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Posts from the ‘Holidays’ Category
The question of whether you prefer white or dark meat is a crucial one at Thanksgiving. But how can one turkey yield enough of the preferred meat for each diner? The simple answer is to augment the whole roasted turkey with a turkey breast. And the overwhelming majority of people prefer the pale, juicy meat of the breast (don’t look at us! We like it dark). You can roast the breast whole, or debone it, stuff and then roast it. Here are three tempting recipes that work for Thanksgiving, but are also perfect for any meal.
Simple Roasted Turkey Breast
Here’s a basic technique for roasting a bone-in turkey breast, which is great for smaller holiday gatherings or even a sunday roast. Add your favorite herbs and spices as you wish.
1. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fit a small roasting pan with a V-shaped rack.
2. Rub softened duck fat (or olive oil) over turkey breast, and season with salt and pepper. Center turkey breast on rack, skin side up. Transfer to oven, and roast until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. (If at any point the butter/juices in the pan start to burn, add about ½ cup water to the pan.)
3. Transfer to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Turkey Roulade with Black Truffle Butter
This simple turkey breast roulade not only makes a fabulous holiday centerpiece, it makes versatile leftovers too!
1. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Using a sharp boning knife, place knife close to bone and carefully remove breast from bone, keeping breast meat connected. Place deboned breast skin-side down on work surface. If necessary, carefully pound breast between plastic, keeping skin intact, to make even. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly with truffle butter.
3. Fold left and right sides in toward center and roll evenly until both sides meet. Turn rolled breast so skin side is facing up and adjust shape as necessary. Using kitchen twine, tie at 2-inch intervals. Transfer to a roasting pan and season the outside with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook for 30 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour more. (If at any point the butter/juices in the pan start to burn, add about ½ cup water to the pan.) Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Turkey Breast with Mushroom Stuffing
This simple turkey breast roulade is packed with earthy flavor from mushroom duxelles and sauteed leeks. Delicious.
2 tablespoons black truffle butter
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 pound organic chef’s mix mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons water
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small leek, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sherry-wine vinegar
6-8lb organic turkey breast
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Heat truffle butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoon water; season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes more.
2. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times to coarsely chop. Set chopped mushroom mixture aside. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil to skillet and heat over high heat. Add leek and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring until leek is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped mushroom mixture to skillet and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add vinegar; stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before using. (This can be done up to 1 day ahead!
3. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
4. Using a sharp boning knife, place knife close to bone and carefully remove breast from bone, keeping breast meat connected. Place deboned breast skin-side down on work surface. If necessary, carefully pound breast between plastic, keeping skin intact, to make even. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly with mushroom stuffing, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Carefully turn roulade skin side up and reshape if necessary. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
5. Place roulade on a rack over a sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand, loosely tented with foil, at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Turkey Breast Roulade with Brioche & Sausage Stuffing
This recipe is great for smaller holiday gatherings. Once you master the roulade technique, you can use any of your favorite stuffings, but we love this one which contains both salty and sweet bites.
7-10 lb organic turkey breast, deboned & butterflied
Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups stale brioche cube
1 package duck & Armagnac sausage
12 pitted prunes, diced
1 small stalk celery, diced
½ medium carrot diced
1 two-inch section of leek, sliced thin
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 leaves fresh sage, chiffonade
4 tbs butter, melted
1 cup chicken stock
1. Make your stuffing: Remove the duck & Armagnac sausage from its casing and place in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking up any large chunks as it cooks. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a large bowl and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the sausage fat from the pan. Place the pan over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, shallot and leek. Cook, scraping up the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until soft and translucent. Add to the sausage.
2. While the sausage/veggie mixture is still warm, stir in the herbs. Add toasted brioche, mix to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Add melted butter and chicken stock. Using your hands, turn the mixture to combine, squeezing the bread cubes to moisten. Stir in prunes. Set aside.
3. Debone your turkey breast: using a sharp boning knife, carefully run the blade as close to the bones as possible, all around the rib cage and up to the back, to remove. It’s easiest to work on one side at a time. Be mindful to keep the breast intact. Reserve bones for stock. If the breast meat is too thick to roll, butterfly it or carefully pound with a meat mallet to flatten a bit. Keep breast skin side down, season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Spread stuffing evenly, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Carefully turn roulade skin side up and reshape if necessary. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
4. Place roulade on a rack over a sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand, loosely tented with foil, at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Yes, that is Vincent Price in the kitchen. Known as a true gourmand, a wonderful host, and an expert on wines, Price was also a world traveler. He and his wife Mary collected recipes from the chefs they met at restaurants, and together they authored quite a few cookbooks. Several can be seen below, and are now out of print and considered collectible. If you find one at a flea market, snatch it up.
And long before there was a channel devoted to cooking, Price made recordings of recipes, such as this one describing roast pork with prunes (“even prune haters will love this!”), and a pickled mushroom preparation. And let’s not forget the wine. In another record, Price talked about gracious entertaining, which must include wine, and thus: Wine is Elegance. Thrill as you hear him draw out the word “riesling.” And naturally, he raves about California wines long before the rest of the country caught on.
These dramatic recordings in his unmistakable voice even inspired this silly mashup on Youtube.
If you feel like seconds, check out this marvelous online exhibit dedicated to the many aspects of Vincent Price. It seems a fitting activity for Halloween.
A message from Ariane
Today is a strange food holiday: Four Prunes Day. I believe it refers to the idea that four prunes a day will keep the doctor away. But I am happy to take the opportunity on this official holiday to share my affection for this little wrinkly fruit with you.
Sadly, prunes seem to be the punch line to a joke in America, valued only for their fiber, not flavor. But in Gascony, where there are about 3 million plum trees, we know that prunes are special. Prunes have been part of the gastronomic heritage of Southwest France for centuries.
Originally brought by the Greeks and Romans from China, and planted all through the Mediterranean, the plum holds a special place in the city of Agen, where the famous Prune d’Ente trees produce luscious plums that are well-suited to drying. These are the renowned pruneaux d’Agen, or Agen prunes.
These particular plum trees were developed in the 13th century by Benedictine monks who crossed the existing trees with a variety the Crusaders brought home from Syria. The tree survived harsh winters, world wars and triumphed in the 21st century, when it was recognized in 2002 by the EU with the Indication Géographique Protégée.
Everyone in France knows that Agen is the place for the sweetest, juiciest, plumpest prunes, and a visit there would reveal a myriad of ways to eat prunes.
At D’Artagnan, we have incorporated prunes into several products that reflect the flavors of my area of France: Duck Terrine Mousquetaire, which is a coarse-ground pâté of duck (the livers, too), pork meat, a dash of Armagnac and studded with prunes.
And our famous French Kisses, which are prunes that have been marinated in Armagnac and then stuffed with mousse of foie gras. They are the perfect amuse bouche, and are a favorite at parties. I wouldn’t be caught without them on New Year’s Eve.
Which reminds me of a fun story. Back in the early days of D’Artagnan, I was invited by Michel Richard to help honor Julia Child on her 80th birthday. He invited many prominent chefs and 500 guests to his Los Angeles restaurant, Citrus, for a feast. With so many meals to prepare, the mise en place (prep work) was being done all over town. I was supposed to work at the hot foie gras station. I had also brought foie gras mousse and pitted prunes soaked in Armagnac with me from New Jersey, so I could make French Kisses.
That morning the kitchen was a mess. Celebrated chefs such as Jean-Louis Palladin, Vincent Guerithault and Thomas Keller were working like maniacs to get their dishes organized. TV reporters and journalists followed them around, asking questions, trying to get a sound bite or quote. Cameras flashed.
I found a little corner to work in the hallway, and started by draining the Armagnac from the soaked prunes into Styrofoam cups, which were the only thing I could find to use. As Laurent Manrique and I piped the mousse into the drained prunes, the smell of foie gras and Armagnac filled the air. Daniel Boulud, standing nearby, got a whiff of the Armagnac-prune juice and took a judicious sip from one of the cups.
Just then the late Pierre Franey came ambling down the hall and asked Daniel what we was drinking. “Coffee,” he said with an obvious wink, and offered the cup to Franey. Without thinking, Franey knocked back a swig of fruity Armagnac, and at 10 A.M. got a true French kiss. And the best part was that the live TV cameras were in tow behind him. So after his first big gulp he tried to hide his surprise, with some difficulty. By the second gulp he got it right and kept a straight face.
Prunes soaked in Armagnac are a common item served in Gascony, and when sipped with some of Franey’s “coffee,” they make a lovely after dinner treat.
And for a truly luxurious dessert, try my father’s recipe for prune and Armagnac ice cream. Are you sensing that prunes and Armagnac were made for each other? It’s common knowledge in Gascony.
Ages ago my father, Chef André Daguin, not only pioneered this now-famous recipe, but also was the first to use liquid nitrogen in his kitchen to make it. This was before anyone heard of molecular gastronomy, of course. Get started on this 2 weeks before you want to eat it, so the prunes can really marinate in the Armagnac.
ANDRE DAGUIN’S VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH PRUNES AND ARMAGNAC
Four to six servings – Preparation time: 25 minutes – Standing time: At least 2 weeks – Chilling time: Several hours – Freezing time: Varies
16 pitted soft prunes
1 cup Armagnac
1 cup whole milk
1 long vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, giving four quarters—or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 to 3/4 cup natural wildflower honey to taste
Pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream
1. Two weeks or more in advance, place prunes in a large clean jar or crock. Add Armagnac to cover. Cover jar or crock and set aside in a cool place to steep.
2. When ready to make ice cream, measure out 1 cup moderately packed prunes and fill up remainder of cup with Armagnac; set aside. Use remaining prunes for garnish.
3. Scald milk with vanilla bean (but not vanilla extract); set aside. Whisk egg yolks over very low heat in medium, nonreactive saucepan until warm. Continue whisking, adding honey gradually. When all honey is added and honey has begun to dissolve, remove saucepan from heat. Do not boil. Whisk in hot milk and salt.
4. Return saucepan to low heat. Cook and stir until custard is thick enough to coat a spoon heavily, about 170 to 180 degrees on an instant-registering thermometer. Do not boil. Immediately strain mixture into a bowl. Stir in cream and vanilla extract if using.
5. Refrigerate, covered, until very cold. Then beat very vigorously with whisk or electric beaters.
6. Strain custard mixture into an ice cream freezer. Follow manufacturer`s directions for freezing. When ice cream is just beginning to set, drop in prunes one by one (while machine is still in operation) and drizzle in Armagnac. Continue freezing until ice cream is firm.
7. To serve, scoop out ice cream, top with an extra prune, and drizzle some Armagnac over it.
You can cook savory dishes with prunes, too. Roasted with meats like pork, lamb, rabbit, or game, prunes can offer a bit of sweetness. A favorite little treat of mine is a prune wrapped in bacon, either duck or pig variety work just fine.
Whether coated in chocolate, stuffed with foie gras or Roquefort cheese, soaked in Armagnac, baked in pies and pastries, or simply eaten out of hand on a cheese board, the prune is a ubiquitous part of life in Agen, and a beloved fruit of Southwest France. So Happy Four Prunes Day! I hope you will enjoy some prunes today, and if you have a little Armagnac, wash them down with that elixir. You can’t go wrong.
Yes, that’s a thing. And August 13 is the day to celebrate the tenderest cut of beef.
Sliced from the short end of the tenderloin, this succulent little morsel of beef (filet mignon means “dainty filet” in French) is often the most expensive on restaurant menus. This cut is commonly used in the classic recipe Steak Tartare, where the buttery texture and delicate flavor of the beef is at its best. With our simple recipes you can enjoy it at home.
Another recipe from the old guard is Tournedos Rossini, in which ample amounts of truffle shavings augment the exquisite nature of filet mignon. The slice of seared foie gras doesn’t hurt either. Marie-Antoine Carême is credited with creating this decadent dish for (and under insistent direction of) the composer Rossini, who was one of the great gastronomes in history.
If you can find a way to enjoy a filet mignon today, go for it. If that’s not an option, just celebrate with these photos and make a note for next August 13. It’s a great excuse for a little party.
Here are a few photos of the Bastille Day festivities that we participated in last weekend. We hope to see you at the party next year!
Feasts, fêtes and fireworks are the traditional ways to celebrate Bastille Day in France. But before the partying, a brief explanation is in order. Variously called la Fête Nationale or 14 juillet, the holiday is commemorated on July 14, the day that the people of Paris stormed the Bastille prison in 1789 and effectively began the violent overthrow of the monarchy to make way for a republic. So, much like Independence Day in the United States, Bastille Day is a national holiday that marks the beginning of a modern nation.
Traditionally the revelry begins the night before, with elaborate parties and balls. If you are in Paris on the morning of Bastille Day, you will see the world’s largest and oldest military procession make its way from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concorde. With the President of France at the head of the parade and jets flying overhead it is a marvelous spectacle.
Afterward, the President hosts a garden party, but don’t expect a personal invitation. Most Parisians, and their countryside counterparts, settle in for an afternoon of outdoor parties, with lots of eating and drinking. As they took to the streets during the revolution, so they take to the streets on Bastille Day, only now it is to share good times.
The day ends in a spectacular fireworks display, with the Eiffel Tower serving as a backdrop, though the colorful explosions are quite common across the country in smaller towns and cities as well.
Wherever you are celebrating, start your Bastille Day right with a French-style breakfast. Thin and delicate crêpes make the perfect choice; you can stuff them with mushrooms and bacon if you are the savory sort, or if you have a sweet tooth, choose fruits or chocolate and top with whipped cream. Did you know the ham and cheese sandwich was first made in France? A hot croque monsieur makes a lovely breakfast or brunch. Delicious truffle butter takes toast from blah to bourgeios (don’t worry, they were from the class called the Third Estate, and were actually part of the revolution).
Let them eat…pâté
By afternoon, après the parade in Paris, or wherever you are in the world, a simple picnic with a French accent is the perfect way to mark the occasion. This is the time for a fresh baguette, bottle of wine, a wheel of cheese and some charcuterie. If you are feeling extravagant, and don’t have a ball to attend, make a quiche the night before, chill it and pack it up for the picnic basket. While there is no traditional food associated with Bastille Day, many choose to eat peasant food in a nod to the proletariat nature of the uprising.
Street parties often feature outdoor grills, and mounds of lamb merguez sausage, which is the national equivalent of the hot dog in the United States. The French have made the spicy merguez sausage which originated in North Africa their own. It is grilled, tucked into a baguette, slathered with Dijon mustard and often topped with a helping of french fries. This sandwich is considered by many to be de rigueur at any Bastille Day party.
Happy Bastille Day! Bonne fête! Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!
Today is June 21: the summer solstice. And it would be fair to say that we will find any excuse to gather and celebrate with food. But the summer solstice is more than just an excuse to party; it’s a party with long-standing traditions.
Since pagan times, the people in the Northern Hemisphere have marked the longest day of the year in all kinds of ways. Generally speaking, the solstice (actually known as midsummer, if you recall your Shakespeare) was a time for great merriment, and festivals that involved heavy drinking and eating of seasonal foods. Throw in a bonfire, a fertility ritual or two, wreaths of oak leaves, flowers and herbs, and you have yourself a fantastic holiday, pre-Christian style.
Even our modern ideas about marrying in June can be traced back to these ancient festivals, when the sun seemed to smile down and bless everything.
So while you may not dance around a maypole, spend the day at Stonehenge, the whole night at a street festival, or weave flowers into your hair, there are ways you can celebrate the longest day of the year, and the official start of summer.
In lieu of a bonfire, just fire up the grill; cook and eat under the stars. Use fragrant fresh herbs and toss some on the grill or in the fire. The summer solstice is a time to commune with nature, so a garden party, or any al fresco dining, is right and proper.
You can eat seasonal fruits, especially those that are red, orange or yellow, to pay homage to the sun. This recipe for Seared Pekin Duck Breast with Orange-Cassis Sauce from the Bromberg Brothers would be a lovely and colorful way to pay tribute.
June is when the best honey is harvested, so honey-glazed pork chops, mead (honey wine), beer or liquor infused with honey, or honey cakes would all work at a solstice party. Even without honey, our orb-shaped Truffle Butter Gourgeres, baked until golden, are welcome at any party. Might have something to do with the truffles.
Looking for summery greens? This Smoked Duck & Cherry Salad from Alison Attenborough has both red fruit and a smoky flavor unrelated to a bonfire. And it doesn’t even require cooking, only chopping and whisking.
And this Bacon, Eggs & Asparagus Salad recipe, from cookbook author and cookie authority Dorie Greenspan, has both seasonal asparagus and lovely soft-boiled eggs that might just remind you of the glowing, golden sun.
However you celebrate the solstice, may you have a long and joyful day.
Happy President’s Day! We’ve done extensive internet research on presidential preferences in food. As a result, we now have a game plan in case any of our presidents come over for dinner.
George Washington (1789-1797) liked a savory steak and kidney pie, a common dish in his day, so we would bake him up some Venison Pie. Since he had his own whiskey distillery, we’d pour a few fingers of quality American whiskey. It’s classic tavern food for the father of our country.
Whole books have been written about Thomas Jefferson’s (1801-1809) love of food and his contributions to gastronomy. He introduced macaroni and ice cream to the United States, began experiments with viticulture, and wanted to make the country completely self-sustainable on the food front. We would honor him with a plate of Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
Pancakes were favored by Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945). Now, they might have meant fluffy breakfast pancakes, but we’d serve savory crepes with a béchamel sauce and sautéed wild mushrooms.
Since Washington, Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) all liked sweet potatoes, they would surely appreciate this Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes.
James Buchanan (1857-1861) and FDR relished cabbage, so to please them, along with Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who had a taste for game meat, we would serve Pheasant Braised under Cabbage. Three presidents, one dish.
Our 16th president Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) liked simple foods: fresh fruit, crackers and cheese, which we would arrange along with a few choice pieces of charcuterie like saucisson sec and jambon de Bayonne.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) also kept it simple, preferring vegetable soup and steak. We’re sure he’d chow down on this Rib Eye Steak with Greens and Root Vegetable Mash and enjoy it.
For Texan Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969), steak reigned supreme. But he loved every type of cooking; the White House kitchen said that “he will eat anything that doesn’t bite him first.” He adored French haute cuisine, Southern cooking, German specialties, but most of all, he loved Mexican food (also the favored cuisine of George W. Bush). LBJ took entertaining from the white tablecloth to the backyard when he threw barbeques for foreign heads of state. He sounds like our kind of eater! We could make him happy with any number of dishes, from Terrine of Foie Gras to Sweet and Sticky Baby Back Ribs or Duck Confit Tamales.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) really went for soups. His favorite was New England Fish Chowder, which was frequently served in the White House. He was perfectly happy with soup, a sandwich and some fruit for lunch. Though simpler in his tastes than Mrs. Kennedy, who planned elaborate French menus for state occasions, he did enjoy Poulet a l’Estragon, that is, Chicken and Tarragon.
Barack Obama loves a good hamburger, and we think our Big Bleu Burger is perfect for him. We’d like to serve that with some of his beer brewed at the White House. Come to think of it, Bill Clinton (1993-2001) famously loved a burger when he was in office. So burgers all around!
Many of the founding fathers loved ice cream (quite a novelty with no refrigeration); Thomas Jefferson is responsible for the first ice cream recipe in the States. He probably kept cool on hot days in Virginia with his favorite flavor: vanilla.
George Washington, James Madison (1809-1817), and in the modern era, LBJ and Barack Obama have all confessed to a fondness for the cold stuff. But who doesn’t like ice cream? So we know what’s for dessert: Black Truffle Ice Cream.
Theodore Roosevelt loved drinking tea, so we’d be sure to include a steaming pot of black tea. And of course, a bowl of jelly beans in honor of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).