I’ve wanted us to do vinegar chicken for awhile and Jody, who can never see a lily without thinking of three different ways to gild it, suggested we invite rhubarb. Fine with me, as long as it didn’t make my mouth turn inside out. She also knows that I’ll eat rhubarb in just about anything.
Winter is coming, and no matter what WHO says about meat, dammit, all of us need an occasional treat to balance the scales with life’s tricks. Herewith Chicken Livers with with Passion Fruit, Pomegranate and Caramelized Dumpling Squash, exactly the kind of meal that Jody and I cook up at home when things have been crazy and we need to remind ourselves to slow down and savor what’s in front of us. In the last month we’ve been to Haiti, where Jody cooked and taught up a storm and I photographed it all and much besides. Right before our departure, one of Jody’s cooks fell and broke her ankle, which will keep her out of the kitchen for several months. Since out return Jody’s been picking up the the slack (note the state of Jody’s hands in the photos), while I’ve been processing photos for all of the institutions we visited. When we lift our noses from the grindstone, this is what we eat.
Menus from proximate restaurants in rural France can seem eerily similar, as though all aligned along the same invisible lines of culinary force emanating from the specialties of the region. This restaurant has fois gras; that restaurant has fois gras. This restaurant offers grilled duck breast; that restaurant offers grilled duck breast. Whether you find this state of affairs delightful or vexing depends on your perspective. If I were living in the same village for several months then menu similarity might start to get tedious, but in the Sud-Ouest, that lower left corner of France heading toward Spain, I had no problem with encountering a familiar selection of fois gras, duck and rabbit, accompanied by eggplant and tomatoes, not to mention the incredible local dessert pastry, Pastis de Quercy, the subject of a future post. I enjoy fois gras, but I love duck. For me, duck has more there there than any other animal protein. I’d give up beef in two quacks if I had to choose between it and duck. Legs, breast, liver – no matter. It’s all great to me. You can make up your own mind with our Grilled Duck with Peaches entrée this week. You can also eliminate the potentially irksome challenge of cooking duck inside, dealing with the fat. We cook it outside. On the grill.