In the Kitchen, Random!

Barefoot Count Dracula

New post at Black Market Farm.  I’m not really gardening since we plan on leaving soon, so I’m thinking of changing that blog title.  We’ll see.

Portabella demands that I post more pictures of her since her projected lifespan is so short. Her name at the shelter was Diva which I don’t like but I get it now.
Ecology, Environment, Global Change, Green, In the Kitchen, Organic

Earth Hour Pictures

Pre-Earth Hour after-market espresso break. DH sure loves that biscotti.


Sun induced delirium causes hallucinations of delicious food.


DH making bread.


DH posing with bread. We got to use our dipping set because of this!




Purple carrot!
Global Change, Green, In the Kitchen, Organic

Central Phoenix in the Spring

Happy Spring!  The weather is great and I am loving festival season.  Arizona gets a lot of crap (rightfully so) for being batshit crazy, but there are also a lot of good people here.   

March is the beginning of outdoor season as you can tell from our recent pictures.  I am also practicing vegan cooking in preparation for Earth Hour this Saturday.  Good times.

Picnic on St. Patrick's Day.
The weather is nice but the sun is already prickly.
Where the bigwigs sit at World Fest
This is what I love most about central Phoenix. You can ride your bike everywhere!
Ok, so we went to World Fest mainly for the beer.
Vegan vegetable curry with ginger rice. Recipe at Black Market Farm.
Drama, In the Kitchen

Successful Roast, Soufflé Fail

Dinner night was crazy busy, so please excuse the messiness you see in the pictures.  I had a difficult time keeping up with everything (I suck at multitasking).  Even though things didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, it was still fun!

The roast pork tenderloin turned out nicely, even though I later found out my digital thermometer is off and I accidentally overcooked it by 20 degrees.  It was juicy last night but I’m not so sure about today.  Either way it will make good sandwich meat and we do have a butt load (cask load?) of demi-glace for it.  And the demi-glace!  I had a difficult time thickening it, but it turned out ok in the end.  I also made a pear chutney but forgot to get a picture of it.

The heirloom tomatoes in champagne vinaigrette were really good.  For that you will need:

  • 3/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup champagne (We used Moët et Chandon, from Napa Valley)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whisk together vigorously & serve.

The good
The bad. Is this considered animal testing? That is a workout dvd in the corner, not some lame ballet movie. Just so you know.
I won’t even say it. DH had already started in on the yellow ramekin (he’s sweet). I think the recipe should have had less baking powder and that’s what I’ll do next time. They were edible, the poached pear really saved it.
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.”

Immigration, In the Kitchen, Random!

Great Arizona Beer Festival

The festival was great!  This and my addiction to pastas and bread are the reasons I have not taken the good advice to go gluten-free.  I’m too much of a hedonist to make that sacrifice.

DH’s birthday is this Wednesday and I have a super ambitious dinner planned for Thursday (he gets home late on Wednesday, such a rich dinner would be a gastro-nightmare).  After this weekend’s torrone fail I’m nervous about it.  Tuesday will be demi-glace day, it will take about half a year’s worth of Meatless Mondays to make up for it.

Great Arizona Beer Fest. Drink Local!
Immigration, In the Kitchen

Pearce’s Immigration Omnibus Bill

I don’t know where to start, so here’s a link to the bill itself.  It conflicts with federal law (at this point nearly all of our legislation does) on a few points and is absolutely ridiculous.  People will have to prove  “lawful presence” to:

  • Enroll their kids in school
  • Live in a public housing project.  This doesn’t apply only to people applying for public housing (which as far as I know you already have to provide proof of lawful presence) but to people who just might come live with you. Given the state of our economy I think this is rather harsh.
  • Get the title and registration of a vehicle
  • Enroll in a community college or state university. This bill doesn’t exclude you from getting any aid or in state tuition break (prop 300 already tossed that out) but prevents you from even enrolling.
  • Seek medical treatment at a hospital
  • Get married (This is an update of his failed 2008 House Bill 2631 preventing those who could not provide proof of US citizenship from getting a marriage license.  Both people would have to produce proof  of citizenship to marry.)

Additionally, this bill forces school employees, hospital officials, and public housing authorities to act as immigration enforcement.  And they don’t want it.  So many teachers, doctors, and renters voiced their opposition to SB 1611 but the legislature doesn’t care.  This travesty of a bill will pass the Senate.

This is what Feathered Bastard observed at the committee hearing:

When Pearce described 1611 — which makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to operate motor vehicles, prevents the undocumented from registering their vehicles, mandates that schoolchildren prove they’re in the country legally or be reported to the cops, blocks those here illegally from attending community colleges, and on and on — as an assortment of “cleanups,” Sinema called him on it, numerous times.

Sinema said she counted in the bill “19 pieces of legislation that you’ve introduced over the years that didn’t pass,” adding that it was “more than just some cleanups.”

She got Pearce to admit that the bill had been slapped together at the last minute.

“This was written in a very few hours on Friday afternoon,” Pearce admitted more than once, almost apologetically, as Sinema pointed out its foibles in extreme detail.

One egregious example concerned the community colleges. Students would have to provide one of a list of documents to prove lawful status, such as a foreign passport with a visa.

Sinema pointed out that 36 countries have agreements with the United States that do not require their citizens to have visas while in the U.S., including Canada and Australia. Pearce had no answers.

Instead, he blathered on ad nauseum with a bunch of his pet lines, like, “Enough is enough,” “Stop the invasion,” “The laws must be enforced,” and “You can’t continue to break our laws.”

Those last couple are pretty amusing, actually, considering the fact that Pearce’s son Joshua is currently cooling his heels in county jail for, um, breaking the law. But hey, that’s different, right?

Try my new recipe posted at Black Market Farm.