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Posts tagged ‘Ariane Daguin’

Favorite Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

This week we are offering 15% off holiday essentials – we think of them as the “little helpers” to ease you through this year’s holiday meal and make it extra-special. Things like black truffle butter, duck fat, demi-glace and bacon. Imported French chestnuts and porcini powder bring earthy flavor and umami to recipes like classic stuffing. Speaking of which, maybe your stuffing needs a little foie gras this year. These cubes of flash-frozen foie gras are quite handy at the holidays.

For further inspiration, here are a few of our favorite things to make for the Thanksgiving meal. Just click on the photo for the recipe.

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Our Green Circle Chicken

You may have seen Mike Rowe’s TV show Somebody’s Gotta Do It on CNN last night … with our own Ariane and a flock of chickens! Mike was interested in our new Green Circle chickens because of the way they are raised. So he and Ariane went to the farm to see how it’s done.

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This Green Circle chicken was a passion project for Ariane, who was inspired by the common sense, waste-nothing philosophy of days past, when chickens lived on vegetable scraps and roamed freely around farmyards. It’s the way her grandmother raised chickens and they were the tastiest birds around.

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Free-ranging chickens.

In that tradition and in an effort to provide truly tasty chicken, we raise our chickens on a diet of surplus vegetables and trimmings. We’re talking about actual vegetables here – collected from commercial kitchens and farmer’s markets. By saving these vegetables from their fate in a landfill and turning them into nutritious chicken feed, we raise healthier birds and contribute to a better world.

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Mike Rowe with scraps from some of our restaurant clients.

Not only are they fed well, these chickens are certified humane, making them rare birds indeed. They are air-chilled during processing, which means you get nothing but pure chicken flavor, not retained water.

Our holistic approach produces truly wholesome results. And that’s why we call it a Green Circle chicken. No waste = great taste.

Ariane & Mike Eating

Mike and Ariane enjoying a meal of chicken – what else? – in our Mennonite farmer’s home.

The Green Circle chicken is available on our website and in some retail stores. Ask for it in your local store and help us spread the word on this new kind of old-fashioned bird!

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Watch Mike Rowe Tonight!

Ariane will be on Mike Rowe’s excellent new show Somebody’s Gotta Do It tonight on CNN at 9 PM EST. Watch a little preview of what happens down on the chicken farm. And tune in for the full episode tonight!

Ariane & Mike Rowe

To get your own taste of the featured Green Circle Chicken, skip on over to our website.

And, yes, Mike is as nice as he appears to be on screen – he is a genuine guy with a big heart. Ariane had a wonderful day shooting this episode with him.

 

Perfect Pork Plating with Anita Lo

Chef Anita Lo of Annisa, a long-time friend of D’Artagnan, was featured on Serious Eats explaining her philosophy behind plating pork loin. Yes, it’s our Berkshire pork, but aside from that, we have a lot of respect for Chef Anita and find this a fascinating peek into the mind of a brilliant chef.

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We are not going to spoil this by trying to explain it, so  just head over to Serious Eats for the full post.

And for more Anita Lo – in action – check our video in which she and Ariane demonstrate how easy it is to sear foie gras.

The Duck Press: A French Classic

In the history of world cuisine, French chefs have been accused of being many things, but rarely ever “shy.” The French tradition holds dear the notion of not only using every part of an animal, leaving nothing edible to waste, but also of celebrating certain dishes that that often make more squeamish diners fold their napkins away and politely excuse themselves from the table.

There’s foie gras, of course, the production of which is abhorred by many and cherished by many more (us included, obviously). And then we have the ortolan, a small songbird that, due to the traditional preparation — it is gorged on grains, drowned in Armagnac and then roasted, served, and consumed in a single mouthful– has become illegal in France, although many intrepid diners continue to find gastronomic speakeasies that continue to serve it.

But one of our absolute favorite dishes — and kitchen implements — is the much lauded and feared duck press. Considered by many to be the most spectacular entree in classical French cuisine, the duck press is a device and method of preparation that was invented by a man named Machenet in Paris at the dawn of the 19th century, quickly becoming popular among the culinarily elite. The contraption, and its corresponding dish, canard à la rouennaise (or, “duck in blood sauce”) was later adopted by Chef Frèdèric of the restaurant La Tour d’ Argent (or “Silver Tower”), making it his restaurant’s signature dish, which they continue to serve today.

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La Tour d’Argent issues a card with the number of your pressed duck, in sequence from the very first duck they every pressed.

So, what is this infamous dish often labeled as barbaric and macabre? It begins simply, with one of our favorite things in the world: a roasted duck. The whole duck — and this includes all of the internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs of the beast, though the liver is removed and reserved — is seasoned, the skin lightly scored, and then roasted. Some chefs, including Daniel Boulud, opt to marinate the duck for up to two days before roasting quickly over very high heat, until the duck is appropriately rare. The beautifully roasted bird is carried by the chef to the diners’ table, where the rest of the elaborate process continues in full view of the restaurant’s guests. The duck’s magret (breasts) and legs are removed and reserved, and the chef uses poultry shears to cut the remaining carcass in half lengthwise.Duck Press 2

Now comes the fun part.

The chef packs the roasted carcass and internal organs into the duck press, a large, squat, menacing piece of kitchen machinery, usually made from a heavy metal such as brass, with a large crank, a wheel, and four legs that are sometimes, in a delightfully morbid fashion, made to look like duck feet. Many people like to compare the object to a medieval torture device, and, if you get a chance to see one, you’d be hard “pressed” do disagree. The increasing pressure of the crank plate compacts the bird until its bones are pulverized, the organs liquified, and the carcass blood juices out of the animal, all of which sluice through a small spout in the duck press and are collected in a pan, then strained through a fine chinois.

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The chef then thickens the mixture with the pureed duck liver, adds Cognac and red wine, and reduces it carefully until it achieves a deep burgundy, almost black color. Diners are then treated to thin slices of the duck breast in the exquisite blood sauce, followed by a second course of roasted duck legs and thighs.

You'll never guess what's being pressed!

Ariane and Chef David Burke press a Bloody Mary.

Duck presses aren’t easy or inexpensive to come by these days, though our friends Chef David Burke and Chef Daniel Boulud both use them. While pressed duck isn’t nearly as popular as it was in nineteenth-century Paris, the tradition of the duck press — whether or not you consider it macabre or sublime — continues. And for that, we are most certainly thankful.

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.

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The Duckathlon Redux

If you like to play with your food, the Duckathlon is the place to be.

So what is the Duckathlon exactly?

It’s a culinary obstacle course with multiple challenges – some are tough, some are funny, but all are food and wine related. Except the ones that involve Armagnac, gin and beer.

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It all began as a private event back in 2005 for our chef clients to let down their toques and test their skills in a friendly competition. Some teams wore costumes, themed t-shirts (with foie gras a favorite subject), and crazy hats.

Now for the first time, the Duckathlon is open to the public! That means you and your food-obsessed friends can take the same challenges that stymied the chefs. There are prizes and medals for those teams that score highest.

Not sure you can come as a team of four? We got your back. Purchase a single ticket and we’ll pair you up with a team on site.

And not to worry about our chef friends – they’re still coming,  but this time they will serve you tasting portions of delectable dishes they made with our products.

Our farmers will be there, too. And all proceeds go to the Action Against Hunger FoodLove initiative.

But get your tickets soon – the Duckathlon is on Saturday, June 14, 2014, from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.

You can purchase tickets here. But you cannot buy them at the door!

The team from Felix Restaurant featured a guest member: Elyse Pasqual, who blogs at foodieinternational.com

The team from Felix Restaurant featured a guest member: Elyse Pasquale, who blogs at foodieinternational.com

Want more? Watch this!

 

And the Village Voice just posted about the new Duckathlon, which they urge you to attend.

Heed the call – or in this case, the quack.

We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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

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.

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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.)

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The Duckathlon 2014

For nine years, The Duckathlon has tested the mettle of our chef clients, challenging them with a culinary obstacle course unlike any other.

Good news! The Duckathlon is – FOR THE FIRST TIME – open to the public. Now you can run the challenge course and drink deeply from the cup of victory. New York City’s ultimate food competition wants you!

The team from Felix Restaurant featured a guest member: Elyse Pasqual, who blogs at foodieinternational.com

The team from Felix had a guest member: Elyse Pasquale, who blogs at foodieinternational.com

How well do you know a pig’s anatomy? How many crêpes can you flip in one minutes? Can you handle the heat?  Better start training now!

The Duckathlon will take place in NYC on June 14, 2014.

Yes, lipstick was part of the Egg Spin Out challenge.

Lipstick was part of the Egg Spin Out challenge. David Burke was game!

Call your friends with good palates, wine knowledge, and sense of competition.

Get them to join you and build a formidable team. Win prizes, eat, drink, laugh and learn.

 

500 competitors
125 teams
25 challenges
15 sustainable farmers
15 local restaurants
Beer, wine, whiskey, Armagnac
PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES

Learn more about the particulars right here. And get your tickets here.

See you in the winner’s circle!

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