Potato Cakes Fried In Duck Fat


I feel bad, sometimes, that I have a surplus of duck fat. I have friends in America who finally find a duck fat source and they buy two little pots ( were I there, I would do the same ). I’m guessing they ration it as I can imagine duck fat being an effort to purchase. I’ll bet it’s expensive too. I have duck fat everywhere at the moment. Leftover from confit. Leftover from duck breasts that Brent cooked. Bags and Ikea bags full in my freezer. I have a jar of duck fat by my stove. I tossed some duck fat out for the birds. Our friend is a duck farmer, can you tell?

So when it comes to leftover mash, nothing ties a dish together like duck fat. Potatoes and duck fat are a match made in culinary heaven ( or whatever ethereal culinary nirvana you believe in ).

In these cakes:

Leftover mash:
Creme fraiche

Next Day Cakes:
One farm fresh egg
Dash o’ salt
Duck fat in hot pan

Medium heat to get a little puff, then turn it up a bit to brown and get it all cakey-like.

Potatoes are not a frequent side on our family table, but when the root veg does a service clinging cream and fat together, I have no issue serving.

This dish was made with the doors wide open. The sun is shining. The retriever is opportunistically positioned.


I suppose we’ve opportunistically positioned our farm in duck country.

Have you hugged your local duck farmer today?

Oooo Chicharrones


The lovely things that go along with cooking a big arse pig leg is hot, fat Chicharrones. Crackling to some. “Crunchies” to our kids. I suppose technically, Chicharrones are deep fried pig skin ( like making confit but with pork skin ) but if you could appreciate the thick layer of Gascon pig fat this skin is roasted on, it becomes semantic. Please note, when you pull a strip of Chicharrones out if the hot oven, it will be hot.

Shush, Don’t Tell Vivace


Vivace is a coffee uber go-to place in Seattle that delivers caffeinated orgasm in each cup. It was my favorite beanage when I had one of them fancy pants espresso makers. Oh they can cut-a-rug when it comes to absolute coffee nirvana line dancing.

We’ve had a few offerings from Seattle visitors as they stay with us and work or enjoy the farm. I relieved myself of a mighty fine grinder and sold the super-smack-fabulous espresso machine as part of some yuppie, simplification nonsense before our move to France. Do I regret it? He’ll yeshiva ( okay that was an iPhone word suggestion. “hell yeah” was what I was trying to say. Yet somehow “he’ll yeshiva” slipped in like buttah ). Orthodox Jewish school aside, ( how exactly did I get here? ), what we are left with is

– amazing coffee beans
– no grinder
– no panty-dropping espresso machine

So I turn to The Modernist Cuisine to help find an answer.

Let me tell you what I do have

– a French coffee press
– a mortar and pestle

From this, I do this:
– grind them beans. Grind them like a Prince song in the eighties.
– scoop a few scoops in the press
– add hot, bubbly water
– swell the beans for a minute
– gently stir
– let it brew for four minutes
– then depress the plunger

A lovely coffee that offends no one. It’s perfect. It’s not the perfection the Vivace gurus were searching for, but not unlike a profitable side effect of a treatment for hypertension, you have yourself here a lovely cup of Joe ( or Dirk as the case may be ).

Pav Bottom

I’ve been working hard on my Pavlova bottom.  Fruit season is coming, so you must be locked and loaded to serve and enjoy this hugely fantastic, light, creamy, yummy, somewhat fancy dessert.  My Pav pretty much sucked until I found Mama.  I knew about the heat-oven-then-turn-down-heat technique to achieve Pav perfection, but it never worked for me.  That is, until I tried this recipe.  Mama has it right.  Don’t argue with Mama.  My only tweaks to suit my French location were:

–       my oven run-eth hot. – so I did 100C then 50C

–       my sugah is sweet (ah yeah) – so I used 1/ 2 cup less sugar

–       I don’t have one of those fancy pans – so my simple round cake pan with parchment worked juuuuust fine.

You can stick damn near anything on a perfect Pav bottom.  Whip some cream.  Slice some fruit.  Add a pat of sugar.  Own it.  Make it pretty.

And in the immortal words of our pop gawd Prince:

The gentle breeze

It blows with ease

Let’s make IT slow

Just like the wind blows

Let’s make IT last forever

For a hundred times won’t be enough

Tonight is the night 4 making slow Pav

… but I know you won’t take it slow and I accept that.  If you get your peaks stiff, no one will be the wiser.

Sweet Iced Tea, Southern Style

Sweet Ice Tea


Nothing compliments a hot day like some freshly brewed iced tea.  Hillary grabbed one of the few hot days here in Seattle to show some southern splash and serve up some of her special, sweet iced tea.  She brought water and tea bags to a boil, then poured into a jug that could take the heat.  She added some organic sugar to taste then poured over ice with some lemon and a sprig of mint.  PERFECT bevrageage for any barbeque.  And dang if it ain’t easy.



Hillary used:

Lipton tea bags

Organic Sugar

Ice Cubes


Fresh Mint

Makin' Tea

With Mint



Broccoli in a Fairly Odd Swan Pouch

A Very Sad Swan

Grilling broccoli is not easy. Broccoli doesn’t jump to your mind when you’re thinking veggies on a stick. Sticks are usually adorned with peppers, onions, zucchini and things that get all juicy when the heat is on. Broccoli carries fears of catching fire. So, Adie decided to pouch it. She did two pouches. One was dressed with extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper over the broccoli. The other had the same but with a little water added. Both were pouched into a beautiful swan to impress the guests. The swan had a little head big body thing going on, but no shame for trying. When making broccoli pouch swans remember to be liberal with the tin foil. As a result, the pouches did their thing and the one with water added came out superior. Also, it doesn’t take long to grill, so don’t put it on first or it’ll get a muted green trending brown color ( thus no photo of finished result ). You want to go for a perky green when cooking broccoli, which doesn’t take long to achieve.

Broccoli With Garlic

For the broccoli:

Broccoli florets


Salt n Pepper (pah push it real good)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Foil for pouching into decorative Swan or Pterodactyl

Wee bit of water

Choppin Broccoli

Sorta Sangria Starring Mango Puree


Adie popped by taking the kitchen by storm pulling desirables that when moistened with liquor would make Sangria like no other. Sangria so refreshing that as she sat next to the pool with the breeze blowing through her hair an easy smile happily resting on her face, Seattle’s hottest day of the year went unnoticed. A bottle of wine emptied, most of a bottle of Pellegrino some sliced lemons and clementines popped in and it’s off to puree some succulently ripe mango. This was the magic ingredient. A splash or so of white rum with a sizzle of sugar readied the mix for tasting. A bit more sugar says Adie. After the mix partied with the ice, it was poured into the pretty, party pitcher and garnished with fresh mint. You don’t want to over mint. Too much mint takes all the fun out of Sangria trending to Mojitoland and for that matter all this talk about Sangria when what we’ve actually made was August Punch, but who’s checking. One girl’s Sangria is another girl’s Punch. For this girl, the punch was in the beautiful Anam Cara Riesling. Lacking a dryer wine at peep toe pumps reach and no desire to pop up to the shops, we pulled out the Riesling to give ‘er a go. It went well. The Sangrian August Punch was light, refreshing ( I know I said that already ), not sweet and not too alcoholic tasting. PERFECTO for a hot summer day. Adie girl, you done good.


She ended up using:



Ripe Champagne Mango pureed in a Champion (the one that looks like a pig)


Bottle of wine

Cruzan white rum

Organic Sugah







Salted Watermelon, Yuk or Yum?


Ms. Hillary from Arkansass says, “heck ya and I’m fixin’ to have some more.” Quite simple really, cut the watermelon, pop some salt on top and chomp away. So busy taking photos, I didn’t even try it! I need to do another round to add my two cents. I’m going into to it with a Yuk verdict, but I’ll keep an open mind. Perhaps giving the watermelon a little tequila bath before the salt might sway me to the other side.

Salting The Melon


Yum To Some

Simple Pots

Fingerling Potatoes

Maggie Used:
Fingerling Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

With a pile of fingerlings, who needs fancy? Step aside and enjoy their true flavor. After the pots were scrubbed, cleaned and halved, Maggie popped them in a large piece of foil that would act as a snuggy bed for them to do their magic. Before she closed and crimped the edges, she whipped out the extra virgin olive oil to slather up the potatoes. Adding the two secret herbs and spices, salt and pepper, chopped garlic was added. Crimp the foil into a pouch and it’s grill time. Depending on the heat of the coals, by the time it takes to polish off two glasses of champagne and catch up with the latest American Idol scandal (that guy had gay stripper written all over him. Hot, baby, hot!), check the fingerlings as they are most likely close to done. These simply prepared pots with the smoke of the grill were a total hit. Heated up the next day in Mrs. Microwave Yo, they still had that amazing flavor. I’ve also prepared the pots with an oil mister, which lightly kissed the fingerlings with oil, still resulting in divine potatage yet forgiving to the waistline. I’ve tried two oil misters. The first was the Misto Gourmet. This is a fancy, sleek little number that got me all hot and bothered with its fancy spray. The romance ended a few weeks later when the light spray quickly turned to a steady piss of olive oil. The new mister, the RSVP Endurance (condom or oil mister?), seems to be consistent and reliable, but we’re still in the honeymoon phase.

Garlic Prep
Pot Washing Pot Slicing
Foil Package