Duck Fat Potatoes

Recipe 2 of 103

Duck fat is like pure gold…really….trust me. Potatoes cooked in duck fat are golden and crispy with soft creamy centers..to die for.
crunch2Nutritionally duck fat is similar to olive oil , it is low in saturated fat, with a good combination of poly and monounsaturated fats. Duck fat has a high smoke point and can be re used over and over again. Dare I say it…better than butter?!?! Buy some, you will not regret it. I hoard it and use it often, you will too.

What you will need to enjoy the awesomeness of potatoes fried in duck fat.

2 1/2 pounds large russet baking potatoes  (2 large halved lengthwise or 4 small, peeled and rinsed)

Kosher salt

2 cups rendered duck fat, gently warmed until liquid

Maldon or another flaky sea salt

Peel and rinse potatoes. Place potatoes in a pot filled with cold water so they’re covered by an inch or two of water. Add kosher salt so the water tastes a bit less salty than the ocean.Potatoboil Bring to a boil over high heat, than lower heat to keep a vigorous simmer. Cook the potatoes until you can insert a butter knife without to much resistance. April says “don’t get too poke-happy or they’ll get waterlogged” do what she says. This should take about 15 minutes. Drain in colander and let rest so the steam can escape.coolpotatoPreheat oven to 450 F. While the potatoes release their steam, heat your duck fat gently in an oven proof pan, cast iron dutch oven or a saute pan with straight high edges will work nicely. Heat duck fat on high heat, let the fat simmer for about 5 minutes. Test with a piece of potato to make sure fat is hot enough, the potato should sizzle and crackle and continue to bubble. If the fat isn’t hot enough the potatoes will stick.fry1Carefully add all the potatoes to the fat, let them brown on all sides this should take about 10-15 minutes.fry2 When each one has a light golden crust on all sides, carefully place pan in oven and roast  for 10-15 minutes, turning them over once in that time. They should come out looking like this.fry3Remove from hot fat with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, immediately sprinkle with sea salt and let cool a bit. Serve at once or just stand over the plate and eat them all like we did with a garlic aioli and chopped green onions.donepotatoWe being Jenny and I and yes we macked out, they were heavenly. Photo credit to Jenny from Absolutely Photography, sad part is I did the photo editing….its been so long since my photoshop days, apologies to my Jennay. Cool your duck fat to warm and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Place in clean container, keeps in fridge for a week or freeze for up to 6 months. Don’t freeze this batch just yet….Duck Confit is next and it will change your life.

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Fennel-Lemon Marmalade

Recipe 1 of 103

James brought these home for me…Meyer Lemons…lots of them. mlemonsI thought to myself…what to do with all these beautiful fragrant luscious lemons. At the time I was reading a girl and her pig, I received the book and the lemons on the same day. These two simple happenings brought me to this project.

Fennel Lemon Marmalade

What you will need.

7 to 8 large thick skinned lemons – wash well

5 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons fennel pollen (find on line or at whole paycheck aka whole foods)

Assemble your clean lemons in a large pot of water, enough water to cover them while they bob around. Cover the lemons with a plate to keep the submerged. I used my deviled egg plate, worked perfectly. boilemon2

Boil for about an hour, you want them soft but not bursting. Check water as the hour goes to see if it needs replenishing. With a blunt knife, check to see if you can easily pierce them, if so they’re good to go. Reserve 1 1/4 cup of the water. Take them out and let them cool until you can handle them comfortably. Cut them in half, they should look like this. Sorry this photo is blurry.pulp2Scoop out all the flesh into a bowl. pulpCut the rinds into flat pieces and scrape off the white pith.pith2This is the point where I realized the thick skinned lemons would be much easier to work with. The meyer lemon skin is so thin and dainty, it really was like doing surgery, trying not to rip the rind to shreds. More on the final result with meyer lemons later. This step takes awhile be patient – make sure to remove the pith…… pith = bitter. Here is an after shotpith3Julienne the rinds thinly like thisjuliennePlace your expertly sliced rinds in a pale pink Le Creuset ( jk, I know not everyone is lucky enough to own this beautiful piece of cookware, I still squeal with girly glee every time I use it, thanks Jennay ) or a 4 qt sauce pot with reserved water from the boiling of the lemons. Grab a chinois/strainer, you will need a medium mesh chinois/strainer, do not use a fine mesh, you won’t get enough of the pulp through. strainPush the pulp against the side of the chinois to get as much pulp through as possible. You want very little left in the strainer, like this.strain2The sauce pot should have the lemon rinds, reserved lemon water from boiling 1 1/4 cups and all the pulp you could muscle through your chinois. Stir in 5 1/2 cups of sugar (if using   meyer lemons do 5 cups of sugar) over a high heat, when the mixture begins to simmer, set your heat for a low simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, the mixture will darken as it cooks. Starting out like thiscolor1its getting close to donecolor2

to test if the mixture is done, spoon a small amount on to a plate, let it cool. If its sticky and gel like its done, if its loose and runny keep cooking a bit longer.testwhen you nail the consistency, stir in the fennel pollen and let cool. At this point you could process them in jars and they’d keep for up to a year. If you’re going that route I would double the recipe.color3

This recipe will yield about 5 cups. It will keep in the fridge for a month. Slather all over toast and or scones. Add it to your next cheese plate instead of fig jam. The longer it sits the more bloomy it becomes and you can really taste the fennel pollen. I used it as a layer in some shortcakes with fresh strawberries on top. OMG it was so good. I have gifted a few friends with this lovely marmalade, hopefully they’ll comment and share their thoughts on it. This was my first adventure into Marmalade, there are several different methods on making it, I found April’s easy and the outcome was divine. I’ve made it with both meyer lemons and regular thick skinned lemons. The flavor is much sweeter and mild with meyer lemons, both were great tasting, if you want more of a tart twang use the regular lemons.

Try it and let me what you think.

A Girl and her Pig & Me

2013? already, time flies! I have been a bad blogger or should I say non blogger. You know the drill, life gets busy blah blah blah. Last year I was stuck in regards to my blog, so I just let it be for a while, waiting for something to inspire me, to ignite my yearn to learn and push myself. Here it is.ImageThis lovely book was a birthday gift. I’ve been following April Bloomfield’s career, loving her path to this book and the well deserved accolades that followed its launch. I imagine myself in my 20’s, moving to New York to beg for a job at one of her restaurants. Since my 20’s were forever ago and I already did that leave home thing, I’m going to blog her entire cookbook. I know… I know… sounds familiar? Tons of people have blogged entire cookbooks and then movies were made…not what I’m after. I want to do this for a few reasons. The structure of the project will push me to blog more often. There are several recipes in this book that will require me to cook items I’ve never worked with or tasted. Mostly I want to cook with April and learn from her.

Here are the stats for this project.

Total recipes 103 = 2 per week…..ideally 🙂 finish date my birthday this year 12/28

I hope to have guests join me in the fun, fellow chefs, foodie photogs, hungry people, brave eaters, and this goes without saying…….any and all dishwashers are always welcome.

Bring on the Lambs Head!