February 14, 2013
This meal is simple enough for a weeknight, but also sexy enough for a date night.
Just like a good pair of skinny black pants.
Duck turns out to cost about as much as a good piece of grass-fed beef. But somehow it seems altogether fresh and new for a weeknight meal. Toss in some bulk wild rice and some handfuls of baby spinach and you’ve got yourself something that despite it’s cheap and cheerful cost, almost poses as downright elegant.
Think of it as the H&M of meals. Fast fashion at the dinner table.
The duck is spiced simply with salt and pepper and a generous amount of Chinese five spice. Now before you go writing that off with “oh I can’t find that stuff,” know that in addition to you being able to easily grab a bit a your finer spice stores, you can also pick up a jar at your local grocery store because even McCormick’s makes it. Pan sear the duck, then drain (and save for oh so delicious potatoes) the fat that’s rendered off, then in the same pan wilt down your spinach that you douse with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a generous pinch of sugar. The wild rice, while it takes 45 minutes to cook, can easily be made ahead of time. Or you can unwind with some Jesse Ware and a cocktail while that simmers.
I always opt for the second.
Timing is, as it turns out – in fashion and the kitchen – is everything.
Chinese Five-Spiced Duck. Wild Rice Salad. Warm Spinach. For Two.
For the Wild Rice Salad
8 oz wild rice blend
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August 19, 2012
I stood in this kitchen this morning knowing that I wanted a traditional Sunday dinner. I was in the mood to let something cook, take a bit more time preparing something. I pulled out one of my favorite books that I hadn’t looked at in a while: Heart of the Artichoke, by the wonderful David Tanis. In it, the summer menus tugged at me and I decided to roast a spatchcocked chicken and make up a rice salad with some of the beautiful Carolina Gold rice some dear friends brought back from a summer vacation in South Carolina.
And, as luck would have it, none of this was actually time intensive. I love it when I have the time to give to something and the fates tell me not to worry about it.
In addition to being a really nice guy, Mr. Tanis is such a clever chef and cook, in the book he offers numerous variations on many of his recipes, adding or omitting an ingredient or two and giving you a whole new way to enjoy a dish, transitioning from side dish to satisfying lunch in a short jump. Really good stuff. It’s a way to start thinking about what you have in the pantry and the fridge to re-purpose yesterday’s dinner into a wholly new meal. It’s leftovers, elevated.
So tonight, after devouring half a lemony roast chicken and having just the teeny-ist bit of the herb rice salad leftover, I eyed the golden fond in the chicken roasting pan and remembered my favorite soup from Tasi: a lovely lemon chicken soup.
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August 17, 2012
I picked up a beautiful, heavy and sweet local watermelon at my neighborhood Giant Eagle Market District. I still can’t believe that this is my normal, everyday, hey-we’re-out-of-milk grocery store – it’s humongous. But I have to give them props: for being as huge as they are, they do try for a couple of months to really bring in a bunch of locally grown and raised produce. I really like that.
So back home, I was cutting it up and then slicing up all the leftover rinds so that they would break down faster in the compost pile and it hit me. People make pickles out of this stuff. And thankfully it’s less for the compost pile to try to digest, which is a good thing this time of year, just ask my husband, who often gets stuck with the job of carting out all the scraps. He’s a good man.
Is that a cucumber in the foreground? No! Just a well trimmed watermelon rind.
So a quick browse around and it’s a simpler method than I even thought. For half of a medium watermelon the brine is
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August 10, 2012
It’s the time of year where just about anything your heart desires is available fresh and local here in Ohio. Farmer’s market tables groan under the weight of melons, zucchini, tomatoes, peaches. Oh the loveliness.
Local Matters (whose mission is to transform the food system in central Ohio to be more secure, prosperous, just and delicious) hosts Local Foods Week every year. This year they have so many events from tastings to picnics to special local foods week tours. It’s kind of a party with produce all week. Which is awesome.
Cooking with local produce is my personal favorite thing to do this week.
But it’s summer, too, and if you ask me, that means cooking should be just barely above a simmer. If you’re in the house, lightly sauteed or not cooked at all are methods I can stand behind.
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July 26, 2012
My palate has wanderlust again. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Vietnamese food and the influences the French left behind. I have a hankering for Pho. I’m desperate for a good bánh mì.
So it should come as no surprise that when I was invited to put together a dessert recipe Yagööt and the launch of their new line of Yagööt@Home, I chose to go the Southeast Asian route and use some inspired ingredients: coconut frozen yogurt, Thai basil, a French red wine, ginger. Sriracha.
Sometimes a recipe comes together so easily. Ingredients fall into each other like long-lost friends, perfectly happy to hang out again. And while everything except the sugar and strawberries (and the coconut Yagööt of course) in this dessert are savory, I can guarantee that it makes one of the sexiest desserts you’ve ever tasted. And did I mention that it takes only ten minutes to make?
For the red wine in this recipe, I used a Beaujolais-Villages, because it’s widely available as well as relatively inexpensive. An inexpensive pinot noir would work, too. I use only a cup, so heck, you can kind of throw this together if you’ve got a bit of wine left over from dinner. This time, I used fresh strawberries, but you can bet that I’ll be pulling out all those strawberries we picked and froze earlier this year when the weather gets colder. The recipe calls for Thai basil, which is at every Asian grocery store worth its salt. I think it’s pretty critical to the flavor profile of the dessert, but in a pinch you could substitute some standard basil. Sriracha is another seemingly exotic ingredient, but widely available in most grocery stores. Buy a bottle and you’ll find yourself putting this spicy hipster ketchup on everything from your morning eggs to Friday night pizza. It’s delicious.
Feel like being daring? Want to try this recipe? How about some free Yagööt?
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July 22, 2012
I’ll admit I haven’t been the best at keeping you up to date with everything that’s been through the kitchen lately.
Here’s a photo journal of some of the things (from Juneberries to cherries to ramp risotto) that I just didn’t manage to get a post up about.
Playlist included Save the World, by Swedish House Mafia.
July 18, 2012
I understand the problem as well as anyone: we’re told to eat fish for its health benefits, but it’s a challenging ingredient that leaves us either nervous or unfulfilled. We’re afraid to eat it, and when we do we’re hungry later. Well I have the solution — trout paired with bacon.
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