DIY, In the Kitchen

Today in History & Demi-Glace Day (Pic Warning)

Today is DH’s birthday, hooray!  I looked up his birthday on Wikipedia and this is some of what I found:


  • 1454 – Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer and cartographer
  • 1629 – Tsar Alexis I of Russia
  • 1904 – Paul Klipsch, American engineer
  • 1920 – Frank J. Dixon, American immunologist
  • 1923 – Walter Kohn, Austrian-born physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1934 – Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space
  • 1943 – Bobby Fischer, American chess player
  • 1964 – Steve Wilkos, American police officer and talk show host
  • 1970 – Shannon Leto, American drummer and actor (30 Seconds to Mars)
  • 1971 – Emmanuel Lewis, American actor
  • 1976 – Thor Halvorssen, human rights activist
  • 1983 – Clint Dempsey, American footballer
  • 1983 – Maite Perroni, Mexican singer (RBD)
  • 1987 – Bow Wow, American rapper and actor


  • 1230 – Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II defeats Theodore of Epirus in the Battle of Klokotnitsa.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.
  • 1847 – Mexican-American War: The first large-scale amphibious assault in U.S. history is launched in the Siege of Veracruz.
  • 1910 – The Westmoreland County Coal Strike, involving 15,000 coal miners represented by the United Mine Workers, begins.
  • 1916 – Pancho Villa leads nearly 500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico.
  • 1933 – Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.
  • 1956 – Soviet military suppresses a mass demonstration in the Georgian SSR, reacting to Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policy.
  • 1990 – Dr. Antonia Novello is sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.
  • 1991 – Massive demonstrations are held against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade. Two people are killed and tanks are deployed in the streets.
  • 1997 – Comet Hale-Bopp: Observers in China, Mongolia and eastern Siberia are treated to a rare double feature as an eclipse permits Hale-Bopp to be seen during the day.
  • Feast Day: Catherine of Bologna

Yesterday was demi-glace day, it wasn’t a traditional demi-glace in the sense that I didn’t use veal.  I made mine in a sort of hybrid fashion as the goal was to use what we already had at home rather than spending a ton of money buying special ingredients.  We had pig bones in the freezer from another meal as well as duck parts from last week’s duck mole (leftovers made great tacos!) so I used those.  The following pictures might be too graphic if you’re squeamish about meat.

Right before roasting


Deglazing after roasting


Skimming the (mostly) duck fat from the top. Not counting the overnight cooling and separation, this process took about 5 hours.

Why am I saving the fat?  Well, we always save the fat for later use, but we were amused to read this in the paper one day:

Duck fat is this year’s bacon, Abbot added. “From a culinary perspective, duck fat is pure magic,” she said. “From a health perspective … it contains a high percentage of mono-unsaturated fat and it’s actually closer in composition to olive oil than butter or even lard.” The high smoking point provides cooking at higher temperatures without burning. Lush Wine Bar in Chicago creates its bar popcorn in duck fat. And Michael Mina at Bourbon Steak in the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona does a trio of individually spiced fries cooked in duck fat.

“Beyond duck fat, expect to see more novel fats on menus,” such as lard and beef tallow, Abbot said. “As long as the fat is well-sourced it’s all good. And in small doses, it can actually be really good for you.”

DIY, Gardening, In the Kitchen, Organic

A Little Prep Work…

Hola Readers,

  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so I’m posting a few quick recipes I find useful.  



  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange juice and zest, stir and allow to cool before serving.

*NOTE: I used Chinese 5-Spice instead of allspice for a more exotic flavor and used 1.5 cups granulated sugar and .5 cup brown sugar for molasses-ey goodness.  I put aside ≈ 1 cup of the sauce for those who don’t like heat (Not-Hot Sauce).  I roasted and mashed a couple of jalapeños from the garden to add to the remainder along with Pato Sauce for a spicy twist on traditional cranberry sauce.

Suzanne’s Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

DH used one of our pumpkins but you can use a canned pumpkin and it will turn out nicely.  We made the crust but a pre-made crust will do as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

One pound cranberries
Not-Hot cranberry sauce

DIY, Educational, Random!

DNA Extraction Part 2

4. Set up a container with a coffee filter on top. Pour the strawberry mash on to the coffee filter (in the cup).
5. After the strawberry mash filters for 10 minutes, pour the filtered liquid into a 50 mL centrifuge tube with about 40 mL cold ethanol.
6. Let the test tube sit for 20 minutes.
DIY, Ecology, Educational, Environment, Gardening, Global Change, Green, Organic

Oktoberfest Weekend!

Oktoberfest traditionally takes place at the end of September and runs through the 1st week of October, but in AZ it’s freaking hot so we get a late start in attempt to beat the heat.  It is still 108°F here in Phoenix, so we keep our daytime celebrations inside.  DH and I are excited to start the German Beer season as we usually get 3 weekends packed with different city-sponsored events! 

We did start celebrating last night, with a German-inspired sausage, cabbage, and potato salad dinner.  We will also make pretzels sometime this weekend, so stay posted for that recipe. 

Chimney starter




Cabbage salad


Dinner with DH's homebrewed hefeweizen. Click on the picture for our new blog.
DIY, Gardening, In the Kitchen, Organic

Bulgarian Rhapsody: Baklava

“Baklava is a favorite dessert throughout the Balkans.  The Bulgarians inherited it honestly by enduring 500 years of Turkish rule.”

Whoa.  We didn’t take this recipe that seriously since it was a practice run at phyllo dough from scratch for the upcoming recipe Tikvenik.  We had a good time making the dough and thanks to our pasta roller, it was fairly easy to get the dough thin enough to hand stretch nicely.  Once the pumpkins ripen we will come back to this recipe for Tikvenik!

I don't know how people can do this by themselves!
My parents recently went to Sequoia National Park with some friends and brought back huckleberry honey for us. It is a deep bluish-purple and tastes really good.