So, it all started with a duck. Charcutepalooza picks something from "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing" by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. We are all making Duck Prosciutto. So the story begins:
I was sitting at work in Westford, Massachusetts and trying to figure out where to get duck breasts. I doubted that any grocery stores around would have them. Fortunately we do have lots of farms around. I started to look into it. Nothing was going my way until I saw that there was the "New Oriental Market" down the street from work. I called. I conquered. I went and picked up that little duck and felt the victory of the hunt. One small setback is that it was frozen. Ok, well it will just have to thaw.
I started to do my research of how to cut up a duck. I have never cut a bird before so I needed to learn. I consulted with Julia and Jacque on this one.
I trusted Julia more than I did Jacque so I studied her techniqe (sorry Jacque if you are reading my blog). One hitch was that I didn't have a boning knife but I did have a sharp knife and a pair of shears and I wasn't afraid to use them. Ok, maybe a little but I braved through the terror.
I went back and watched videos and looked all kinds of stuff up on the internet. I took a deep breath and began.
My tool of the trade. Pretty pathetic no? Ok, I did had scissors too and I might have just done a bit of ripping with my bare hands as well. Fast forward a bit and this is what I ended up with (ok Vegetarians I didn't want to get to graphic because I love you too).
Voila! Duck breast. Now I was on a roll. I didn't want to waste anything so I rendered the fat for a future use.
I then was ready to salt and leave overnight, but I must have blacked out because there are no pictures of this. Once again I feel like Carlton the doorman (if you are too young for the reference look it up on the internet) and I forgot to take pictures of the salting process. Although sometimes I am a bit "forgetful" I do have my lucid moments and I came up with a brilliant idea for these duck breasts. I have a smoking gun and I thought it would be cool to smoke the salt with it. I used applewood to do this.
I also thought that Bourbon and Maple would taste good with this (well, I thought about it for a while I didn't just COME UP with it). So, I decided to soak the cheesecloth overnight in Jim Beam and Maple syrup (which I got locally of course).
After the duck breasts came out of the salt (I keep saying DUCK breasts instead of just BREASTS because I don't want to embarass anyone) it was time to wrap them in cheesecloth.
There is just one problem with these breasts (duck). They are REALLY small. Ok, no jokes here because we are all grownups and it is unnecessary
They are weighed before hanging because the way to tell if they are ready is when they weigh 30% less than when you started.
This is the part that Dr Food wasn't really too happy about. I went to the basement and hijacked his wine refrig. Ok, nevermind the fact that since moving from California the damn thing is pretty empty. No more wine clubs that brought us at least 4 bottles a month. This stupid state doesn't allow wine to be shipped to my house. Ok, back on the subject of duck (breasts).
The temp was perfect for this procedure so Dr. Food lost the battle.
This is where they remain for 3 more days. Stay tuned and you can see how it all turns out and what I do with the end product. That is if I don't die from being poisoned.
So onto the Vegetarian section of this blog post. I found a recipe for a vegetable stock that intrigued me. So this weekend Dr. Food and I went to a place that all the locals kept telling me that I would love. The place is called Rousso's and it is amazing. It has a huge selection of produce and other great stuff. I was a happy women shopping in there.
How pretty is that? I chopped up all the stuff that was called for in the recipe which I got from In Jennie's Kitchen I loved the fact that the vegetables remain raw. You need to check out this recipe and make some. I have to warn you that it IS salty because you use 7 oz of salt as a curing agent. When you reconstitute it all will be fine.
Oh and one more thing (yes, I am chatty today because Dr. Food had the stomach flu and he didn't talk much. Just sat there and groaned and so I am a bit um...ya know...what is the word for it? )
I was chosen to be a "Recipe Tester" for Leites Culinaria and although I am not really allowed to talk about the recipes I can just say that I had fun cooking this weekend.