There is no such thing as a perfect evening (at least when I’m in the kitchen). With all the chaos from cooking, eating and cleaning up again for the next courses we all kind of forgot that our seventh course, duck confit, took three hours to cook. The whole idea behind duck confit is to slowly roast it in its own fat for a LONG time so the skin gets golden and crispy, while the meat is juicy and tender. By the time we realized this, however it was around 10 p.m. and there was no way we were waiting three more hours. We opted to cook the duck the next afternoon and had a little picnic before packing up and heading home.
When we finally got to cut into these babies the meat was practically falling off the bone. It was so tender!
The meat was the perfect kind of salty, due to the Artisan Sel Gris salt brine it had sat in the night before. Sel Gris is the perfect choice for duck confit because of it’s high moisture content.
We have made it to the main event folks, tagliatelle with wild boar bolognese sauce! This was the main and most anticipated dish of the evening. The sauce took 4 hours to make and I’ll admit I stood over the pot sneaking spoonfuls all night. This sauce was so rich and so meaty, it was definitely worth the wait! I might go as far to say that it was my favorite course, but I’m a pasta fanatic so that’s not saying too much.
It brought me back to the spaghetti feeds my mother used to cook up for us when I was a child, but this had much deeper flavor and A LOT more meat (sorry Mom)! The holy trinity, (onions, celery, and carrots) which is the foundation for many Louisiana creole dishes, was what set it apart from your average spaghetti feed. That and the red wine, you can never forget the red wine. We used Fusion Toasted Onion Sea Salt in the sauce, which helped to bring out the caramelized onions in the trinity, a must if I do say so myself!
After a long winter, seeing fresh berries on the grocery store shelves is as much a sign of spring as morning bird songs and the Easter bunny. When this happens, I want to put berries in everything I make. This recipe for Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies offers all the comforts of a warm gooey homemade brownie with surprising ribbons of tart berries and rich, sweet caramel.
Getting the Salt Right
Getting the “salty” right is key. You’ll want a salty chocolate but not necessarily bursts of salty crunch because that interferes with the tart blackberries. I made the batter with our Pure Ocean Sea Salt. It dissolves quickly thus makes a consistently salty batter. Depending on how salty you like you chocolate, you can alter the amount. Salt is added for flavor only.
Here we are. The fifth course: French onion soup. If I may paint a picture for you folks, my friends and I had been eating, cooking and talking for around four hours and we still had four more courses to go. The wine was flowing and as you can imagine, the level of conversation was growing much deeper and exponentially louder. At one point, I sat back and just took in the sheer volume that nine people were conversing at.
There’s no doubt that preparing an 8-course dinner for nine friends requires some deliberation, down to the details (like, even which salt to use for each dish!) But there’s a point in the night when it becomes abundantly clear that cooking for friends – cooking well for friends- just offers a simple satisfaction achieved no other way than through the stomach. There’s just something magical about the laughter, the conversation, and the comfort of enjoying (not rushing) time with each other one indulgent dish at a time!
By this very jovial point in the evening, we were all excited to welcome our next course, which by the way, these rich spoils can’t be rushed either.
Being right on the Hood Canal for our feast meant we HAD to take advantage of the wealth of shellfish at our disposal. While the men suited up in their rubber boots and grabbed their rakes and buckets, us women took advantage of the quiet morning and snacked on some wine and cheese (naturally).
Their hunt was very successful, supplying us with plenty of clams and oysters our evening seafood medley. Once we got the little guys soaking and spitting, it was time to turn our attention to the prep for the upcoming course.