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Posts tagged ‘duck breast’

Happy Summer Solstice

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.ss

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.

D'Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

D’Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

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.

Dorie Greenspan's Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Dorie Greenspan’s Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

However you celebrate the solstice, may you have a long and joyful day.

A Day of Meat: Backstage at a Photo Shoot

What do you do when you’ve got a whole lot of meat to photograph? Well, here at D’Artagnan we turn to Ted Axelrod, a local photographer with an appreciation for good food and a meaty sense of humor.

Ted’s studio is in his home, which is crammed with all kinds of cool props, from cutting boards to glassware, vintage dishes to copper pots. He’s got perfect natural light in his sunroom and a spare refrigerator, which came in handy for us.

With piles of products ranging from raw Wagyu beef short ribs and rack of lamb to truffle butter and charcuterie, we set to work on the two-day shoot. Turns out it’s not so easy to make raw meat look appetizing! Our hats are off to all the food stylists and photographers out there whose work makes us drool.

Ted’s dogs, Gracie and Ella, were so well behaved; they didn’t snag a single duck breast off the table. And considering they had to endure the smell of raw meat all day, that’s a small miracle! We will admit to tossing them a few trimmings from the steaks and chops…and the innards from the chicken and pheasant.

On day two we set up a huge panoramic spread that represented nearly every type of product we sell. With a camera suspended on an arm directly overhead, we tweaked and previewed and reorganized until everything looked perfect. Then we unwrapped it all!  As soon as meat is exposed to the air, it begins to oxidize, which makes it dull in color. You’ve got to move fast.

Naturally, we left the fridge full of food!  Ted and his wife Susan, who is a food writer and editor, have been cooking up a storm with it all, and posting some of the results on their blog Spoon and Shutter.

We love their braised pheasant post, with step-by-step instructions, and the great photos (we’d expect nothing less!). Check out their progress as they try to eat their way through our catalog!

Look for Ted’s photos to be posted on our website soon.

Ariane’s Class at Kings Cooking Studio

Ariane shared her secrets to making great cassoulet at Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills, NJ on Monday night. But it was not just cassoulet!  Ariane talked about the simple techniques that are the backbone of the D’Artagnan lifestyle. Just the basic things a girl from Gascony knows how to do. She seared foie gras and served it with port and grape sauce…and spread medallion of foie gras on sliced bread… then seared duck breast and paired it with a balsamic-red wine reduction into which medallion of foie gras was stirred…and only then came the generous bowls of cassoulet.  The folks that attended the class were not left hungry, that’s for sure!  Did we mention that for dessert she offered French Kisses? At D’Artagnan, those are prunes soaked in Armagnac and then stuffed with mousse of foie gras.

The evening was filled with the conviviality that is so much a  part of life (and eating!) in Southwest France. Ariane had a great time chatting with the students and answering their questions. We hope that the evening inspired them all to make cassoulet, sear foie gras and duck magret at home!

Thanks to the team at Kings Cooking Studio–Randi, Wendy and Steve–who were a delight to work with. We would be happy to come back for another class.

For those at home, enjoy the photos.  We hope to see you at the next event!

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Duckspotting @ brushstroke NYC

Duckspotting is finding, snapping & sending in pics of tasty dishes made with D’Artagnan ingredients, from your favorite restaurants. We sell to restaurants all over the country & love to see what creative chefs are doing with our products. Keep sending them in!

Where: Brushstroke, Tribeca, NYC

When: Dinner 10/6/11

What: Chef Isao Yamada’s Steamed Duck with Fried Eggplant & Yuzu-Miso Sauce

How: brushstroke is at 30 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013 |  call 212-791-3771 for reservations

Chef Yamada prepping D'Artagnan duck breast in the open kitchen

Chef Yamada prepping D'Artagnan duck breast in the open kitchen

brushstroke is a Japanese concept by David Bouley, helmed by Chef Isao Yamada, and recent recipient of a coveted Michelin star! The eco-chic space was designed by renowned Tokyo firm, Super Potato, and boasts a full-view open kitchen, counter seating, diningroom and lounge. Get reservations while you still can!

Dining out & spot some fabulous dishes made with D’Artagnan ingredients? Snap a pic & email with the details to alishah@dartagnan.com We’ll give you & the restaurant a shout out!

Duckspotting @ Junoon NYC

Duckspotting is finding, snapping & sending in pics of tasty dishes, from your favorite restaurants, made with D’Artagnan ingredients! We sell to restaurants all over the country & love to see what creative chefs are doing with our products. Keep sending them in!

 

Where: Junoon, NYC

When: Dinner Service

What: Chef Vikas Khanna’s Telicherry Duck Breast

Who: sent by Gabi C.

How: Junoon is at 27 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10010 |  for reservations, call 212-490-2100

Junoon was recently awarded a coveted Michelin Star! Make your reservations now!!!

Dining out & spot some fabulous dishes made with D’Artagnan ingredients? Snap a pic & email with the details to alishah@dartagnan.com We’ll give you & the restaurant a shout out!

Duckspotting @ Mr. Robata NYC

Duckspotting is finding, snapping & sending in pics of tasty dishes, from your favorite restaurants, made with D’Artagnan ingredients! We sell to restaurants all over the country & love to see what creative chefs are doing with our products. Keep sending them in!

Where: Mr. Robata, NYC

When: Saturday Night Dinner Service

What: Chef Nakayama’s Asian Style Roasted Duck Breast, Sautéed Foie Gras with Caramelized Apples and Warm Strawberry Sauce

Who: sent by Gabi C.

How: Mr. Robata is at 1674 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 |  for reservations, call 212-757-1030

Dining out & spot some fabulous dishes made with D’Artagnan ingredients? Snap a pic & email with the details to alishah@dartagnan.com We’ll give you & the restaurant a shout out!