Monday, September 29, 2008

Duck, Two Ways

Actually one fusion recipe that began as two.

I love duck and every style and cooking method I have tasted has had something to offer. I have tasted it in Vietnam (very fresh) France, Spain, and in Italy the most wonderful duck balsamica (I totally got that recipe, I watched a wonderful Italian lady in Peruga make it step, by step).

I got a Moulard at a Chinatown butcher and had him quarter it for me and had two thighs sitting in my freezer staring at me. Moulard has less fat than Pekin so won't stand up to the long roast but more fat than the Muscovy so it can't be served rare.

I took the two thighs and put them in a marinade of 1 cup dark soy sauce and 1 cup apple cider, and a big handful of star anise and let them sit for a couple of days. By Sunday I was sort of in the mood for German style with potatoes. Would it work with an Asian marinade?

All I could do was try.

2 Duck Thighs
1 Cup Apple Cider
1 Cup Dark Soy Sauce
1 BIG handful of Star Anise

Marinate for two days. The morning of the roast remove duck from marinade and put skin side up in the refrigerator uncovered so the skin will dry and crisp.

3 medium apples peeled and sliced
1 large onion peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil

Cook the apple and onion in the oil until it is soft and pliable. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Take your duck and a little peanut oil, heat a pan very hot with the oil and place the duck skin side down to sear, I put a cast iron skillet on top to push down and even the skin against the pan for a good browning.

While the duck sears place two mounds of the apple confit in a casserole and surround with new potatoes.Place the seared duck thighs atop the mounds and place in a hot oven (400) for 70 minutes uncovered.


I like a lot of different wines with duck. Last night we paired it with a Chateau Petrus 2004, which is not the same as the world famous Petrus, but it is a very good, much more reasonably priced Bordeaux.

Avocado Crab Fritters

Katie is a regular reader who today sent me the most beautiful photos of herself and her daughter along with a recipe request. She wants to use up some avocado and does not want another guacomole recipe. How could I resist two such beautiful women? I pulled the fritters out of my files. I used to make these in San Francisco and they were more popular than crab cakes. San Francisco has abundant crab, but it is never cheap.

If crab is too dear these can be made with any other chopped white fish. They need to be eaten when fresh and hot and not surprisingly pair well with salsa as a dipping sauce.

Enough peanut oil for deep frying
1 cup crab
1 Avocado chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup finely diced chives
1/2 cup finely diced parsley
Roughly 1/2 cup Mayo
1 egg white stiffly beaten (peaks)
2 tablespoons of flour
1 dash of baking powder
Bread Crumbs (Panko are nice)
Mix everything together save the Mayo, then add just enough to fully bind the ingredients. Take a small ice cream scooper and make mini meatball sized fritters and roll in the bread crumbs.

Have your oil heated to 350 and slowly and carefully place into the oil moving with chopsticks until they full brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a draining rack. (Paper towels can cause the steam to collect and make a soggy fritter.)

Delicious on their own or dipped into a bit of salsa. While summer may be over on the calender I would serve these with a crisp Rose' from the south of France. A Tavel perchance?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A GREAT Burger

With the collapse of Wall Street, not everyone is eating filet these days, but a burger. What non vegetarian can say no to a delicious burger?

I make no secret of the fact that I despise ketchup. Most of is is high fructose corn syrup with tomato flavor. I feel that it masks the flavor of meat because of it's cloying sweetness.

This recipe is for 6 good sized burgers but it is easy enough to cut in half. Just keep the proportion in mind if you want a bigger burger, have it. I find 1/4 pound a bit small but 1/2 way too big. 1/3 is my portion size.

First take one medium sized tomato per serving and slice into 6 slices. Put on a cookie sheet brushed with olive oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt. Put into a low oven (325) for about an hour. You want them to slightly roast and dehydrate, not turn to mush, but even if they do turn to mush, scoop them on with a spoon. It will be alright.

6 Brioche rolls warmed and split
2 lbs really good grass fed ground beef
Worcestershire Sauce

1 tomato per serving
5 mushrooms and one half a Spanish onion per serving
olive oil

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup spicy mustard
1/8 cup soy sauce

Put on gloves and mix with your hands...I use 4 good dashes of salt and pepper per serving and two of the Worcestershire. You can add more or less according to your taste. Put a bit of parchment on your food scale and weight for exact proportion or eyeball it. 6 even patties. Set in the frig.

Mix the Mayo mustard and soy sauce and set in the frig, covered.

Saute your mushrooms and onions in olive oil until they become soft and caramelized. Hungry yet?

If you have an outdoor grill go ahead and grill these puppies, but for those without that take your largest cast iron skillet and rub with a little oil and pre-heat. When very hot place the patties one by one in the skillet and turn the heat down a bit.

NEVER press down a burger with a spatula, leave them alone for at least 4 minutes to sear, then turn over and cook til desired doneness. The food police say it has to be well done and if you eat grocery store meat it's a good idea, I like medium.

Place your tomato slices on the bottom of the split brioche, top with the burger, give them a good dollop of the mayo sauce and top with the mushroom/onion mix and serve.

I will keep budget options in mind for a while. If I know Washington this bailout will screw the taxpayers and make the rich more rich. We have to take care of one another.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wine of the Day

Marc Bredif 2005 Chinon: This wine was a gift and I stuck in in the cellar and quite frankly forgot about until I went down to look for something else. I like Chinon, it is an often overlooked region that when good can be spectacular. This wine is tightly fruit focused with just enough tannin, extra dry and paired perfectly with Tuna steak. I am still savoring it. 100% Cab Franc and one of the best examples of it's class.

It would be tacky to look up the price of a gift (until of course I look to purchase some) but I can't imagine you will find it for much under $20.00 per bottle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Josephine Pardys Macaroni and cheese

Josephine Pardy's is one of those remarkable southern women, always groomed to within an inch of her life and dressed in finery. In her own words..."I have lived, don't never feel sorry for me."

She is not a chef of the highest order, but she has a few tricks up her sleeve and one cold afternoon in San Francisco she shared a few with me. To this day I will make her Macaroni and cheese when I decide to care nothing about calories. It is the ultimate comfort food. You can pair it with anything or serve a wedge on it's own. You won't go hungry. Once baked you can freeze individual squares and warm for a wonderful treat.

1 lb macaroni pasta
1 lb cheddar cheese
1 lb Other cheese (mozzarella, jack, Swiss, whatever you've got, mix them up if you like. I have.)
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
A bunch of shakes of onion powder
A bunch more of garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
dash of salt
1/2 pound butter

I told you it was comfort food, and not low fat. Cook the pasta lightly (very al dente) drain and rinse. Mix milk, seasonings, 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 the cheese in a bowl. Toss in the pasta. Already you are hungry. Throw about a third of this mix in a greased 9/13 pan. Throw a third of the cheese on this. Another third of pasta and another third of cheese, the last third and the last of the cheese. Now take that last stick of butter and cut into slices and place atop the final cheese layer. Put uncovered in the oven (350) for 40 minutes.

Let it rest out of the oven for about 10 minutes before cutting. Cut and serve.

You will sing praises to Gods you never knew existed. Thank you Miss Josephine.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Green Beans Franca

Today was one of those amazing days in NY. The weather was warm and sunny so I set out on my rounds on foot. I walked down to the gym and did a decent workout and then proceeded to put in my time at the street fair on Columbus Avenue.

While there I found the spice lady. I can never remember if it is Cumin or Coriander that I am out of so I bought both, along with a few other kitchen essentials.

I hit the Farmer's market and got Ed's most delicious apples, eggplant, etc. At Franca's stand I picked up more gorgeous green beans, some tomatoes and some of her hot peppers. She and Ed have been feeding me for more than 20 years and I love them both. With a back pack full of the best food in the world I headed to a Be-In in Central Park, it was a lovely disorganized event. To change the world we have to change our minds and hearts and a Be-in is a good place to get your spirit together.

You would think that with all this walking I would have been starving, and I was. Yet still I managed to make vegetables my dinner. I lost several pounds after my surgery and as much as I wanted a bowl of creamy pasta with a mushroom sauce, I went for the green beans. No one ever got fat from too many vegetables.

2 lbs green beans
3 medium hot peppers cut into tiny pieces
5 slices of bacon cut into small bits
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes chopped into bits
A few dashes of soy sauce
A couple of drops of Cider Vinegar

Cut the bacon into bits and lay out in a non stick skillet. Fry until crisp stirring as needed. Take out the bacon and reserve the fat. Toss in your hot pepper and cook until soft and almost creamy. Remove. Warm your tomatoes in the fat, or if you like them more saucy cook for a bit. Remove to a warm plate. Throw in the green beans and cook until they are the way you like them from crisp to soft, your choice. Toss everything back in plus the soy and Vinegar and stir over high heat.

Remove to warm plate and enjoy with a glass of Chianti

For dessert I am going to have an apple...and if you think that's not special then you have not tasted Ed's apples.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More shopping than Cooking Amazing Ribs

I recently shared this recipe for the first time. I created it through years of trial and error.

I love ribs, of all types but I could never get past the horrific sweetness of most rubs and sauces. Of course most purchased in stores are High Fructose Corn Syrup based, but even a lot of homemade just had too much sugar for my taste.

I played and played and finally came up with what I thought were the best elements of all the rubs and sauces. The sweetness fades into the background when you hit the sharp tang of the vinegar sop and the warmth of the spices. You need a good spice store, and some time to shop but you won't regret having all these seasonings and peppers on hand. The subtle flavors they impart into so many dishes will make you happy you made the investment.

If you want the basics but a few fewer ingredients...adapt. They will still be good.

The Rub
ÿ 1/3 cup sea salt
ÿ 1/4 cup white sugar
ÿ 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
ÿ 2 tablespoons garlic powder
ÿ 4 tablespoons onion powder
ÿ 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
ÿ 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
ÿ 3 tablespoons New Mexico red Chile powder
ÿ 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
ÿ 2 tablespoons jalapeno powder
ÿ 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
ÿ 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
ÿ 1 tablespoon dried thyme
ÿ 2 tablespoons crumbled dried thyme
ÿ 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
ÿ 2 tablespoons ground cumin
ÿ 1 tablespoon coriander
ÿ 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
ÿ 1 tablespoon ground allspice
ÿ 1 tablespoon dried mustard
Rub the spice mixture onto the meat 24 hours in advance of cooking and let the flavors meld with the meat. Uncovered in the refrigerator is fine.

Cook the ribs on a rack in a slow oven 325 for an hour (longer for beef) before moving to the grill or wok for the finishing cooking.

If grilling use indirect heat and sop with sauce every 10 minutes.

If finishing in the wok, cook for an additional 45 minutes in the oven giving a sop every 15 minutes for the last 45.

Then cut the ribs into portions and place in the work sopping and sopping on a low heat until they are glazed and beginning to fall apart.

ÿ 2 cups cider vinegar
ÿ 2 cups apple cider
ÿ Juice of two limes
ÿ 1 cup tomato juice
ÿ 1/4 cup soy sauce
ÿ 2 tablespoons molasses
ÿ 1/4 cup mustard
ÿ 1 cup white wine
ÿ 1/4 cup salt
ÿ 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
ÿ 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
ÿ 1/2 cup light brown sugar
ÿ 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
ÿ 1 tablespoon white pepper
ÿ 1 tablespoon black pepper
ÿ 1 tablespoon curry paste
ÿ 1/4 cup olive oil
ÿ 3 tablespoons grated ginger
ÿ 8 cloves garlic WITH 11 anchovies (use the food processor and add some liquid to make a fine paste that can be beaten into the sauce.
ÿ 5 drops liquid smoke

I love these and the problem with my making them again to make sure I had my timing and measurements down was the fact that I now am eating ribs, lots of ribs. I even had some for breakfast with figs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grandma Ett's Swiss Steak

No worries, I am not about to use a packet of gravy mix. I just thought that is was very funny to find that there are folks who can't deal with making something so fundamentally simple.

My entire childhood my grandmother made savory variations of this dish, all delicious and all fundamentally the same despite the fact that the cuts of meat would change, tomatoes would change from fresh to canned, seasoning would vary, but there was always an undercurrent of flavor that made it taste like Grandma's. Part of it was love, the other part was dried onions. No kidding, in later years she used Lipton's onion soup and I won't use it. As a result I lost a bit of the essence and stopped making the dish.

I have come up with a solution (dried onions, no kidding that was it) and a delicious homage to my grandmother. This can be cooked in a slow dutch oven and is equally comfortable spending 6 to 8 hours in a crock pot. The gravy makes itself and if you can mash a potato and add a nice serving of veg you will have one of the ultimate comfort foods.

2 lbs grass fed bone in chuck (or quite frankly any tough cut with some fat and bone)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Beat your meat with a mallet or hammer, add salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Beat it a second time and put into a hot pan or dutch oven with some olive oil and butter to brown.

2 large onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups strong red wine (Malbec is great for this)
2 cups STRONG beef stock
2 finely chopped medium carrots
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 cup dried onion flakes

Remove your brown beef to a plate or a crock pot if that is where you will finish it. Toss in the liquids to deglaze the pan and throw everything else in stir and simmer. Either put the beef back in and cover baking in a slow(225) oven for 6 to 7 hours or finish in crock pot.

Taste the reduced gravy before serving and adjust seasoning if neccesary.

The beef will be meltingly tender, the sauce made for mashed potatoes, rice or buttered noodles. The leftovers will taste even better, IF there are any.

Grandma food with attitude.

Monday, September 8, 2008

NOT so Sweet Surprise

One more rant before we get back to our scheduled programming. I am testing a re-make of my Grandma Ett's Swiss Steak, which I have not done properly for years and if this recipe turns out to be tasty it will be the next recipe to share.

The corn syrup industry is in a tizzy because more an more people are rejecting products made with high fructose corn syrup. They have gone so far as to create a web site. AND do television commercials. The key line is..."high fructose corn syrup is okay for you in moderation."


But in America we don't consume it in moderation. It is in thousands of food products that you might not expect, meat, bread and pretzels. Of course it is not needed in ANY of those, or other products.

If you shop in grocery stores you are likely consuming way more than a 'moderate' amount of this chemical concoction. They say it meets all FDA standards for being a natural food. ONLY because the FDA has no standards for what can or what not can be called natural.

My recommendation as both a nutritionist and chef. Never consume this in any quantity. Let any company who uses it know that you will not purchase their products, as long as they continue putting this into your food.

Shop Farmer's markets whenever possible, buy organic and local when you can, and only consume natural meat from trusted purveyors. Whole Foods is not to be trusted, their 'grass-fed beef' is grass fed and grain finished destroying the balance of omega 3 to 6.

It all has to do with money. HFCS is used because it is cheaper than sugar. It is cheaper because we subsidize the farmer's who make it. If you don't want your tax dollars going to this begin calling and writing letters NOW to congress to end corn subsidy. They never subsidize Heirloom tomatoes at your local Farmer's Market.

Also beware of corn, especially super sweet varieties. They have been bred and modified to the point where they are now pretty much giving your Frankenfood. Corn should be nutty, grainy, not dessert like. Super sweet corn is loaded with calories and your 'vegetable can make you FAT. If you must have it think of it in the same way as you do ice cream, an occasional very unhealthy treat.

Products you might not expect to see laden with high fructose corn syrup.

Stove Top Stuffing
Capri-Sun Juice Drink
Hanson's All-Natural Soda
Newman's Own Pink Lemonade
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice
Starbucks' Frappuccino
Brownberry Breads
Pepperidge Farm's line of 100% whole grain breads
Sara Lee Heart Healthy Whole Grain Bread.
Thomas English Muffins
Almost every cereal made by Kellogs
Heinz 57 Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Hunt's Catsup
Miracle Whip
Plus generic versions of Ketchups.
Nutri-Grain products, bars and granola
Cough Syrups
Nabisco Crackers
Yoplait and Breyer's yogurts
B&M Original Baked Beans
Contadina Tomato Paste
Claussen Pickles - Bread and Butter Chips
Claussen Pickles - Kosher Dill Burger Slices
Claussen Pickles - Sweet Gherkins
Claussen Pickle Relish
Del Monte canned petite diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
Del Monte Fruit Naturals Red Grapefruit
Heinz Pickle Relish
Mott's Applesauce
Mt. Olive Sweet Relish
Mt. Olive Bread and Butter Pickles
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Dryer's and Ben and Jerry's Ice Creams
Oscar Meyer Meats
Oscar Meyer Lunchables
Most Kraft and Miracle Whip salad Dressings
A-1 Sauce
Campbell's Vegetable Soup
Most brand of BBQ sauce

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2006 Reserve Perrin

I may not be chewing much but, I can DRINK. This is one of the best wines under $10.00 I have come across in years. $8.99 in my area, $9.99 if you
have a Trader Joe's near you.

Chill to cellar temperature and pour into the glass one hour before imbibing. It needs the time with oxygen to open up. This is a great value and a wonderful every day drinking wine, so why not drink it everyday? It may not go with the food you are having. It is of medium body and pairs well with many things, but if you are having grass- beef (I'm not at least for another week) go with an Argentinian Malbec.

For a buck more than that vile swill Yellowtail you can have a nice wine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Finally on Facebook

Karl Wilder's Facebook profile

My Sister-in-Law Libby convinced me to create a page on this site. I alternate between shy and private. The more I am out there, the less I want to be.

When the tomatoes are at their peak in the garden (mine are now) this is an ideal bite to serve with a good wine when you feel like doing little and enjoying your company more.

1 loaf crusty french bread, sliced 1" thick
6-8 ripe tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz whole milk, fresh Mozarella sliced or torn.
Olive oil
Huge amount of torn basil from the garden

Split the loaf in half and rub with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and broil til it just begins to brown. top with the cheese and chopped tomatoes and broil for about 5 minutes, crush fresh basil into the tomato and melted cheese and cut into pieces and serve.

A great Chianti Classico at cellar temperature would be perfect.

I LOVE summer.