December 30, 2010

ATL's duck recipe (literally)

2010-11-21 Recipe Port wine Mallard duck or Brandt breast

0. Cook the wild rice first. Rinse one cup in cold water. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add wild rice, Keep at a strong simmer for 30 min. Pour in a strainer and strain. Bring 3 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add strained wild rice. Strong simmer for 15 min. Pour in a strainer and strain.

1. Remove the duck breast. Brine by incubating in one can of coke and 1 tbsp kosher salt in a one quart ziplock plastic bag in car after cleaning.

2. Rinse and cut out any shot wounds, etc. Slice one side 3/4 of the way through several times.

3. Place on a plate. Pat dry and pepper. No Salt, salt to taste later.

4. Dice 1 sweet onion. 3-4 cut lengthwise, then slice 3-8 crosswise. Or green onions, including tender green parts.

5. Dice 3 garlic cloves into small pieces in the white dicer. Or buy diced garlic in a jar.

6. Cut baby bellas into 1/8ths.

6. Heat a large, deep frying pan on low. Add a little domestic duck fat or olive oil. Get pan hot first. Then add onions and cook and stir until translucaent. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until done. Remove to a bowl under the heat light.

7. Add a little more olive oil and then duck breasts to the pan and brown them on both sides. Add 1 cup regular port. Add mushrooms and onions and garlic back. Cook until reduced and duck breasts are rare.

6. Add one tbsp corn starch to a cup of cool chicken stock and mix well in a cup.

7. Then add 2 tbsp butter and about 1 cup chicken stock or the veal stock from Joseph's. Reduce and cook until duck breasts are medium rare. Add the corn starch slowly until it is the right consistency.

8. Add the cooked wild rice to the bottom of a flat bowl. Place a duck breast on top. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic on top and ladle on some of the gravy. Add some trappist burgandy wine jelly sauce or lodenberry relish or cranberry relish to the corner of the bowl.

December 13, 2010

a toddler's dinner

  • buckwheat kasha
  • raspberries
  • cous cous with pumpkin seeds and sour cherries (cherries discarded)
  • meatloaf
  • chocolate crackers
  • milk

November 21, 2010


last night, nina and i went to o-ya for dinner, thanks to jeffers and triin.

we've been there before, and the food was outstanding. this time, feeling lazy, we settled on omakase. it was a great time, but in contrast to our previous visit, dish sequencing lagged, and selections seemed trite.

perhaps we should've ordered a la carte, but in spite of the "chef's choices," the biggest disappointment was the food.

it's not that it wasn't well crafted. it was. but the ingredients could've/should've been better. there is no excuse for serving (farmed, dyed) "scottish salmon," no need to combine chinese truffles and fish, and no gain from sourcing corn-fed (american) wagyū beef.

maybe, we'll return, but in all likelihood not. for the sake of o-ya, i do hope that frank bruni's review turns out to be more than an archival document.

October 23, 2010

on roast chicken

arguably, roast chicken is both a litmus test of a good cook and proof of excellence of a great chef.

here, tony maws of craigie has published his recipe for roast chicken. key features include 1) brine flavoring, 2) sous-vide cooking, and 3) combi-oven roasting.

1) is easily accessible to the home cook.

2) can be improvised using a slow cooker or approach similar to mine.

3) is known only to professional chefs. in practice, it can be best achieved with a conventional oven that has been equilibrated at 425F (using an accurate thermometer) and includes a pan of water for humidity. for browning to taste and preference, simply use a broiler.

June 20, 2010

note to self: this weekend's successes and failures

success: grilled beef kebabs a la momofuku
failure: offering forshmak to asher
success: still remembering the intermolecular distance of water
failure: our irrevocably complex and complicated system of medicine

June 05, 2010

on olives and parenting

as a child i was always amazed by mother's love for olives, which she would eat seemingly all the time, and particularly as an afternoon snack and after dinner with tea.

now, a couple of decades later, it seems that i too have come under the spell of this flavor profile. today, i alternated between small and spicy arbequina, giant and buttery cerignola, and briny picholine olives (asher seems to like them too).

evidence for heritability and biologic basis of taste ability is strong and widespread, but it's nice to realize that the food choices made by parents can have just as long-lasting effects.

May 14, 2010

nature's wonder, new york, ca 2002

What we need is a pig

And a feather.

The pig to wander around the yard,

Eating slop in the sublime happiness

Of not knowing

the platter on the dinner table,

adorned with shallots, chives,

and apples

once hanging above its rosy ears.

The feather to sift gracefully

Of knowing

the inspiration of flight,

curved by gravity’s pull,

lifted by ether

to trace its path into the bucket.

What of the man, sitting in the shade of my apple tree?

He lifts his gaze to the empty sky,

Catching a glimpse of the feather making its dance,

And wonders.

The pig sniffs the feather,

turns away.

A thump is heard, branches rattling.

The man pats his head,

his stomach rumbling,

meanders into the house.


untitled, first poem, ca 2000

it stands unseen

above and up up high

filling all

it stands below

in touch with all

in view of all

full with that which

above below soars high

lies low

it stands on edge of

clouds made of song

of structure pregnant soil

it looks

it sees

two curves of life

in circled arms

two fountains of song

immersed above below

it breathes life

and then up up high

on ground

full with that which

fills i


feel above

encircled by it

i am born full of that which

lies high

soars low

unseen below

in full view up above

in me.

May 02, 2010

japan, april 2010

there are many ways to define travel (bad pun), but for me it's always been a time to renew. certainly, nina's and mine recent trip to japan upon the invitation of the japan pediatric society was that, but also our first trip as parents (thanks to our parents), which made it simultaneously more satisfying and less escapist.

there are many remarkable things about traveling to japan: the jetlag, the food, and most of all, the hospitality, perhaps particularly so because of the language barrier.

notable moments:
highly recommend, hoping to return soon!

April 02, 2010

asher's eats

asher's tastes have been expanding:
  • chicken tagine with chickpeas, currants, and preserved lemons
  • beef short rib braised in beer with mango
  • bulgur wheat blended with tomato puree and scallions
  • egg salad
  • lox
  • olives

February 02, 2010

transparent scientific peer review

new review process at EMBO J.

good idea, except that papers rejected unfairly or withdrawn after protracted review and published elsewhere are not acknowledged.

isn't it time for open peer review?

January 30, 2010

asher's breakfast

  • an appetizer of puffy stars, gingerly held and eaten
  • a course of sliced bananas, voraciously stuffed in self mouth
  • a potage of formula, ever so lukewarm in a bottle
  • a course of pork and beef stewed with cabbage, reconstituted with spoonful potage just so

January 16, 2010

(not asher's) lunch

  • maine sea urchin
  • kushi and kumamoto oysters
  • yellowtail hamachi with coriander and lime
  • pig's head torchon with enoki and escargot
  • butter poached lobster roll