On the Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate, Ted Allen showed the pressed duck at Daniel in New York. This is pinnacle food achievement.
It's basically a duck — a whole duck — as one plate.
They marinate it for two days, then roast. They make a reduction sauce with port and duck fat and some herbs, some other good things. They remove and slice the breasts and the legs.
Then they wheel a cart to the table and serve the breast with the sauce. While you chow down, they take the rest of the bird, minus the breasts and legs, and place it in a pan that fits inside a big gleaming steel press, that has a huge wheel on the top and a screw mechanism. They turn the wheel, which squeezes the ducky bits and ducky duck juice flows out the bottom. When every duck molecule has been squeezed out, the juices go into a pan with wine, foie gras, and I don't remember what else and is reduced at table side to a sauce, which they serve on the leg portion.
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liquor made by simply soaking lemon zest — the yellow part of the rind — in vodka or grain acohol (which can be 150 proof or more). I started by surveying the limoncello recipes on the web. They called for soaking the zest of 10 lemons in vodka or grain alcohol for anywhere from four days to two months! Then add sugar and water and leave it for a few hours to a week.
Here is what we have so far:
Curls of lemon rind, from a Microplane grater in potent Everclear, slowly turning yellow. We'll be back with an update in a couple of weeks.
Act II: Lemony Marmalade
Next up, we have several cups of thinly sliced lemon and their juice:
When I slice something juicy, I use a thin plastic cutting board in a rimmed sheet pan. (Works especially well for your holiday turkey.)
The lemon slices were boiled and are now cooling. I'll add sugar and vanilla later.
My friend Butch showed me how to oven dry tomatoes but more important than "how," is why. Drying concentrates the flavors. As you might expect, it takes good tomatoes and makes them amazing. But what I didn't expect was that it makes bland tomatoes flavorful, too!
What you see above are some giant Roma tomatoes I found at the market yesterday. I've never seen anything like these. Instead of the usual 2-inch or so diameter, these monsters were 3-1/2 inches and full of juice and flavor. Since Romas have a dense flesh, I thought they would dry well and indeed they did!
I had a few mediocre tomatoes from the megamart and added them to the batch. I wanted to see what would happen. Interesting — after drying, they had real tomato flavor despite having no real flavor before. Meanwhile the Romas went from flavorful to amazing.
So let's call oven-drying our tomato amplifier. I need to remember this when winter comes.
Place a sheet of parchment on a rimmed sheet pan. Slice tomatoes 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Salt lightly. Brush both sides with olive oil. Add herbs if you like — basil is a tomato's best friend but oregano and thyme are solid choices.
Place in a 300 degree oven for about an hour. You can vary the time considerably. The longer you bake, the more leathery the slices become.
Serious Eats Serious Eats is another blog which plants its stake, and its steak, in the fertile land where food meets science. There is lots of great material here, much of it by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, or Kenji. If you like FeedMe, you will like Serious Eats.
Cooking for Engineers What do you get when you apply the engineer's mind to the kitchen? Straightforward, practical recipes and tips and a passion for simplifying without sacrificing quality.