"Fifteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt."
Well crablings, it's our 1 year anniversary!!! One year, 132 posts, a ton of food, (more or less), and most all of us are a whole lot deeper in debt. We've made it through chicken, fish, beef, pasta, lamb, veal, desserts, a few appetizers, stock market crashes, deep recessions, financial bailouts and a near death Tomato Tree experience.
When I started this little food blog I had no real plans or goals for it, (except for total worldwide domination of the food writing industry). What started as daily 1's and 2's visiting has blossomed to hundreds per day. So what have I learned you might ask?
I've learned that I love to cook and I love to write. I've learned that you can't make a dime off this internet thing. I've learned that without moderated comments, every screwball out there will think they have free license to have a flame war on your site. I've learned I'm terrible at following up on comments posted and am equally lousy at consistently visiting my friends' sites. For those last two things I am truly sorry; I'll try and do better this year, though I won't promise much.
What about Crab Nation? Here are your top five most visited posts:
Baker's Edge Brownies
Baby Lava Cakes
Mojo Marinated Chicken
Viva La Revolucion Sweet and Spicy Shrimp
Crablings like their food a little sweet and with some heat, and they especially want some chocolate for dessert.
The future? The truth is I've considered dropping the site. The lack of feedback has me feeling like I'm shouting at the ocean. I know you're out there, I just can't hear you.
But then it was pointed out to me that I wasn't going to give up eating was I? And did I suddenly hate writing? Well, no. So, when in doubt, when you find yourself in a creative hole, do you stop digging? Hell no, you just dig faster!!!
Over the coming months, there'll be some changes made. The two biggest will be to the look of the page and the introduction of video. I'm not going to be eliminating the blog posts, just adding an occasional video to see if that grabs your attention. Of course that means I will be revealing Crabby's true identity. Be forewarned, though SSSal and Boonsta think I'm cute, I have always felt that I have a great face for radio. You may want to keep the kids and small pets away from the first videos.
What to have for our birthday celebration? What to have? What to have? I know!!! Something ludicrously complex and involved. You've had it very easy with me crablings; I've made a point of showing you how simple it is to make tasty inexpensive meals. Well for my birthday I want a blow-out. I want something involving cranes, trusses and pulleys. I want Pate.
SSSal makes a sensational Pate de Canard. This is not goose liver mousse, this is the ultimate meatloaf. It is involved, but in actuality it's harder to assemble than it is to cook. But if you're squeamish, if you're scared, just follow along.
"Fasten your seatbelts, everybody. It's going to be a bumpy night." Enjoy...
Pate De Canard
from Saveur Magazine, December 2008
2 duck breasts, trimmed of fat and skin,about 1 pound
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9 bay leaves
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, chilled
3/4 pound fatback, (lard if you can't find any fatback)
1/4 pound chicken livers
2 eggs, beaten
1 TBSP chopped thyme leaves, plus 8 sprigs
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
3 TBSP dried green peppercorns
12-15 slices bacon
Cut the duck breasts into 1/2 inch cubes.
Finely chop the garlic.
Transfer the duck cubes, garlic, orange liqueur, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 3 bay leaves to a small bowl. Stir to coat the duck. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to three days, the longer the better.
Chop the pork shoulder and fatback into 1/8"cubes. Mound the pork and fatback into separate piles and continue chopping with your chef's knife. Transfer the pork and fat to separate bowls and refrigerate to chill.
While the pork and fat are cooling, using a food processor, finely chop the remaining garlic. Scrape down the sides and add the chicken livers. Pulse until they are pureed.
Add the pork and fat back from the refrigerator. Working in short pulses, process the mixture until it takes on the consistency of coarse hamburger meat. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the eggs, chopped thyme, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, paprika and salt to the pork-liver mixture. Mix the ingredients together using your hands until well combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 day and preferably 3 days. The longer the better.
When you're ready to assemble, transfer the duck mixture, including any juices, to the bowl containing the pork-liver mixture. Remove the bay leaves. Gently fold the duck into the meat along with the pistachios and peppercorns. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Line the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart terrine pan, (or a loaf pan will do), with 4 evenly spaced thyme sprigs and 3 bay leaves. Place the bacon strips horizontally (the short way) across the bottom of the pan, covering the herbs.
Spoon the duck-pork-liver-fat mixture atop the bacon strips and gently smooth with the back of a spoon. Lay 4 strips of bacon lengthwise, (the long way) across the top of the pate.
Cover the top of the pate with two sheets of aluminum foil and crimp to the side of the pan to form a tight seal.
Boil a pot of water.
Transfer the terrine pan to a 9x13 baking dish. Transfer the baking dish to the middle rack of the pre-heated oven. Carefully, pour in enough of the boiling water to reach 1/2" up the side of the terrine pan.
Bake the pate until an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the terrine registers a temperature of 158 degrees, about 2 hours.
Transfer the baking dish to a cooling rack, do not remove from the water bath, remove the foil. Cut two rectangles of cardboard to exactly fit inside the terrine pan. Wrap both pieces of cardboard in aluminum foil and place them over the pate.
Place three 15 ounce soup cans atop the cardboard. Allow the terrine to sit in the water bath for an additional hour.
After an hour, remove the terrine pan from the water bath and transfer the pan to a refrigerator. Chill for at least 1 day and up to 4 days, (you guessed it, the longer the better).
To serve, remove the soup cans and foil, slide a knife around the edge of the pate. Place a serving platter atop the terrine pan and, firmly holding the terrine pan to the platter, very quickly flip the the mold over. The pate should slide easily out of the terrine mold.
Cut into 3/4" slices and serve with baguette, Dijon mustard, cornichons, maybe a little macerated onion and a killer glass of champagne.
Well, well, well. I warned you crablings; I told you it would be involved. But you only have a birthday once a year so go whole hog, (or in this case, hog, chicken and duck). If not consumed right away, this concoction with last for a week.
Interestingly enough, except for the duck, this is a very inexpensive dish, and a pound of duck isn't going to break you either. It is labor intensive and needs at least a week of planning and fussing, but it's the best "meatloaf" you'll ever have.
Well, I'm off. Happy birthday to all of you and remember, until next time, you can do it, you can cook.
Now where did I leave the rest of that bottle of champagne?
Oh, I also noticed that you don't much care for the quizzes, well tough, I like 'em. Today there are two quotes in the body of the post, "Fifteen tons..." and "Fasten your seatbelts..."
Who said them?