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Posts from the ‘Holidays’ Category

Happy Easter

Wishing you a joyous Easter!

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l-r: Ostrich, emu, duck, chicken, pheasant, quail eggs … exotic eggs are seasonally available to our chef and retail clients.

With all the talk about eggs, it got us wondering about their significance in spring. Eggs are traditionally connected with rebirth, rejuvenation and immortality. That’s why they are often associated with Easter. On a more practical level? In the early Christian calendar eggs were forbidden during Lent, so after forty days of deprivation everyone wanted to eat eggs!

“Because eggs embody the essence of life, people from ancient times to the modern day have surrounded them with magical beliefs, endowing them with the power not only to create life but to prophesy the future. Eggs symbolize birth and are believed to ensure fertility. They also symbolize rebirth, and thus long life and even immortality. Eggs represent life in its various stages of development, encompassing the mystery and magic of creation…The concept of eggs as life symbols went hand in hand with the concept of eggs as emblems of immortality. Easter eggs, in fact, symbolize immortality, and particularly the resurrection of Christ, who rose from a sealed tomb just as a bird breaks through an eggshell.”
-Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara CA] 2000 (p. 85-6)

We think eggs are pretty magical, too. That’s why we deviled six different types. Some were easier to eat than others! Did you know an ostrich egg is the equivalent of two dozen chicken eggs? And the shell is so thick that you need a hammer or saw to open it.

At the other extreme, it would take four quail eggs to equal one chicken egg. You can learn more about these tiny eggs on our website, including ideas on how to cook them. And check out our egg recipes while you’re there!

deviled

Deviled ostrich, emu, duck, chicken, pheasant and quail eggs.

Top 5 Easter Main Dishes

What are you serving on Easter?  We have some classic, fresh spring preparations for family favorites like heritage ham, lamb, and rabbit.

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Top 5 Easter Side Dishes

At Easter you may serve tender spring vegetables like peas and asparagus. But there is a long-standing tradition of breaking the Lenten fast with rich, creamy dishes and generous amounts of meat, assuming that you have deprived yourself for 40 days. Since we love a hearty side dish, we collected some of our favorites that pair well with ham or lamb. And there are plenty of potatoes. Always potatoes… truffle-butter-pommes-anna-recipe

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Top 6 Easter Appetizer Recipes

How about a nibble to start the Easter meal? From the simple to the sublime, there’s a little something for everyone here. Small bites, big flavors. Click through to see the recipes.

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1. Tiny quail eggs may take extra time to peel, but they are so cute – and delicious – that it’s worth the effort. Make a big batch of these Scotch eggs, because they are all too easy to eat! With wild boar sausage inside the golden crust they may also serve as a conversation starter.

french ham & pear recipes preview

2.  The combination of dry-cured ham and fruit is a perennial favorite. In this case, we used pears, and a bit of fresh ricotta; truffle butter on the crostini brings in a tasty new element. The truffle honey is optional, but we highly recommend it.  Just keep this recipe in your back pocket for parties.

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3. Speaking of truffle butter, this recipe for gougeres is going to change your game. Brunch, cocktail parties, holiday gatherings … they all benefit from the perfection of these mouthfuls of airy dough and cheese. They seem so right for the Easter meal, whether it’s a brunch or a feast.

deviled-quail-eggs-with-bacon-and-thyme-recipe

4. It’s Easter, so everyone expects eggs. Do the grown-up thing and devil some quail eggs and top them with bacon.  Everyone will thank you.

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5. Mushrooms and crème fraîche fill these phyllo triangles with flavor. Yes, we brushed them with truffle butter. Because we can … and so can you!

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6. One last honorable mention, also involving puff pastry, mushrooms and a hint of cream: the vol-au-vent.  This classic hors d’oeuvre makes a lovely presentation, and can be passed or served at dinner, or brunch.

7 Easter Brunch Ideas & Recipes

Are you hosting Easter brunch and looking for some fun ideas … perhaps with more bacon? We have some recipes to inspire a very tasty brunch this year, with seasonal ingredients and quite a lot of bacon.

1. Bacon and cheddar scones are perfect for brunch, paired with scrambled eggs. Also tea time, snack time, or any time.  These easy-to-make scones have crispy edges, a flaky yet tender interior, and are packed with flavor from our applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh chives. Try one fresh from the oven. Thank us later.

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Bacon cheddar scones

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Does Heritage Pork Make a Better Ham?

We can confidently say that heritage breed pork tastes better. It offers a nuanced, deeper flavor and more succulent meat than commodity pork. It tends to be darker in color – not dry and pale like the “other white meat” that is widely available. Did you know that the USDA lowered the minimum cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees back in 2011? You may be overcooking those chops!

Pork Chops

Berkshire pork chops

Due to more diversity in farming and demand from the public, the rich, marbled fat and tasty meat of heritage pigs is certainly becoming more appreciated by connoisseurs. At D’Artagnan we celebrate the Berkshire hog and sell plenty of cuts like pork loin, racks, chops and tenderloin. We encourage you to taste it and compare to the pork you’ve had in the past.

But heritage breeds sometimes offer up the tastiest pork when they are crossed; a characteristic like large size combines with a distinct trait like fine-marbled fat to produce a meaty hind leg ideal for making ham. We take these heritage breed pork legs and smoke them with real applewood chips, not fake flavorings, and season them with maple and brown sugar and salt, to create a slightly sweet, but still savory ham.

Fully cooked, our applewood smoked heritage ham is an easy solution for a holiday dinner—all you need to do is heat and slice. But a glaze will put the finishing touch on your ham, and make the presentation a bit more dramatic. We have several recipes to choose from. Choose bone-in ham for large groups, leftovers and tableside carving.

And the very same heritage pork can be enjoyed in our boneless ham. Prepared the same way, it offers a lot of flavor in a smaller package, as well as ease of slicing.

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Spiced orange marmalade glazed ham

And for a small gathering, or just day-to-day use, we offer a boneless petite ham that weighs in at just 1.5 to 3 pounds. It’s perfect for slicing and slathering with Dijon mustard for a juicy ham sandwich. Ham goes well with eggs (just ask Dr. Seuss!), whether in an omelet or diced for a quiche. Chopped and added to egg or potato salad, this lightly-smoked ham is a great addition. Find ways to incorporate it in your favorite dishes.

Boneless heritage ham

Boneless heritage ham

And let us see what you’re cooking. Share pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – be sure to tag us @dartagnanfoods so we can see your kitchen victories!

Time to Pre-Order Your Turkey!

Every year we get a limited number of turkeys. It’s just part of doing business with small farms. That’s why we encourage you to pre-order soon, to ensure best selection. We say pre-order because we won’t start shipping until just before Thanksgiving – on Friday Nov. 20th to be precise.

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We offer organic turkeys in a wide range of sizes. This organic bird has been described as the “best turkey ever” by many of our customers. Once you go organic, you can never go back to commodity turkey again. You can learn more about these turkeys and pre-order here.

A very fine bird is the heritage turkey. This one is not available in large sizes, because the old breeds just can’t grow that big.  Heritage breed turkeys have deeper flavor and darker meat; they taste like turkey used to. And if you are feeding a crowd that likes white breast meat,  you may want  to supplement with a turkey breast. The heritage breeds just don’t boast as large a breast as the modern broad-breasted white turkeys. Please note that we have even fewer of these rare birds. Learn more about how they are raised and reserve yours today.

And for the adventurous eater, we offer wild turkey.  These are turkeys in their natural state – the largest size is only ten pounds. They do not feature a prominent breast. It will be a very authentic Thanksgiving with one of these birds on the table.

For those who don’t want turkey at all, we also offer capons and geese. These birds are more traditional in Europe and are ideal for smaller groups.

Questions?

Read our guide on roasting your big bird for the holiday.

Check our recipes for the holiday table.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Just for fun, here are some terms the French use – both for food and for love. Each term of endearment can be cooed in a receptive ear, or ordered at a restaurant.

Wishing you a sweet – and savory – Valentine’s Day!

French Terms of Endearment

Valentine’s Day at Home: Dessert

We are definitely known for the savory things in life.  Bacon? We’ll come running. But when there’s chocolate with bacon in it, we’re running even faster.  If you feel the same way, and want something a bit unconventional for your Valentine’s Day dessert, have a look at these recipes.

Bacon brittle is our go-to for holiday gifts. This sweet and savory combination is delightful to munch on any time, but you can serve it with vanilla ice cream for an unexpected twist on dessert.

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Valentine’s Day at Home: The Main Event

What’s for dinner on Valentine’s Day? For those who like eat in, here are a few inspirational recipes.

If you’re cooking to impress and are not intimidated by a classic dish, our Tournedos Rossini offers a trifecta of flavors: filet mignon, foie gras, black truffle. Surprisingly simple and totally decadent.

Named for the composer Rossini and created by one or another of the famous chefs of the nineteenth century. Was it Carême? Escoffier? Or Dugléré? Whoever was responsible, we thank him.

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