Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not to Obssess About Duck, or Anything

I started thinking about recipes last night, as I was falling asleep. I think I do this because I almost always go to bed hungry. I've got to get my sleeping and eating schedules better coordinated. The Cassoulet was way too trad a use for my leftover duck bits. They'd make an excellent gumbo ingredient, though. I've got some Andouille, so I may gumbo those babies tomorrow. What should I use for the sea food, though. Maybe nothing?

I was also thinking about the next duck I cook. I really, really love Peking duck. It's so thrifty the way they use up all the bits, even the just skin parts, by putting them into pancakes or sticky buns with Hoisin Sauce. So, maby I'll do the whole duck the way I did this one, with the Chile Paste rub and, for something a little different, try making baby pitas with rice flour. Theoretically, that should puff like wheat flour, I think, unless it's just too glutinous, and I do mean in the sense of sugar. I'll try that tomorrow and see if it works. Pitas like that, with the sweetness inherent in rice flour, would be delish with something zippy like this duck.

If the rice flour pitas work out, I'll have to think of more things to do with them. Barbecue would go great. Hmmm. Thinking. Ooh, Mu Shu. Instead of those leaky pancakes, put them in rice flour pitas. Now, we're cooking. Or, we, er I, will be...soon.

Trendy Ingredients

I guess I must be hide bound in some ways, because the list of the hot new ingredients from Bon Appetit, courtesy of Epicurious and the food blogger who provided the link (sorry, I closed the window and don't remember who it was), pretty much left me lukewarm. I suppose if you're a restaurant chef or caterer to the stars, this is a reasonable list, but, for me, no.

  • Pea tendrils - pea plants look a lot like sweet peas, the flower. They climb, and they grow little green tendrils to cling to things as they grow. However, a lot of peas are now bred to be bushes, so, very little tendril, unless you get the vining kind. I just wonder what they're doing with all the peas from these vines. There's a heck of a lot more pea than tendril, even on a vining plant. And how do they harvest them? I believe I can rest assured that however it's done, they will be expensive. Now, since I grow peas occasionally, it's nice to know that the tendrils are edible, but I don't think I'd order them in a restaurant.

  • Meyer Lemon - this is new??? Maybe newly fashionable. They're nice lemons. I've often had Meyer Lemon trees where I lived, so I've used them in a lot of recipes, but really.

  • Baby Beets - again, no news there. They were trendy, oh, ten or more years ago. Maybe they're back in fashion now. I do love beets, though.

  • Kurobota Pork - from what I've read, this is just basic old, not bred for leanness pork. It has more fat, hence is moister and has more flavor. But do we need to go to Japan to get it? Couldn't every country that raises pigs (is that the correct term) do the same thing? It would seem logical that small farms everywhere would still have good old pre-engineered piggies to start from. Huh. Or is this Kurobota Pork just reverse engineered, so to speak, rather than being naturally moister and more flavorful???

  • Wagyu Beef - this is confusing, so read this to get a handle on it. Suffice it to say this is another very fat, ultra-marbled meat product from Japan.

  • Heirloom Potatoes - like the baby beets, they've been a fad already, or maybe it's because I'm in California, and we have a lot of farmers markets(?), but they are fun, so, enjoy. I really love the fingerlings, little finger-shaped potatoes that you can eat up in a couple bites.

  • Pomegranate - what can I say? I love them, they're a curiosity, but how long will a fad last when you have to deal with a mouthful of seeds with every bite?

  • Organic Chicken - well, I've had organic chicken. I was raised on the stuff. It's okay. Meh.

  • Black Cod - O...M...G Also known as butterfish. I used to buy this stuff when I was in college because it was dirt cheap. Also very tasty, buttery like it's name. Now it's a hot ingredient, so it will cost the earth. Just like Tilapia. It's a lovely fish. It used to be what poor immigrants from Mexico and points south cooked. Now, it's fashionable, or getting there, and the price is going up. So, what do the people who used to cook with tilapia because it was the only fish they could afford do? I could do a rant on chefs making things trendy, but it takes stores jumping on the bandwagon, greedy bastards, raising their prices, to make it happen. Why can't something fashionable be a reasonable price? So cranky, and I'm not even hungry.

  • Burrata Cheese - this is a fresh cheese, for all practical purposes, made only in Italy. I'm sure there are individual delis or boutique cheese makers who make this elsewhere, but you have to find them before you can get the domestic version. I've never had this, but from what I'm reading, it's like a creamy ricotta core in a fresh mozzarella wrapper. You eat it as you would the mozzarella, an Insalata Caprese for example, but when you cut into it, the center oozes out all thick and creamy. I have mixed feelings about this. :G: They have pics here and here, so you can see what I mean. I'd definitely give it a try if I found it. Maybe minus the tomatoes.


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