Supper Club (2021-10-01)

Now that I’m back to school, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the chance to do a dinner outside of our regularly scheduled program, which goes something like: Taco Tuesday; food that my parents dropped off; Indian Thursday; Cheese, charcuterie and bread on Fridays… After a few weeks of slowly getting used to our new schedule (back to work with a baby), I’m easing my way back into learning and improving my craft by doing more of these dinners where I try new recipes/techniques.

Foie gras, blackberry and truffle (oil)
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Secret Butternut Mac & Cheese

This meal came about as the intersection of two lines of thought. We wanted to try out the old fashioned (original) macaroni and cheese recipe, as featured on the Netflix series High on the Hog (recommended, by the way!). And, I’d been wanting to try adding butternut squash to macaroni and cheese ever since we ended up with way too many (is there such a thing) squash last fall. Earlier this week we finally got around to trying a mix of the two…we cooked the macaroni in equal parts milk and water (4 cups and 4 cups), then used the leftover cooking liquid (about a litre) to make the sauce with a roux: melted 5 Tbsp (75g) butter and softened some diced garlic and onions in it; added 1/4 cup (34g) flour and cooked it for about a minute, seasoned with salt and paprika; slowly added the reserved cooking liquid (we were able to use all the liquid from cooking the pasta, so the water and milk didn’t have to go to waste) and brought everything to a boil; added about 2 cups (300g) cubed butternut squash and let simmer for about 45 minutes. After that we added some cheese (shredded, mixed cheddar, about 1 cup) and stirred to combine with the macaroni. We added hot dogs (obviously), divided it into 3 baking dishes (good portions for 2 people), and topped with breadcrumbs and extra cheese before baking (and freezing for later).

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Duck 3 Ways

Duck 3 Ways

This week, I had every intention of trying to remake my failed duck dish (duck wellington) from last week’s supper club. While in the grocery store getting the ingredients to do it again, I found myself standing in front of the glass freezer door where the puff pastry is stored with my hand on the handle, and a question keeps coming to mind “Do I want to be disappointed again?” The answer was no! No, I didn’t give up, I’m not a quitter, I’m just putting the dish on hold until I can gather more information to make it properly. Instead, I did a duck 3 ways. The breast was sous vide at 58°C for roughly an hour to produce a nice pink center. In a really hot pan, I seared the foie gras, the duck breast, and a black duck leg confit that I had hidden in the freezer. The sauce was a reduction of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, wild blueberries with a hint of salt. Everything worked well together: there was a little bit of saltiness from the confit, fattiness from the foie gras, sweet, sour and tangy flavours from the sauce and a little bit of crispiness from the duck skin on the breast. Even though it isn’t a good comparison, Megan and I both agreed it was better than last week’s dish, with the added flavours and textural components to enhance the experience.

Supper Club (2021-09-05)

Going out with a bang! The last supper club of the summer was a big one…to celebrate the end of summer, but also an excuse to bust out some of the fancier items we’ve been hanging onto in our freezer (before we defrost it).

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Sourdough Discard Breadsticks

We have been doing wine and cheese (minus the wine, due to baby) regularly for the past several Fridays, ever since the beginning of summer when we starting reviving Chad (our starter). More sourdough breads in the house means more discard. Along with the usual suspects of cheese, cured meats, roasted veggies, grapes and nuts, this week I have decided to add a little bit of variety to our bread basket, by way of revisiting this recipe for breadsticks, along with a no-knead focaccia bread.

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