From the kitchen and the bar – experiments in game meats and some new wines

the pale lumps are very large garlic cloves

A month or two ago, D’Artagnan (the company that sells fancy meats here in the US) had a really good flash sale and I got a selection of game meats: a duck, venison shanks and a wild boar roast.   We had the wild boar first (actually a hybrid of European wild boar and feral pig that are running amuck in the south of the US).  It was good, though dry and we did lard it with extra pig fat.  The meat is very lean and all the darker color that you see in some pork cuts from regular pork.  I wasn’t that impressed, but I will say that I cook a tasty pork shoulder and am somewhat spoiled about what good pork is.

This weekend we cooked the venison shanks.  They were about 4 inches thick, and were New Zealand venison.  My husband found a recipe for a very garlic heavy braise, and since I’ve been wanting to cook something with a *lot* of garlic (readers will know I consider it a vegetable), we went for it. 

The wine used was a Simply Naked pinot grigio and of course the 4 bulbs of garlic.  We have rosemary and thyme in our garden.  It’s so shady, I’m glad that anything edible grows there.   I also have quite a few really poisonous things, like monkshood, jimsonweed, foxglove, etc. 

The meat was pretty indistinguishable to me from good beef.  We cooked it until the cartilage melted, making the meat succulent.  Not much fat on these, so the sauce isn’t as greasy as a beef based sauce would be.  They do come with the bone in, so I scooped out the marrow.  It was a little strong flavored for me, though I can see how some people would love that.  We just had the rest of the pinot grigio with it and it went surprisingly well with such a dark meat.   It’s nice and light.  We also got a bottle of their unoaked chardonnay, and it was good too, though a little richer than we wanted for the recipe.

We also got a few new wines to try.  We’ve been looking at the less than $10 that the PA Fine Wines and Good Spirits stores have.  If you are of an age in PA, you’ll know these stores to be “state stores”.  One of the wines was Regio Cantina Donpa Aglianico del Vulture 2013.  We really got it because it had this as a description ““This initially shows funky aromas of stalky underbrush, wet soil and a whiff of damp fur that slowly blow off to reveal toast, leather and dried blackberry jam. The dense full-bodied palate evokes prune, chocolate and a hint of tobacco alongside firm tannins.”  Alas, it wasn’t nearly so odd, and I was a bit disappointed.  It is a good dark red wine though. 

That’s it.  Eat and drink well!   If you have a good roast duck recipe, let me know for my next experiment.

From the kitchen – some tasty entrees and a small rant about a movie

(warning: a few movie spoilers appear at the end for Iron Man 3 and The Winter Soldier. You have been warned)

Having no good ideas for a big meal to make for the weekend (and little time to do so with a retail schedule), we decided to get the stuff to make some quick meals.   We found a couple of tasty things that you can put in your freezer for a treat.

Barber Foods Crème Brie and Apple stuffed chicken breast – This s a lightly breaded raw chicken breast (in the freezer section) stuffed with brie, mozzarella, a very mild cheddar, chopped apples and dried cranberries. Bake this and you’ll have a very tasty dinner with a slightly sweet filling. We paired this with a chicken flavored rice and pasta mix. Barber also has a wonderful Chicken Kiev, stuffed with butter…mmmmm butter…. and garlic. Once baked, you have a pool of hot melted butter in the center, excellent for spooning over a pile of cooked rice.

D’artagnan Venison and Pork sausage with cherries – The local Giant grocery store has a new display of a lot of D’artagnan fancy foods, including venison, rabbit, etc. I picked up the venison and pork sausage since I’ve been curious about them after seeing them on the D’artagnan website. Here I didn’t need to pay shipping 🙂   They cook up with a slight sweetness from the cherries, and the juices made a lovely pan sauce. There is a hint of heat to the sausage but not much at all. We served this with a beef flavored rice and pasta mix. (I like the Knorr brand best).

Both entrees run about US$6 for a pair of breasts and a quartet of sausages.  Not bad for pretending to be a gourmet 🙂  I would happily get both again.

We also watched Iron Man 3. I’m glad a friend lent us the DVD because the movie is quite crappy. I can over look a lot of things in a movie, but bringing in a child character for no reason *plus* logic holes is just insulting. I know, Winter Soldier had some logic holes too, like why the hell can you access the servers physically from outside the helicarriers? I’m writing that one off to making up this excuse: Fury knowing something was up and placed one Achilles’ heel in the design, kinda like a 12 foot wide direct pipe to the reactors that power your entire killer space station…..