Caitlin and I spent Labor Day weekend up at the lake, with a bunch of geese:
And a bunch of duk:
Duk are Korean rice cakes, like thick rice noodles or dumplings. I made a sort of tomato gumbo, let it cook a bit, cooked the duk in it, and then served it alongside slices of pork belly that had been simmered in heavily salted water for two hours and roasted for half an hour to crisp up.
Gumbo in progress:
Onion, celery root and its stalks, okra, and tomatoes - all from my mother's garden except the yellow tomatoes on top. A few shakes of Tabasco sauce. Chicken stock, seasoned with bay leaves.
That cooked for a bit, first covered and then uncovered, and then I added the duk, which only take maybe five minutes when there's a lot of liquid like that. Both the okra and the rice starch from the duk thickened the gumbo.
We also had oxtail, and because this was a dinner, the light isn't as good. This was sort of haphazard. I simmered the oxtail in tomatoes and okra, but the stove and oven both run hotter than I expect up there, and the tomatoes cooked down and scorched - enough that I was afraid I might have burned things, so I lifted the oxtail out into a pot of fresh tomato puree, so that we had a mix of both. Served that, once it was heated up, with ratatouille and chevre ravioli from local company Valicenti.
One of the nights - Sunday night? - we had steak sandwiches with black truffled twice-baked potato, which is very simple. I cooked up shaved steak in the pork belly fat, with a few crushed cherry tomatoes that cooked down. Made grilled cheese sandwiches with the cheese scraps we had left - a little aged gouda, a little sage cheddar, a single slice of American cheese divided between two sandwiches. Put the steak on the grilled cheese, and meanwhile had baked a potato (rub fat around it, bake it at 400-450 for an hour), sliced it in half, scooped out the innards, mashed them with grated Pecorino cheese, about three tablespoons of black truffle butter, and an egg yolk, replaced the mashed potatoes in the shells, and baked them for 15 minutes.
That's my travel cooking knife on the left by the dish detergent.
Brunch on Monday! A quick bite while we were getting ready to leave. I had, a week earlier, cooked some unusual duck confit - after curing a duck leg quarter overnight in salt and fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, rau ram), I had cooked it at a low heat all day in butter, rather than duck fat. Because I didn't have duck fat ... and I did have butter. So we wound up with both duck confit, and duck-fat butter.
I reheated that duck confit, shredding it from the bone as it cooked, and then scooped it, still sizzling hot, onto two tomatoes. The tomatoes had been prepped by slicing the top off, slicing around the interior to create a channel, and making vertical cuts. I sort of pressed the duck confit down into the tomato after scooping it in.
We could have used some crusty bread to sop everything up!
So long till Columbus Day, goose.