Posts from February 2014

Smoked Meats at Pappy's, Walk Down Cherokee Street, Artisan Ales at Perennial, St. Louis 10 Do's and Don'ts

Going back and forth between USA and abroad after Burlington, Vermont and Wellington, New Zealand, 10 do's and don'ts take us today to St. Louis, Missouri.

Our guide is Chef Josh Galliano of The Libertine, a neighborhood eatery in St. Louis.

St. Louis 10 Do's and Don'ts
by Chef Josh Galliano
The Libertine
"St. Louis is a classic and classy city that is constantly changing but manages to maintain it's great treasures.  The list of things to do in St. Louis will point you in a good direction, but that list will be different during different seasons!  I guess the only answer is just stick around a little longer or come back often."
1. Go to a Brewery:  St. Louis is a beer town, and even if everybody lives in the shadow of the King, we get the benefits of the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  Those benefits include a ton of local craft beers that are exploding locally and nationally.  If you get a chance to visit a brewery, try to take a tour of Schlafly Bottleworks, Perennial, or 4 Hands.  These breweries also have tasting rooms and some have food offerings to help make the trip to the next brewery tour. 
2. Cultural Gems: There are quite a few high and low cultural treasures in St. Louis, and where you go might depend on how you are traveling. My family loves going to the (free) St. Louis Zoo and date nights are sometimes to the Fox Theatre for a show.  One of the most eclectic museums on earth is the City Museum with multiple levels and exhibits and randomness.  A different type of cultural fun would be going to a baseball game (or hockey game if you come during the winter), or some live local music, especially if you come during LouFest (September 6-7, 2014).  Of course, it's a little hard to miss the Gateway Arch; just make sure you go to the museum underneath the Arch.
Pappy's mike
3. Eat! St. Louis is in the midst of a food resurgence from small producers, great restaurants, and awesome farmers.  There are many options to try from top notch food of chefs of Gerard Craft, Kevin Willmann, Anthony Devoti, and Kevin Nashan to fantastic barbecue of Bogart's Smokehouse or Pappy's Smokehouse to down home favorites of Blues City Deli, Crown Candy, Salume Beddu or Dressel's Pub.  And don't forget the recent pastry craze that has happened with Pint Size Bakery and Patisserie Chouquette, a peanut free, gluten free bakery.
4. Get Some Coffee.  The world as a whole is experiencing the post Starbucks coffee resurgence, and that wave has a stronghold in St. Louis.  The venerable Kaldi's Coffee has recently re-modeled their Demun coffee house to focus on single origin coffees and pour-overs. Newer to St. Louis' coffee scene is Blueprint Coffee and Comet Coffee (and micro bakery) who feature coffees from small roasters around the country.  A definite don't miss would be Sump Coffee and a conversation with Scott Carey, the owner, about the great coffee beans he brings in and that he roasts himself.
5. Donuts.  I think everyone was surprised when Alton Brown came to St. Louis for Feasting on Asphalt and went to donut shops.  But in all honesty, I would go for a donut from St. Louis any day of the week.  There are a lot of great shops around St. Louis, and saying you prefer one over the other shop is like declaring your football allegiances!  My favorite is World's Fair Donuts but my sous chef's favorite is Mr. John's.  New to the donut scene is Strange Donuts, who have been making new age donuts and collaborating with area chefs.
1. Mass Transit:  there is a light rail system and buses, but it's tough to get where you want to go.  A bright spot is that the Metro doesn't charge for fares between downtown and the Arch weekdays.
2. Stay local, not chains: When I first moved to St. Louis, the big debate was between chain restaurants and local restaurants. Now the debate has moved toward 'what local restaurant are we going to tonight.'  There is a local shop for everything that you could possibly be looking for.
3. Don't be mean. People in St. Louis are nice and it's the Show Me State, so locals are down-to-earth and humble. 
4. Driving is a must, so rent a car.  BUT, don't drive everywhere! There are plenty of walking neighborhoods that are fun to visit like Cherokee Street's edgy shops and classic Mexican restaurants or the Central West End for sightseeing or people watching.
Central west end
5. Don't bring any stereotypes of the Midwest with you on this trip.  We're not all meat and potatoes simple.

(* Photo credits: Savant Beer from Perennial Facebook page, City Museum from City Museum Facebook page, Mike from Pappy's from Pappy's website, Crown Candy shop from Crown Candy website, Photo of Scott Carey from Sump Coffee Facebook page, Central West End on snowy February day from Central West End Scene 'Best of Urban Eclectic' Facebook page)

Rooster's Revenge, For Guys With New Love, Espolon Reposado Valentine's Day Cocktail

After cute and sweet, here's a manly cocktail recipe courtesy of James Groetzinger at Warehouse (Charleston, South Carolina) for guys who got dumped and found new love in time for Valentine's Day...

Rooster's Vengeance

by James Groetzinger – owner and bar manager

2oz Espolon Reposado

1oz hickory smoked cinnamon syrup

0.5oz fresh lemon

2 dashes Tabasco

4oz Spiced Apple Cider 

Rooster's revenge

“This drink is insane; It’s my favorite cocktail right now, hands down,” James Groetzinger, co-owner, Warehouse 

Espolon Resposado has a long, spicy finish, which is accentuated beautifully by the Tabasco. There is just enough Tabasco to make those flavors pop, with the lemon and apple cider to temper the heat and spice.

(* Recipe and photo courtesy of Warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina)

Put Heart in Your Valentine's Day Baking with Valentine's Pie from 'Sweet!'

Why do it half way

Put heart in your Valentine's Day baking with Valentine's Pie from Sweet (Artisan Books, October 2013) by Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections (Los Angeles)

Valentine’s Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 6 to 8

There is nothing wrong with giving a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day (of course!), but sometimes an alternative can be refreshing. Consider this heartwarming crimson fruit pie. Serve a slice to your Valentine, perhaps accompanied by a glass of Rosé Champagne.

12 ounces (about 10 medium stalks) rhubarb, rinsed, trimmed, and sliced into ½ inch pieces (3 cups)
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, or more to taste
3 cups (12 ounces) strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) raspberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons cornstarch
20 to 25 organic rose petals, rinsed and dried

Pie Dough (below)

1 ½ teaspoons Pie Dust (below)
1 egg, beaten

142_Valentine's Pie

Put the rhubarb and sugar into a medium saucepan and cook over medium- heat, stirring periodically, until the fruit softens, about 5 minutes. Add the strawberries and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring frequently-.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the raspberries. Taste the mixture, and if you would like the pie a little sweeter, add more sugar. Stir in the cornstarch and rose petals and let the filling cool to room temperature. (The filling can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured cool surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle: Start from the center of the dough and roll outward, rotating the dough 2 to 3 inches after each roll—this will help create a true circle. After every four to five rolls, run a large offset spatula under the dough to release it from the work surface. Add a little flour to the surface, rolling pin, and/or dough if the dough sticks or becomes difficult to roll.

Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, then unroll into a 9-inch pie pan, centering the round. Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and against the sides, making sure there are no air pockets. Press the dough against the upper edges of the pan so it extends about ½ inch beyond the edges, then trim any excess dough with kitchen shears. Chill the crust for 15 minutes, or until the dough is cool and firm.

Meanwhile, roll out the second disk of dough into a 12-inch circle. Using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut a shape in the center of the pie round and remove it. (See Tip.)

Cover the bottom of the crust with the pie dust. Fill the crust with the filling. Using a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg around the edges of the crust.

Roll the top crust up onto the rolling pin and drape the dough over the filling. Trim and crimp the edges of the double crust (instructions below). Refrigerate the pie until the crust is cold and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the crust look golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and cover the edges of the crust with a pie ring (below).

Bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Start checking the pie after 30 minutes, then continue baking, checking at 5-minute intervals, until the crust is golden, with no translucent areas. Remove the pie ring and bake for an additional 5 minutes or so, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack to cool completely-.

The pie can be stored in the refrigerator, to serve cold, or at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days.

Tip: If you like, brush the heart-shaped cutout with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar, and bake on the baking sheet beside the pie for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Serve with a dollop of jam for a mini-pie treat.

Pie Dough:
Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie, two 9-inch single-crust pies, or fifteen 4-inch hand pies

Given the choice between a piecrust made with butter and one made with shortening, I always choose butter. If you keep your dough cold at every step of the way, you can achieve the same flakiness that people attribute to shortening with the incomparable flavor of butter.

2 ½ cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
¼ to 1/3 cup (2 to 2.5 ounces) cold water

To make the dough in a food processor: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the processor bowl and pulse once or twice to combine. Drop the pieces of butter through the feed tube, continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add ¼ cup water as you continue pulsing a few more times, then add more water if necessary; stop when the dough just starts to come together.

To make the dough by hand: Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl and mix together with a fork or small whisk. Cut the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter or a large fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle ¼ cup water directly over the dough, mixing with the pastry cutter or fork, then add more water if necessary, mixing until the dough just comes together.

Remove the dough from the processor or bowl and form into 2 equal disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months; thaw in the refrigerator.

Pie Dust
Makes ½ cup

A scant sprinkling of this simple mixture prevents piecrusts from getting soggy on the bottom-; I use it with all wet pie fillings.

¼ cup (1.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1.75 ounces) sugar

Sift the flour and sugar together into a small bowl. The pie dust can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Crimping a Piecrust

Crust design, or crimping, is a way to add a personal touch to your creations. Once you’ve mastered a few versions, try to do them more quickly without sacrificing precision; pie dough holds its shape best with minimal handling.

Forked Crimp
For a single-crust pie, using a fork dipped in flour, press the dough against the rim of the pie pan all around the pan, making sure you don’t overlap the fork impressions. Chill the pie as directed in the recipe before proceeding.

For lattice-topped and double-crust pies, trim the top crust to a ¾-inch overhang if necessary. Fold the edges of the top crust over the bottom crust and proceed as for a single crust.

Simple Crimp
For a single-crust pie, place your thumbs about ¼ inch apart on the edge of the crust and press them toward each other to create a crimp, then continue all around the edge of the pie. Chill as directed in the recipe before proceeding.

For lattice-topped and double-crust pies, trim the top crust to a 3/4-inch overhang if necessary. Fold the edges of the top crust over the bottom crust and proceed as for a single crust.

Fancy Crimp
For a single-crust pie, put your left index finger on the edge of the dough at a 30-degree angle. Using your right thumb, lift the edge of the dough just to the right of your index finger and press the dough between your index finger and thumb to create a crimp. Using your right thumb and index finger, press the dough together just to the right of the crimp, extending the dough down about ½ inch. Put your left index finger to the right of the established crimp and, with your right thumb, lift the extended dough up to your index finger, creating a second crimp. Continue all around the edge of the entire pie.

When the crimping is complete, pinch all the crimps one more time to give them more height and definition. Chill the crust as directed in the recipe before proceeding.

For lattice-topped and double-crust pies, trim the top crust to a ¾-inch overhang if necessary. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together around the entire edge and proceed as for a single crust.

Making a Pie Ring

A pie ring, or pie shield, is used to prevent the edges of a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks through. Commercially made pie shields are available at kitchen supply stores, but you can easily make your own using the following instructions.

Cut a 30-inch-long piece of aluminum foil, and fold it lengthwise in half and then in half again. This makes a sturdy pie ring that can be used multiple times.

Wrap the foil around the edges of the partially baked pie, gently pressing the foil so it hugs the crust. Press the foil ends together to seal them. When the pie is baked, carefully remove the pie ring and save it for your next pie.

(*Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden + Munk.)

Amaretto Mochaccino, Valentine's Day Afternoon Pick Me Up from 'I Love Coffee'

Even after a snow storm, this recipe from I Love Coffee (Andrews McMeel, February 25, ebook release) by Susan Zimmer does not have a place at the breakfast table.

Wait until 4 or 5 pm to whip it up as a Valentine's Day afternoon pick me up.

Amaretto Mochaccino

Divinely decadent!

1–2 ounces (30–60 ml) chocolate syrup (below)
4–5 ounces (113–145 ml) steamed milk
2 ounces (15 ml) hot, fresh espresso or strong coffee
1/2 ounce (15 ml) almond-flavored syrup or amaretto
Whipped cream, for garnish
Chocolate sauce, for garnish


1. Pour the chocolate syrup and steamed milk into a 12–ounce (340 ml) cappuccino mug or
tempered glass mug, and froth the mixture. (If you prefer to use a frothing jug, then pour into a
mug once the frothing is completed.)

2. Slowly add the espresso and almond syrup to the frothed chocolate milk.

3. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Syrup
Mmmmm . . . very chocolate-y.

1 1/2 cups (330 g) sugar
1 cup (220 g) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
yield: 21/2 cups (625 ml)

1. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a saucepan.

2. Whisk thoroughly.

3. Gradually add the water to the cocoa, stirring (not beating) with the whisk to blend thoroughly.

4. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently with the whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. A layer of foam may form on top of the syrup.

5. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly with the whisk. Reduce the heat if the syrup threatens to boil over.

6. Remove from the heat; pour into a heatproof liquid measuring cup (3 cup/750 ml capacity).

7. Let cool briefly, then chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator until completely cold.

8. Strain through a fine strainer into a 21/2-cup (625 ml) container.

9. Stir in the vanilla.

10. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. The syrup can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Variation: For a spicier version, try stirring in 2 teaspoons (4 g) grated orange peel and 1teaspoon (2 g) ground cinnamon with the cocoa powder.

(* Recipe from I Love Coffee by Susan Zimmer -original publication 2007- ebook released on February 25, 2014- Andrews McMeel- reproduced with permission)

Tangerine Apricot Gluten Free Valentine's Day Cake from Olives, Lemons and Za'atar

I planned to attend book launch party for Olives, Lemons & Za'atar (Kyle Books, February 2014)by Rawia Bisharaof Tanoreen restaurant this evening. 

Even if party goes on with a few brave New Yorkers, it seems like all-day-snow will keep in my Montclair digs.

After sharing her savoury Red lentils and butternut squash recipe, here's a sweet treat for gluten-free Valentine's Day.

Flourless Tangerine Apricot Cake

As time goes on, more and more of my customers are requesting gluten-free dishes. It is easy to put together a meal with this in mind, since many of our savory dishes are naturally free of gluten. Of course, cakes and pastries are a challenge, but one I was happy to take on. I experimented with various glutenfree alternatives to flour and found that a combination of ground almonds and pistachios result in a flour with wonderful texture. Grind the nuts in a nut grinder to a consistency similar to farina; take care not to grind too finely or it will a-ect the cake’s texture. Serve with whipped cream, fresh fruit or ice cream.

Makes 10 to 12 Servings

One 16 inch Round Cake

8 tangerines, peeled, sectioned and seeded

8 apricots, peeled and pitted or 1/4 pound dried

1 cup sugar

1 pound peeled raw almonds, ground to the texture of farina

1 cup pistachios, skinned and ground to the texture of farina

1 cup crushed walnuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

2 tablespoons baking powder

8 large eggs

4 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur (optional)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Apricot cake


Place the tangerines in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil.

Continue to boil until the fruit is soft, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Transfer to a colander to drain, then put the tangerines in a blender and puree until smooth. Alternatively, use a hand mixer to puree the tangerines.

Place the apricots in the same pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the fruit is soft, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on ripeness of fresh apricots or freshness of dried apricots. Transfer to a colander to drain, then put the apricots in a blender and puree until smooth. Alternatively, puree the apricots using a hand mixer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 16-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, coconut, if using, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until pale yellow. Add the pureed apircots, the Frangelico, if using, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated. With the motor running, gradually sprinkle in the nut mixture to the egg mixture and mix until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen it. Invert a serving platter over the pan and flip it over to release the cake. Serve the cake warm.

(* Recipe reproduced from 'Olives, Lemons & Za'atar' by Rawia Bishara -Kyle Books, February 2014- Photography by Peter Cassidy, all rights reserved...)

Shaken Hard, Served Up, Sweet Nothings Valentine's Day Cocktail

Snowned in, treat your Valentine to a Sweet Nothings
Sweet Nothings Valentine's Day Cocktail Recipe
1 oz bailey's 
1 oz chambord
1 oz left hand nitro milk stout
Sweet nothings
Shaken hard, served up
This Sweet Nothings recipe was created by Sarah Martin of Bay Street Biergarten in Chaeleston (South Carolina)

Fashion Week Recipe, Crispy Pig Tails by Chef Josh (not John) Galliano, The Libertine, St Louis

An angel delivered these Crispy Pig Tails in my inbox just in time for Fashion Week.

It is part of Chef Josh (not John) Galliano current collection (menu) at The Libertine, a neighborhood eatery, in St Louis (Missouri).

Crispy Pig Tails

serves 4-6 people as an appetizer 

Pig Tails 

5 lbs pig tails, preferably 'docked'

5 tsp baking soda

2 tsp kosher salt 

1. Over a mixing bowl, rub only the skin sides of the pig tails with the baking soda.  Then, sprinkle the kosher salt over the entire surfaces of the pig tails.

2. Place the pig tails in the refrigerator overnight.

3. On the next day, rinse the salt and baking soda off of the pig tails and allow to dry.

4. Preheat an oven to 200 F.  Place a baking rack inside of a roasting pan, and put about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pan.  Lay the pig tails in the roasting pan, skin side up.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven.

5. Cook for 6 to 8 hours, or until the skin can easily be pierced with your pointer finger.  More water may be added to the pan to keep a steamy environment during the entire cooking time.

6. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and allow the pig tails to rest for 30 minutes.  Then start separating the pig tails: 1) gently tear the skin off of the tails and lay them flat on a work surface; 2) scrape off the excess fat from the tails and discard; 3) pull the meat from the tails and reserve in a work bowl of a stand mixer; and, 4) discard the tail bones.

7) Place the work bowl with tail meat in the stand mixer. On low speed, beat the meat until it resembles rillettes. 

8) Form little logs of the pig tail meat and fit them on top of the skin. Wrap the skin around the pig tail meat, then wrap in plastic wrap to make little cylinders.  Refrigerate the pig tails until ready to fry. 

Whipped Gorgonzola 

1/3 lb gorgonzola dulce

2 Tbsp. half and half 

1. In the work bowl of a stand mixer, crumble the gorgonzola.  Add the half and half.

2. With the paddle attachment, mix the gorgonzola on medium speed until it doubles in size.  Reserve in a small container in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Crispy pig tails

Celery Seed Vinaigrette 

1 Tbsp celery seeds, toasted

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Splash of sherry vinegar

1/4 cup diced apples

1 tsp chopped chives

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste 

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the celery seed, dijon mustard, chives, and the vinegars.  While using a whisk, mix the ingredients together.

2. Continue using the whisk to mix the ingredients together while slowly pouring in the olive oil.  This should create an emulsified vinaigrette.

3. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook the apples for 20 seconds, then remove them to a tray to cool slightly then add the apples to the vinaigrette. 

Brown Butter Polenta 

1/4 cup Anson Mills Spin Rossa Integrale Polenta

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper, to taste

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 

1. In a medium pot, heat the milk and water over medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. Once the liquids begin to almost boil, whisk in the polenta.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer while constantly stirring for the first 5 minutes.  Cook for about 35-45 minutes total.

3. Once the grains are tender, adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, if necessary.  Also, brown the butter in a skillet over medium high heat, then add the browned butter to the polenta.  

4. Reserve the polenta in a warm place until ready to serve. 

Buffalo Sauce 

1 clove garlic, minced

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

1 Tbsp. grain mustard

2 Tbsp heavy cream

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed 

1. Brown the first amount of butter in a medium pot.  Once the butter has browned, add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

2. Add the chipotle tabasco to the pot and cook over medium heat.  Reduce the liquid by about half being careful not to scorch it.

3. Add the grain mustard and heavy cream to the pot.  Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down to low, then add the butter one piece at a time while constantly whisking.

4. Once all of the butter has been added, keep the butter in a warm place until ready to serve. 


micro celery 

1. Preheat a deep-fat fryer to 375 F.

2. Cut the pig tail cylinders into 1/2 inch medallions.  Fry about 4 medallions per serving, making sure not to crowd the fryer; depending on the amount of guests, the pig tails might need to be fried in batches.

3. Fry the pig tails for 2 minutes, then remove them from the fryer while the other components are being assembled.  (Leave the pig tails in the basket as they will be fried a second time.)

4. Using a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread about 2 Tbsp of the whipped gorgonzola on the base of the plate.  Put a dollop of polenta in the middle of the plate.  Then spoon an oval of celery seed vinaigrette around the plate.

5. Fry the pig tails for a second time, just for about 1 minute.  Place the pig tails in a mixing bowl, and cover with the buffalo sauce.  Toss the pig tails in the buffalo sauce to fully coat.

6. Put the pig tails on top of the polenta leaning up against each other.

7. Finally, place some sprigs of the micro celery on top of the pig tails.

(* Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef Josh Galliano of The Libertine, all rights reserved)

Are East Beach Blonde or Naked Cowboys on Your Valentine's Day Oyster List?

Imagine Valentine's Day without oysters (or chocolate)?

Why not have fun with them while you're at it?

East coast near New York counts a few colorful bivalves.

Whether it's the voluptuous East Beach Blondes from Rhode Island...


Or the bad boy Naked Cowboys from Long Island Sound...

Peeling the Layers, Portraits of Onions by Bahar Borna Faraz

The secret life of onions...


Iranian visual artist Bahar Borna Faraz, currently living and working in Stockholm, Sweden is peeling the layers with his portraits of onions.

It reminded me of listening to Jane Hornby talking about onion cutting do's and don'ts.

I first noticed Bahar's work on L' Oeil de la Photographie...

(* Portraits of Onions photos reproduced with permission of the author, all rights reserved)

Step by Step 'How to Carve Ducks and Geese Guide' from 'Duck, Duck, Goose'

Carving and serving meats is an art that needs to be mastered.

Here is step by step guide on How to Carve Ducks and Geese from Duck, Duck, Goose Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated (Ten Speed Press, October 2013) by Hank Shaw.

How to Carve Ducks and Geese

Carving a duck is pretty much the same as carving a chicken or turkey. There are lots of ways to go about it, but this is what I do.

How to Carve Ducks and Geese

With the bird breast up, take off the legs and wings the same way you would when breaking down a whole duck (see page 8), slicing the skin between the breast and leg into the open area beneath. Use the point of the knife to locate the ball-and-socket joint that holds the leg to the body. Pop the joint by moving the leg downward. Slip the knife around the joint from the tail end of the bird. Once the leg is free from its socket, use the point of the knife to free it from the body, making sure to cut out the “oyster,” the oval knob of meat in front of the ball joint. Do this for both legs.

To remove the wings (usually just the drumette), turn the duck over to reveal the curved saber bone along its back; this is the equivalent of its shoulder blade. Slice along this bone toward the neck of the duck, feeling with the point of your knife for the joint that attaches the wing to the body. Use the point of your knife to separate the wing from the joint, taking care to cut out as little of the breast meat as possible. Do this for both wings.

For the breast, take the whole breast off first and then slice it. Start by cutting each half free. Begin at the keel bone, which separates the breast halves, and slice down along the keel bone, tapping the point of your knife against the breastbone. Start in the middle of the breast and work toward the tail end, then work the other way, toward the wishbone. When you get to the wishbone, use the knife point to cut around it and then down to where the wing was. Free the breast from the carcass with short strokes of the knife. Once it’s free, peel off the tender. Eat it, as it is the cook’s treat. Slice the rest of the breast on the diagonal, to get the best ratio of skin to meat.

Once you’re finished, don’t forget to save the carcass for stock!

(* Reprinted with permission from Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2013 by Holly A. Heyser)