On Saturday I intended to go to John Dewar just to get some duck boobs.
I should know that I have never in my life left that place with just one thing. As I was paying the case of D'Artagnan products was making me blind in my left eye with their glare of yummy things to come, the girl ringing me up said, "anything else today?" and "2 packages of Quail please." just leapt out of my mouth before I even had a chance to think about it.
This morning while I was vacuuming the kitchen with one hand I was toasting some coriander seeds, peppercorns, allspice berries, juniper berries and sea salt in a dry pan and reducing OJ with the other. When the spices started to smell nice and toasty, I shut them off to cool a bit. By the time the kitchen was vacuumed it was cool enough to grind up in the coffee grinder.
Into a giant ziploc went the spices, 1 cup of fresh squeezed OJ reduced to a half a cup. 5 or 6 garlic cloves smashed with the side of the knife were tossed those in. Mince up about 1/2 a Spanish onion, or 1 whole yellow onion and throw that in as well. Dice up a couple of chipotle peppers and add some of the adobo from the can and pour in 1/3 cup of vinegar, white, I used Pinot Grigio vinegar because i had some, but really any white vinegar will do in a pinch. To that mixture add a half cup of wine and toss in a few thyme sprigs, just because I like thyme. Slosh this round in the bowl and dump it into the ziploc. I added some olive oil, squished everything around.
The quail are mostly boned out with just the wing tips and drumsticks still retaining bones. They also mount them conveniently on these v-shaped skewers that make it easy to flip on the grill. You can do the same thing with a few wooden skewers soaked in water and trimmed. Put them through the quail in an X pattern from drumstick to wing across and it keeps them nice and flat. I tossed them in the ziploc, sealed it, wrapped it up so the marinade was touching all the meat and then wrapped it in a tea towel in case the skewers broke through and put it in the fridge.
Saturday we also had to pick up a couple cases of wine for work and oddly the liquor store also had challah. The challah was a nice braid, totally moist and filled with raisins. It followed me home. After the quail were safely locked in the fridge the challah flung itself out of the microwave bread box and demanded that I make it into a bread pudding. The cheek! Of course since it was raining and I had nothing better to do, like laundry, I acquiesced. I gave the challah a nice lubrication of eggs, some cream and milk, some lemon zest and a little vanilla and then I put it in a nice hot tub in the oven for an hour. If there is a better smell than a bread pudding cooking on a Sunday morning I do not know what it is. Okay, maybe bacon, bacon smells pretty damn good, but really bread pudding comes in a nice second.
Now it's late afternoon and I have caught up on some of my DVR collection, read through the Globe and the Times and considered and then reconsidered dusting so instead I put together the components for the colcannon cakes while cooking some peeled red peppers in Madeira for Monday night and roasting husband's chicken boobs for his lunch during the week.
Savoy cabbage is my cabbage of choice for these. And really, there is no strict recipe just start with potato and cabbage and add what you like. I steam the cabbage, peel and cook some yukons or russets and mash them up with a little butter. This all gets tossed in a bowl with a bunch of scallions chopped loads of chive, oh chive how I adore thee, some nice aged cheddar, a bit of Comte for glue, salt and pepper and bob's you uncle or maybe Seamus pick your uncle.
These will be packed into patties and slowly cooked in a non-stick pan with some butter until a serious crust forms on one side. Flip and continue until they are nice and brown. The quail had a quick meeting with the grill.
Dinner on a rainy and cold Sunday night. Perfect.