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Farewell Winter: Murcott Olive Oil Ice Cream

Tue Apr 7, 2009

Murcotts at Burkart Farms, Hollywood Farmers’ Market, Murcott Olive Oil Ice Cream

The pile of Murcotts at Burkhart’s farmers’ market stand shrank a little this week, the stack looking more like a pile of bright orange tennis balls left behind on the playground than winter’s citrus bounty. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, you can see the stand above, and the selection is far from paltry. But I’m waxing a little poetic this morning about winter’s waning. There are probably only a few more weeks left in Murcott season, and I’m a little melancholy. I almost packed up my sweaters in defiance of Mother Nature, hoping the razzing would prolong the season just a couple more weeks. But it looks like our wedding is going to be next spring, instead of the fall, and I couldn’t afford to piss her off. I may want more Murcotts now, but next April I want warm days and mild evenings and mountains of springtime produce to help execute the dinner menu that’s slowly evolving in my head.
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Leftovers: Duck, Murcott and Arugula Salad

Thu Apr 2, 2009

Duck, Murcott and Arugula Salad

I hate dry meat. Most of the time reheated chicken, pork chops and even steak make we want to gag; it’s like chewing on wet cottonballs. So when it comes to leftovers, I prefer to eat things cold. Sometimes I may take this too far (fried rice?), but other times it yields something as delicious as the original dish. On Tuesday, I posted a recipe for Duck with Murcott Tangerines and Beluga Lentils. Since it’s just Neal and I, a dish like this (which serves four) yields a couple of days of leftovers, I decided to cut the duck into bite-sized pieces, toss it all in a bowl, including the lentils, with some baby arugula, fresh Murcott segments, a drizzle of olive oil and the leftover balsamic reduction. It was so good the first time I had it, I packed the leftover leftovers to bring up to San Luis Obispo for a pincic lunch!

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Duck with Murcotts & Beluga Lentils

Mon Mar 30, 2009

Duck with Murcott Tangerines and Beluga Lentils

I’ve been sitting here all afternoon trying to come up with a story you’d want to read, some literary sustenance about today’s recipe. I’ve been inspired by the recent emotional and personal outpouring of my friends and fellow bloggers White on Rice Couple and Foodwoolf, but the honest truth is this: There is no story; the duck was on sale.

I don’t buy duck often, though not because I don’t like it. I find it challenging to cook, a pile of inedible fat and oily meat if prepared improperly, and too expensive to screw up. So with duck on sale at Whole Foods, and the vision of the Murcott tangerines* from Burkart Farms littering my countertops like freckled orange golf balls, I headed home—a cook on a mission.
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Pulled Pork Sugo, Winter Greens & Chestnut Polenta Cakes

Fri Mar 20, 2009

Pulled Pork Sugo with Chestnut Polenta

Let me start first by saying, no, we haven’t set a date yet. Neal and I might be getting married this fall, or we might be getting married next spring. Or maybe we’ll get married fall 2010—though I think I might lose my mind if I’m in planning stages for another year-plus. We figured we’d pick a date once we found a venue we liked. But that’s just it, trying to find a venue has been like Amazing Race meets Survivor. I’ve gotten lost behind the Orange curtain, hit by a cyclist who ran a red light, seen a wedding venue come menagerie and driven all around Sonoma County with Slingblade barking at me from my father’s GPS, “Bear left, cow right.” All this running around is exhausting. And when I get home from a weekend’s worth of talking about tables and chairs and luxury Porta Potties, cranky for having missed my Sunday morning at the farmers’ market, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time cooking.

Which brings me to reason number 2,356 that I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven: No-fuss cooking. Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Winter Braised Beef

Fri Mar 6, 2009

Braised Beef

We all have bad habits. I’m a piler and a procrastinator. I have trouble recognizing when I’m supposed to give the “short” answer to a question. And I tend to buy the ingredients for a recipe without actually reading the directions.

This final habit has caught me more than I’d like to admit staring at a recipe an hour before dinner that tells me I should have started it the night before. Or worse, I’ve gotten half way through preparing something only to discover that I am then supposed to let it sit for three hours to set or that I should refrigerate it overnight. Mishaps like these leave me scrambling and, while they can inspire creative solutions (like packing custards on ice to set them faster), the results are usually less tasty, texturally challenged or complete failures. Those are the nights we eat frozen Trader Joe’s spinach pizza.
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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