Summer Break

Claire and I tend to take a cooking hiatus during the summer; our kitchen is small and it gets hot quickly so we find that it’s easier just to grill outdoors or hit up our favorite restaurants while the summer sun blazes. We haven’t forgotten about documenting our culinary adventures though, so hopefully as the weather cools down the kitchen will heat up (without suffocating us) and we’ll have fun new content here on MI.

That said, a few months ago I whipped up some ‘foie gras and pork heart stuffed’ squab. Tiny delicious pigeon stuffed with a rich, meaty paste of breadcrumbs, foie gras, ground and chopped pig heart, celery and onions and capped off with another slice of foie. Heavily salted and peppered, browned and roasted.

I’ve got a friend on the lookout for Deer Tongue for another corned tongue experiment, and curing season is upon us. I can’t wait to get back under the apron!

French Kiss

It’s been a while since we’ve posted; Claire has been busy with school and I don’t really cook excessive meals for just myself. Such is life.

You do have to stop and smell the roses sometime, so I treated myself to a “French Kiss” from Di Brunos. A cognac soaked prune cored out and stuffed with foie gras. Everything just came together perfectly.

See you guys soon!

I live for liver

My foie gras obsession is well documented.
Calf’s liver was a staple of my diet growing up, but when I was first introduced to the fatty duck liver shortly after moving to Philadelphia, it was love at first sight. Rich, pungent and perfectly seared my first experience with foie was at Stephen Starr’s POD at a birthday celebration. I didn’t know anything about the politics of fattening geese and ducks for enlarged livers. I didn’t know that the price of foie made regular eating cost prohibitive or that it would raise my cholesterol levels off the charts. Only that it was something I had to have again and again.

And I have. Over the years I’ve had it seared, in a torchon, mousse of quail’s liver foie gras… even foie gras ice cream. So you can imagine my excitement when I wandered into the diBruno’s grocery store on Chestnut street to find fresh foie on sale for $19.99 a pound. I had stopped in to buy duck breast to cure another prosciutto with the promise to myself that I wasn’t going to buy anything else.

But c’mon. Twenty dollars a pound? I couldn’t resist. As I waited in the checkout line with my duck’s breast and pound of foie (and a mozzarella with creme fraiche; I figured I’d already broken my promise to only buy duck) I started planning a dinner in my head.

Something simple. A protein bomb of two 16oz locally raised ribeye steaks, seared foie gras, lima beans and Claire’s always delicious chopped brussels sprouts.

The ribeyes came from Whole Foods and cost more than my discounted duck livers; but when I saw the extra thick marbled cuts in the butcher’s case I knew they were perfect. The noble brussles sprout, which has the distinction of being my favorite vegetable, also came from Whole Foods and were gigantic.

Prep time was almost nonexistent; I rubbed the steaks with a quick mix of seasoning while Claire sauteed the sprouts and put our skillet over high heat until it started smoking. Added oil and waited for thatto start smoking, and dropped the steaks in and jumped back while they started splattering and sputtering.

In a second skillet I seared a few slices of foie trying to keep the timing just right. The steaks were about 1.5″ thick, so I had to keep an eye on them as I seared the livers. The incredibly hot skillet seared the spice rub to crisp perfection, with the insides still cold and tender. Claire’s sprouts were brilliantly green and crunchy… the whole dinner was worth the now mounting costs.

Best yet, I still have half of the steak chilling in the fridge to be cubed and eaten cold.

A perfect dinner with the perfect little Chef.

Meat and Cheese

The cooler months are perfect for dry curing; humidity and temperature is much easier to control. The weather started changing recently in Philadelphia, so to celebrate I hung my first prosciutto of of the season. I mixed up the dry rub this time; running rosemary, black peppercorns and truffle sea salt through a round in my mortar and doubling the amount of rub used on previous ducks.

Claire and I took the prosciutto down earlier today and made a meat and cheese plate featuring the duck and joined by seared foie gras and sweetbread sausages, a truffle infused cow’s milk cheese, cumin infused cheese and a very garlicky cow’s milk cheese.

I made use of the meat slicer that Claire got me for Christmas, slicing the duck a little thicker than DiBruno’s usually does for a more solid bite.

As the fall progresses, I’m going to start experimenting with fermented cured sausages; until then… I’m going to enjoy the rest of this duck!