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  1. No Sense or Sensibility: Chinese Black Chicken Rillettes with Quail Egg Salad

    July 3, 2011 by David Bridges


    Sense and Sensibility. Some days I am filled with one and some days I am filled with both. Some times I’m just filled with IT. But it is in the times of downtrodden depression that I seem to have the magical ability to conjure up neither. All of our recipes and journeys up to this point have been filled with luxury. But in a sly sort of way, our luxurious meals have still has been fairly economical. The Breast of Lamb recipe literally cost me $12 and it fed 4 people comfortably. The Rooter to The Tooter is luxury for the intelligent. Of coarse every so often we must throw caution to the wind and really splurge. What’s the first thing one does when he has been asked not to return to his job? Buy $25 worth of Chinese black chicken to make rillettes that serves one, of coarse.
    Probably some where below in the comments section our beloved ScottyRockYourBody will make a concise case as to why my behavior actually shows me to have plenty of Sense and Sensibility. His point will be great and from the outside looking in, make an enormous amount of sense. Just bear in mind, for he does not live in reality. He lives in the Abacos.
    As I sit here and take in the luxury of the rillettes on my tongue while my 2 pups, Rooter and Tooter nap in my lap. My gorgeous fiancé searching through the cellar for something special, I really do feel a hell of a lot better about the rising sun tomorrow and whichever new adventure it will hold.

    Black Chicken Rillettes with Quail Egg Salad
    Serves one with a spirit that can’t be broken and talent that can’t be denied

    2 whole Chinese black chickens
    2qts lard
    Chinese five spice
    1 can(15oz) of quail eggs
    2T green onion chopped
    T dill pickle relish
    2T sweet pickle relish
    2t fresh ginger minced
    3T mayonnaise
    Kosher salt
    Bread
    Olive oil

    Take the whole birds and cut them into their respective pieces. Cut off the neck, then the legs and split the breasts. Place all the pieces into a pot and add the lard. Mark your flame to medium heat and after the lard has melted make sure all the pieces of chicken or fully submerged. What a wonderful fantasy those 2 chickens are living. As the fat starts to jiggle like my belly when I walk, turn down the heat to low. If the fat starts to jiggle like my belly when I dance, then the music is too loud and must be turned down. We are poaching not frying. Let the birds poach for 2 hours. Turn off the heat and let the black chickens cool in the fat.
    Remove the birds from their fantasy of fat and pick all the meat and skin from the bones. The skin is fairly thin and so I see no reason not to invite it to the party too. Take 2/3rds of your chicken and shred it in a food processor until it is fine and smooth. Take the other 1/3 of your chicken and shred it by hand. Mix the 2 together and add some of the poaching lard until a smooth spreadable paste consistency is achieved. Add the salt just until it tastes slightly more salty than you want and the Chinese five spice to taste slightly more spiced than you want. The subsequent chilling will compensate your palate later on. Place the mixture into a crock and top with a layer of poaching fat. The fat will seal the rillettes from the oxygen and the bacteria that follows it. Chill the rillettes crock until the time comes.
    Make the egg salad by rough chopping the quail eggs and mixing in a bowl with the green onion, relish, ginger and mayonnaise. A pinch of salt wouldn’t hurt.
    The chosen vessel for consumption is the crostini. I like the “chewiness” of frying as opposed to baking for this recipe. Cut some ½ inch thick slices of crusty artisan bread and get a ¼ cup of olive oil hot in a pan. Fry the bread on both sides until nice and brown and pile them up for later.
    Gather your puppies and put them on your lap. Arrange the rillettes, bread and egg salad on the arm of your lazy boy. Give your gorgeous fiancé some pathetic look that will make her go fetch a bottle of wine. Can anything really be that bad?

     

    “Hard work is for people who have no talent.”
    George Carlin

     


  2. Mother Nature’s Intuition: Mint Spiced Lamb Breast

    June 9, 2011 by David Bridges

     

    There are no binds that can confine an intuitive cook. Cooking can be just as full filling to the soul as Love when you learn to listen and hear your heart. Our hearts have been telling us what to eat and when to eat it since the day we were conceived. The Heart’s woodwind section becomes easily overwhelmed with the incessant bombardment of the percussion that is the media. I am very apologetic because the heart cannot spin a soliloquy grand enough to be heard above the torture of the television’s song.
    I wonder if perhaps my friend Ken has taken the precaution to live without television in an effort to hear his heart without any impediment. Then again he is just probably too lazy to lug it up 5 flights of stairs in New York City. Once I was cooking with friend at the James Beard house and I stopped lugging myself by the 3rd floor of our elevator-less hotel. Regardless of which side of romanticism we stand on, can any of us really blame Ken?
    Once we free ourselves from the couch and clear our minds with the smell of the seasons, we can really commit to the self-gratification that we deserve. I did not walk into the grocer with this recipe in mind. It presented itself and the intuition of my open heart told me to desire and acquire it. Cooking with the seasons is not a new concept that Jamie Oliver created. It is exactly the way things were before tomatoes had been modified to sell in December. I would even jest to propose the next time any of us go to a café that is selling an unadulterated raw tomato salad in December, we shall order it and heave it across the dining room. If there is a nearby table with a gentleman adorned in his “winter” linen, then throw it at him and kill 2 birds with one tomato. I got your Food Revolution right here Oliver.

    Mint Spiced Lamb Breast with Skordalia
    Serves 2 couples with similar tastes

    3-3 1/2# of lamb breast
    2T garlic cloves
    1t ground coriander
    1 1/2t ground cumin
    1t cinnamon
    1t ground ginger
    1 1/2t red pepper flakes
    1t Kosher salt
    ½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
    1c mint leaves
    1/2c extra virgin olive oil
    2 lemons
    2# baby potatoes
    1c white wine
    For the Skordalia
    1 russet potato peeled and quartered
    1/4c onion sliced
    3 garlic cloves
    1/3c extra virgin olive oil
    ¾-1c water

    Take the garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper, salt, parsley, mint, oil and the zest only of the 2 lemons and place it into a food processor. Process the mixture until a nice paste is created. Lay your lamb breast into a roasting pan and spread the mint spice paste evenly over the breast. Let the spice mixture massage the meat in your refrigerator overnight.
    To make the Skordelia: Place the potato and onion into a properly salted pot of water and cook until the potato is tender. Drain the potato, reserving a cup of the liquid and place it into your cleaned food processor along with the garlic, the juice from one of the left over lemons, olive oil, and reserved potato broth. Process the Skordelia until it is smooth. Taste and add any salt needed. Go ahead and make a day ahead just to keep your hand free to make some cocktails during the final preparation of the lamb.
    To cook the lamb, remove it from the refrigerator and pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Using a dinner fork as your tool, impale the baby potatoes a few times. Make a sufficient mattress of potatoes and lay the lamb breast on them in a roasting pan. Pour the cup of wine into the pan and cover the pan with some foil. Place the roasting pan into your oven and cook for 2 ½ hours. Make a few cocktails too keep the heat of the pending summer at bay. Remove the foil from the pan and cook for an additional 30 minutes with a raised heat of 375 degrees. Take the pan out of the oven and let the meat rest for as long as your constitution will allow. Cut a few of the lamb ribs from the breast and serve with a fine dollop of the Skordelia and a few of the potatoes bathed in the drippings of the lamb. Be sure not to wash your hands that night. One of mornings great pleasures is the aroma of lamb fat and mint still lingering from your fingers.


  3. Within Your Reach: Posole Soup

    June 4, 2011 by David Bridges

    Look beyond what I hold in front of you. If you begin to read between the lines, the true soul of TheRooterToTheTooter will be presented to you. Whether or not you can find a Turkey Tail will have no impact on your honest or even dishonest goals for the evening. These ramblings have little to actually do with recipes. It has everything to do with accessing life’s pleasures that seem to be out of reach for so many people. In my lifetime, cooking has been the easiest tool used to achieve or obtain anything I ever wanted. Both the tangible and the intangible pleasures are always within the grasp of anyone that uses the one common denominator that we all cannot live without—cuisine. I decided to put forth that exact ideal in this posting.
    Many of you caught on right away with brilliant displays of intelligence and open mindedness. Rosemary at CookingInSens tackled the Crawfish and Sweetbread terrine recipe by using her local French prawns and lamb sweetbreads. Sacrebleu!! Her guests insisted the recipe was from a Frenchman. While Lolita at WhatLolitaEats.com attained exceptional amounts of gratification in the fatty, crunchy, hot, salty, sweet and juicy chicken thighs that she substituted for the Turkey Tail recipe. Through cooking, these women’s goals and intentions were honest and pure. I do find that with some men, that may not be the case. If any man truly held your personal happiness above his own, He wouldn’t have cooked for you. He would have just sent some champagne, truffles and a Bradley Cooper movie over to your house.

    Posole Soup with Green Tomato and Brussels Sprout Salsa
    Serves 10 people not afraid of your artistic interpretations of recipes

    1# smoked pig tails
    2 pig feet
    3# pork butt cut into 2 inch cubes
    ½ large yellow onion diced small
    1/4c garlic very roughly chopped
    2 passila chiles stemmed seeded and torn
    1 ancho chile stemmed seeded and torn
    1T Kosher salt
    1T dried oregano
    1T dried chile powder
    2 limes
    2 15oz cans of posole/hominy rinsed and drained
    ½# pork skin
    1c radishes diced small
    1c Brussels sprouts sliced thinly
    ½ jalapeno seeded and minced
    2T chopped fresh oregeno
    1 green tomato diced small

    An exercise in simplicity of preparation is needed in order to preserve the classic style of this dish. Take all of the pig parts you intend to use, the ones listed were the ones I had around the house, place them into a large pot with the onion, garlic, chiles, salt, dried oregano, chile powder and the zest of the 2 limes. Fill the pot with water until it reaches 4 inches above the meat and place over high heat on your stove. As the broth begins to bubble, take a trusty spoon and remove any of the foam and fat that rise to the surface. Cover the pot and let it slowly simmer for 1 hours and 45 minutes. Add the posole/hominy to the pot to cook for another 30 minutes. Season with additional salt to taste if you sense that it needs it. Remove the feet and pick out the bones. Coarsely chop the meat of the feet and add back to the pot. You can either choose to do the same with the tails or not.
    While the broth is seducing the pork, bake the pork skins in the same manner as described in the “chilaquiles” recipe on a previous post. Its on this website, just look for it. Set them aside for later to be used as a garnish.
    To make the salsa: Toss the radish, Brussels sprouts, jalapeno, fresh oregano, green tomato, the juice of the 2 limes and a pinch of salt together. Let the “salsa” wait for the cue at room temperature.
    Ladle the P0sole soup into bowls for your guests and garnish with a heaping spoon of salsa and some strips of crispy pork skin. Then bathe in the success of your honest or dishonest intentions for the evening.

     

    I would like to introduce our new mascots straight from the local Humane Society. They have been a tremendous help these past few days. Rooter and Tooter. They are both mutt brothers that are half pathetic and half ridiculous!