Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm back! Roast beef, grilled green onions in Romesco sauce, duck roasted with plums, and more

Summer cooking, had me a blast
Summer cooking, happened so fast, 

I met a roast crazy for me,
Met a duck cute as can be,

Summer days sizzlin away,
To, uh oh, those summer nights

Well-a well-a well-a huh!
Tell me more, tell me more
You render all the fat?
Tell me more, tell me more
Did you toss in a cat?

Had to take some weeks off to focus on a massive piece on science fiction films; now I'm back with a vengeance.

From North Square Farmer's Market, Bernard's beautifully smoked and grilled jerk chicken

--perfectly roasted fowl with lively Jamaican spices, served with soulful baked macaroni and large-grained rice 'n beans. Also bought luscious tomatoes, Italian parsley, and crisp, peppery radishes--which can be eaten the French way, cleaned then served with kosher salt and slightly melted Trickling Spring butter (which beats supermarket butter up and down the block). 

And the above makes for a nice side dish: bright grilled scallions (drizzle with olive oil, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, grill till tender), served with a Romesco sauce (simple recipe found here). Substituted 'balsamic' vinegar--lots of it--for sherry vinegar, and the results are sweeter, and more addictive: sharp bite of still-crisp scallions against the nutty rich crunch and sweetness (tempered by the tart balsamic) of the Romesco.

And O, what an easy dish: a four pound-plus eye of round, done with a foolproof easy recipe (I'm telling ya, only thing easier is slicing it thin and eating); only difference is that I mixed up a rub made of kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, turmeric and olive oil, then rubbed the round and left it in the fridge a few hours. The spell in the oven did the rest.

Served with arugula (I explain more my obsession with arugula and beef here), and carrots in orange juice-butter-and-ginger glaze.

Thick slices are tough to chew, but when sliced till you can see through it, it melts in the mouth like buddah; the turmeric and cumin give it a faint Indian flavor, and the arugula a lively bite; the carrots are healthy vegetables turned decadent dessert: tangy orange glaze, meaty umami-ness of the carrots (accented by butter), the faint minty lift of ginger. 

Lastbutnotleast: Duck roasted with plums. Giant supermarket has frozen duck for around twenty bucks or so--who knew? What I did different: I added the plums in at the start of roasting, so the plums cook down into a thick sauce (made thicker by some quick boiling). Served with baby spinach and roasted corn (350 oven for twenty minutes). 

If jerk chicken is heavenly, roast duck is diabolical--a bite and you can feel your soul crisping at the edges. Sinfully rich meat under faint-at-the-pleasure-of-it crisp duck skin, where only the salad and fresh sweet corn can bring you back from the brink. 

A side benefit to roast duck? I had a jar of liquid gold--the rendered duck fat. Use to saute meat, make divine fried rice, anything. I even drizzled it on toast, and lemme tell ya, it's better than butter--rich, slightly tart (I suspect it's the plums), faintly gamy. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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