Duck Dinner

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waiting for browning

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almost ready for the slow cook

everyone raves about duck. whole duck. we usually portion our birds, but I thought, “eh, what the heck”.  the beer braised muscovy recipe on this site (scroll down or ctrl + F once you’re there to find it) intrigued me … we have a “smoky” beer that we brewed (a little heavy handed on the carmelization of the malt, heh, heh) which worked out deliciously.  I got a little carried away with the dried fruit, so it was a bit overpoweringly sweet.

verdict: nummy.

but I’d still rather portion our birds.  look at all the goodies we get out of duck day vs. whole ducks that each result in a meal or two for a family.

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Plantain

we discovered the joy of barbequed bananas a number of years ago: I don’t remember what induced me to try it, but we had a hot grill from some kind of post-flesh-conflagration, a bunch of ripe-ish bananas and I love deep fried bananas so I thought “eh, what the heck”.

delicious.  if you’ve never tried, do. stick whole (unpeeled) on still hot (not screaming) but cooling grill.  works fine for oven baking at 350F for about 20 minutes (or until oozing & soft –  might want to stick them in a pan, I use cast iron). must use ripe bananas; kind of disappointing otherwise.

so this week’s findin’ fridays post is related, sort of.

plantain.

Photo of four varieties of bananas.

Photo of four varieties of bananas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

another “what’s that?” from K at the grocery store, and at $0.88 per pound, I figured, “eh, what the heck” and repeated experiment above with plantains (again, post-flesh-conflagration success, this time on the Cobb).

additional notes: also successful oven baked whole at 350F for around 20 minutes, but divine with maple syrup mashed into the scooped-out flesh.  ice cream would be great, too (alas, none here, egg allergy).

apparently acceptable to paleo diets.  whatever.  they’re nummy.  and a cheap treat/dessert.  also great baked & blended with steamed taro root for pudding.

turns out there are a lot of savoury options, too.  check out the links for some other plantain ideas (hmmm…)

Octopus Confit

we’re lucky to have an opportunity to participate in a CSF (community supported fishery) out of Cowichan Bay.   salmon, prawns, shrimp & octopus on offer; we got just salmon & octopus this year.

Giant Pacific Octopus Arm

Giant Pacific Octopus Arm (Photo credit: Michael Bentley)

last year we prepared it confit according to Project Octopus’ instructions, except we used lard that we’d previously used to confit duck. complicated. delicious.

added some crushed cloves of garlic, bay leaves & crushed green peppercorns; it was salty enough from two rounds of previous confit.  we ditched the fat this time; will have to start again next year.

verdict: fabulous.  best octopus any of us have ever eaten (and we’ve all eaten a fair amount of octopus in various preparations).

K’s verdict: “give me the sucker disks!” she ate them like candy.  and the tentacle ends.  this 3 year old loves beef and pork tongues, sashimi (including uni), gizzard goulash, liver paté… we’re lucky to have such an adventuresome palette in such a young kid!

Shank Dinner

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dinner, thanks to Limpy

after a hard day for D, and some butchering, here was dinner no. 2, thanks to Limpy, the 730 lb boar we shared in.

via McLagan’s Odd Bits, we enjoyed Ragu Masterplan (heart, trim & tongue), and tonight a rear leg/shank braised with mirepoix and finished in a cranberry sauce, with a cranberry jam condiment (sugar, vinegar, cranberries: cook).  oh yum.

we’re getting better: the more animals we butcher ourselves, the more we’re getting out of the animal (odd bits, braising bits, fat, bone broth, paté, sausages & other charcuterie …)

looking forward to more great dinners, with family, and with friends.

we get to enjoy thanksgiving every day, lucky us.

Pig… month?

we’ve been blessed by an embarrassment of riches this summer: free ducks, free Berkshire boars, all for the taking, we just have to do the work.  well, yup, lots of work.  last Saturday & this Saturday are “boar days”.  last week’s boy was over 700 lbs.  wow.  and we’re happy to share: a number of friends have participated & received meat, or have shared dinners with us.  why not?  what on earth are we going to do with (possibly) 2000 lbs of pig?

Taro (Dasheen)

welcome to findin’ fridays, where I post something new to us (thus far, new fruit & veg).

English: Colocasia esculenta (dasheen). Locati...

English: Colocasia esculenta (dasheen). Location: Maui, Foodland Pukalani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

today’s new food is dasheen or taro.  taro is a staple the world ’round, used in many cultures, and many ways; however, the most important thing to note is it’s not to be eaten raw.  the oxalate content can be very toxic; there are various cultivars available, some less concentrated in oxalate than others, but proper cooking is still important.

my original plan was to make taro chips.  sadly, I don’t think we’d purchased the correct variant for that, so instead I steamed them to peel, then continued steaming to cook.  added a couple of very ripe bananas, some freshly brewed kefir, and blended it altogether for a tropical pudding.