Thursday, September 9, 2010





So, not every meal turns out exactly as hoped.  Tonight Natasha made quail.

After hacking out the backbone of six tiny birds, she seared them in a pan and then served them with balsamic-glazed figs.  It was hard, labour-intensive work and, frankly, wasn't worth the trouble.  We felt like brutes, like crazed housecats who got loose in the yard and snagged a beautiful robin.  Except we didn't drag it proudly to our owner or leave it behind the couch. Using our hands, we struggled to pull scraps of meat, separating the small bounty from the excess of tiny, sharp bones. We, mere humans without the privilege of canine teeth, aren't well-equipped for such tiny adversaries.  

While the scrawny bird left something to be desired, Natasha cooked them expertly and paired them beautifully with roasted acorn squash, filled with cream sauce and melted gruy√®re.  Her rice pilaf was perfect on this chilly night, and those syrupy figs made the sharp little bones worth it.  

But she decided, after tonight, she'll never go smaller than a cornish game hen.














A note on the wine: Fat Bastard Shiraz, $14.95 at the LCBO.  Rich and fruity, but light, a fair match for the bird, but especially delicious with the figs and the leftover raspberry sorbet Natasha made on Sunday.

And my apologies for the abundance of food posts.  I'll make a better effort to mix it up.


11 comments:

  1. The abundance of food posts has made for a very interesting read for someone who, though he likes to cook, has little time and is reduced to a complete lack of imagination when faced with a meal for two. Luckily, my other half has discovered cooking - I came home late from work to find he'd made caramelized Belgian endive overlaid with a forcemeat of breadcrumbs, parmesan and thyme and topped with prosciutto and baked for a while. Fabulous to come home to, especially after a 65-mile drive.

    The recipe came from the first Ottolenghi cookery book.

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  2. That acorn squash looks amazing. I am clueless when it comes to making sauces... I think this will be my new cooking goal.

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  3. Yikes = quail does not sound appealing at all. Love the photos though - I was actually inspired to try to cook something a bit fancier last night after reading all your recent posts.

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  4. i was just having a discussion with friends last night about food and i mentioned how i couldn't do quail. you have validated me. thank you.

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  5. OH mY is it that time of the year for squash? The weather sure is fooling me into it!!

    I am envious of the mirrors in the dining room! I love it!

    Matt

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  6. Dig in, Jason! (That last image is hilarious.)

    I enjoy how the black and white photography, when combined with the text, suggests the most elegant of crime scenes.

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  7. I have this image of the other two watching the big game while you and Natasha are cooking. How far off am I?

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  8. Funny you should say that, Tommy, Jeff was watching tennis the whole time. Typically, you're close to right. Jeff and Nick would be sitting in another room kvetching or watching something on TV.

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  9. Try a Chinese version. Crispy, juicy and really easy to make.

    Plain meat accompanied by fried salt and star anise.

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  10. We've had our fair share of Fat Bastards in our home. If I'm not mistaking, their Pinot Noir isn't half bad for being under $20. Or perhaps it was really bad. Sheesh.

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  11. Mmm figs. Don't apologize for food posts! They're some of my favorites. I can't afford to be as fancy as you all yet but it is something to aspire to!

    Quails are a dime a dozen in my backyard. Let me know if you want me to send you some ;)

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