Sunday, November 21, 2010

Osmanthus (Sweet Olive) Sweet Water Ice & Hudson Valley Duck Confit

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I recently found some lovely floral extracts from Silver Cloud Estates. Osmanthus, Jasmine, Rose, Pimento (Allspice)… I bet their vanilla is very good too. I lurve sweet olive and have enjoyed many iterations of Harold McGee’s various Ice recipes from The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore (Fig, Mango, Strawberry). This is from his Sweet Water Ice chart for “Water” infusions.

I dissolved 2 1/2 C. sugar in 4 C. water and added 2 Tb. Lemon juice, 4 Tbs. Osmanthus extract and then added about 1/2 C. water to bring the total to just under 6 C. of liquid which will fit in my KitchenAid Ice Cream maker attachment. I had added the extract and lemon juice teaspoon by teaspoon to try to get the correct flavor (cold foods usually need to be stronger than those at room temperature to get the same effect).  It seems to taste stronger than what I thought it would, so I may cut back on the extract next time for guests (though I like it over-the-top for myself).  By luck, my Sweet Olive trees were in bloom to provide a fresh flower garnish.

At the opposite extreme of cooking from scratch, my local grocery store – Calandro’s – has recently started stocking Confit de Canard from Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

So our decadent, almost fast-food meal consisted of steamed broccoli with Plugra butter, sea salt, and fresh-ground black pepper;  skillet heated duck confit with crostini from Whole Foods French baguettes. Almost an unventing of the universe.

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Steamed broccoli with Plugra, pan-seared duck confit, baguette crostini, and Pinot Noir from Saxon-Brown Winery.

I had to sneak out in the middle of the night and have “just-one-more” bite of the Osmanthus Sweet Ice before I went to bed.

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