Days 15 and 16 – Poultry and more poultry

22 Jul

Day 15 – We made two chicken dishes. The one pictured above is essentially a poached chicken with a Mediterranean-style sauce made from the poaching liquid. The next picture is of “Sauteed chicken, hunter style”. This one had a base of brown veal stock, which is really rich, and to that we added mushrooms, shallots, brandy, white wine, tomato fondue and fresh herbs. Delightful!

Bobbie and I partnered on Day 15 and neither one of us is very good at dressing a whole chicken. The first I did it was about a year ago when I made Coq au Vin (a combo of Julia Child’s and Alton Brown’s recipes). I used Thomas Keller’s pictures in Ad Hoc to work my way into the 8 pieces. It took me quite some time and I had chicken fat all over me by the end. This time was better, but I seriously need to go buy a bunch of whole chickens and practice. Anyone up for chicken dinner in San Francisco in the next few weeks? Even though our chickens weren’t perfect looking, we got good marks on our sauces. We spiced up our Mediterranean stock and Chef Peter said he liked ours better than the recipe. Woo hoo!

Day 16 – I’m still no good at dressing poultry. Today, we worked on a whole duck and a quail. Thankfully, I had Anne as my partner. She is really good at dressing poultry. And, our duck breast with the orange gastrique turned out fantastic! She is also really good at carmelizing sugar. On my first try, I turned mine into rock candy. Whoops! Below is Anne, our duck, and me. And, a close up of our duck plate:

Thank you, my darling Carnet, for setting me up with a new iphone. The pictures are way better!

So, onto quail…I had the cutest quail, ever. Well, I think they’re all pretty cute because they’re small, but that’s also the challenge. The picture of the stuffed quail is Tomas’, as I forgot to take a photo of mine before I ripped it into and ate some. Thanks, Tomas! And, actually, I think Tomas’ turned out better looking than mine, anyway. Thanks to Chef Peter for reminding why stemming every salad ingredient is really important. I don’t want to be the elegant woman at a nice dinner picking stems out of my teeth.

Now, onto the easiest recipe over the past 4 days, and one of the best for the amount of time put into it, in my opinion: Steamed mussels with white wine, shallots and parsley. Over the weekend, I plan to post more recipes, so you’ll get at least another fish recipe. In the meantime: Moules a la Marinere ingredients: 1) 1-2 pounds of mussels, 2) clams (half the amount of mussels you buy), 3) 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, 4) minced shallots, 5) about 4-5 oz good, dry white wine (remember the rule: if you’re going to cook with it, pick a decent one and drink the rest of the bottle), 6) bay leaf, 7) butter, and 8) salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: 1) Scrub mussels and clams, and if necessary, soak in heavily salted water for 20 minutes to rid them of any bacteria if you’re not sure of their freshness. Also, discard any that don’t close when tapped. That means they’re old. Drain and rinse. 2) Stem the parsley and chop stems and leaves, separately, and keep separately. 3) In a wide saucepan, place the clams, mussels, some parsley stems, a few pats of butter, the white wine, minced shallot, a bay leaf, a few turns of the peppermill, and a splash of water. 4) Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, shaking pan regularly. As the mussels and clams open, remove them to a different bowl off the heat. 5) Decant the broth so that you leave any sediment in the pan, and strain it into a small saucepan. You should have some clam juice added to the wine to make a nice broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce slightly to intensify flavor, throw in another pat of butter and check seasoning (salt and pepper). 6) Arrange mussels and clams in a wide shallow bowl. Spoon broth over mussels and clams, sprinkle with chopped parsley leaves and serve with crostini to mop up the broth. Check out the picture in the last blog post. E Voila!

And, last but not least, I need to give a huge shout out to my husband. He’s running and selling a company and still making me breakfast, making me exercise, and making me dinner on most nights. But, most importantly, he’s excited for me and encouraging me every day. I am so d#$m lucky! Thank you for everything, love. MFMMMA….

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3 Responses to “Days 15 and 16 – Poultry and more poultry”

  1. Shannon July 22, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    OMG… these look fabulous! (Especially the stuffed quail…) We are REALLY looking forward to your practicing your cooking prowess on us at some point… :o)
    Gotta try the red pepper sauce w/ fish… that recipe coming? Pretty please? Did I miss it?!

  2. Bee Leng Chua July 22, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Gorgeous and gorgeous! As a vegetarian (tho eat some fish), I am really tempted! Poached chicken does need a good strong flavorful sauce, although if the chicken is fresh, it would I imagine be quite tender. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Karen July 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Beautiful photos of wonderful sounding food. I have a sweet husband like yours…we are so lucky.

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