I stopped by to pick up my pre-order of pork

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I was hoping to get some backfat, but unsure of whether I would since I missed or didn't get the email about the order. Sue and Tony hooked me up with three big slabs of it. I was happy about that, but less happy about the fact that I came here alone with only a small backpack. Getting back with all my stuff was going to be a problem.

Anyway I stopped by this jelly stand

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I was tempted but didn't pick anything up. I already have two bottle of their jelly in the fridge anyway. What I like about them is that many of these jellies have jalapeno in them, which adds a nice fruitiness and a little heat to the jelly. I like the plain jalapeno, but jalapeno-serrano-raspberry is my favorite. I just learned about jelly omelettes in another thread around here, and I'm thinking I need to make a jalapeno jelly omelette with queso fresco before I run out of this bottle. I'll have to do that before I forget.

Squash and pumpkin season is in full effect

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I got a butternut squash.

I stopped by the Hook's stand

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Where I saw this

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Apparently its an experimental cheese, a cross between Limburger and a blue. I didn't get any since I didn't have any room, but I'm intrigued. Might be good on a sandwich of some sort.

Lastly, I stopped by Harmony Valley

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They tend to grow some more interesting vegetables. So while I had absolutely no room to carry anything, I saw these and had to buy one

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You can't see it too well but its a bunch of cardoons. They are huge and I've never cooked them before but it's going to be fun to try something new.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here's what I came home with from the market.

The back fat

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As you can see, they are nice big slabs. I was planning on devoting all of it to sausage making, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to make some lardo out of this beautiful bounty of fat. I would be a crime not to.

I also picked up some fresh and smoked pork jowls, some cottage bacon, and a shoulder roast. I've gotten really into cottage bacon lately. When I first had it, I didn't like it's chewier texture but now I eat it much more than belly bacon. I like smoked jowl better too: the fat is nice and spongy in texture and it makes great lardons.

And of course, here's the bunch of cardoon stalks.

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I've never cooked this before, but a woman at the Harmony Valley stand said they're good peeled, blanched, then sauteed with shallots or onions. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to handle these cardoons though? I'm open to suggestions and have no experience with them.

I'm thinking I'll cook up some of that pork, maybe braise some pork cheeks and serve over butternut squash puree? I do have that shoulder roast though. Anybody have any thoughts?

farmers market 13.JPG

nunc est bibendum...

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The cardoons look interesting...sort of celery-ish in appearance. Would love to see what you do with them.

BTW I was lusting over the purple potatoes in the farmers market pictures. I always wanted my Dad to grow some. I heard there are some varieties that keep their colour after cooking...I wanted purple mashed potato!

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The cardoons look interesting...sort of celery-ish in appearance. Would love to see what you do with them.

BTW I was lusting over the purple potatoes in the farmers market pictures. I always wanted my Dad to grow some. I heard there are some varieties that keep their colour after cooking...I wanted purple mashed potato!

I think I'm going to gratinee the cardoons. As for those potatoes, there was one variety there that stayed purple when cooked and one that apparently is pink. I would have gone for those, but butterball potatoes just sounded too good. Butter, salt, and potatoes is one of the best things in the world.

nunc est bibendum...

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Cardoons have to be sliced very thin - I steam them over acidulated water for at least 30 minutes prior to cutting them otherwise they are tough.

They are very popular in the south of Italy and there are some wonderful recipes.

Fried cardoons with anchovies are often incorporated into stratas.

Here is some helpful information.

And a recipe you might find helpful.

For the cardoons I had (home grown) the 30 minute simmering time was not nearly enough and I had to cook them an additional 20 minutes. The next time I prepared this dish I steamed the cardoons cut into 6-inch segments until tender and then sliced them and continued on with the dish as directed.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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