Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.


Thanksgiving Gluttony, 2011

I love Thanksgiving. I love being a gluttonous, obsessive, cooking for three days, chopping, brining, roasting, baking (yes, even baking) fool. I love hosting huge gatherings. My partner David, not so much. He enjoys having dinner parties and hanging out with friends. I cook, and he makes sure the house, table, yard and everything else are perfect. It’s a good arrangement. But not so much with Thanksgiving.

When we do Thanksgiving, I want to have 25 people I love jammed into our house. I like pushing tables together, shoving drinks into people’s hands, and trying to get everything timed correctly to come out at the same moment (or close to it). Our Thanksgivings usually end up with loud conversations about politics, an undercurrent of food chat, and naturally a base (and I do mean BASE) layer of snark and one-liners flying around the room. David enjoys this, but 25 people is too many and the chaos of these dinners makes him twitch. Our compromise: We host every other year and we spend alternating years with friends who kindly invite us to join them. It’s a good agreement, and keeps us both sane.

This year we had a wonderful time at our friend Jenifer’s place on the actual holiday. Her chosen family in Seattle congregated at her house, with everyone bringing dishes that were special to them and said “Thanksgiving” in their minds. For us, I brought my favorite cranberry sauce recipe, some duck rillettes and a pumpkin risotto with a mushroom marmalade. We had a complete blast, but the bummer about doing thanksgiving somewhere else is the lack of leftovers readily available for your grazing convenience.  What to do? Have another mini-thanksgiving 2 nights later, of course. I promised it would be simple and wouldn’t break the bank.  We brined a turkey breast, slapped together the sides we cant live without, and I even made a BAKED dessert. It turned out beautifully. (In retrospect, I should have photographed an individual slice versus the whole tart, but I didn’t think about that due to …..well….. 2 Manhattans and a bottomless glass of wine during dinner).

I’ve put most of the recipes below for your entertainment. They served 8 people with enough left over for everyone to take some home. There are a few things we always do:  Turkey (duh) – This year we tried a whiskey brine from Rob Feenie in Vancouver. His recipes ALWAYS rock. More of the same cranberry sauce, because it’s our favorite, a roasted sweet potato and banana puree with buttered pecans, mashed potatoes with glazed fennel (no recipe here. Sautee salted, sliced fennel in olive oil until it caramelizes, deglaze with a little chicken stock, dump it into your mashed potatoes), Julia Child’s Tapenade a la Farce (a new recipe which goes into the “keep” file, stuffing with olives, anchovies, capers, garlic, sausage and orange zest. To die for.), Brussels sprouts with a briny, caper-laden vinaigrette and Dorie Greenspan’s Pear-Frangipane tart for dessert.

Special thanks to the people at Full Circle Farms, who were generous enough to offer me a few weeks of delivery from their organic delivery service, btw. Their squash and kubocha went into the risotto from thanksgiving, their pears were the centerpiece of the tart, and the rest of the produce box went into my mise en place. Nothing was wasted and it all turned out delicious.  Especially those pears. 

Oh, and because we’re not wasteful and had some of the drunkards we love over Saturday night, that pear poaching syrup became the base for some pear martinis. Betty Ford, Line 1…..

Marc’s November Holiday Recipes 2011

Whiskey Marinated Turkey Breast

Whiskey Turkey Brine

1 each 5-6 lb turkey breast

4 L water

1 L whiskey

200 ml coarse salt

375 ml sugar

1 tbsp black peppercorn – whole

2 tbsp coriander – whole

1 each carrot – diced

2 each celery – diced

1 each onion – diced

Bunch rosemary, thyme, bay leaf

  1. Bring water, whisky, salt and sugar to boil.
  2. Take off the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Steep until cool, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Place turkey in brine and brine for 24 hours.

Roasting Turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove turkey from brine.
  3. Heat a large roasting pan on the stove top with 3 Tbsp olive oil. Sear the top side of the turkey breast.
  4. Remove pan from stove top and place in oven.
  5. Half way through cooking, about 30 minutes, take 2 cups of the reserved whiskey brine and baste top of turkey.
  6. As the turkey cooks, continually baste it with the reserved liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  7. When the turkey reaches 160 degrees, approximately 1 hour to 1½  hours, remove from oven. Cover turkey with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Slice and fan on a serving platter.

Farce A La Tapenade, Adapted from Julia Child


     * 1 lb italian sweet sausage, casings removed

     * 1 cup minced onions

     * 1 turkey liver, minced (optional)

     * 1 lb fresh mushrooms, trimmed,wiped,diced

     * 1 cup black olives, pitted and chopped

     * 3 anchovy fillets, mashed

     * 2 tablespoons capers, squeezed of brine

     * 2 tablespoons orange zest

     * 2 eggs, lightly beaten

     * 1 clove garlic, minced

     * 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

     * 1 bay leaves, pulverized

     * 5 cups croutons ( 5 to 6 cups)

     * salt and pepper


1. Break up sausage meat and sauté in a frying pan over low heat until

lightly browned; drain, reserving fat.

2. Place sausage meat in a large mixing bowl.

3. Return 2 tablespoons of sausage fat to the frying pan (if sausage meat

didn't render enough fat, substitute olive oil); sauté onions until

golden- about 8 minutes; add optional minced liver and sauté with onion

an additional 2 minutes.

4. Add onion mixture to sausage.

5. Sauté mushrooms in 2 additional tablespoons of sausage fat (or olive

oil) until pieces begin to separate from each other; add to sausage


6. Add olives, anchovies, capers, orange zest, eggs, garlic, and herbs to

sausage meat.

7. Fold in the croutons, add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Loosely stuff front and rear cavities of turkey immediately before

roasting, or bake for 50 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven in a covered casserole.

Makes about 2-1/2 quarts, or enough to stuff a 16- to 20-pound turkey.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts and Anchovies

Adapted From Michael Symon

3 pounds brussels sprouts, quartered

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup walnuts (Note from Marc: I forgot the walnuts and subbed in a cup of pine nuts, toasted in a pan to release the aromatics)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, minced

One 2-ounce tin of anchovies, drained and minced

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the brussels sprouts on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and charred in spots; shift the pans halfway through roasting.

Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

In the large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard and honey. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified. Add the capers, garlic, shallots and anchovies; season with salt and pepper. Add the brussels sprouts and walnuts and toss well. Serve.

MAKE AHEAD The brussels sprouts and dressing can be made up to 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Rewarm the brussels sprouts before serving.

Sweet Potato Puree with Bananas and Buttered Pecans    

6 pounds (about 6) sweet potatoes

2 ripe bananas, skins on

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound pecans

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Roast the bananas, with the skins on, for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and bananas, and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until the potatoes are chunky.

Add the butter and maple syrup, puree until smooth. Add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt; puree to combine. Transfer to a shallow baking pan and smooth out the surface with a spatula.

In a skillet, cook the pecans in butter over low heat and sprinkle with salt. Saute until well-coated, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer the pecans to paper towels to drain. Arrange pecans on top of puree and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 300 degrees F until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz bag raw cranberries, washed, dried and picked over

3/4 cup dried sour cherries

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup red currant jelly

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup dark rum

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients except rum.  Over low heat, bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop.

Remove sauce from heat. Stir in rum. Refrigerate at least overnight to thicken sauce.  Return to room temperature to serve.

My Favorite Green Bean Casserole

For the topping:  

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.
  3. While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Dorie Greenspan’s French Pear Tart 

Adapted from BAKING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, and taken from Dorie’s website Tuesdays With Dorie.  

For the pears:

6 canned pear halves OR 3 medium pears, firm but ripe

1 lemon

4 cups water, optional

1 1/4 cups sugar, optional

For the almond cream:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup ground blanched almonds

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 large egg

2 teaspoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 partially-baked 9-inch tart shell, made with Sweet Tart Dough (see below), at room temperature

Confectioners' sugar for dusting, or apple jelly for glazing

Getting ready:  If you are using canned pears, you have nothing to do now.  If you are using fresh pears but do not wish to poach them, you have nothing to do now. If you are using fresh pears and want to poach them, peel them and leave them whole.  Bring the 4 cups water, the 1 1/4 cups sugar and the juice of the lemon to a boil in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears.  Add the pears to the boiling syrup, lower the heat so the syrup simmers and gently poach the pears until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.  Cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup.

To make the almond cream:  Put the butter and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny.  Add the ground almonds and continue to process until well blended.  Add the flour and cornstarch, process, and then add the egg.  Process for about 15 seconds more, or until the almond cream is homogeneous.  Add the rum or vanilla and process just to blend.  If you prefer, you can make the cream in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a rubber spatula.  In either case, the ingredients are added in the same order.  Scrape the almond cream into a container and either use it immediately or refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours.

Getting ready to bake:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Have a lined baking sheet at the ready.  If you are using fresh (unpoached) pears, peel them now.  If you are using poached or unpoached pears, cut them in half from blossom to stem and core them; rub the unpoached pears with lemon juice.  Whatever pears you have, make sure to pat them dry - really dry - so that their liquid won't keep the almond cream from baking.

Fill the baked crust with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal icing spatula.  Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on a spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly and place it, wide-end toward the edge of the crust, over the almond cream.  The halves will form spokes.

Put the crust on the lined baking sheet, slide the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns.  Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature before unmolding.

Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners' sugar.  If you prefer, prepare a glaze by bringing about 1/4 cup apple jelly and1/2 teaspoon water to the boil. Brush the glaze over the surface of the tart.

Storing:  If it's convenient for you, you can make the almond cream up to 2 days ahead and keep it closely covered in the refrigerator, or you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months; defrost before using.  You can also poach the pears up to 1 day ahead.  However, once you've baked the tart, you should be prepared to enjoy it that same day.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

To make the dough:  Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.  Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine.  Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.  When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.  Just before your reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface.Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

If you want to press the dough into a tart pan, now is the time to do it.

If you want to chill the dough and roll it out later (doable, but fussier than pressing), gather the dough into a ball (you might have to use a little more pressure than you used to mix in dry bits, because you do want the ball to be just this side of cohesive), flatten it into a disk, wrap it well and chill it for at least 2 hours or for up to 1 day.

To make a press-in crust:  Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it.  Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbreadish texture.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To make a rolled-out crust:  This dough is very soft - a combination of a substantial amount of butter and the use of confectioners' sugar - so I find it is easier to roll it between wax paper or plastic wrap or, easiest of all, in a roll-out-your-dough slipcover.  If you use the slipcover, flour it lightly.  Roll the dough out evenly, turning the dough over frequently and lifting the wax paper or plastic wrap often, so that it doesn't roll into the dough and form creases.  If you've got time, slide the rolled out dough into the fridge to rest and firm for about 20 minutes before fitting the dough into the buttered tart pan.  Trim the excess dough even with the edge of the pan.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially bake the crust:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust.  Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil.  If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.  Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.

And for Judy.....the Risotto:

Pumpkin Risotto with Mushroom "Marmalade"



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound fresh porcini or stemmed shiitake mushrooms—1/2 pound cut into 1/2 -inch dice, 1/4 pound sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine, such as Amarone (Note from Marc: Uncharacteristically we left some wine in the bottle (an amazing Cabernet), so that's what I used this time)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter


  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice (6 ounces)
  • 3 lbs pumpkin or squash
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 2-ounce piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for shaving plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan for the risotto
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mixed herbs, such as chives, mint and tarragon
  1. MAKE THE MARMALADE: In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the diced mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat until tender, 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until browned. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
  2. In the same skillet, heat another 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked mushrooms.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer the sugar and water over moderate heat, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until amber, 6 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vinegar and boil over high heat until reduced by half, 12 minutes. Stir the mixture into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the mushrooms are glazed, 3 minutes. Season with salt.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir the mushrooms into the marmalade, and swirl in the butter. Cover and keep warm.
  5. MAKE THE RISOTTO: Cut pumpkin or squash into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and roast in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, remove pumpkin meat from the peels and chop finely. 
  6. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer; add the pumpkin and incorporate into the liquid. Cover and keep warm over low heat. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated. Pour in about 1 cup of the hot stock, or enough to cover the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring until all of the stock has been absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is just cooked and suspended in the creamy sauce, about 25 minutes. Stir in the butter and parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the risotto into bowls and top with the mushroom marmalade. Shave a few slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the risotto, garnish with the herbs and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The mushroom marmalade can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

WINE The wine Vongerichten uses for this dish is also delicious to drink with it. A powerful, dark Amarone from the Veneto is made by the appassimento method—the grapes are dried in special drying rooms prior to fermentation, which makes for an intensely flavored, high-alcohol red wine. Look for the 2001 Allegrini, full of cherry liqueur and black pepper notes. Recipe modified from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This recipe is modified from one which originally appeared in October, 2007 in Food and Wine magazine.



Peking Duck Broth with Asian Wontons

Well, our Seattle “summer” is officially over. It’s getting dark early, the rain is back in full force and chill is in the air. Don’t get me wrong--when we have a sunny fall day with the trees exploding with color everywhere around us, it’s a beautiful thing. That said, it’s still fucking cold and I WANT SOUP.

This recipe is my SECOND favorite soup recipe. (My first is the Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup from Lorna Yee’s “Newlywed Kitchen”. If you don’t have her book, buy it, you moron. I promise you all of the recipes are fantastic). The first time I made this soup for some of my friends in Seattle I met on the Interwebs through the Twitter, I made the fatal error of making the wontons using a dumpling press. (GASP!!!) If you have Asian girlfriends, you will know they are a mean, cruel and judgy lot, especially if you fuck with their wontons. I have never heard the end of the dumpling press, even though they still ate the shit out of this soup (because hello—it rocks!). I’ve learned my lesson since that time…Thanks to a couple of friends who took pity on this Cracker, demonstrating uncharacteristic patience and compassion, I now know how to make proper dumplings. They’re not as pretty as theirs (and probably never will be) but they taste good.

A couple of notes: Yes, this soup has some steps to it. Deal. The broth is absolutely spectacular as it enhances chicken stock with Cantonese roast duck flavor. In Seattle, the International District has a lot of options to find the duck. Don’t try to chop the meat in a food processor or you will end up with pasty nastiness. The hand-chopped meat gives nice texture in the wontons. The roast pork has VERY crispy skin and will be a bit of a pain to chop, but again—it’s worth it. Also, don’t skimp on the garnishes identified in the recipe. They all add an important character to the final dish.


Peking Duck Broth with Asian Wontons

Yield:  8



  • ·        1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped celery
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped onions
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped fennel
  • ·        4 x garlic cloves, crushed
  • ·        2 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
  • ·        1 tbsp coarsely chopped lemongrass
  • ·        1 x tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ·        1/4 cup soy sauce
  • ·        1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • ·        1 x Chinese Barbequed Duck, cut into small pieces
  • ·        2 L cold water or 2 L dark chicken stock
  • ·        4 x thyme sprigs


  • ·        1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • ·        1/2 cup finely diced Chinese barbequed pork
  • ·        1/2 cup finely diced Chinese roast pork
  • ·        1/2 cup finely diced Chinese barbequed duck
  • ·        3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ·        1/2 Thai chili, seeded and finely diced
  • ·        1 tbsp mirin
  • ·        3 tbsp sesame oil
  • ·        1/4 cup red vinegar
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ·        1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • ·        1 tbsp finely minced ginger
  • ·        2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • ·        1 x egg, beaten


  • ·        1/4 cup chopped Thai basil
  • ·        1/2 cup enoki mushrooms
  • ·        8 x lime wedges
  • ·        3 tbsp minced garlic
  • ·        3 tbsp Thai chili
  • ·        3 tbsp minced ginger
  • ·        3 tbsp lemon zest




1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onions, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and tomato. Sweat vegetables, stirring occasionally until vegetables start to brown.

2. Deglaze pot with soy sauce and vinegar. Add the duck pieces and any juice from the duck cavity. Sweat the duck pieces for 3 minutes. Add thyme and pour in enough water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil uncovered, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Strain liquid through sieve and cool.


1. Add finely chopped Chinese barbequed pork, roast pork and Peking duck in a large bowl. Add soy sauce, chili, mirin, sesame oil, vinegar, cilantro, green onions, garlic, and ginger. Mix well to combine all ingredients.

2. Place 8 wonton wrappers on a clean surface and using a pastry brush or your finger and brush egg wash around the outside of each wrapper. Place small spoonful in the centre of each wonton wrapper and pull sides to top and pinch together to seal. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat until you have finished mix.

3. To cook place a single layer of wontons in a large steamer lined with parchment paper and cook until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.


1. Garnish large soup bowls with Thai basil, enoki mushrooms and green onions. Place wontons in the centre of each bowl and pour hot peking duck broth over. Serve immediately with lime wedges, garlic-chili, and ginger-lime.


Crisp Pork Hock with Roasted Almond and Chilli Salad

I keep a HUGE electronic file of compelling recipes, discovered online or sent by friends. Unfortunately, I will never have enough hours in my lifetime to make all of the recipes I’ve stored (with the best of intentions to one day make).  Occasionally I've gotten up the gumption to put the tried-and-true recipes into a single file I've later had bound for ease of use at home...but in general it's just en ever-growing collection of good intentions.

By far the best and most reliable source for my tastes and palate are the recipes I find at the Australian Gourmet Traveller website. A friend turned me on to this magazine a few years back, and I’ve been subscribing ever since. The bad news: Shipping costs as much as the subscription, so if you want hard copies of the magazine, it will run you about $150/year. The good news: They now have an online iPad issue, and it’s incredible…It’s also only 6 bucks an issue (a bargain compared to the cover price + shipping). Their recipes inspire me, they often have the Asian flair I love most, and they are seriously the best magazine I’ve found locally, nationally or internationally in that they don’t target their recipes to the lowest common denominator (Saveur is the only one I’ve found in the US that also gives you the real deal). Yes, they have simple recipes…but they also give restaurant recipes that are more complicated and involved and truly show you how to recreate that dish at home. They play to the whole range of home cooks and culinary professionals rather than just busy parents who need to slap something together in 30 minutes after working all day. 

I’ve made pork hocks once before, to attempt a Teage Ezard recipe for Crispy Fried Pork Hock with Chilli Caramel. In that case I ordered them deboned from Uwajimaya, which saved a ton of time. This time, I figured I’d do it myself. I had some bone-in pork hocks in the freezer and feel like I have decent knife skills, so what the hell right?  WRONG. My knife skills when it comes to trying to debone pork hocks are right up there with my baking finesse.  I spent 20 minutes on the first pork hock, the result from which looked like a crime scene. It’s like dating—You get excited about trying to master that huge, daunting bone, but at the end of the day it’s just a pain in the ass.  (Oh, TMI?)

I thought it might be easier to get the bone to pull out (heh heh, Beavis) after braising in the Master Stock (see recipe), but that didn’t work either. There’s just too much bone-to-meat ratio and when the braise was done, the whole thing was too fragile for it to work. Pork hocks, meet garbage can. Time to improvise. I refreshed the Master Stock by adding another half recipe of ingredients to what I already had on hand, building up the volume again for another attempt. This time, I braised 2 pounds of fresh pork belly for a few hours. (Note: you can use your master stock over and over for your entire life…it will build in flavor. Just be sure to add to it when the volume gets low, and boil, strain, cool and freeze after you’re done cooking what you’ve cooked in it. Also, I subbed in the master stock recipe from the Teage Ezard recipe I linked above, because I think it’s complex and delicious). When the pork belly was done, I compressed it per the instructions in the recipe below, chilled it overnight, cubed it and fried it. It was fab. The plum sauce was also a hit, and the only modification I made there was to increase the amount of thai chilli because we like it hot around here. That’s just how the gays roll.

The recipe is posted in it’s original form below from the Gourmet Traveller website, with my modifications outlined above. Enjoy!

Crisp pork hock with roasted almond and chilli salad

Serves 4

Pork hock

500 gm (It’s about a pound. Quit whining) boneless pork hocks

For deep frying:  vegetable oil

20 gm (1 tbsp) mixed baby herbs (see note)

15 gm flaked almonds, roasted

1  kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced

1 tsp sesame oil

To serve: steamed jasmine rice


1 stick  celery, coarsely chopped

1  carrot, coarsely chopped

2  red shallots, coarsely chopped

1  large red chilli, coarsely chopped

2  garlic, coarsely chopped

20 gm  galangal, coarsely chopped

½ stick lemon grass, coarsely chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves

2 star anise

1 cinnamon quill

1 piece orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler, pith removed

150 gm palm sugar, finely grated

75 ml (2.5 oz.) Shaoxing wine

50 ml (1.7 oz) soy sauce

1½ litres (5 cups) chicken stock

Chilli plum sauce

1 large red chilli, finely chopped

4 (320 gm) blood plums or other red skinned plums, stones removed and coarsley chopped

500 gm palm sugar, finely grated

250 ml (1 cup) white vinegar 

  1. For masterstock, combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Strain masterstock into a clean saucepan, discard solids, add pork hock and return to the boil. Reduce heat and cook, basting occasionally, for 1½ hours or until pork is tender. Remove from stock and place on an oven tray, cover with plastic wrap, place another tray on top and weigh down with food cans. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. For chilli plum sauce, combine all ingredients and 1 tsp sea salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened, adding more water if mixture gets too thick. Spoon into a hot sterilised jar and seal, keeps up to 3 months. Makes 1½ cups.
  4. Cut pork into 1.5cm cubes. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer to 180C and deep-fry pork for 3 minutes or until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.
  5. Heat 100 ml chilli plum sauce in a wok over medium heat, add pork and toss. Spoon onto a serving plate. Combine herbs and almonds in a bowl, drizzle with sesame oil, season to taste with sea salt and arrange on top of pork hock. Serve with rice to the side.

 Note Baby herbs are available from select greengrocers.



summer bean salad with lemon pesto and white anchovy beignets

As promised in my last post, this is the salad recipe we served with the Aromatic Stuffed Suckling Pig for our friends’ baby shower a couple of weeks ago. I have since made this recipe on two other occasions, because we just can’t get enough of it. This dish received the ultimate compliment from our friend Lorna, who said, “This salad is what all salads should taste like.”  Basically that means it isn’t the healthiest kid on the block. It’s like the fruit salads we grew up on, doused in whipped cream. As long as it said “salad”, though, we didn't feel guilty then and we won't now.

This dish really is quite refreshing. The beans, properly blanched, are cool and crisp, the vinaigrette has a great tang, and the pesto lends a richness to the dish. Topped with the crispy Boquerone beignet, it makes for a lot going on in your mouth at once, kind of like that party you barely remember from college.



Adapted from Fresh From the Market, by Laurent Tourondel

2 cups freshly shelled cranberry beans
½ pound yellow wax beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ pound haricots verts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups freshly shelled fava beans
12 sugar snap peas

Lemon Pesto
2 cups basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon roughly chopped capers
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
12 Cerignola olives, pitted and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying
¾ cup cornstarch
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup chilled club soda
18 white anchovies, drained and patted dry

2 cups wild arugula


1. Cook the beans: Place the cranberry beans in a medium-size pot. Cover with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to barely a simmer. Cook until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Pour the beans and their cooking liquid into a large bowl set over ice. Allow the beans to cool in the liquid. Once the liquid has cooled, strain the beans and place them in a large mixing bowl. Discard the liquid.

While the cranberry beans are cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the yellow wax beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove beans from the pot and place into a bowl of ice water.

Repeat this process with the haricots verts, fava beans and sugar snap peas, making sure to remove the skins from the fava beans once they have cooled in the ice water. When beans have cooled, remove them from the ice water and pat dry. Slice the sugar snap peas in half, and place all beans in the mixing bowl with the cranberry beans.

2. Make the lemon pesto: Place the basil and garlic in a blender. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream to form a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Set aside with a piece of plastic wrap over the top to make sure the pesto does not begin to brown.

3. Make the vinaigrette: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, capers, oregano, garlic and olives. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the beans and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Make the beignets: Fill a deep heavy pot or deep fryer with 4 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Farenheit or until a small drop of the batter browns quickly in the oil. Combine the cornstarch, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the club soda until the mixture is well combined and the consistency of heavy cream. Working in batches, dip the anchovies into the batter to coat and fry them until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beignets from the fryer and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.

6. Serve: Place a spoonful of pesto in the center of 6 plates. Divide the bean salad evenly over the pesto and scatter the wild arugula (Note from Marc: I just drew this lightly with a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some decent salt)over the salad. Arrange the anchovy beignets over the salad and serve.

Serves 6.


Aromatic Stuffed Suckling Pig (a.k.a. Baby -- The Other White Meat)

Ok, kids…roll up your sleeves. Herein lies the preparation for one of the most involved dishes I’ve ever done outside of culinary school or a restaurant. There’s a lot of prep involved with this dish, but it’s a great example of getting what you pay for. The effort pays off big time.

We decided to throw a baby shower for our good friends Lorna Yee and Henry Lo. They’re big into food and have VERY strong opinions about it – especially pork, pork products, serving pork, writing about pork, thinking about pork…get the picture? For friends like this, we had the perfect excuse to roast a suckling pig. (And let’s face it…eating a baby anything for a baby shower is pretty fucking funny.)

This recipe does require you to think ahead, as the brining and air-drying takes a couple of days. You can order the pig from a butcher—we needed a couple weeks of lead time for them to be able to procure it. If you’re in Seattle, Don and Joe’s at the Pike Place Market hooked us up.

The only other things on the list that were a little more difficult to find outside a normal grocery store were the foie gras, which you can find from specialty stores (Seattle Caviar Company is a great source) and the meat lacing needle. Meat lacing needles are easy to get around thanksgiving, but tend to be out of stock in the summer.

We filled the house and outside deck with friends, roasted this baby up and served it with roasted asparagus with a hazelnut aioli and pinot noir reduction; tartlettes with oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, gruyere and balsamic-roasted onions; summer bean salad with lemon pesto and boquerone (marinated Spanish white anchovies) beignets; and roasted blue cheese-stuffed figs wrapped in pancetta (MORE PORK).  I’ll post the recipes for these other dishes later.

Both the suckling pig and summer bean salad recipes come from Laurent Tourondel’s latest book. If you haven’t bought this book yet, DO IT.  There isn’t a single recipe in the book that won’t make your mouth water. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you about something like this. 

Special thanks to Jackie Baisa for making some beautiful photos included here while I was slaving over a hot stove!

Aromatic Stuffed Suckling Pig

Adapted from Fresh From the Market – Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel

Serves 8 – 12

Special Equipment:

5 Gallon Pot; Meat Lacing Needle

Suckling Pig:

2 gallons water

1 ½ cups kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 garlic head, halved

½ bunch fresh thyme

24 fresh sage leaves

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 Tbsp toasted fennel seeds

1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns

1 suckling pig, 10 to 12 lbs, deboned (Note from Marc: We used a 22 lb pig and adjusted accordingly, adding another third to the stuffing recipes and adding a couple of hours to the cooking time)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces


1/3 cup chopped pistachios

¼ cup pine nuts

1 ½ tsp fennel seeds

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

8 oz fresh porcini mushrooms, diced

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup thinly sliced white onion

10 oz pancetta, finely diced

2 ½ lbs pork belly, ground

22 oz hot Italian sausage

15 oz foie gras, diced

¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 ½ cup grated Meadow Creek Grayson cheese (or another washed-rind, semi-soft, pungeant cow’s milk cheese, similar to a domestic Taleggio) (Note from Marc: We used an Italian Taleggio from the Italian deli and it was fantastic)

¾ cup dry white wine

¼ cup Armagnac

2 large egg whites

3 Tbsp fleur de sel

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper


Brine the Pig:

Two days before you plan to serve this dish, prepare the brine. Combine the water, salt, sugar, garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a large pot with a capacity of at least 5 gallons. Bring the mixture to a summer, stirring until all ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and immerse the pot in an ice bath to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, add the pig, ensuring that it is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. (Note from Marc: Because we used a bigger pig, the pot wasn’t going to be possible. Instead we poured the cooled brine into a clean ice chest, added a lot of ice and the pig, and let it soak overnight in there, checking occasionally to ensure it was still very cold.)

Remove the pig from the brine and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Place the pig on a rack set over a large rimmed baking pan and allow the pig to dry in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Prepare the Stuffing:

Toast the pistachios, pine nuts, and fennel seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the porcini mushrooms and garlic and sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a clean sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Sauté the pancetta in a small sauté pan over medium heat until crispy, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels; set aside to cool.

Mix the cooked pancetta with the pork belly, Italian sausage and foie gras in a large bowl until well combined. Add the toasted nuts and fennel seeds, sautéed porcini mushrooms, caramelized onions, parsley, chopped onion, sage and rosemary; mix until well combined. Add the cheese, wine, Armagnac, and egg whites and mix until well incorporated. Season to taste with the fleur de sel and black pepper.

Roast the Pig:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Pack the stuffing in the cavity of the pig.


Babe the deboned pig.

It's very important to know how to pack your pork.

Using a meat lacing needle, sew the openings of the pig together.

All dressed up with noplace to go. Except my oven.

Rub the entire pig with the olive oil and wrap the ears and the tail with aluminum foil. Spread the onions, carrots, and celery evenly in a roasting pan. Place the pig, belly side down, on top of the vegetables.

Roast for 45 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees Farenheit. Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the pig reads 155 to 160 degrees Farenheit, about 1 hour and 15 minutes more. (Note from Marc: With our 20 lb. porker, it took about 3 ½ to 4 hours total to roast this beast to temperature.) Let rest for 30 minutes before serving.

To serve:

Using an electric serrated knife, slice the stuffed pig vertically into 1-inch-thick slices, beginning behind the shoulder and reserving he head for presentation. Serve immediately.

Pig-Ninja David

Slicing the Beast

Serving up Wave 1 of Pig and Stuffing. Don't fight over the tail, kids! 

Our pork-grubbin parents-to-be, completely horrified by a friend's contribution of takeout chinese Almond Fried Chicken, General Tso and Crab Rangoon.

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