Getting back to my old self is really easy when you have lots of fruit in the house. It’s super simple to pack lunches when you can throw some nectarines or plums in for a snack. That’s why I love visits to the farmers market. My local one isn’t that wonderful unfortunately. It’s very one culture specific and when I go I feel like #1 I’m always going to find the same ole same ole. And #2 I feel like I’m Manute bowl. I did come across some great finds like dandelions and Chinese yali pears. And it is winter in Florida, which can only mean one thing. STRAWBERRIES!!! Yeah they looked real good too. Nice deep red color=saaaaweet. Enjoy your food and the rest will fall in line.
Recently I had my family all together for the first time in months. We always have a big dinner at least once when we are all together. This time my Aunt took charge of getting everything in order. The dinner was set for Saturday, and I was unaware of the need to bring anything, even though I had inquired about it to my Mom. Around 6:30 Friday evening I got a text from my Aunt asking if i could bring dessert, specifically Flan. “Well, no I can’t make flan, I actually have a job and have to work the next day. What are you crazy?” But I couldn’t show up empty handed as I now felt obligated, and there’s no way I will allow myself just to pick up some cheaply made dessert from the local grocery store. That’s a slap in the face to La Famiglia. So what do I do? It’s too late to do anything on Friday. I’m partying by now. Jump to Saturday morning. I’m feverishly browsing recipe web sites trying to find something worthy and fast. I came across a no-bake Cream Cheesecake. By no means am I trying to brag, but this was amazing. I got off work at 11:15 rushed to store, and got the ingredients. By 11:45 I was home,and by 12:05 the whole thing was complete. It does take about 4 hours to set. However, if you really don’t have time you can treat it as a mousse. Seriously?? Yep.. Do it.
16 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
rind of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
the meat of 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
cheesecloth or coffee filters
First, whip the heavy whipping cream and set aside. Cream the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Then add the sifted sugar, and mix til it’s creamy again. Add the rind, lemon juice, extracts, and vanilla bean. Mix until incorporated. Then take the whipped cream and add about 1/3 to the mix to combine. Then add the final 2/3 and hand fold into mixture. set aside.
Line a large colander (maybe 9 inches around) with cheesecloth or if you cant find cheesecloth, use coffee filters, enough so the batter wont seep out. Put the colander over a bowl, that will allow liquid to drain. Pour the cream cheese mixture in the lined colander until it’s filled and then use a spatula to smooth over the top. Place in fridge for at least 4 hours uncovered. If there’s not enough room in the colander, eat what’s left over.
Now this is where you can get creative. You could use fresh berries to add something extra to the final product. Or maybe a compote of some sort with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs. But this is what I did based on my all-time favorite dessert.
Amaretti Cookie Crumbs:
4 oz amaretti cookies
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tsp pure almond extract
Add all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside.
Lemon Basil Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon
10 leaves of fresh basil
Heat water, lemon, and sugar until the sugar dissolves and liquid starts evaporating. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into blender. Add leaves and blend until leaves are pulverized. Strain into squeeze bottle.
That’s it. When you’re ready to serve, invert in cheese cake onto a serving plate and remove cloth or filters. You’ll end up with a globe of deliciousness. sprinkle the crumbs over the top and add a few drops of the syrup as a final touch. eat..
This is what it looks like when its almost gone.
With this growing concept there must be a close knit supportive partnership of friends and colleagues from other genres of writing.
Take a look at some of the newest members of the family. Also, if you want to be added to the blogroll, pop us a message and you’re in. Easy as pecan pie. Which I need to share my recipe with you all.
http://kck.st/iczSgw (sunshines and swell lines.)
This post isn’t necessarily strictly focusing on food. Sometimes I think it would be beneficial to produce something that strays from the nucleus of what we have got going on here. You see, it seems to me that thinking, and talking about food isn’t the healthiest thing for a person like me. I admit to having a food addiction. Thus, writing about food, restaurants, watching food TV, and recipes on a constant basis does not produce a good environment for my affliction. Especially at this moment where I find myself needing to return to the lifestyle I had produced for myself almost a year and a half ago. After preprocessing my bullet points, I feel this last paragraph to be almost a moot point.
Looking back, I wanted to share some the highlights of 2010, and in a round about way, much of this enjoyment is why I have reached the point I am at now. Please don’t follow my lead and think that you can eat whatever you want at any quantity you can fill your belly with, and not get fatter. No amount of exercise can help you when it comes to excess. Am I a glutton? Hard to say. I suppose I am in some sense of the word. Gluttony is open to discussion based on the interpreter. And to some I would fit that classification.
With that said, I still encourage you to enjoy your lives as I have enjoyed mine so far. Share your love of whatever you choose with those around you, and for goodness sake, cook some meals, and eat some good food as much as you can. Please don’t take my statements to be negative towards gastronomes and foodies. I have a deep love for food. Cooking is my passion. It’s one of the few things I can proudly say I’m good at. Expanding my food palate over the last 15 years has brought so much more appreciation of other cultures into my life. It’s all good. I just have to reel it in at times. A proverbial gut check. (and eat your ruffage)!
What follows isn’t so much a top 10 list as it is a sampling of the highlights of the year that was.
I ate at a lot of new restaurants in 2010. Most of them weren’t very memorable, and this coming from a guy who chronicles his meals through photos. My favorite new restaurants of 2010 are:
Ciro’s Speakeasy, The Refinery, Dragonfly Izukaya, Bananas Diner, Datz, Ha Long Bay, Tia’s Taco Shack, Ba Le, Natalie’s, Ronin, Mazzaro’s, Taco Express, Taco Truck, Taqueria y Paleteria, Hollerbachs, Cafe 118º
Flip Burger Boutique, Au Pied du Cochon, Antico, Bacchanalia, Abattior, Vortex Burger
DBGB, Chinatown Brasserie, Crumbs
That’s quite a bit of new places actually. Moving on.
Some of favorite things included: Finding new restaurants with Kristen that we both love. Seeing the surviving members of sublime perform in St Augustine. Teaching my little boy to kick the stuffing out of a soccer ball. Watching one of my favorite new bands Fun, perform at the House of Blues. Spending time as a family at Disney World and riding the people mover more than anyone has ever ridden it. Viewing great cinema: Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Black Swan, The Other Guys, Exit Through the Gift Shop, A Prophet, The Social Network, and of course Yogi Bear.
Super Bowl smorgasbords. All those meals cooked with Kristen, Jimmy, and Ashley. Pushing play on some of my paused friendships. The Aquabats!!! Pithiviers and mille feuilles. Seeing Christopher Walken in “A be-handing in Spokane”. Most of all, spending much needed quality time with my family. Lobsters. Having a wonderful wife who is also the best mother in the stratosphere. Hanging out with my dad and brother more than I had in the last 15 years. Watching my son grow in every aspect. From learning to count to 30 and his ABC’s, to just seeing his vocabulary expand from a few words to complete sentences at 2 years old!! Now to tackle his hatred of food in 2011. What did you do?
As some of you know, I’ve just recently moved from Atlanta, GA. Now when I moved down there, I wasn’t expecting it to be some sort of gastronomical landmark by any means. When I go to a new place, the first thing I do is start researching the local eateries, trying to find those hidden gems that you only hear about through the grape-vine. Well my search rewarded me with one of the most unique burger joints that I’ve found. Flip Burger Boutique in downtown Atlanta takes an old American staple and sends it around the world like a piece of luggage collecting flavors like souvenir stickers.
Personally, I’m bored with beef, cheese, ketchup, and mustard on a bun. Flip is the remedy, with inspired concoctions like the Korean BBQ with a wagyu patty, braised short ribs, kimchee ketchup, pickled veg, and tempura onions.
Or maybe the Steak Tartare, with hanger steak, garlic, chili, capers, Worcestershire, pickled onions, frisée salad, smoked mayo, and a sous-vide egg yolk (the waitress made a point of telling me it was raw, thank you I’ll have two). Some burgers are pushing the limits of what you call a burger (apparently it’s anything between a bun) like the Tuna Tartare, with sambal, pine nuts, garlic, wasabi mayo, avocado, carrots, togarashi, cucumber and soy mango yolk.
Here’s my Ossobuco burger with a veal patty, topped with braised veal, gremolata mayo, braised ketchup (can you braise ketchup?) and crispy fried onions.
Half of the menu is composed of options that involve no beef at all, instead using shrimp, crab, lamb, pork, mushrooms, and even falafel. The burgers however, are only part of the allure at Flip. They have a selection of sides and milkshakes that are so delicious, so genius, that I feel it’s a crime no one thought of them sooner. Vodka battered onions rings with a beer honey mustard, panko & parmesan zucchini fries with gremolata mayo, and my personal favorite, buffalo sweetbread nuggets with ranch and blue cheese foam. What other burger joint do you know of that serves up spicy sweetbreads?
I’m gonna need a new paragraph for this next part…Foie Gras milkshake. Yes, that is actually a thing. I can see your face through the interweb, it really IS so delicious, and it really DOES taste like foie gras. Granted with generous amounts of vanilla, but the point is that it exists (I could have done with more foie but what else is new). Not to be outdone are a pistachio and white truffle shake, Nutella and burnt marshmallow, and another favorite, the Krispy Kreme shake. All of the shakes are made with fresh ice cream and real ingredients. These aren’t Krispy Kreme, Nutella, or white truffle “flavored” shakes, there are actual whole Krispy Kreme donuts in the shake, they actually spoon the Nutella out of the jar. Excessive? maybe. I think it’s pure genius. There’s so much to choose from, it’s all delicious, and just so well thought out. Flip is one of those places I don’t mind driving a half hour to eat there alone. Everything is fresh, everything is exciting and new (they do have a regular cheeseburger if you just can’t find ANYTHING else that looks good). So, if you’re in Atlanta, and I can’t stress this enough, make it a point to go here, oh and get a foie shake to go.
We thought it would be a cool idea to give you all a little time inside our brains to see where our opinions and preferences about food come from. We each came up with questions, we hope you enjoy the results! While we’re doing this, why don’t you guys get involved, either copy and paste these questions into a comment and answer them, or you can send us some questions and we’ll put up a post with our answers. Have fun!
1. What was the first experience you can remember that made you fall in love with food?
I’m not sure how well I remember this, or my exact age, but I do remember it was at my grandmothers house. We call her Nana. I’m thinking I was about 8 years old at the time, and I was spending the weekend over at her house. She was making a big family dinner and I don’t remember why but I asked to help. So she put an apron on me and started showing me how to chop. I think I might have cut myself badly. She showed me how to season the food and make it taste good. It was our traditional Spanish meal of Milanese steak, rice, black beans, salad, Cuban bread, and sweet plantains. This is my first memory of really getting into the thick of it.
2. Top five restaurants you’ve been to, GO!
- Joel Robuchon
- Victoria & Alberts
- Au Pied du Cochon (Montreal),
It’s hard to pinpoint just five, only 1 and 2 will be on there forever.
3. You’re going to die tomorrow, what’s your last meal?
I’ve answered this many time throughout the year and it changes every time. Foie Gras and apple pancake, and crispy pork belly for starters. Twenty-eight oz veal chop saltimbocca with lobster and truffle risotto. For dessert, lemon basil cheesecake. I don’t know I love too many things!
4. Favorite food to cook at home?
It’s because my wife and I can always agree on it, and it takes one second to prepare, steak. If I have all day, it’s probably cassoulet.
5. Top 3 favorite culinary cultures and the best places to go for each.
- French: Joel Robuchon – Las Vegas, NV
- Dim Sum: Maison Kam Fung – Montreal, QC (Recently knocked Mings Bistro off its pedestal)
- Gastropub: Abattoir – Atlanta, GA
6. Your most outrageous food experience ever.
There have been many over the years. I won’t mention one specifically, but let’s just say that when I eat with any combination of the following people, Kristen, Jimmy, Zobel, my brother, Jake, or Jep, there’s an 84% chance it will be outrageously good.
1. Worst meal you’ve ever had.
This disaster happened way back when I was about 11 or so. We went over to the house of some friends of ours, and the wife was planning an Italian meal that evening. Fresh pesto and garlic bread was on the menu. At that age I was really beginning to become an Italian aficionado. However, she apparently couldn’t tell the difference between basil and cilantro and she ended up using nothing but the latter in the sauce. Now cilantro isn’t bad in moderation, but as a pesto?! If that wasn’t bad enough, she didn’t salt her pasta water, stir the pasta during cooking, or allow it to cook thoroughly leaving us with a stiff, tasteless, fused clump of undercooked noodles covered in a cilantro purée. At least the garlic bread was edible.
2. Best meal under $10.
The Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris from Hot Doug’s in Chicago, Il. I wanted to add an order of duck fat fries but that puts it over the top as this sausage costs $9.00 by itself!
3. Top 5 places to eat in your town.
Since my town is tiny, I’m extending this to the surrounding towns as well since I frequent them often.
- The Kitchen Table – Like having the French Laundry in your backyard
- 158 Main St. – Epic breakfasts
- Vermont Sandwich Company – The Patriot, ‘nuf said
- Ray’s Seafood Market – Best Lobster Roll I’ve ever had
- Eastern Dragon – Quality Asian fare at a fair price
4. Favorite chef who you would want to cook a private dinner for you and guests.
I’ll do three, Joel Robuchon, Nobu Matsuhisa, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. I’m thinking one dinner each day for three days with those guys would be adequate.
5. Restaurant, bakery, or purveyor you wish were closer to home.
I can think of about 50 different places I’d like to be around the corner, but if I had to choose one…it’s got to be Nobu.
6. Favorite food 10 years ago.
Favorite food when I was 15 was Italian, the restaurant was Enzo’s on the Lake, the dish was Penne alla Vodka (best I’ve ever had), with sides of grilled eggplant, roasted sweet peppers, and fresh shaved Parmesan.
On behalf of Logan and me, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2010 by way of comments, content, or just a simple visit. With your continued support, we can continue to grow in the new year, so keep checking in every now and then for new and exciting morsels here on Eat a Duck!
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how our blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times
In 2010, there were 14 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 37 posts. There were 114 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 142mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 41 views. The most popular post that day was Steak yumms.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were luxeat.com, facebook.com, Eataduck.wordpress.com, coasterlove.wordpress.com, and refinancing-home.student-loan-consilidation.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for sukiyabashi jiro, sukiyabashi jiro roppongi, steak tartare, croque monsieur, and antico pizza atlanta.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Steak yumms August 2010
Sukiyabashi Jiro – Roppongi Hills August 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,
Love it or don’t hate it. July 2010
The greatest swindle of all time October 2010
About August 2009