Water Buffalo Larb (for when tradition goes out the window)

I love larb — it’s one of my favorite meals to eat when it’s hot outside and I’m craving something spicy but light. Larb (a dish that hails from Laos and Thailand) is often prepared with ground pork, but I have also made it with ground turkey, just for health purposes. Even with such a lean meat, the lime juice, chilis and fish sauce keep it flavorful and delicious.

This time around I decided to go really out there and make it with some ground local water buffalo that I had on hand, another perk of my job as a meat distributor. Water buffalo is very lean and a bit beefy (more so than regular bison) so it seemed like a good fit for this dish.

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Cobb Salad 2.0 with seared quail breasts & Benton’s bacon

 

This dish came as a refreshing surprise considering the day I’d had leading up to it. I made this last week, on a Monday night, while our kitchen was in the midst of some serious home improvement. It started when our faucet went tits up. Basically the people who owned our house prior to us put in the cheapest possible equipment and the kitchen faucet was hanging on by a thread. This lead to us spending a day roaming around Home Depot, overwhelmed by the massive amounts of options available.

Which then lead to us getting a brand new sink, which lead to the whole kitchen being in complete disarray when dinner time rolled around. There were wrenches and silicone sealing stuff everywhere and, oh god, even a circular saw. I had these lovely quail breasts thawed and ready to be cooked, but my motivation level was at a steady decline as I surveyed the mess around me. It was a serious toss-up on whether I was going to cook or if we were ordering pizza. The pizza was looking like a front-runner, but somehow I resisted its siren call.

And when I managed to whip up this dinner about thirty minutes later, I damn near felt like a miracle worker.

But I can’t take all the credit because I had some amazing ingredients to work with. The first of which was some Benton’s bacon, a gift from my dear friend DB’s parents. They had come into town a month or so ago and I took them to my husband’s restaurant where he showered us with amazing, delicious treats. As a totally unnecessary (but truly awesome!!) thank you, they sent us the gift that keeps on giving — the gift of bacon. If you haven’t had Benton’s bacon yet, you are missing out. I would suggest you immediately click here and order some for yourself. Be prepared to be wait-listed, this stuff is in serious demand, but the four-week delay will be well worth it.

Quail Breasts — bone out, skin on

I also had some Manchester Farms quail breasts. This is a South Carolina-based company that I buy from every week at my job — though we tend to buy mainly whole or semi-boned quail. The breasts were an item we had ordered a few months ago to run as a special and I snatched up a few packs to stash away in my freezer. They cook quickly, are easy to eat (no teeny tiny bones to nibble around) and are way more fun than chicken. If you haven’t eaten quail before, you really should give it a try. Quail has a flavor almost like a cross between chicken and duck, and it’s extremely versatile — I’ve had it grilled, chicken-fried and, most recently, in a preserved plum sauce.

Next, from the depths of my fridge, I brought out hard-boiled eggs, goat cheese, butter lettuce, tomatoes and a few random veggies. I started by tossing some cauliflower and brussels sprouts in olive oil and roasting them in the oven. I looked at the rest of my ingredients and thought — hmmm…Cobb salad!

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‘Cause there ain’t no party like a Chinese dumpling party…

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I love Chinese dumplings — like really really love them. From their crisp yet soft exterior to the meat-and-shrimp filled goodness inside, they are the perfect food. So it’s incredibly exciting to me that I recently learned how to make … Continue reading

Little Bunny Foo-Foo…makes for a delicious meal!

Disclaimer: I have never been one of those people to shy away from eating animals just because they’re cute. And while bunnies may be adorable, fryer rabbits are not. They are mean little suckers who are not fluffy and cuddly. But, as I learned at a fairly young age, they do make for some good eating!

DB and I needed a project and since we were having a hard time coming up with something new, we decided to recreate a dish we hadn’t had in years: Braised Rabbit with Spaetzle, Créme Fraiche and Dill. I first had this dish at a restaurant in Portland called 23 Hoyt, back when my husband was the sous chef there. I instantly fell in love and forced many of my friends to join me at the restaurant to share a plate of it.

One of those friends was, of course, DB and we both became equally obsessed with it. Long after my husband (and the original executive chef) left the restaurant and the dish was no long on the menu, we would reminisce about how good it was. The spaetzle was firm yet tender, browned in butter, and the sauce was creamy but balanced. The braised rabbit added a little something different while the fried shallots on top were just an added bonus. It really was a dish to  crave, especially in this cold rainy weather.

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