Duck with Blood Orange Mayonnaise and Artichokes

Making your own mayonnaise is something that every mayo lover should try to do at least once. And then a second and third time. Homemade mayo is infinitely better than the stuff you can buy in a jar and only has a few ingredients. Plus you can add your own flavorings as you go for even more tasty possibilities. Adding the juice and zest of a blood orange instead of lemon juice will result in a slightly rosier mayo known as 'maltese mayonnaise.' If that doesn't make you want to grab your whisk, maybe this will: Homemade mayo will give you Popeye-sized forearms. Whisking oil drop by drop into a few egg yolks for half an hour should seriously be considered an official workout. Just sayin'.......

duck with blood orange mayonnaise and atrichokes

1 duck breast
2 egg yolks
1 cup safflower oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of one blood orange
zest of one blood orange
1 cup artichoke bottoms
chives, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, salt, sugar, ground mustard, apple cider vinegar, and blood orange zest with a whisk. Next, carefully add safflower oil drop by drop, whisking the entire time. Only add each drop after you have incorporated the previous drop with the egg mixture. When half of the oil is added, add the blood orange juice. Continue adding oil and whisking constantly until all the oil has been used up. (Some of you may recognize this method as Alton Brown's method. If so, you and I should be friends.) Set aside.

In a large saute pan, preheat over medium high heat. Score the skin of the duck breast all the way through the fat, but do not cut into the skin. Season with salt and pepper. When the pan is good and hot, cook duck breast fat side down first. A lot of fat will seep out so be careful of any splatters.  When crisp and golden brown, turn over and cook the flesh side until the breast is cooked to medium rare.  Remove from pan and let it rest for five minutes. Meanwhile, in the hot duck fat, saute artichoke bottoms until golden brown and plate.

Slice the duck breast on the bias and against the grain. Plate with artichokes, blood orange mayo, a few small slices of blood orange, and some chives.

IMPORTANT!!!! Never throw out your duck fat. Let it cool until it is safe to handle and pour through a paper coffee filter. Put this in your fridge and use it as a cooking fat for everything. Vegetables, meat, and breakfast cereals will all benefit from the glorious duck fat.


All Things Bacon.....

A few weeks ago I was contacted by our own homegrown newspaper The Baltimore Sun for an article they were writing on bacon.  Seems as though someone tipped them off for my, let's say....admiration of all things bacon.  Henceforth, that very night I went home and threw together some Bacon and Egg Ice Cream, resulting in a previous blog post. They said they might want to run it in the paper and I wanted the recipe to be available, whisks at the ready. Well, they decided they didn't want to run the recipe, but here is the article if you want a read. It's not much, but it's something. I even tried some shameless self-promotion, but they must have seen right through it. Next time I'll hit 'em harder....

(PS- Kate, I totally made sure they knew what I made. I don't want you to think I'm stealing your bacon-y thunder with their loose wording. I only made the bacon toffee, bacon rum, and the bacon and egg ice cream. Also, I cannot claim the last one to be an original dish.)

(PPS-  Image downloaded from the article on the website. All credit goes to them.)


Game Hen with Broiled Scallions and Tarragon Ricotta

SPRING!!!! Man, is it good to see you! I've waited quite some time for you to roll around again. Remember how awesome you were last year? Not too rainy....plus, you stayed around until late June. Thanks again for not letting summer arrive early. That was definately appreciated. Since you've returned, let's celebrate. I've got some ricotta and some tarragon. Oh, and some scallions. And some left over game hen as well. Let's do this thing.

game hen with broiled scallions and trragon ricotta

1 bunch of tarragon, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 bunch scallions, roots and top 4 inches removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Gently heat up game hen (any left over poultry will also work) until warmed all the way through. Remove poultry from pan and add scallions. Briefly cook until scallions begin to slightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 

In a bowl, combine ricotta with tarragon and lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. Plate scallions and game hen and add some ricotta on the side. Enjoy.

game hen with broiled scallions and tarragon ricotta


Bacon and Egg Ice Cream


Even though this ice cream has been around for some time, it might sound weird to some people. (But I'm willing to bet that those people also prefer their steak, duck, and tuna all to be cooked until they have the texture of some rather cheap leather. The kind that must be labelled "leatherette".) Indeed, this ice cream does take a little bit of an open mind. But, it has bacon in it, so you sort of see where this is going to end up: an empty ice cream bowl.

Most people credit Heston Blumenthal for first coming up with this idea. And I bet he deserves that credit. Many others have put their spin on this ice cream flavor as well. So what makes mine different? Honestly, not too much. But a few tiny tricks have snuck their way in. Let's see what they are:

bacon and egg ice cream

1 pint heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
7 slices of good quality bacon
6 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 small splash of rum
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a half sheet pan with tin foil and place a cooling rack on top. In a bowl, combing vanilla extract and bacon and mix to coat the bacon well. Arrange bacon on the cooling rack, and roast for 20 minutes, or until nice and browned. Try to avoid burning the bacon.  Allow to cool and chop six of the seven slices, reserving the seventh slice. (Of course, since bacon does not usually come in a 7-slice pack, you probably should have made a few more slices to keep you from eating the bacon meant for the ice cream.) In a bowl,  add the remaining chopped bacon to the heavy cream and milk and refrigerate for eight hours. Overnight is even better.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until well combined (see above photo). Set aside. Make a double boiler out of  a large metal mixing bowl placed over a wide pan in which an inch of water is being heated over medium low heat.  In this double boiler, combine the egg and sugar mixture with bacon steeped cream and milk. Gently heat, whisking constantly. 

bacon and egg ice cream

The idea is to heat the mixture slowly as not to cook the egg. If the temperature rises to quickly, the eggs will scramble. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. If it is getting too hot too fast, remove from heat but continue whisking. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and remove from heat to cool.

As the mixture cools, take the reserved piece of bacon and chop it up into small pieces. In a small bowl, add the bacon and just enough rum for the bacon to soak up. This bacon is going to go in the ice cream and the alcohol will help these small bacon pieces remain a little chewy, instead of frozen solid. Pour off (or drink) any unabsorbed rum.

Strain the egg/dairy/bacon mixture to remove all solids. Pour into a bowl and add the rum soaked bacon. Freeze for several hours until the correct consistency is reached. (You may have to increase the power to your freezer to ensure proper freezing due to the high fat content).  Feel free to use an ice cream maker. Consult your manual for use. Serve nice and cold.

PS: Two desserts back to back? I know it is odd to put two posts like that so close together (especially since the both happen to be ice cream). So, what gives? I recently noticed that there were not too many desserts on Six Course Dinner. And every good dinner should have something a little sweet at the end, right?


Pistachio and Fennel Pollen Ice Cream

pistachio and fennel pollen ice cream

This is an ice cream I made long before I started keeping track of my recipes on this site. I confess to not making the ice cream itself (one day.....) but only adding the flavoring to some already very good quality vanilla ice cream. But this is still a special flavor for a special ice cream because it uses an ingredient from my very first post. I did this because today this little blog turns 1.

Happy birthday, Six Course Dinner! You've come a long way and I hope I can keep you important to other people in the same way you've become important for me. Here's to one year!

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1 tbsp fennel pollen

Crush the pistachios into small pieces by placing them in a ziploc bag and using a roller pin. In a large bowl, add pistachios, fennel pollen, and ice cream. With a stiff spoon or an ice cream paddle, work the ingredients into the ice cream. Return ice cream to carton and place back in freezer for at least one hour to harden up again. Sprinkle a little more fennel pollen on top before serving. Also, if you can't get hold of fennel pollen, some crushed fennel seed will do the job.

pistachio and fennel pollen ice cream


Quick Omelette with Sardines

omelette with sardines

Today I decided that I have been ignoring a small section of my local grocer's shelves. Many times I have walked by the tinned foods without giving any thought to actually eating them. Of course the occasional can of tuna makes it's way into my basket, but that is about as deep as my curiosity usually takes me. This morning, however, that changed. I had seen the tins of sardines and often wondered if I might actually like the mysterious contents inside. Would they be too fishy? Would they smell terrible? Could I eat a whole tin?

About twenty minutes ago, I had the answers: No. No. Yes!

The sardines turned out to be a great addition to my table and a product I will surely use again. As not to mask their delicate flavor, I paired these silvery little guys with a simple omelette. This actually made for a great and quick breakfast, a rare event documented on this site. Enjoy.

quick omelette with sardines

1 tin of Norwegian sardines, in olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 shallot, minced
2 slices of prosciutto, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In an omelette pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and gently saute shallot until translucent. Add chopped prosciutto and cook for another minute or two. In a seperate bowl, whisk eggs and parsley together until well combined. Add a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Pour egg mixture over shallots. Quickly stir to lightly scramble the eggs. Cook until eggs are still just a little runny and remove from pan.

Plate four sardines and grind a little black pepper over them. Top with a tablespoon or two of the eggs. Serve with a little parsley garnished on top.