Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Confit and Cookies

Two foods we may agree are bad in combination (unless you are Grant Achatz) but delicious consecutively.

As I write two logs of lemon clove cookie dough are chilling in the freezer. These yummy morsels are little more than an excuse to eat butter and sugar together (a combination we can all agree on). The recipe comes from Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Menu cookbook and is so easy to make even I can do it. Have I ever mentioned I am not much of a baker? I can bake cookies and do reasonably well with squash bread, but I'm no cake baker. And the mere thought of pie crust makes me anxious. Who wants to fuss with shortening and icewater?

More importantly, it's confit time again. This is my third go at the business, guided by Judy Rodger's Zuni Cafe Cookbook. In addition to duck legs, I am confiting chicken gizzards in a separate pot. Gesiers Confits--as Rodgers notes, it sounds so much nicer in French.

Until two days ago I'd never bought gizzards. They were an impulse purchase. I was thinking I could try a ragu. I was also thinking about Anthony Bourdain's admonition in the Les Halles Cookbook: "I urge you to buy the cheapest, toughest--but best quality--beef you can get. Then challenge yourself to make something delightful out of it." (121) So this isn't beef, but if it works, it will be delightful, and, at 58 cents for the gizzards, cheap.

Later that same afternoon...

First error of confit adventure numero tres: I bought eight duck legs. The pot holds six. This horrific oversight demands we eat the extra two for dinner tonight. Molly Stevens to the rescue with duck leg ragu. I now have duck in the oven and atop the stove, with the gizzards bubbling away alongside. The kitchen table is covered with by the computer and four open cookbooks. The entire place smells pungently of duck fat. Madness has set in.

Even later...

The confits stand cooling beside the stove in their respective jars. The duck ragu is cooling in the oven (which is off). Hockeyman is watching the French Canadian feed of Montreal vs. the Florida Panthers. Hockeyman does not speak French. Nonetheless he is elated to watch Martin Gelinas get interviewed between periods. It's easy to guess his comments: we need to beat them, they're a great team, etc, etc. They say the same thing every time.

The kitchen still smells like a flock ( a school? a group?) of ducks flew in for rendering, but the the cookbooks are put away and things are basically under control.

Is it a brace of ducks? A vee?


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