Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Button Soup Easter Dinner

The April installment of the Button Soup Supper Club was an Easter Dinner with Lisa's family, featuring some of the traditional, symbolic ingredients and dishes discussed earlier.  The menu:

Hot Cross Buns

Potted Rabbit, Crackers, and Cheese

Young Spinach with Bacon and Quail Egg

Smoked Ham with Scallop Potatoes

Oat Cake in Maple Syrup

Hot Cross Buns

Potted Rabbit, Crackers, and Cheese

Butchering Rabbits: a "break" from tradition

Rabbits are not usually butchered by neatly separating the joints, as you would a chicken.  They are broken into forequarters, hindquarters, and a saddle by cleaving right through the bones.  Chefs often bitch about how tedious butchering rabbits is, "especially since there's practically no meat on them."  Their words.  Not mine.

The problem with cleaving is that you're bound to splinter the bones.  I've bitten down on a fragment of rabbit bone in restaurants more than once.  Taking the time to properly butcher the rabbit by cutting through the joints and not breaking the bones minimizes the chances of choking someone.  It also shows that you care about your ingredients and take your job seriously.  Anyways...

Below, from top left: hindlegs, caul fat, kidney, heart, liver, tenderloins, forelegs, loin with belly attached.

The meat was confited and pulled...

..then potted.

I hope that the lady who invented Raincoast Crisps has made her fortune, because imitations are now everywhere I look: supermarket shelves, online recipes, restaurant cheese plates, as well as my kitchen.
Raincoast Crisps are made by baking a loaf flavoured with dried fruit, nuts, and herbs, then thinly slicing that loaf and baking it for a second time to make crackers.  Like I said, recipes abound online.  This one is my favourite.

The finsihed plate: potted rabbit, dried fruit crackers, Sylvan Star smoked gouda, and Smoky Valley Valencay.



Quail eggs!


A very fatty slab of bacon


Young spinach (which costs a fortune at the market at this time of year, but can be got...), hard-boiled quail eggs, bacon, onion, and vinaigrette.


Smoked Ham with Scalloped Potatoes

Problems with Brine Penetration

Even working from Ruhlman's recipes for ham, I always (always!) have problems with brine penetration.  With any ham larger than a hock, it seems that no matter how long I leave the meat in the brine, the brine can't reach the middle of the cut, closest to the bone. I might have to start injecting the brine deep into the meat...

Oatcake in Maple Syrup

This dish showcased this year's maple syrup.  A simple oatcake was baked, then cut into squares and cooled.  The baking dish was then filled with hot maple syrup, which the cake soaked up like a sponge.  Essentially a lazy man's pouding chômeur (a lazy man's poor man's pudding?)

Served with ice cream. 

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