Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lesson Learned

So today marks six years of living in the windy city. I told you that I was planning a special dinner. Well, Mamma Bird and I made that meal. The duck was AMAZING!!!! The recipe is at under "crispy roast duck" and was in the 2006 June issue of Gourmet magazine. The green beans with the walnuts and walnut oil were FANTASTIC. And I'm sure the potatoes were good too, but I was too afraid to really try them.
You know how occasionally a recipe calls for a very specific type of utensil or pan? There is a reason for this. As it turns out a very good reason for this. Our potato recipe called for a certain type of baking pan. One that I do not own. I used my pyrex baking pan that was the correct size. Yeah. About 10 minutes before the dish was supposed to be done the pyrex dish exploded. Yup, you read that right. It exploded. We took the top layer of potatoes (they appeared fine, no glass bits) and put them in a different dish and served them anyway. What little bit I did eat tasted great, that recipe is also at, under "potatoes gratin". To the recipe we added a touch of white truffle salt and fresh thyme. We also used 1 and 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream instead of the half & half they call for. Oh, and we added mozzarella between the layers too. If you decide to make that recipe, USE THE TYPE OF PAN THEY RECOMMEND. If you don't have it, go buy it or make something else.
I now have a few bits of my former pyrex pan sitting on a shelf. A reminder that I should follow instructions.
But the duck. The duck was divine! I had never had duck before and therefor had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, duck is right up my alley. I prefer dark meat when having chicken or turkey, and duck is like an entire bird of dark meat. Mmmmm! And the skin! Oh my god the skin was crispy, crispy heaven!
But the beans. Let me first say I don't really care much for cooked veggies. Never have. But these were so good I had three helpings! The walnuts and walnut oil add an almost buttery flavor to the green beans. Of course you need to use french green beans. Not the regular kind cut skinny, but the really skinny type.
There is a bit of leftover duck, and I will be making stir-fry with that. The duck fat is currently cooling and awaiting separation. And duck fat fries are in my future!

--Little Bird is stuffed


aardvark said...

*scratches back of head*

so erm...yeah. Pyrex. You know how you aren't supposed to pour hot water on your windshield in the winter to deglaze cause it''ll crack it? Well, it sounds like that's what happened to your pyrex. If it was somewhat cool or the food you put in it was cool,and you put it in a preheated oven (or god forbid the broiler *YIKES*) it can crack or (god forbid) shatter!

Next time try putting it on top of the stove on an eye you aren't using (turned off of course) and let the pyrex heat a bit before you shove it in there. Also, when you pull your pyrex out, make sure you don't put it on a spot of cool water or it'll happen. Find a nice dry dishtowel to put it on. Or an oven pad.

This is called thermal shock, btw. Pyrex is great but it has riles, babe.

Good luck with those duck fries little bird!

Little Bird said...

The pyrex DID shatter! It was sitting on a cookie sheet (as per directions) so the mess is nowhere near as bad as it could have been. But I still get to go back over to Mama Bird's place and clean out all the bits of pyrex.
It's funny, because I DO know that extreme heat and glass are not compatible. I SHOULD have known it was gonna happen.
Next time I'm buying the damned enameled cast iron type of pan the recipe suggests!

Christopher said...

And here I was thinking that pyrex was the Godsend of cooking materials. Easy to clean, and I never gave it a second thought until now. Back to metal....

Following directions... isn't exactly a man's strong point. But after this, I'll have to swallow my pride and follow them. Stupid inherent consequences....

scotteh said...

Ok, I will have to get a duck now. I used to cook them once in a while but it takes a long time and they are pretty greasy. But holy cow are they GOOOOOOOD!! We can get a pre-cooked frozen quarter duck here and they are actually really good but having the whole thing is even better!! I wouldn't think you'd get enough grease to cook fries in though. I got my deep frier out again recently and started cooking fries in it. SOOOOOO GOOOOD. Ok, this is REALLY making me hungry. Must stop.