What’s Cooking? Table Talk!
Think about what gets the most use in your home. And it’s not your smartphone! You relax in an easy chair, put your feet up on the coffee table, keep your clothes in a dresser, do your work at a desk, sleep in a bed, serve your meals on your dining room table, pull up a bar stool at the kitchen island and light it all up with lamps. Furniture anchors our homes, provides functionality and structure, and is in constant use.
Many of our most iconic home furnishings have emerged from the studio (AKA handmade) furniture movement of the last half-century. We at Paradise City have been honored to have represented some of America’s finest furniture makers over the years.
In this week’s curated Marketplace “Table Talk”, you’ll find furniture and home furnishings made of the finest hardwoods and fabricated from metal and glass. Some makers draw their inspiration from the Arts and Crafts Movement, mid-century aesthetics, or Japanese architecture. Others simply let the natural woodgrain guide them or push their work into the realm of cutting-edge design.
If the elegant simplicity of Shaker design fits your home, then Tom Dumke (a Show Stopper in the Spring Paradise City Guide) is a great match. Bayley Wharton channels a modernist Asian aesthetic, using light hardwoods and clean lines. Dana Farmer has mastered the art of period furniture reproduction, with a personal twist. Peter Handler’s innovative seating made of anodized aluminum and cushy, colorful upholstery could be that easy chair or loveseat you’ve been searching for. And right now, nothing seems more appealing than a super comfortable, ergonomically designed rolling desk chair by “Owl Stool” maker Geoffrey Warner.
Look all around you. Is there a space that calls out for an unusual size sideboard or contoured coffee table? Maybe some outdoor seating? This would be a great time to start the process of collaborating with one of our designers on a custom piece. Designs can take months to finalize and execute, and sending sketches, photos and dimensions back and forth by email is how these artists work. You become part of the process, and how exciting is that! As you browse through this collection, you’ll see that each image links to an artist’s site where you can view past and current work, and often see commissioned pieces that will give you ideas. Just like at our shows, you are buying directly from the artist.
This Week’s Recipe
We adore cooking duck – rare grilled breasts, whole duck on a rotisserie, leftover duck in tacos, ramen or on bruschetta. When we cook for company (and that will happen again!) braised duck legs are so forgiving, easy to make ahead and always a big hit. Many years ago, we fell in love with a cooking technique called “alligators in a swamp”. The skin peeks up above the braising liquid, looking much like the backs of alligators, and stays crisp while the meat becomes incredibly tender.
Red Wine Braised Duck Legs
½ cup dried porcini or shitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup boiling water until hydrated
½ lb. tiny pearl onions, peeled
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 large duck legs (about 12 – 16 oz. each) trimmed of excess fat and skin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely diced
3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, wild if available (for instance, chanterelles), halved or sliced if very large
12 baby red or gold potatoes, about ¾ lb.
8 large thyme sprigs
1 ½ cups good chicken broth, approximately
1 cup red wine, such as Pinot Noir
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350º. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and sauté the duck legs on each side until well browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the pearl onions to the skillet and sauté on lower heat until they are richly browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of fat from the skillet and add pancetta or bacon. Cook until lightly browned, then add shallots, garlic, and fresh mushrooms. Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid, chop them and add them to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, red wine, chicken broth, potatoes and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer.
- Pour the contents of the skillet into a baking dish. Nestle the browned duck legs, skin side up, into the liquids and vegetables so just the tops of the legs are poking up above the liquid.
- Bake in the oven for an hour at 350º, uncovered. Add the reserved onions, pushing them evenly into the sauce around the duck. (If it is starting to look dry, add a bit more stock.) Continue cooking for another half hour – it can even braise for a total of two hours. The duck will be crisp on top and very tender, and the potatoes should be cooked through.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve with good bread and the rest of the bottle of red wine.
Note: If your market doesn’t have duck legs, they can be ordered online at D’Artagnon. This recipe can even be made ahead and reheated.