D is for . . .

Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life.” — Elsa Schiaparelli

Yeah, that’s right–I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  Look, I’m gonna say now, I’m super bad at sticking to a schedule, like forever.  But! This is actually good.  Yes, good–because I will update fairly regularly, and if I’m not going at the post-a-week pace I ideally want to maintain, the project just lasts longer for you.  Cough.

That’s my angle, and I’m sticking to it.

I also still totally plan to do the croquembouche.  I really do.  Thing is, I’m totally kind of chicken to do it all by myself because of the sugar work . . . . . and also, this thing is going to be far too massive for me to consume myself.  So, I’m going to enlist my friends, Melanie, Bryant, and Tara (and possibly even Keith if he comes with Bryant!) to come over, make sure I don’t burn myself with molten lava sugar, and help me eat the thing while we probably consume copious amounts of alcohol.  I’m hanging back because I want a croquembouche party. Or else I will just gain like 5 pounds eating it all by myself.  None of us wants that to happen.

And, to be totally honest–the C’s kind of took a lot out of me.  That post on chocolate?  Hasn’t happened yet.  Post on cheese? Nope, not yet.  Five posts into the C’s and I needed a change of scenery.  (Oh, but they are still coming.  Bank on it.)  The D section? A refreshing thirteen pages after the 70-page monster that preceded it.

Away we go!

Interesingly . . .

Dandelion greens are sometimes used to make “root” coffee (which, I assume, is similar to chicory).

A dash of something can be quantified between 1/16 and a scant 1/8 teaspoon.  I’m told to see also, “pinch.”  But I’m not going to look.

The date has a history dating (haha) back over 5000 years, and is named for the Greek daktulos, meaning “finger.” (Ew.)

Deep-frying basics:

  • Oils with high smoke points (such as peanut, safflower, soybean, grapeseed, and canola) are better for deep-frying than more delicate oils, such as olive oil.  Butter is definitely not good, as delicious as it is.
  • Fry foods in small batches to avoid cooling down the oil.  Hot oil will form a crust quickly on deep-fried foods, reducing oil absorption and greasiness in the finished product.
  • To refresh used oil, you can fry a raw potato or a handful of parsley for five minutes before removing it to fry “real food.”
  • Used oil can be strained through a coffee filter or a double layer of cheese cloth to remove particulates and prolong the life of the oil.  Refrigerate strained oil until the next use–the book says “one more [use],” use your best judgment.
  • Smoking oil means that the oil is breaking down, which affects the flavor of food.  Try to avoid reaching the smoke point.

Delmonico's
Delmonico’s.

Delmonico potatoes, named for the first restaurant in the U.S. (Delmonico’s) are cooked and creamed potatoes, diced or mashed, baked with a topping of grated cheese and buttered breadcrumbs.  Do want.  (Think I’ll make these tomorrow for Sunday Steakhouse á la greengeekgirl.)

A Denver sandwich is comprised of scrambled eggs, ham, onions, and green peppers slapped between a couple of slices of bread  . . . and garnished with lettuce? (I don’t want lettuce on my egg sandwich, kthx.)  A Denver omelet is very similar, but has no bread and no lettuce.

Small and medium shrimp are only deveined for cosmetic purposes; large shrimp are the ones whose intestinal tracts are gritty.  Let’s be honest, though–you’d take off the intestinal tract of any animal you planned to eat, whether or not it was necessary.  Blech.

You can make a deviled version of just about any dish by adding hot sauce, hot mustard, or hot pepper–such as devils on horseback, which is just like angels on horseback, but with Tabasco.  (Although, in Britain, devils on horseback is completely different–this version is wine-poached prunes stuffed with almond and mango chutney, wrapped in bacon, and then broiled and served on toast points.  I hate oysters, so the other version isn’t palatable to me at all–and I’m not frankly sure if this one is much better.  Prunes?)

Dirty rice gets “dirty” from the addition of ground giblets.  (Hey, you asked . . . oh wait, no you didn’t.)

Divinity made with brown sugar is called seafoam. (Wondering what divinity is? Check out my post on candy.)

Stone fruits, such as peaches, are also called drupes.

Ever wonder what it means to have dry liquor or wine? The term “dry” refers to beverages which aren’t sweet.

Duchess potatoes are pureed potatoes blended with egg yolks and butter, then formed or piped into small shapes and baked until golden brown.  (Also used as a garnish, such as if you piped it onto a casserole for finishing.)

What The Duck

The Chinese are the first to be credited with raising ducks for food.  Today’s ducks are descendants of either mallards or Muscovy ducks.

Duck! (duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck)
This one is not for eating.

Bizarrely . . .

Nothing bizarre this week, food fans. :(

Foreign foods and cooking terms

The word daikon translates into “large root.”

In France, a small, cylindrical mold used to bake a pastry is called a dariole–which is also the name of the pastry, classically made of puff pastry and almond cream.

Pommes dauphine are croquettes made of potato puree and choux pastry, formed into balls and deep-fried.  (Not to be confused with pommes gratin dauphinois, potatoes baked in heavy cream.)

Dim sum is Cantonese for “heart’s delight;” standard fare in tea houses, it is comprised of a variety of small dishes, like fried dumplings, steamed buns, pot stickers, Chinese pastries, ohmygodwhydon’twehavedimsumhere?? (I guess we do have dim sum here, I just haven’t been out to find it yet.  I’m such a philistine.)

1/3/11 Dim Sum
WANT.

Cough.  Sorry–just got distracted for ten minutes looking for dim sum in Columbus.

Donburi is a Japanese dish consisting of boiled rice (as opposed to.. what, deep-fried rice?) with meat, fish, eggs, and/or vegetables or broth.  In Japan, it’s considered a “fast food” (and is probably a hell of a lot healthier than McDonald’s . . .).

The French word doux means sweet–such as doux champagne, which means the champagne is quite sweet, having over 5% sugar.  Not to be confused with deux, which means “two.”

A English/Scottish steamed or boiled pudding with fruit, spices, flour, and eggs is called a duff. Duff is also that awesome guy on Ace of Cakes, as well as being Homer’s favorite brand of beer.  Lay on, MacDuff.

Duxelles–or a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallot, and herbs–is cooked slowly in butter until it forms a thick paste, and then is used as a garnish or for flavoring for soups and sauces.  Another addition to my Steakhouse Sunday?  I think so.

Duxelle & Lardo Crostini
Duxelles and lardo?? Holy freakin’ crap.  I need this in my body. (Do I see bacon? BACON??!!?!)

I think I need a cigarette after just looking at that picture.

Exotic ingredients

One of my favorite fruits, dragon fruit, is a cactus native to Central and South America.  The outside looks a bit like a leathery, soft avocado, only they’re rarely just green–many times, they’re yellow (meaning they have white flesh), or pink (meaning they have bright freaking magenta flesh).  They also have little tiny seeds, like kiwi.  I think the pink dragon fruit would make excellent sorbet; the color is just unreal.  And it stains your fingers purple.

Dulse is a red seaweed native to the British Isles.  Primarily used in soups and condiments, this weed can also be dried and chewed like tobacco (generally, I am reading, by “some stalwart Irish [people].”)

A durian is a huge, spiny fruit that apparently smells terrible (so much that many airlines actually outlaw the carriage of them), but has a rich, custardy flavor.

durian and dream date
I totally picked this for relevance and not because of the scantily clad Asian girl.

Oh, fine, here’s a real picture:

Durian  - King of Fruits
Not as pretty, is it?

Unfortunate wording, coincidences, hilarious descriptions, and funny terms

Removing the hairlike strands from mussel shells is called debearding. I’m not going to make any jokes about debearding the clam.

A dollop is a “small glob of soft food.”  That sounds so appetizing, and not at all like something you’d find on the menu of a nursing home.

The term duck press tells me to “see Kitchen Tools.”  That’s disappointing–I was hoping it was a poultry-based publication.  (Seriously, though, I can’t imagine what a duck press might be used for.  Hang on, I’m actually going to have to go look this up.)

[A few minutes later]

Apparently, it is used to “extract the juices from a cooked duck carcass. This step is necessary for some gourmet duck recipes, specifically [wait for it--wait for it--] pressed duck.” Well, that cleared everything up.

Dukka, on the other hand, is apparently a spice and probably isn’t related to duck.  But I’ve already been back to one glossary, I’m not looking this one up, too!

Well, I had to look this one up.  A dumpster diver is also known as a freegan, a mix of the words “free” and “vegan,” a nod to the fact that “many of freeganism’s early proponents hailed from the vegetarian community.”  A freegan traditionally is someone who collects discarded food (i.e., garbage), but has been expanded to include those who collect and consume any kind of wasted food.

Okay, for crying out loud–I can understand that Americans live a very wasteful lifestyle, and that sucks, but looking through the garbage for food that is expired or half-eaten by God knows who, or going ’round to restaurants asking for table scraps, is totally disgusting unless that’s the only way you can get food.  Leave it for people who need it, guys–it’s not that helpful.  Plus, you’re gonna put your favorite farmers’ markets out of business if you don’t go shop there, you hippies.

Manson Girls Dumpster Diving
Aww, look at these pretty girls dumpster-diving. You know who this is? The Manson girls. As in Charles Manson. Yeah. Think about it.

I’m going to take the high road and not make a joke about dutch ovens.

So, that’s about it for D’s.  A little depressing, eh?  For the D’s, I plan on two smaller projects–those potatoes I mentioned (and possibly the duxelles!) and, if I can swing it, a lovely dim sum adventure, because I now need dim sum more than anything else forever. I also still have yet to make divinity, so I may scoot that on over into the D’s.

The E’s is seriously fewer than ten pages, so I may go ahead and do that this week to catch up (although, who knows–probably if I say “this week” I’ll remember to do it in like May).  (No, it’ll be before May.  Probably.)  Until then, goodbye friends, and thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “D is for . . .

  1. Lee Garden’s Dim Sum isn’t bad, but Sunflower is generally regarded as the best in town. Saturdays in the late morning / early lunchtime is generally the best time to go.

    • Oh! Thanks! (I sniffed around but it was hard to find definitive information–everyone’s like “Yeah, they have dim sum!” “No, I went and they don’t!”)

      I will check it out for sure ^_^

  2. Ok, yeah, I was distracted by the picture of the scantly-clad Asian woman for a while there, you were right! (not right about why I misread your tweet, that was seriously because Archer was on, but you were right in assuming it would distract me!)

    I eat non-deveined shrimp all the time, and crawfish don’t come deveined ever (well, maybe if you get crawfish tails someplace uppity, but they aren’t worth eating unless they are whole and freshly boiled! Then you gotta pinch the tail and eat it right outta the shell, damn the vein! Eat that yellow goopey stuff, too. Everyone says it’s “fat” but really it’s the pancreas and possibly the liver? I dunno what it is, but it is damn tasty. Next you have to suck the head. Yummm!

    Dim sum is wonderful, yum!

    Also, you may have killed my brain by posting that picture of duxelles and lardo… Seriously, that was more distracting than the Asian woman… Dear [nonexistent]god… Get in mah belly!!!

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