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Cooking Wild Duck

I see you are in Lewes, which means your husband is probably pulling in ducks off salt water. If that is the case, your ducks will need to be brined in 1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water (plus any spices/herbs you wish) overnight to help the fishy taste. Also, oldsquaw, mergansers, eiders or really any "sea duck" are best served in a mixed stew -- I will not shoot them at all, however, because in California I have plenty of better-tasting ducks to eat.

If he is bringing home mallards and black ducks, shot off fresh water, I would highly suggest you pluck them and roast them whole. Rub with oil, salt heavily, brown on all sides in an oven-proof pan, rest the bird in the pan on some celery stalks, then roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. You want an internal temp of 140-150. Duck can and should be eaten rare -- or stewed like crazy. No middle. Like the octopus Sam mentioned...

For what it's worth, my whole website is about wild game cooking, and I have a ton of duck recipes on it, some fancy, others easy. It's:

Oct 10, 2008
gamecook in Home Cooking

Rosé and Offal

Did you soak the kidneys? They need prolonged soaking in brine, milk or a succession of the two. And they love an open fire and to be served medium, not well-done.

And I wholeheartedly (ouch. bad pun.) agree with you concerning rose and variety meats...

Apr 01, 2008
gamecook in Features

Sausages in Sacramento?

I am in search of both restaurants that offer really tasty sausages and markets that sell them to take home, like Corti Brothers. Who does sausage best? Are there good German places I need to see? Italian? Portuguese? Even Chinese or Southeast Asian?

What say you?

Jan 21, 2008
gamecook in California

Favorite Wineries Amador/El Dorado County

I would second the motion for Vino Noceto, Boeger and Holly's Hill. I am especially fond of the Holly's Hill mourvedre. Sierra Vista does good work, too. If you want to head down to Calaveras County, I'd recommend a trip to Murphys, and to the Twisted Oak winery.

Jan 15, 2008
gamecook in California

Offal in Sacramento?

Do any restaurants in the Sacramento area serve offal? Sweatbreads, liver, tongue, heart, etc. I am interested in trying some well-prepared nasty bits but am having a tough time locating restaurants...

Dec 14, 2007
gamecook in California

Searching for blood oranges and honey (Fresno)

You are too early for blood oranges. They are a late citrus. I'd be surprised if you can get them before Christmas. I eat them almost daily January-February...Orange blossom honey is easy to find. Look in a decent supermarket, or go to the biggest farmer's market you can find for a local source. You ARE in orange country, after all. But remember the blossoms don't come out for a while, so your honey will be "old," not that it goes bad...

Dec 05, 2007
gamecook in California

ISO Tapas for a 1st timer, No. CA

A second vote for Aioli. They can have slow service (especially if you get the middle-aged Madrileno) but excellent food. Very authentic, very varied and not so 'spensive. Best with multiple people so you can try a dozen or so dishes!

Dec 05, 2007
gamecook in California

Help me plan my pheasant pheast

Hey there,
Sorry I did not see this before your feast - how did it go? I love cooking wirh pheasant; if you do them again, try breaking the birds down into breasts, then leg/thighs and wings. Slow cook the leg, etc, and poach the breasts (skin off) in a full-bodied white wine, like a Rousanne or an oaky Chandonnay...

Dec 03, 2007
gamecook in Home Cooking

Sangiovese, 100 Percent


Get yourself over to the Sierra Foothills where there are any number of excellent California sangioveses, mostly from Placer and Amador counties. My current favorite is Noceto:

(Bias alert: I make my own 100% Sangio from grapes grown in the Sierra Foothills -- 2900 ft in Placer County, to be exact.)

Nov 28, 2007
gamecook in Features

Strategic Guest Ejection

Get up, crack your knuckles, then belch, a la "Booger" from Revenge of the Nerds. Clear throat. Next, in your best "Exorcist" voice, say: "Get the F*ck Out of My House!!!" Then go load the guns in the closet, all the while twitching uncontrollably.

Jun 26, 2007
gamecook in Features

Garlic Scapes

Steam them gently, or blanch them in REALLY salty water for a minute or two, then serve with butter and salt. They are so good you need not mess with them much. And eat a lot of them - they only show up in markets a few weeks a year.

Jun 20, 2007
gamecook in Home Cooking

The Family Bandit

I'm with Eveh. I live near a Puglian family whom I adore, but I get pissed off when they occasionally take things from my yard. I am every much a forager as they are and I use what I grow, and what I find on my property. That said, I guilted her after she took one of my prize fennel bulbs and we now share pretty much everything - but we don't pick without asking...

Jun 15, 2007
gamecook in Features

Lemon Verbena Drink

I make this drink all the time - add a splash of cider vinegar (or lemon juice, or some such) to give it some acidity. Dee-lish.

Apr 17, 2007
gamecook in Recipes

An Espresso to Grind

I'm one of those "toss the change in the jar" guys. My only exception is when I need a coupla quarters for the meter. I always feel a bit guilty when I do that, for some reason.

Here's one for all you baristas: Do you get pissed when the owner jacks up the price of coffee? Mine just went from $1.70 to $1.85 for a 16 oz drip, and I sure ain't digging into my pocket for added change when I tip. That means the baristas get $0.15 less per visit from me. What say you?

Apr 09, 2007
gamecook in Features