How We Do. Duck Fat and Rosemary Popcorn.

Homemade popcorn is better than anything you can toss in your microwave. Plus commercial microwave popcorn has FAR too many ingredients that don’t seem to belong in popcorn (note, I’m fine with the vile chemicals in the movie theater stuff because that is at least delicious). Not that you can’t just make good homemade popcorn in your microwave (http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/microwave-popcorn-minus-the-ripoff/), but there are better ways my friends, better ways. Ways that yield totally un-greasy but super flavorful popcorn (because the cooking fat has so much flavor there’s no need to add butter at the end). Pull out a pot. Heat some duck fat in it (or bacon grease). Throw in a couple springs of rosemary and some salt and pepper. Drop in a kernel to make sure the fat is hot enough to pop the corn and then add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Wait five minutes (shake the pot occasionally). Add a little more fine sea salt before serving. Thank me. Enjoy.

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Stone Crab Amuse-bouche

What to do when you see stone crab claws at the market but they are WAY too expensive to make a meal out of  them? Serve them over crushed ice with a creamy lemon sauce  before a big steak dinner. Adds just the right amount of “fancy” and is light enough to precede heavy red meat!

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Duck and Waffle, the Best View in London

The Bob and I sometimes have a hard time fitting any new places in to our London trips. There are just too many old favorites to visit. But we were glad we managed to stop in at the Duck and Waffle (and I’m seriously disappointed that it didn’t exist when I worked across the street – especially since it’s open 24 hours). The food was very good, but really it was the atmosphere, the bar, and the view that rounded out the experience.

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We started with BBQ pigs ears which were perfectly crispy and came in this adorable bag. I think maybe some more spice in the BBQ seasoning would have helped to cut the fat, but I still ate most of the bag!
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photo 3Raw Scottish scallops were another hit, fresh and sweet, though the black truffle got a bit lost.

photo 2The Bob was more of a fan than I was of the ox cheek doughnut and the lobster creme brulee both of which found too rich (though the quality of the lobster was excellent).

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My favorite dish was roasted octopus with lemon and potatoes and chorizo.  Spicy, and almost smoky, but with enough acid to cut the fat from the chorizo.

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We didn’t try any mains, but I think the most alluring option here is to enjoy some small bites, a few very clever cocktails, and that incredible view.

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I’m higher than the gherkin!

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Petti di Pollo al Burro

A few years ago the Bob and I ate at Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. The place is delightful. It’s cozy and the food is divine, if incredibly simple. Boiled hen with green sauce, tortellini al brodo, and bistecca alla fiorentina are all sure to please. But the real treat is the chicken (more or less) boiled in butter.

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So we were pretty jealous when a friend of the Bob posted a picture from there recently. He followed up by posting this sfgate article that adapts the dish for a home kitchen. http://m.sfgate.com/food/chefssecrets/article/Corso-gives-chicken-a-butter-bath-3272519.php
When you look at the quantity of extra high fat butter and the calorie count on this recipe you realize this isn’t a dish you just make anytime. But when you have a snow day and can light a big fire (and you happen to find Plugra butter) it’s worth a try. I was sure the butter would burn at those temperatures and I couldn’t imagine the chicken wouldn’t come out dry. And the butter did sputter and foam (which turned out to be a great thing). So I was wrong. This stuff is so tasty. The nutty, rich, brown butter would make anything taste good and the chicken was super tender and moist. Though, make sure to use really good quality chicken because all that’s going on here is butter, chicken, salt and a small squeeze of lemon. Then make a butter lettuce salad (I went with an acidic sherry vinaigrette) and heat up some bread. You won’t need anything else.

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