RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Category: Review Web-Site Food

Hummer’s Critique D’ARTAGNAN’S Roasted Lola Duck




Valentine Dinner of Pate, Duck, and Pavlova Nests

From: The Hummers’ Critique Corner


From the Free Dictionary ….Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. 

I do not normally like to criticize anyone; it is not my nature to do so.  I more times than not will put my money on a sure bet (one that has had praise from others) do to the economic environment we are living in today.  Every once in awhile the sure bet does lose….but could be because of many extenuating circumstances’.   I like to try to find the best in all and hopefully I will hit the prize more times than not….

This year I decided to treat some of my friends to a Valentine Dinner.  It was good to have them over and the dinner was a special treat for all of us.  It had been awhile since we all got together and spent an evening catching up.  Everyone has been so busy here lately, it was nice to just sit and relax.

I have wanted to order some things from D’ARTAGNAN’S for some time but I could not bring myself to pay the high cost of shipping it takes to get gourmet meats and such delivered over night from NJ to WA State.   They are running a special with free shipping for the month of February.   I decided to order the whole Lola Duck, it is a heritage breed which indeed does have incredible depth in its flavor as they state on their site.   It was perfect, as was the D’ARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil.   I also ordered their  French Pate Collection*: Pate de Campagne, a traditional country-style pate of pork, seasoned with herbs and spices, Mousse Truffee, a superb, silky-smooth organic chicken and turkey liver mousse studded with 2% black truffles and Portwine, and Pheasant Terrine Herbette, an amazing blend of pheasant, pork and fennel covered in fine herbs.

The free shipping could not have been better timing, I had volunteered to do the Valentine Dinner to get things rolling again with our amazing friends.  Everything turned out without much planning and it was an exceptional evening of eating our way through baguette slices toasted with black truffle oil with dill and havarti cheese.  I made a quick dish of double tomato for Bruschetta; it added a nice flavor to the mix.  Cheese and crackers, with the three different pates to choose from and I had thrown together a wonderful mix of nuts with dried tart cherries and cranberries. 



For the main dinner we had roasted Lola Duck (roasted chicken for those that did not eat duck,) roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed baby spinach with pearl onions with a slight trickle of Pomegranate Balsamic.  I made a superb Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze-Gravy-Sauce that was served over the sliced duck for those who wanted it. 

The evening ended with desserts of Pavlova Nests filled with pastry cream, strawberries, blackberries, and with a choice of chopped macadamia or pistachio nuts.  I then drizzled chocolate ganache over each nest.  There too were large strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache for those that wanted just a small sample of dessert. 



 The evening was perfect.  Everyone agreed that the Lola Duck was a hit and we all agreed collectively with giving D’ARTAGNAN 5 plus hummers for the duck and the same was voted unanimously for the French Pate Collection and again the same for the Black Truffle Oil.   I also give Jacob, the salesperson that handled my order 5 plus hummers, he has to be their number one sales person and the PR he gives the company alone will undoubtedly keep customers coming back for more.  Thank you Jacob for the wonderful attitude and making me feel so good while placing my orders.  There was not one question that he could not answer.  He was pure delight.  This customer will be back and I will talk with Jacob each time.   I recommend that you take a look at D’ARTAGNAN website, it is worth the time.  www.dartagnan.com (Free Shipping until the end of Feb, 2011)


D’ARTAGNAN Lola Duck ~ 5+Hummingbirds

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

D’ARTAGNAN French Pate Collection ~ 5+ Hummingbirds 

*Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

DARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil ~5+ Hummingbirds 

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

Jacob with PR plus ~ 5+ Hummingbirds

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

The Pate Collection ~ we could not decide which one we liked the best, each was it own, and each enjoyed as much as the other.   We all took pleasure in eating another bite to see if we could decide and no one could put one above the other.  Each was smooth and silky and a pleasure to the taste buds.  Black Truffle Oil   has its’ own essence and with each bite it did deliver an earthly delight with the added bonus of the truffle aroma that brought satisfaction to our palates.   Lola was perfect; the aroma of her cooking was a pre-bouquet to her incredible depth of flavor.  As each guest arrived they commented that if it tastes as good as it smells we are in for a real treat, and that she was.

The meal was complete satisfaction from the beginning to the very end.  Nothing over the top, that was not the plan.  It was meant to be something that would bring our friends together with anticipation that we would all enjoy each other’s company and the food while having a good time doing it all.  That we did.. ..

*Each is made from D’Artagnan’s exclusive, traditional recipes using artisanal methods with only the finest ingredients. All are antibiotic and hormone free*, with no chemicals or fillers added


From: The Hummers’ Critique Corner ~ What Is It About?





 © 2011….RaeDi


From the Free Dictionary ….Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. 

This “Critique Corner” in this title means to review or discuss and open to discussions.  I do not normally like to criticize anyone; it is not my nature to do so.  I more times than not will put my money on a sure bet (one that has had praise from others hopefully) and too, due to the economic environment we are living in today (no one has money to burn.)  Thinking things through, getting all the information you can and then taking time to connect all the dots is a pretty good bet going in to buying or using something most times.  Every once in awhile the sure bet does lose….but could be because of many extenuating circumstances’.   I like to try to find the best in all and hopefully I will hit the prize more times than not. 

I have five little hummers that are here to tell us about what they find and what they think.  They are inquisitive little flyers and happy to let you know everything they know.   Their curiosity will hopefully make life easier for you.  Come along for a fast flight to words of honesty about food, recipes, foodies, books, and appliances… just about anything you can imagine.  They encourage your feedbacks and anything that needs to be corrected.  They are open to everyone else’s opinion in return.  Just do it the hummers’ way, be kind, sincere and use language that is appropriate.   We will be glad to take any advice and instructions that is given in a ‘well-mannered and courteous’ way!  Words that are rude and disrespectful with an ungracious attitude will not be posted. 

The Hummers by nature are very quick witted and fast at everything and miss nothing.  Like a cat they are very inquisitive, they will check out anything that crosses its alleyway so to speak.   Because of the general curiosity a hummer has it can be seen checking out about everything that catches it eye.     I too am inquisitive, and my curiosity seems to always lead me on different paths than the usual well worn pathways used by others.  I like to find the unusual and interesting things that are on my trail of life, something that draws my eye too, like the hummers, be it a scent or taste of anything.   Each and all my senses are definite traits that will lead me quickly down a different direction, new pathways to find the answers of how it was made, how to use…so many answers to be found.  As a young girl I can remember my Mom telling me to save some questions for another day.  It always puts a smile on my face when I think about it.   Questions can and will lead a person on many adventures. 

I find it very helpful when others give me a helping hand about different foods, recipes, books, appliances’, a reference to steer me in the right directions.   I myself like lots of references, checking them all out, in the end I find most of the time it was a lot cheaper and sometimes less painful in the end product.  Hopefully, the words from my hummers will give you a reference you can use too.   

For me (and most) it is jeopardy every time I buy something that I know little to nothing about.  Life for me is different than for most, I have a brain injury.  Instructions for most are easily read and followed, for me depending on the day it may seem it is written in a completely different language than my own.  I have to use other means of finding out how to use something more times than I would like to admit to.  One of my new tools I use is You Tube.   I now will Google something and watch the videos that other make to physically show me how to do something.  For some they must question why someone would take the time to show instruction on video, I do happen to know that most of these instructional video do work, because I have personally used them to help me navigate a new product that I cannot seem to make head or tails of.  Even when the person is speaking another language I can make out how to put something together.  A good example is a mandolin I bought and just could not make out the instructions to save my life.  I was about ready to throw in the towel and sell it on eBay.  But with a quick Google and a couple of clicks I found ‘many’ folks ‘needing’ to show me how to use that particular mandolin.  It took less time than all the time I wasted trying to decipher the instructions and almost losing a couple of fingers.    It is a good thing that so many want to be in ‘films’ the internet way through YouTube. 

Most times it works, but it is extra work…if I find a product that is more work than it is worth, I will sell it on eBay (if it cannot be returned to the store, or I will have to make a trip to the store and ‘hope’ the sells person knows what he-she is talking about!) as used once and that takes care of that.  To make this clear, with a brain injury simple instructions for everyone else can seem to be written in secret code to me.  I too, some days find it hard to spell cat, so that throws another knot into the whole ball of twine.  It is a very interesting life one leads with a brain injury, but it can be full of many surprises and adventures. 

I do not advertise.  I do not make monies from my reviews; I do it because I like to pass on good information, at least from my perspective about the things I buy, use, read and find interesting just to let folks know what I have found, maybe my words could be helpful.   I find it helpful when someone has tried something and they can tell me if it was worth the time, effort and money.  I make no monies from any of my blog, it is for my general enjoyment, when I feel up to writing my shorts and writing about what recipe I have used and such, each and all are my own words.  I will at times change the names of people, or places and such for privacy reasons.   Anyone can use some of my words and pictures with recognition and at times with permission depending on what is being used.    The same when I write about a recipe or such, where it came from will get the recognition in the post I am writing at the time. 

I hope my Hummers’ Critique Corner will be helpful to someone (s)….

Harmony Soup

Harmony Soup

© 2009 ….RaeDi 

So you know right off, I am not being paid by Nuts Online.  What I claim is from my own perspective.  I was introduced to this site by a friend and then I ordered some of their products.  I cannot keep my mouth shut at this point about NUTS ONLINE.   The products sell themselves.  There is nothing NUTTY about this in the least, at least that I can see.

From this “The Hummers’ Critique Corner” I give Nuts Online a rating of five possible hummingbirds 

                                                 Rating of Five Hummingbirds

A friend had a  Christmas Open House one evening during the holidays and had a nice spread of holiday goodies for us to snack on.  She had set a beautiful buffet with an assortment of meats, cheeses and fruits, some wonderful little tarts (she used my pastry recipe I shared with her), cookies of all kinds, sugar cookies that were to pretty to eat and desserts including some home-made candies.  She promised she would give me a list of all new recipes after the holidays.

One thing she told me about and I wrote down was a website that her friend had brought to her attention, www.nutsonline.com.  I checked this site out once the holidays were over and I had things to the point of being able to breathe again.  I spent a whole afternoon my first time visiting this site.  Talk about a child in a candy store.  I wanted one of everything.   I too, knew that these products were top of the line.  I had eaten a sizable amount and variety of them at my friends’ party.  I told anyone who was eyeing me at the party that I was sampling the products, and I was all of them.  Once I realized that my list was like two pages long I decided to back off for a few days and come in with my brakes on, harder than it sounds.    I told myself I needed to take my time and pick a few well-chosen items for my first order.

That was not so easy.  In the end, I will admit my order had a dozen or so well-chosen items on it.  It took me several tries to get the list down to what I finally ordered.  I have a list of recipes that I have wanted to do from several foodies sites that I visit often.  Annie’s Eats, Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, Pat at Dancing in the Kitchen, Tartelette, Brown Eye Baker and the list goes on and on.   When I was studying Nuts Online products I wanted to put everything on the list all at one time.  If you take the time to go, you too may see how hard it is to decide what to buy on your first visit/order and save the rest for another time. 

I must have gone to their site a half-dozen times or so before I finally had the list ready to order.  As I said, I had known that all of their products are top of the line.  Usually when I  try to buy food products online I have a little more control of myself, the number one reason I am not sure if the product is what they claim and I do not want to be stuck with food products that I do not want to use and the money….I won’t go there again. 

I look forward to trying each product.  I chose a couple different dried fruits, a variety of nuts, their dried Porcini Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, green tea powder, and a couple of their different flours.  I will definitely be using the Pistachio Flour and nuts soon.  When the box arrived I ripped it open like a child with a birthday present.  I was so impressed with each item I ordered.  They surpassed my expectations and more.  I will share with you each time I use a recipe that required a product from my new favorite online store.

The one thing I have used so far was the Organic Harmony Soup Blend. 

This is an amazing soup mix.  All organic:

Hard Red Winter Wheat, Pearled Barley, Pinto Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Spilt Green Peas, Red Rice, Navy Beans and organic Safflower Oil.

This dried soup mix cooked up into an incredible soup and we will be ordering more of this mix soon.  It made a very healthy dinner that we look forward to having again.   I should have taken a picture of the mix before I cooked them; they were beautiful mix of colors. 

Harmony Soup

Recipe from Nuts Online (I added the tomatoes and tomato powder)

  •  2 cups organic soup blend
  • 3 quarts of Chicken Broth (I had some in the freezer) water if using chicken or any kind of meat
  • 3 pound whole chicken (I made without chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp dry savory leaves (I added a little of oregano, thyme and bay leaves)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I used No Salt Sodium-Free Salt to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced carrots
  • 1 fresh chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2~3 sliced cloves of garlic
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Soak the soup blend overnight in 1 quart of water in the refrigerator.  Drain and discard water.

In a 6 quart pot, place chicken (if using or can be any kind of meat you like or not) and water…this is where I used my 3 quarts of chicken broth and soup blend.   

Add garlic, salt, turmeric, black pepper, savory leaves.  Cook for one hour or until the chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken so it can cool.   Cook for same amount of time if not using meat. 

Add the carrots, celery, onions and tomatoes and tomato powder.   Cook for 20/25 minutes or so while you are de-boning the chicken.  If using meat add it now and bring mixture to boil.  Remove and serve.

The soup was delicious without any meat in it.  I added the diced tomatoes and tomato powder to the recipe, I was wanting a tomato soup base for a while, it was great.  Next time I will probably make it without just to see the difference.  I am sure it will be just as good as this take, maybe I will make it with chicken or maybe not.  It’s great to have a product that you can basically do want you want and not spoil it.  I made some angel biscuits and salad to complete the meal.  We enjoyed this soup and will be doing it again soon. 

Let me know if you go to www.nutsonline.com.  I would love to hear what you think of their products.  I know the service is great and I could not believe how fast my shipment came….            




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