Inspiration can lie anywhere, even in the most unassuming places: from things you hold hostility towards to the ones you love, ideas can flourish. It’s a really simple concept that is easily forgotten. Life consumes us generally to the point where we don’t think about inspiration, we think just about surviving. Surviving, judging, eventually being bitter (if not a bit jaded) and losing the spring in our step.
Working the way I do, living the way I live, I was surprised I was inspired for dinner at all the other day. But my parent’s have just moved into town, so I figured I could whip something up. The idea for dinner came from two unassuming places like the ones aforementioned. At work one day, I watched my chef created a very nice guinea hen dish utilizing blended grapes. Earlier in the year, I ate at Vandaag (http://vandaagnyc.com/), where I had a killer sweetbreads appetizer composed of concord grapes, concord grape mayonnaise and blistering hot red chilies. I needed to practice my duck breaking down skills, so here I went.
After the duck was broken down and the fat rendered (save everything, use everything!), I sweated off some sliced shallots in a casserole dish on the stove. I then added some garlic, marjoram, and the duck legs to be browned. As the legs were gaining color, I blended up a cup and a half of red grapes until as ‘juicy’ as possible. I then deglazed the casserole dish with half a bottle of semi-sweet wine (I used a nice, non-oaky, Chardonnay my father had recently bought). Next came the grapes and two red Serrano chilies cut in half. Into a 400 degrees oven the dish went, and about an hour later (or until tender) we had dinner. Garnish the dish with marjoram leaves. The picture may not have come out that well, but the meal sure was damn tasty: