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devil duck

cooking journal

My classes don't start for another two weeks, so I'm working at home most days while shalmestere is at work, so I can cook things that need all day to cook. For example....

Last Monday we roasted a hunk of pork butt, picked up at the farmer's market on Saturday. 225F for five or six hours, the guy says. I'm starting to suspect that our oven runs a little below its stated temperature: after six hours there was still some fat and connective tissue that hadn't melted away yet, but it tasted good.

Some day last week I pulled out the keyhole saw and sawed off some more slices of ham (producing a substantial pile of ham sawdust, which looks just like cedar sawdust only softer and greasier), then (on shalmestere's suggestion) threw it into a crock-pot with beans and mirepoix for several hours, then pureed it in the blender. Tasty, but there's still a lot of ham left....

Some other day last week was Junebug Chili -- but I'll leave that to shalmestere, who came up with the idea.

Saturday morning we went to the farmers' market again. Not much vegetable life is in season, but we picked up a bunch of good grass-fed meat, all allegedly from within an hour or two's drive.

Saturday dinner: leftover pork butt, in the oven for another hour or two, then shredded and mixed with SC-style barbecue sauce, with leftover "fauxtatoes" (cauliflower puree with the same kinds of additives one puts in mashed potatoes) on the side.

Sunday's experiment: a zucchini frittata, partly cooked in a frying pan, then topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni and stuck into the oven. Tasted quite good, but need to make the frittata larger and thinner next time if it's to have any remote functional resemblance to a crust. And maybe add some flour.

Tonight: venison steak with a reduction sauce of gin & juniper berries, accompanied by portobello mushroom stuffed with Brie and pesto.

Another experiment of the past two days: making our own Nutella-clone. Gianduia was originally invented, as I understand it, as a way to stretch chocolate during a time when chocolate was scarce and hazelnuts were cheap. Nowadays chocolate is cheaper than hazelnuts, so the hazelnut butters on the market don't taste very hazelnutty. The recipe shalmestere found called for 2 cups of hazelnuts (around 12 ounces) and 1/4 cup of cocoa (probably about an ounce), and it does taste like hazelnuts, while still being quite perceptibly chocolate. It's actually quite easy to make: the hard parts are (a) finding raw hazelnuts (which mysteriously disappeared from TJ's shelves just as we wanted to try this, then reappeared after we'd found some at a random corner store in Manhattan), and (b) skinning them after roasting. The majority of the skins come off if you just roll a bunch of nuts back and forth between your hands, but the rest of the skin is stubborn. Then you throw the nuts in a food processor and watch while they metamorphose from rattly ball bearings, to meal, to dust, to sticky dust, to thick paste, to thick semiliquid. Add cocoa, sweetening, and a tablespoon or two of oil if needed. I <3 my food processor....


Right, I need a food processor. Right after I get a bread machine. And a bigger kitchen. Oy...

Sounds wonderful...I love hazelnuts, so a Nutella-like spread is right up my alley.

Anything with pork, too, especially slow-cooked pork...that all sounded quite tasty.