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Old 04-28-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
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Newbie playing with exotic foods

Hi, I'm a newbie who likes to play with exotic foods, but sometimes, even before I'm familiar with the basic techniques. Recently, I've been toying with various Chinese dried ingredients like dried abalone, dried sea cucumber, black moss, swallow's nests, etc. Here are some dishes I've been experimenting on: Confit of Abalone in Black Truffled Butter, Duck Stuffed With Black Moss And Chestnuts, Swallow's Nests Poached With Quail Eggs, and Candied Sea Cucumber With Glace Fruits In Ginger Syrup. I'm hoping there are like-minded people here who'd be willing to help me improve my recipes. Cheers!
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:39 AM   #2
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welcome, kuj.

you certainly sound adventurous in the kitchen. i'm looking forward to reading about or possibly seeing some of your results.

hmm, i think you might be looking for trouble, though. either the quail or the swallows aren't gonna be very happy with you.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:48 AM   #3
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Hello and welcome to DC
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #4
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hmm, i think you might be looking for trouble, though. either the quail or the swallows aren't gonna be very happy with you.
You're right, buckytom. I keep a few pet parrots, so I know how much damage birds' beaks can cause. I've also watched Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". I sure wouldn't be picking any qwallows with BIRDS!!
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:57 AM   #5
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To Kylie1969: ?!?Aussie Aussie OI OI OI?!?!? Prawn on the barbie? Koala stuffed with witjuti grubs and smoked in gum tree leaves - served with 1963 Mildara "Peppermint Patty" Cabernet Sauvignon?
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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you certainly sound adventurous in the kitchen. i'm looking forward to reading about or possibly seeing some of your results.
Thanks so much for the encouragement, buckytom! I might describe the creative process behind my Confit of Abalone In Black Truffled Butter, so that you might be able to catch a glimpse of how my brain works.

So, to prepare and cook dried abalones takes a very, very long time. Most Chinese experts will tell you that it takes the better part of a week. However, I have had to experiment and improve upon these methods that these Chinese experts will describe, and it wasn't until this year, that I found that I could finally prepare and cook dried abalones that were sufficiently soft and chewy at the same time. But, my method takes weeks! Suffice to say that dried abalones cannot be cooked on a whim for a sudden onset of midnight munchy madness!

But, that's exactly what I wanted - something that would satisfy an appetite for an abalone late night snack attack! So, I thought, what would be a good way to keep already-prepared and cooked dried abalone on stand-by, at the beck and call of the late night yummy-tummy-drummer summons from the gastronomic avant-garde?

I thought, if we were deliberating upon a desperate-for-duck drama, then what would be easier than a confit of duck legs, covered in duck fat, that would be stored in earthernware pots inside refrigerators, but that could be dug out at a moment's notice, to be crisped up in an instant?

But, we are considering contingencies for cases of abalone anxiety, so, is there such a thing as a confit for abalones? Also, what kind of fat can be used if there did exist such a confit? Duck fat? Goose fat? These fats all seemed too much land-locked Perigourdine to be considered for a seafood! My mind thought of fats associated with seafood and I fondly reminisced upon the classic beurre blanc. But, beurre blancs are subtle and delicate, and the dried abalone is not a subtly flavoured, delicately textured creature! During its drying process, the abalone had gained a very robust flavour and a solidly chewy texture! What, really, is this abalone creature?

It dawned on me that the abalone is, in essence, a kind of sea snail. The association immediately flashed into my brain, of escargots a la bourguignonne, with its robustly flavoured garlic butter sauce! But what does garlic butter have to do with a confit? What robustly flavoured butter can I use which will share cultural roots with the heritage of a confit? Black truffled butter, of course!

And thus was born the germinal ideas for rows upon rows of earthenware jars full of abalone confit, in black truffled butter, stored inside a treasure-chest freezer, which can be dug into, on any whimsy and at any time of day or night, bearing only a heated spoon for arms, and an abalone with its black truffled butter will be plucked out and stirred through freshly cooked and drained fettucine, on the stove-top, for an almost-instant fix to satiate even the most abrupt and aleatoric attack of abalone appetite anxiety.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
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wow, kuj. i'm both tired and hungry after reading that.

when you were looking for a fat to go with seafood, my immediate thought was gelatin from seaweed, or oil from fishes like salmon or macketel. but they would conflict with the already strongly flavoured abalone.

i like the way you worked it out.
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