May 20, 2016
- 2 duck breasts (~1 lb total)
- salt and pepper
- Score duck skin in a criss-cross pattern, cutting deep without hitting the meat.
- Salt and pepper both sides generously.
- In a COLD skillet (cast iron is great for searing), and NO oil, place duck skin down. Turn heat up to medium. Fry for 5-10 minutes (gradually turn heat up to medium high) until fat is mostly rendered and skin becomes golden brown.
- Flip and fry another 3-5 minutes or until meat is slightly bouncy like the fat pads in your palm. Set aside and let meat rest for 5 min before cutting!
Easy? You betcha. I was too lazy to make a sauce so I used store bought mango chutney. Delicious. If you have a good source of fresh duck, this could save you time and money over a restaurant meal! At $13 a pound, this meal only cost us $7-8 bucks a person. Including sides. Total prep and cook time, half an hour tops. AND we didn’t have to get a babysitter! Baby’s room is right behind the kitchen. I’m sure he’s dreaming of duck fatty goodness right now.
Save your duck fat! I kept mine in a glass jar next to the stove. So much you can do with it.
DUCK FAT POTATOES:
- To time this right, prepare your potatoes first. Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cut in halves or threes, salt generously, add herbs and seasonings. (I used parsley and rosemary and some whole garlic heads).
- Use the first drippings from the duck fat rendering and pour over potatoes. Return pan over heat and keep cooking the duck. Meanwhile, toss potatoes to coat evenly. Roast in oven for 20 min or so, until golden brown.
May 12, 2016
I’ve been craving Luby’s liver and onion. Where can I get some in the north east? Do yankees eat liver and onion?
No pics. Too hungry and forgot. But liver isn’t a pretty dish anyhow. REALLY easy. Can’t believe I haven’t tried this before. Not to mention CHEAP.
- 1 lb liver, drained in colander
- 50/50 flour cornstarch mixture for dredging
- black pepper
- milk (I’m using almond)
- 2 large sweet yellow onions, sliced
- Drain liver, then soak in milk for 30-60m.
- Pat dry and season with salt, pepper, paprika on both sides. Dredge in cornstarch/flour mixture to evenly coat.
- Heat large skillet on medium high. Add a tbs or so of oil. Saute onions until caramelized and soft. This may take awhile. Add some water to speed it up. Season with salt. Add a pat of butter if you feel up to it. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Reheat skillet. Add frying oil (I like avocado oil. Anything with a high smoke point works, but avocado oil imparts no flavor). Heat until oil is shimmery. Place liver in pan, spacing it out and avoid crowding. Fry for ~3-5 min each side, depending on your stove and liver thickness. Should be browned evenly with no blood bubbling up.
- Serve and top with sautéed onions. Yum.
April 20, 2016
Good to be blogging again! The Little Dictator is almost 6 months old and while I’ve been back in the kitchen for awhile now, I really haven’t found the time to write down and take pictures of the hodge-podge dinners I’ve been making…
This sucker took me almost an hour. Mainly because I had to make everything in batches with my tiny skillet and tiny bullet blender in my tiny kitchen. (OK, huge by New York standards but I’m still a Texan by heart and by habit.)
Adapted from this wonderful recipe on cookieandkate. And by adapted, I mean mostly copied. It’s good stuff! Didn’t need changes.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 pound butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and/or kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable/chicken broth (I used a little less)
- 12 ounces whole grain linguine or fettuccine
- OPTIONAL: shaved Parmesan, BACON…side of spinach…
- Heat oil in 12 inch skillet or large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage and toss to coat. Let the sage get crispy before transferring it to a small bowl. Sprinkle it lightly with sea salt and set the bowl aside.
- Add squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
- Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Reserve the skillet. Purée the mixture until smooth (beware of hot steam escaping from the top of the blender), then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine pasta, squash purée and ¼ cup cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve pasta topped with fried sage, more black pepper and shaved Parmesan/Pecorino and/or smoked salt, (BACON?) if desired.
- In hindsight, spinach linguini makes for some ugly presentation. For some reason I still think spinach pasta is healthier. Probably not true.
- Save a few whole leaves of sage and fry it up for a nice garnish
- Add chopped fried bacon after blending! (I like bacon. Can you tell?)
- Onion and garlic can be chopped roughly. You’re blending it, so doesn’t matter. Squash is chopped evenly to promote even cooking.
- Set aside broth/liquid before blending so you can tweak the final consistency of the sauce. I liked my sauce thicker. Didn’t add pasta water, didn’t even use all 2 cups of broth.
Unfortunately, after all this work, I forgot to savor my meal and wolfed it down in five minutes. As most parents, I now have a habit of eating as fast as I can, even when the small human is asleep for the night. Le Sigh.
More pictures! Curtesy of RChang while I cleaned up the mess I made in the kitchen. He kept calling over to me “I don’t know… still looks like Jabba the Hutt to me..”
So I added some embellishments.
October 20, 2015
Very easy and surprisingly fast weeknight dinner! Feel free to mix and match herbs/seasonings and veggies to your preference. This is great for when you crave roasted chicken but don’t have enough people to feed to justify a full bird. I used 3 pieces of leg and 3 thighs. Dark meat is tastier. My baking pan also fits 6 pieces perfectly. Extra veggies can be spread on a second pan and placed on the top rack. Proportions don’t matter that much for this recipe.
This technique is HIGH HEAT AND FAST, not low and slow. Results in a crisp skin. Another reason why I prefer dark meat for roasting. Juicier. Doesn’t dry out.
- chicken pieces (I prefer legs and thighs only)
- assorted veggies, chopped into chunks
- onions, sliced
- garlic cloves, halved
- fresh rosemary
- garlic salt
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Take chicken out of fridge to bring to room temp
- Rub chicken generously all over with garlic salt, sprinkle with paprika. Set aside.
- Chop veggies. Carrots take longer to get soft than sweet potatoes, so cut them smaller. Toss, with onion slices and garlic, in plenty of olive oil and garlic salt. Pour in aluminum lined baking pan.
- Scatter rosemary sprigs, breaking them up if needed.
- Place chicken over veggies, spacing them out evenly. Skin side up. (I lined up some extra rosemary sprigs directly under the chicken pieces). The edges of my pans tend to heat up more than the center, so I put thighs in the middle (thinner) and legs on the outside.
- Top chicken with a chunk of butter, about 1cm cubed, right in the middle of the skin.
- Place chicken on bottom rack (my oven heats from the bottom), and a pan of any extra veggies on the top rack. Roast 30 min or until veggies blacken on the edges and chicken skin begins to brown. Internal temp of chicken should be about 160F – make sure when you take the temperature the probe isn’t up against a bone, this will result in an artificially high temp. Just insert to center-most part of the meat. Juices will run clear when you remove the probe.
- Turn on broiler at the end to REALLY crisp up and brown the skin. It’ll blister and blacken a little. This is good. It only takes 5 min or so, so stay and keep watch. You may need to remove and plate the thighs first as the legs tend to take a bit longer.
- Mix veggies together (’cause the ones in the chicken pan will be yummier from the juices and butter), top with chicken and serve.
October 6, 2015
Here’s my version/attempt at a favorite Thai dish of mine. Honestly, mine comes out tasting like Chinese food. Maybe ’cause I added sesame oil in the end. Don’t add sesame oil. Otherwise very tasty and simple stir fry that’s very “下飯“ or “makes you down a lot of rice”. My picture isn’t as pretty ’cause it’s missing the bright red chilis. Baby does not like spicy so we had to do without.
- 1 lb ground pork/chicken/turkey/beef, whatever. I prefer pork.
- 0.5 lb green beans (hericots are more tender) chopped into 1/2 cm length pieces
- 2-3 large shallots, minced (about 0.5 cup)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1.5 tbs)
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 1.5 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1-2 tsp lime juice
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 pinches kaffir/makrut lime leaves, dried. 2 fresh leaves if you can find it
- 5-7 thai chilies, sliced
- handful of asian basil leaves
- optional: sliced cucumbers
- optional: fried egg
- Heat large wok/frying pan over med high heat until you can’t hold your hand over it for over 5 sec.
- Add 1-2 tbs high smoke point cooking oil (peanut, avocado, etc), when oil is just shimmering, add minced shallots, garlic, salt and stir until fragrant, ~1-2 min. Do not burn the garlic. Bad.
- Add ground meat and break it up with the spatula. Add all seasonings except basil. Mix well. When meat is juuuust barely cooked through, remove and set aside. Pour remaining meat juice back into the pan.
- Add chopped green beans, cover and let steam in meat juice (mmmm) 3-4 min or so or until just tender. Add meat back in and mix well. Scoop a little hole in the middle of the pan and add a bit of oil, fry basil, then mix everything together. Season to taste with soy sauce and lime juice if needed.
- Plate with sliced cucumbers, serve with rice.
- Optional: Top with fried egg
May 9, 2015
Oh man. Four months since my last recipe.
I have a good excuse. Really.
Try three months of god awful morning sickness.
See y’all when this nightmare ends.
(yea yea yea.. it’ll all be worth it in the end.)
January 8, 2015
- 2 lb ground pork
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 green onions, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
- 4 tbs minced water chestnuts (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 – 3 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Optional: 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4-5 cups napa cabbage, chopped
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 3 slices of ginger
- 3 cans chicken soup
- 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all meatball ingredients. Do not over mix or you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Roll into large, softball size meatballs.
- Add corn starch in a large bowl. Roll meatball in bowl to lightly coat.
- Heat frying pan over medium high heat. Add plenty of oil to coat bottom of pan. Once oil is shimmering hot, add meatballs one or two at a time with tongs. Avoid crowding. Remove once evenly browned on all sides. Reduce heat to medium if they start to blacken too quickly.
- In a large dutch oven or pot, add chicken soup, rice wine, remaining slices of ginger, leftover mushrooms, stem portions of the cabbage, soy sauce. Bring to a boil then add cabbage leaves. Stir and add salt to taste.
- Place meatballs over cabbage. Spoon over soup and cover. Simmer on low for 1 hour, adding the cabbage leaves at the half way point.
- Serve over a bowl of rice.
November 5, 2014
I love this sweet and saucy dish. Great for wraps. Think of it as a Chinese taco. Make a bunch of dishes, then pass out thin, flour “tortillas” and make your own wrap. Paired with bright and crisp curlicues of green onion, this enticing dish can easily enter anyone’s repertoire. (Do I sound like a commercial yet?) The sauce is called Tian Mian Jang and it’s the base for Peking Duck sauce. Not the same as hoisen, oyster, chili bean sauce, or any other sauce. Sweet Bean Sauce is what you’re looking for. Next experiment with this stuff: zha jiang mian.
Please don’t buy pre-cut stir fry beef at the super market. You will invariably get tough, chewy, totally inedible rubber bands. I really don’t know what cut of beef is usually used for stir fry, and I suspect there IS no one cut used for stir fry. I wandered into the grocery store with nothing specific in mind. The top round roast looked pretty promising. So that’s what I bought. Turned out perfectly tender.
On cutting stir fry strips (beef or pork)
- FREEZE your beef for a few hours before cutting. This will make your life easier as the meat will be stiff and not slide around the cutting board/against your knife. Do not freeze overnight or it’ll be a solid block of meat ice.
- Cut on the diagonal and you wont ever have to worry about what is with/against the grain.
- While cutting on the diagonal, slice your chunk of meat into thin, round slices. Then stack said slices and cut again to form strips.
- 3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 0.5 lb beef, top round, cut in strips
- 2 tbs tian mian jang/sweet bean paste
- 1 tsp rice wine (michiu)
- 1 tbs water
- 0.5 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine
- 1/2 tsp corn starch
- Place sliced green onion in a large bowl of ice and water. Set aside. (Can do this the day before). This will create nice plump and curly green onions. It’ll also cut some of the bite. Drain and gently pat dry. Pile on serving plate and set aside.
- Marinate beef for 30+ minutes. Dissolve corn starch in liquid, then add meat.
- Heat skillet over medium high heat until smoking hot. Add 1 tbs oil, swish to coat pan until it just starts to shimmer, then add beef. Cold pan = meat sticking to pan. Toss and stir fry until juuuust barely pink. Remove and set aside.
- Mix sauce and pour into hot pan. Let it bubble and thicken. Stir for 1-2 minutes or so. Add meat back in and toss to coat, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour beef over green onions. Serve with rice or chinese “tortilla” wraps.
September 30, 2014
Very versatile breakfast food. This will work with chorizo, spinach or kale, beans instead of lentils, etc etc. I’m sure you can make the whole thing in a cast iron skillet, but I made such a big batch it wouldn’t fit…
I prefer green lentils over red as they tend to hold their shape better. Not a fan of smooshy lentils.
Oh, and I also like to eat this with lots of sriracha. But any hot sauce will do (:
- 1 lb lamb sausage, casings removed
- 2 cups green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 small tomatoes, or 1 can 15 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 15oz can beef broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp parsley
- Heat a 3 qt or so dutch oven over medium high heat. (Or if you’re making half a serving, it should all fit in a cast iron skillet) Add 1 tbs cooking oil and heat until shimmering. Add lamb sausage and break it up as it browns. Remove from pot and set aside.
- In remaining oil, add onions, bell pepper, paprika, parsley, and cumin. Salt generously. Sauté until just soft. 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, continue to sauté until fragrant. 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and simmer, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add bay leaves, lentils, lamb, and beef broth. Stir and bring to a low boil. Add more water if needed to just submerge lentils (should not look soupy, lentil’s don’t absorb much).
- Cover and reduced heat to medium low, or a low simmer. 20-30 minutes or until lentils are just tender.
- Crack 4 or so eggs over the top, don’t stir. Cover to steam eggs, still on low heat, 3 minutes or until whites are fully cooked and yolk is still runny. (Or if making it directly in a cast iron skillet, remove from the stove and broil in the oven uncovered until eggs cook.) Scoop into bowls and serve, careful not to break the yolk.
I cook the eggs 2 at a time and reserve the rest of the lentils for the next day’s breakfast. These lentils will last you a few mornings. Just scoop lentils into a oven safe skillet (cast iron is your friend), mix to heat through over medium high heat on the stove, crack an egg or two over the top, then broil in the oven until eggs are cooked to the consistency of your liking.