It’s my third serious attempt to master Ukrainian blood sausage using local ingredients. Every time I slightly change the approach with a better understanding of what and why I am doing with every step.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Edward Lear — 1871 Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets
“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat”
I’ve seen it at the Central Market almost always available but never considered buying because of the price. Then a month ago, I came to shop for something else to the H Mart, and its fragrance attracted me from the moment I entered the fresh produce department. I followed the perfumed scent and after a few turns found a pile of quince with smooth golden skin. It was impossible to miss and irresistible.
Quince is known as one the most difficult fruit to approach. It is tough to prep and long to cook. I’ve been thinking is there a way to cook it elegantly and effortlessly?
Do not, I repeat, do not drink this mulled wine during the day if you plan to do things. It’s a powerful way to release pressure from your life. This wine will make your head light, your legs heavy, your heart warm. You will want to sit in a chair, tucked with your cozy blanket, and watch Christmas fairytales about love and other wonders.
Last year, out of curiosity I experimented with traditionally red Middle Eastern recipes — Zhoug, Harissa, Dukkah, Shakshuka — replacing red ingredients with locally available green and featuring Hatch green chile peppers. Everyone liked green harissa and green dukkah, but their combination in shakshuka was a hit.
It’s cranberry harvest season! Have you been missing fresh cranberries? Like many other passionate cooks, I have my favorite recipes that call for fresh cranberries — sauces, pickles, jams, etc. This one is neither. Why do I call the gems? Imagine a whole bright berry, still tart inside, but with thin sweet glossy coating outside. I usually make a batch of 3-4 jars, keep them refrigerated, and use for everything — to decorate cakes and pastries, to add to salads, to serve it with soft creamy cheese or greek yogurt, to top oatmeal with honey, to drop a few berries into the hot demi-glace based sauce for meat and poultry, to make quick cold and hot sparkling drinks — the list is endless.
Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.
Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast dish — two halves of English muffin, a slice of ham or bacon, and a poached egg are served with hollandaise sauce. There are many variations on the basic recipe. The one I use in my Romantic Breakfast: Mastering Eggs Recipes cooking class comes from the Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François cookbook. It belongs to Alsatian cuisine, which combines the rustic simplicity of neighboring Germany and French finesse. My version below is adopted to our locally available ingredients. I use smokey reduced cream sauce with vegetables instead of Hollandaise.