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Posts from the ‘Bits & Bites’ Category

Playing Pinball, Three Musketeers Style

Meet the latest addition to our collection of all things Three Musketeers. This beauty now lives in the lobby of our office. And when it’s switched on, you can play for free! No centimes necessary!

Crop Machine

That is a circa 1964 Rally Three Musketeers pinball machine. Pinball, or un flipper, was once all the rage in the cafés of France. The sad truth is that the age of pinball is coming to an end, according to this article.

Rally was a French company that manufactured interesting pinball machines in the 1960s. They made history in 1966 with the first digital scoring pinball machine. This one, their interpretation of the Three Musketeers, involved three voluptuous babes with swords.

Pinball Machine 3 Pics

Better than XBox!

It’s all in English, because in hipster 1960s France, that was the language of cool, of rock n’ roll caché. Here are some close-up details of the playfield with its garish colors, medieval lettering and even Cardinal Richelieu.

Pinball Details

But the instructions are in French. Here are the cards with rules and prices – and not to worry, we’ve never wagered yet! Click on the photo to enlarge.

Pinball Details Instructions

For more about Rally’s pinball machines, check out the Paris Pinball Museum, where we found this ad for our pinball machine. Très cool….

Pinball Page

 

 

Interview with Ariane in The Village Voice

Ariane talked to Laura Shunk at The Village Voice recently. Here’s the story of the early days at D’Artagnan and the philosophy behind what we do. Get the low-down on organic chicken, heritage-breed pork and the state of  meat in general.

So go ahead, take a peek inside Ariane’s head in this interview.

Village Voice Screen Shot

 

Sweet Bacon! Ideas for Eating Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon Banner with Caption

It’s a simple enough idea. Take something good (Berkshire pork bacon) and make it even better (add sugar and spice). If you can resist gobbling it up right out of the oven, you’ll have a smoky, sweet treat to play with.

Here is what you will need:

Candied bacon ingredients CAPT

Coat your bacon in the sugar and spice mixture, lay the strips on the rack and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the bacon becomes golden and crispy. Now it’s candy.

Let it cool and then try adding it to things. For instance…candy breakfast.

Oatmeal with bacon2 CAPT

Try to stop eating these. We dare you.  This completely addictive snack will vanish at your next party. So make a big batch.

Spicy Pecans Bowl 2 CAPT

And if there is room for dessert, we recommend a candied bacon sundae.

Bacon Sundae 2 CAPT

Anatomy of a bacon sundae

How about you? What do you like to do with candied bacon?

Poutine or Disco Fries?

Poutine – that Canadian dish of exquisite perfection – is getting a lot of attention these days. This simple dish is nothing but french fries covered in a special gravy and topped with cheese curds.  But, oh, what a winning combination!

Food bloggers swoon over poutine and post photos all over the internet (go ahead, have a look).  Au Pied de Chochon in Montreal offers a version with foie gras (yes!) and a new restaurant called Big Cheese Poutinerie just opened in Chicago, offering 30 variations on the theme. Tucson residents can look forward to the August opening of the first U.S. Fries, a Canadian restaurant which will offer a poutine-centric menu.

Clearly the time has come to embrace poutine. And we are so ready.

Wait. Cheese curds?  Not impossible to find in the U.S. But it helps to be near a dairy or cheese factory, because these rubbery little chunks of salty cheese must be eaten fresh.  They are sometimes known as “squeaky cheese” because they squeak against your teeth when you bite down.

Poutine has been adapted in the U.S., specifically in New York City and parts of New Jersey, where restaurants offer “disco fries.”  By the late 1970s a hot dish of fries with beef gravy and shredded cheese was de rigueur dining for disco divas with a lot of alcohol in their systems at  2 a.m. Or at least that’s what we gather from the history page at the website Montreal Poutine.

For anyone living in Northern New Jersey during the past 35 years, disco fries have been a mainstay on diner menus. The Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ offers disco fries with gravy and mozzarella 24 hours a day. A review on Trip Advisor calls them “the best disco fries in NJ.”

Eating in South Jersey Disco Fries

Disco fries. Photo from Eating in South Jersey blog

But they are NOT poutine.

The main difference between poutine and disco fries is the cheese. Cheddar or mozzarella cheese is fully melted over the heap of disco fries, unlike the cheese curds in poutine, which melt and soften, but remain whole and add a lot of chewy texture to the dish.

Apparently, you cannot even compare the two in front of a Canadian. We have one in our office and she became quite agitated at them even being mentioned in the same sentence. Sorry!

So we decided to make poutine D’Artagnan style, which means starting with duck fat fried potatoes. There is nothing better than duck fat for frying potatoes. We used 4 of our 7 ounce containers of it in this recipe. The great thing about duck fat is that you can reuse it (if it’s not burned), so let it cool and pour it into jar. Fry something else in it later. You will thank us.

Fries in the pan on the tray

One batch in the duck fat & parcooked fries on the rack.

 

Gravy

The gravy – beef & chicken stock with demi-glace

Our gravy is homemade with real chicken and beef stock, though we went a little too heavy on the chicken-to-beef stock ratio. A good dash of our duck and veal demi- glace balanced out the flavor and made the color a bit darker.

Fries in a bowl

After the second fry

Fries need to cook in hot duck fat twice. The first time for 5-8 minutes to par cook and the second time at slightly higher temperature to crisp and brown nicely.  This will only take a few minutes.

Poutine

The finished poutine

We tossed the fries in a bowl with a little gravy, then added the cheese curds, a little more salt and it was divine. If you can get cheese curds, we suggest you give it a try. And if you can’t, try them it some foie gras instead.

 

Memorial Day Sale Going on NOW!

It’s the official start of grilling season and you will need some meat for that grill if you’re doing things right.

We thought you might like to celebrate with us and save when you buy for Memorial Day. Use the code MEMORIALDAY at checkout, through May 23.

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Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People of 2014

We are excited to announce that Ariane made the list at number 86 – Fast Company recognized her for “growing while staying rooted.”

It’s a huge honor to be included on this list of innovators and creative geniuses. Ariane has worked for 30 years to make something old – heritage breed animals raised with care  and compassion – something new again.

We are also thrilled to see our friend Chef April Bloomfield make the list. Big congratulations to all the worthies on the 2014 list!

Image from Fast Company

Image from Fast Company

Save 15% for Mother’s Day!

If your mama likes food, we’ve got just the thing for her this Mother’s Day.  Save 15% on our selection, including items like foie gras with truffles, bacon and sizable pork chops. Use our ingredients to make that special mother a memorable meal. Or give the gift of charcuterie with one of our brimming baskets.

Shop here, shop now. Our Mother’s Day sale ends Friday, May 9. But you need to order by 12 noon EST on Thursday, May 8 to get your order in time for mother.

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Pardon My Foie Gras: Between the Covers

Pardon My Foie Gras was written by the prolific cookbook author Ruth Chier Rosen, and published in 1956. You can see her astounding collection of vintage cookbooks that span decades and cuisines at her blog Food of the Fifties. She even has an app!

Though a far cry from the comprehensive volumes Julia Child penned on French cooking, this little book offers a view into 1950s America and its attitude toward French food. Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking would not appear until 1961, and we all know what happened after that!

Ruth Chier Rosen wrote an entire series of these little cookbooks. Ours measures only 4 x 5 inches, and is spiral bound with plenty of lovely vintage flourishes. Clever titles with puns are common in her oeuvre. The recipes are short, direct and easy to follow.

As you might expect, we have the foie gras themed volume.  It’s all about the “choice cuisine of France,” and we want to share a few of the pages with you here.

PMFG Front Cover & Box

The spiral bound book and a clever box to protect it.

PMFG Frontispiece

Inside the front cover, a very intense Frenchman.

As you can see, Ruth was introducing the concept that eating in the French manner involved caring. There is no place for indifference in cooking or dining.

We like Ruth’s message, and it still resonates: French food need not be intimidating. Do things simply, do them well.

In the French Manner

And here is a selection of several pages and recipes worth noting.

Soups & Sauces

We begin in the beginning. Soups & sauces.

French onion soup is a classic that borders on kitsch at this point. But made at home, with your own stock, it is something wonderful. This recipe may be a bit reductionist. It does not make clear that you must really, truly brown those onions.

The other is for chestnut soup – we love French chestnuts (and we offer them). They are perfect to pair with game and poultry; this sauté with fennel is a favorite of Ariane’s at the holidays.

PMFG onion soup chestnut soup

Two soups you might like to try.

A chapter we cannot skip: the meat and vegetables. It’s nice to see such variety – tripe, veal, lamb, sweetbreads, liver – perhaps easier to find in 1956 America than we might have expected.

Meat & Veg

Let’s get to the meat, shall we?

 

Bouef Bourg

Before Julia made it a household name: Boeuf Bourguignon

paupiettes

Paupiettes de veau

You can see Ariane’s recipe for Paupiettes de Veau, and a video in which she demonstrates the preparation. The translation is “Veal Birds,” because they are also known as oiseaux sans tête, or birds without heads. 

poultry and game

Here’s where it gets interesting.

There are plenty of recipes for chicken, and what French cookbook would be complete without a good roasted chicken recipe? It is the cornerstone of a balanced diet.

Chicken Roti

The photos are all black and white, but the charming illustrations make up for it.

We cannot resist the guinea hen – or pintade, in French. In this recipe, we wonder what happens to the rest of the hen. Naturally, every scrap should be eaten and the bones cooked down for stock. Guinea hen legs are not to be missed.

Pintade

Guinea hen is commonly eaten in France.

We were intrigued by the cassoulet recipe. But this Toulouse cassoulet seems to be missing something – could it be duck? Our version is Gascon all the way, so we are biased, bien sur. And while the simplified translation of “baked beans” is accurate, it leaves out some of the caché of cassoulet. The recipe does not involve any baking in the oven, which is the stage that makes cassoulet all crunchy on the outside.

Toulouse Cassoulet

But where’s the duck?

We were excited to see the offering from the region of Gascony. And this one involved torching a duck, so that’s fun.

cassoulet de canard

There are desserts and dishes with eggs… and some handy information about wine. We just couldn’t resist this chart of vintages from 1927-1955.

vintage chart

And if you are going to drink, please be responsible and use the correct glass.

wine glasses

Make mine crystal, please.

Wine Dinner Menu

Ruth lays out a few menus using her recipes and pairing with wine.

However, there is no foie gras in Pardon My Foie Gras. The closest thing is the pâté in the Tournedos Rossini- we know that’s supposed to be foie gras. In 1956 the only foie gras in the United States was canned pâté de foie gras. And some people still think the word “pâté” is synonymous with foie gras.

As you may now, it wasn’t until Ariane started D’Artagnan in 1985 that any fresh foie gras was available in the U.S. at all. Today we sell a variety of preparations, as well as whole livers and foie gras slices.  So here’s our version of Tournedos Rossini, with a slice of fresh, seared foie gras on top.

Tournedos Rossini

truffle man

On the inside back cover, a happy truffle hunter.

Please meet Mrs. Rosen.

ruth bio

Our little volume came with a card promoting the other titles penned by Ruth and published by her husband Richard Rosen.

Also by Ruth

Look at the last title – there was urban farming in the 1950s! Sure, it’s being reinvented today on rooftops and in vacant lots in cities across America, but here it is in 1956. Ahead of her time?

More by Ruth 2

Intrigued by the first one…

If you come across any of these little books, be sure to scoop them up. They offer a charming view of cooking in the 1950s, and would make unique gifts for those friends who are cookbook collectors.

 

Cinco de Mayo Sale!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in meaty style with 15% off our picks for the party. You can’t go wrong with Berkshire Pork Ribs or even our Duck Leg Confit – perfect for shredding and stuffing in tacos or tamales. Ground buffalo and Wagyu beef are both adaptable to your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes.

Check out the sale here. Special pricing ends on May 2, 2014.

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Ariane Debunks the Foie Gras Myths

Ariane has been preaching the gospel of foie gras since the earliest days of D’Artagnan. She started the company to sell the first fresh foie gras raised in the United States. Today she is the leading expert on the subject.

Erin Mosbaugh at the blog First We Feast interviewed her on the controversial topic, visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras, our partner farm, and came away with a better understanding of foie gras.

We share their post and hope that you will share it in turn. Foie gras is a topic that excites a lot of passion on both sides. We only ask that people consider all the facts before drawing conclusions about foie gras. Lucky for those who want to do that, First We Feast does a fine job of explaining and debunking the common myths.

Ariane First We Feast Foie Gras Screen Shot

For those who want to learn more about foie gras, try the Artisan Farmers Alliance. And if you want to order some foie gras, we have plenty available on our website, along with recipes to inspire. (Yes, we can ship foie gras to citizens of California. The prohibition on foie gras applies only to sales and production in the state.)

foie gras recipes panel