Sunday, November 29, 2009

Smoked Duck with Cranberry Mango Chutney

Smoked Duck

This takes 3 days to make. You will cook and serve on day 3. This can be a finicky dish to prepare, it is really best to make a dry run before you try to impress guests. Read all the instruction thoroughly before starting and do not skip any of the steps.

5-6 Lb Muscovy duck ( each duck serves about 4 ) make as many as you need
¼ cup salt per gallon water used to brine.
1 orange cleaned and cut into quarters
1 onion quartered
one large rosemary sprig per bird
fresh thyme, marjoram, garlic
Adobo seasoning ( a seasoning mixture of salt, garlic and oregano, wing it if you can't locate it)

hickory smoke chips

Thaw bird at least 4 days in advance of serving.

Day 1
remove from package, pull out any pin feathers, trim off the neck flap, and all excess fat from around cavity. Rinse clean. Often ducks found at supermarkets are pre-brined but continue as though it was not. If your duck is still a little frozen that will be ok, it will thaw.

If the bird you have has not had the skin pricked all over then you must do it. You need to prick the skin many times but only prick the skin and fat, do not pierce the flesh if you can manage. Often the pre-brined ducks are also pierced if this is the case skip this step.

Brine the bird. In a large tub or food safe bucket mix together ¼ cup salt per gallon water to cover the bird or birds. Before adding raw bird taste water, you want a pleasant saltiness, not overly saturated, make the brine to your taste. Add bird or birds. Keep cold , and brine for one day.

Day 2
after 24 hour brine, remove birds from brine drain pull the necks, livers, hearts and whatever else is in there out.

Pat dry.

Stuff cavity with the orange and onion quarters as well as a rosemary sprig. Tie the legs together and fold the wings back and over themselves.

Mix your herbs, garlic, pepper and Adobo in a bowl then liberally apply to the surface of the ducks. Place ducks on a roasting rack in the roasting pan you plan to cook them in. Do the back side first then the breast ( so the herbs don't fall off the side you will see.

This is a dry marinade stage, if you have a safe refrigerator that you can leave the ducks uncovered for 24 hours in do that. If not cover ducks keeping them elevated off the floor of the container so the juices do not soak the back let rest over night. You want the duck skin to dry out.

Day 3 -Day of Serving
soak the smoke chips or make 2 foil packs with the dry chips, pierce a few times and set aside.

About 7 hours before you serve your duck remove and let stand on counter. Light your smoker. We use a standard Weber BBQ to do this. I have cut a coffee can down to 2 inches tall and drilled out 1” holes in the bottom. This is the smoke pan. You need to light 8-10 coals Use a bricket chimney and NOT LIGHTER FLUID you do not want the ducks to taste like lighter fluid.

When the coals are ready pour them into the coffee can pan pull to the side in a location that you can access to add smoke chips as needed.

Place the rack right from your roasting pan in the smoker if it fits. If not place the duck directly on the rack. add a few chips cover tightly, open a vent a little to keep the air flow.

At this stage you are not cooking the duck you are adding the smoked flavor. So keep only enough coals in the smoke pan to create smoke not create heat. Add coals as needed. Add wood chips as needed.

Smoke duck for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 225 F remove the ducks from smoker and cover with a lid or with foil as tightly as you can. The duck will now slowly cook for 3.5 hours steaming off some of the fat. The more tightly covered the more fat will drain. Check them after 2 hours and drain the fat if it begins to accumulate in bottom. You don't want the ducks to touch it after it has rendered off. Keep tightly covered and remove from oven at 3.5 hours.

Let the duck rest for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F uncover ducks and place in the hot oven for another 40 min. This is the stage when you are crisping up the skin.

Carve the duck tossing out the fatty parts of the skin.

Serve with Mango Cranberry Chutney or a sauce of your choice.

Cranberry Mango Chutney

1 bag fresh cranberries picked through and cleaned
2 large mangoes peeled and chopped
1 medium apple peeled cored and chopped
1 whole sweet red pepper
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup white vinegar
2 TB finely chopped ginger root
1 TB lemon juice
2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Combine everything in a large stainless or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 40 min or until fruits are tender and mixture is thickened. Stir occasionally.

To can, ladle the hot mixture into sterilized jars fill to within ½” of rim to allow for head space. Process 10 min for ½ pint jars and 15min for pint jars.

Excellent as an accompaniment with poultry.

Recipe for Grilled Lamb

Grilled Lamb Rack with a Wild Mushroom Cabernet reduction sauce

This is dry marinated 1 day in advance of serving
though if you had to you could do it a few hours in advance.

Frenched lamb racks- (purchase enough for the amount you wish to serve. ) Frenched lamb racks have the rib bones protruding from the meat. You want to look for lamb racks that are somewhat trimmed down. You do not want or need the fat so don't pay for something you have to throw out.

Trim the lamb up. Turn them curved side down, carefully slice off the layer of fat along the bones and the silver from the meat. Careful trimming off the silver, you do not want to mangle the meat nor loos much of the meat in the trimming.
Wrap bone end in foil to protect it on the BBQ.

Herb Marinade
This herb marinade is caked onto the lamb you will be using very generous and equal amounts of seasonings. Just mix this into a paste and cake onto the lamb, it should be a thick layer

dry marjoram
fresh crushed garlic

Cake this herb mixture onto lamb, place in a refrigerator over night.

BBQ over direct heat

BBQ your lamb in the center of the grill over the coals. Throw smoke chips in to add a wonderful smoky flavor. About 8-9 minutes per side until they are medium rare.
Serve with the mushroom Cabernet sauce

Wild Mushroom Cabernet Sauce

you can double this recipe it is excellent over mashed potatoes.
Can be made in advance and reheated.

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms or about 1 cup fresh. We used a mixture of morel, porcini, oyster and crimini
½ cup beef broth
½ cup Cabernet wine ( not to cheap, you want a decent flavor)
corsage of fresh thyme, bay, and marjoram tied into a bundle
3 peppercorns (I place these in a metal tea ball so they don't end up in the final dish.)
1 TB olive oil
2 TB flour, use gluten free if you need to. This is to thicken the sauce
salt to taste at the end

If you are using dried mushrooms rehydrate them 20 min prior and then rinse them 3-4 times to remove any unwanted bits of sand or dirt. Drain and squeeze dry.

In a small saucepan heat oil and sauté mushrooms until mostly browned and crispy add flour stir until the flour is a bit browned. Add the herb bundle, the peppercorns, wine and broth. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 20 min or longer to reduce and thicken sauce. Adjust seasonings and add salt if you wish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We threw tradition into the wind and did not miss it at all.
We had a five course meal with plate service so most of our family was able to just sit, sip wine and chat. My husband and I designed the menu and all the recipes are our own. Our
daughter and our niece served the plates and pulled the plates. Just like a real restaurant. It was divine. All though we went to so much trouble we all were able to sit down at every course and enjoy it with the family.
Here is the menu:
Oyster Rockefeller
broiled oysters served with a creamy spinach sauce topped with hollandaise and smokey paprika
Harvest Salad
baby greens served with apples, pears, blue cheese, dried cranberries candied pecans and a pomegranate vinaigrette
Grilled Rack of Lamb
served medium rare with a Cabernet wild mushroom sauce, on a bed of horseradish mashed potatoes and honey glazed baby carrots
A Smoked and Grilled Duet
Smoked duck with cranberry mango chutney and a skewer of marinated beef tenderloin served on a bed of mashed sweet potato
Creme Brulee
with a chocolate wafer and fresh berries

I am certain almost everybody loved it. I know that as a hostess I was very happy with the results, it was just as I had planned. And there was a lot of planning.
Here is my daughter and Emily my niece looking very intent as they serve the lamb course.
If you are interested in recipes stay tuned... They will follow in future posts.

Our dog and Emily... Look how worn out he is after all the begging he had to do.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My wool paintings are finially framed!

I still would like a bigger shadowbox, I have other beautiful arrowheads including a large spear head I wanted to display.
On the bottom of the frame and the bottom left, you are seeing awls and needle implements used to sew and manipulate leather and whatever else needed to be sewn.
12"x13" Wetfelt background,
needlefelt portrait
Jan 9 2009
While this may look like Chief Joseph it is not. The chiefs of these tribes wore very similar ornaments.
This is my rendition of Chief Plenty Coups of the Absaroka or Crow tribe. I know you have all seen him before, but it looks even better in a frame.
I actually framed all my wool paintings now, wohoo! It was a little pricey, but they will be here for my grandchildren not destroyed by my cats....
Now that they are complete I feel I can start another painting. A couple of ideas come from the Art Nueveau style, and because I recently learned that I am a distant cousin of Kay Nielson something related to his work.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shoe Makin Time.

I have always secretly habored the notion of being a cobbler... I want to make shoes.

So yesterday I woke up and I was shot through with inspiration. I would use my nice brown sweater that tragically was washed in hot water and make a pair of moccasins to use as slippers.

So I gathered my moccasins to examine, scoured the net for ideas or patterns. I still had not found a shoe that was what I wanted to make. So I gathered my slippers, my uggs and any other shoe around the house that I thought I could make. I set about to make a shoe. I drafted a pattern, it looked like it was going to work, and I sewed one up. I made slip on boots.

Yikes! I should have taken a photo... in my husbands words "thats hidious"

The boot I created was somehow twisted, so when it was on there was a large ill fitting area and the fabric twisted over the foot.It was also HUGE! I guess I added plenty of seam allowance. Definatly not what I wanted. But I could see the potential and I could see the mistakes. So I used a razorblade to dissassemble my creation, made some changes. Added a front zipper, took in the back...

And here are my new boot/ slippers
They are washed wool outer, the lining is Faux fur the sloes are three layers, leather, jute and velveteen.
They fit better than I dreamed they would, they are very very warm.
I am thrilled.
While there are still a few tweakes and I would like a more finished bottom edge I have decided
I will definiatly be making more. I have some fur pelts that were given left to me from my grandparents. My grandfather was a trapper in the 1920's and somehow there are still a few pelts of the little critters left. one pelt is a little dry on the leather but I think it will work. I also have a ton of leather to work with, but I'm leaning tword a brown or a black.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Velvet handmade felt and the food dyes.

Top of the morning to everyone who reads this little blog.
In my previous post you saw I was experimenting with kool-aid to dye stuff, well I moved quickly on to Wilton's cake icing dye. Success!
I browse the Internet regularly for inspiration generally I love texture, color, fiber, sewing, and vibrant items. I came across an English Artist I find intriguing, check out her blog here.
She combines wool and velvet, huge color and embroidery in delightful and fabulous ways. So I found my muse.
Here is a tray of the velvet and wool felt scraps I dyed this weekend, sort of pretty don't you think?
It is really to bad I do not have 100% silk velvet to dye I think it would be much brighter, but since I don't, I'll make do.
The wool really took the cake dyes well, the colors are rich and deep, yeah! Possibilities seem endless right now.
Anyhow, now I am playing with ideas and testing out my applique skills. I am not certain what I am creating.
You can see in the first photo where my musing has taken me. I am thinking of cutting the design out and sewing it to another piece.. maybe a tote bag or a journal cover. my mind is still wandering and I don't know where it will end up. Yet just having the possibility of creating something new and fresh gets me out of bed each morning. I just wish I had a studio so I could spread out all my projects.... basically I want to make a big mess and revel in it.
On another note, my angels are selling quickly, got an order for 12 of them yesterday! yeah *clap, clap, clap*

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kool-Aid Dye for Fabric, Experiments in Color.

Last night I began some new experiments. I have a number of creative ideas involving fabrics, but I need color combos that are unavailable.

So I thought I'd try Kool-aid, I have heard of this method it can be used with any protein based cloth such as cotton wool, linen etc. I choose silk/rayon velvet because I want the lush texture for my plans. I also wanted cheap and easy in case I hate the results. So Kool-aid is the answer, all you need is vinegar, water and the color of your choice. Plus it smells very good.

Here is where I got my instructions

Here is a color chart for those of you who want to try this yourselves.

I think this is a very affordable alternative to expensive dyes for when the kids want to Tie Dye.

You can see in the above photo some of the colors I chose, I bought them before I saw the color chart.. so I have a small selection of color. Also please note the right hand side the "INVISIBLE" Kool-Aid.. yeah that's for making magic cloaks, it is of course it is invisible just as it states. I guess I did not see those large capital letters while I was buying. I also found the "Lemonade" to be to faint of a yellow so I dumped it and choose a brighter blue for that bottle.

Anyhow the process is very simple, soak your fabric in hot water, lay it on a large saran wrap in a pyrex. Paint, pour, drip your dye over the fabric and then secure the saran wrap. Microwave in two minute increments until the liquid in your item is clear.
Bam! You have dyed fabric.
In this last photo you can see the results of the dye over the white silk/rayon blend velvet. The pink piece farthest to the left is so pretty, I am
very pleased. I dyed it twice with the reds, once
would have been enough if I had followed instructions and microwaved until the liquid was clear. In the end I nuked that piece 6 minutes and the color is lush.
All in all I like the dyes I will be doing this again, I want richer colors in the blue and greens... It may have been my choice of fabric, silk dyes easy but rayon must not. My next experiment will be dying wool felt with the same colors. All these fabrics are for the same project, So I would like similar colorways.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Holiday Items are being listed on my Etsy Shop

These little handcrafted Angels were a huge hit at the Los Gatos Historic Homes Boutique sale last weekend. I am listing them in my shop until Christmas. They are very ethereal and delicate looking. Each is unique and crafted from lambs wool.
Support the modern Arts and Crafts movement, buy local, buy handmade!