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Seared Foie Gras over Creamed Corn, Pea Shoots, Shoestring Duck Fries & Glazed Balsamic

2 Jan

I always prepare foie gras the same way, with caramelized apples, so this time for Trav’s birthday, I wanted to try something different and here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients:

  • 2 2 oz pieces of foie gras (I bought the flash frozen ones from Hudson Valley)
  • small handful of pea shoots
  • 1/3 cup of canned corn
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • duck fat (reserved from the duck confit)
  • 1 russet/yukon potato
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pieces of crostini (thin slices of toasted baguette)

Recipe:

(makes 2 servings)

  • Defrost the foie gras a full day in advance in the refrigerator.
  • Get the shoestring potatoes started just before drying them on the towel.
  • In a small pot, on medium heat, add the corn and heavy whipping cream. Bring the cream to a boil and season with s&p. Occasionally stir the corn and once the cream starts to thicken, lower heat to low for another couple of minutes and then take off the heat.
  •  Dry the shoe string potatoes really well.
  • Using a hand held blender, puree the cream and corn mixture.  It’ll still be somewhat hot so be careful. It should still be chunky and not smoothie like. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the oil for the fries. I used the reserved duck fat from the duck confit. While you are waiting for the duck fat to get hot, lay paper towels on a sheet pan.You can test the duck fat by dropping in a fry and if it bubbles and comes to the top immediately it’s ready for frying.
  • Add a small handful and fry them in batches. Drain them on the paper towels and add a small pinch of salt right when they come out of the hot fat. Set shoestring fries aside.
  • In a small pot, add the balsamic and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Occasionally stir because as the balsamic reduces the bottom layer can burn. If the balsamic coats the back of spoon, it’s done. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Prep the foie gras. Pat it dry and s&p both sides. In a non stick pan, heat to medium high. Gently place the foie gras down and sear about 1 minute on each side. A lot of fat will render out so be careful of splatter.  Set the foie gras aside.
  • On the plate, spoon a small dot, about nickel size, of the balsamic glaze. Layer on the crostini, a spoonful of the creamed corn, and the foie gras. Top with some pea shoots and a small handful of the shoestring fries. Get a spoonful of the balsamic glaze and lightly drizzle it back and forth over the whole dish.
  • Et voilà, bon appétit!

Foie Gras Torchon with Amarena cherries & Marcona almonds

28 Aug

foie gras truly is orgasmically good. i’m sure our neighbors were…curious…

anyway, this was the first course for Trav’s birthday dinner and what a fabulous way to start off the birthday celebration!

Ingredients:

  • 1 inch thick slices foie gras torchon (ours is Rougié brand)
  • about 6 amarena cherries
  • small handful of marcona almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 inch thick slices of baguette

Recipe:

(makes 2 servings)

  • Using a small jar about the size of the torchon, trace and cut the baguette into circles and toast
  • layer a couple slices of the foie gras on top of the baguette slice
  • add a few amarena cherries and marcona almonds to the side
  • drizzle a little of the amarena cherrie syrup on the plate

Duck Confit

27 Aug

Canned duck confit is a really great substitute if you don’t have time/means to make it yourself.  It’s easier and quality isn’t compromised when getting canned duck confit.

When we were traipsing around France last summer, we visited my old host family and went back to the wonderful shop in Samatan, that my host mom took me to over 10 years ago, and re-stocked on pâté de campagne, foie gras, duck confit and gésiers de canard and we enjoyed the foie gras and duck confit for Trav’s birthday.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of duck confit (ours had 2)
  • sheet pan or fry pan
  • clean, empty jar with lid

Recipe:

(makes 2 servings)

  • Open the can and gently take out the ducks, draining off the fat back into the can.  In a clean jar, pour the duck fat and store in the freezer.  Don’t let that delicious fat go to waste! You can use it later for duck fat french fries, substitute it for butter or oil when cooking, or use it in the lentilles du Puy instead of olive oil!
  • Preheat the broiler to high.  Place the ducks on the sheet pan and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the skin is crispy.  You can also do this on the stove.  Heat a pan, and place the ducks skin side down and fry about 2-3 minutes.  Try to drain off as much of the duck fat as you can and be careful of all the hot fat splatter!

  • Serve with the lentilles du Puy and some sautéed watercress (in a pan, heat some olive oil, saute for a few minutes, s&p, and add a small squeeze of lemon)

Lentilles du Puy

27 Aug

I love lentils and lentilles du Puy are the crème de la crème of lentils.  My French host mom introduced me to this amazing grain and she often served them with duck confit. Recently, for Trav’s birthday, I made lentilles du Puy with duck confit also.  The duck confit was from Samatan where I studied abroad in highschool.  Samatan is in the Gers or Gascogne region where their specialties are amazing things like foie gras and duck confit. When buying lentilles du Puy make sure you are getting the real thing. Look for the AOC seal on the packaging or that it says it’s from ‘du Puy’.  French green lentils are not the same thing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of lentilles du puy
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 carrot, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 celery, small dice
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon
  • good olive oil
  • 1 shallot, fine diced
  • s&p

Recipe:

(makes 4 servings)

  • Rinse the lentils and drain.
  • In a large pot, add the lentils, bay leaf and thyme and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
  • Add salt and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure you don’t overcook them.
  • Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat some olive oil and add in the diced carrots, onion and celery. Season with s&p, saute for a few minutes and set aside.

  • Once the lentils are cooked, drain them well and remove the thyme and bay leaf.  Add the carrots, onion and celery (mirepoix).
  • Drizzle a decent amount of good quality olive oil all over, the dijon, red wine vinegar and shallot. Mix gently and season with s&p.

Chicken Piccata

12 Aug

i love the tangy and saltiness of this dish. plus, who doesn’t love capers??

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • all purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 5 tbsbs olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • fresh italian parsley

Recipe:

(makes 4 servings)

  • butterfly the chicken and cut them in half.
  • Place a piece of saran wrap on a cutting board, lay down a chicken breast, cover with another piece of saran wrap and pound the chicken thin.  You can use a flour pin or a meat tenderizer. Repeat until all chicken breasts are pounded thin.

  • Salt & pepper the chicken and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
  • In a large pan, melt a couple tbsps of butter and a couple tbsps of olive oil.  When the pan is hot, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside, and repeat with the next 2 pieces of chicken, adding more butter and oil to the pan.

 

 

  • Set aside the cooked chicken, add to the pan the juice of 1 lemon, chicken stock and capers. Let the sauce come to a boil and scrap up any brown bits from the pan. Taste the sauce and adjust with seasonings.

  • Add the chicken back in for about 2 minutes.

  • Plate the chicken with the sauce and fresh chopped parsley. Serve with some type of starch and/or veggies. I like it with roasted cauliflower, fennel and broccoli.

Snap Pea Mint Salad with Feta Cheese

4 May

KQED is awesome. One night we were bored and came across this show called ‘Gourmet Adventures with RuthRuth Reichl is the author of Garlic and Sapphires and was a famous NY Times Food critic.  Below is a salad that was featured on one of the episodes. It’s so fresh and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of snap peas
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • olive oil
  • s&p

Recipe:

(makes 4 servings)

  • Trim off the tips of the snap peas and chop on a bias, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss in a bowl.
  • Pick off the mint leaves, layer, roll them like a cigar, and thinly slice so you get ribbons of mint.
  • In a large bowl, add the feta, peas, mint, drizzle a good amount of olive oil s&p and toss. Taste and adjust with more s&p if needed.
  • Serve slightly chilled.

Grilled Tilapia with Chimichurri

2 May

in college, i had a roommate who was argentinian and one weekend his dad came to visit and threw an amazing argentine style bbq.  he taught me his recipe for chimichurri.

we had an impromptu BBQ this past sunday and i made some chimichurri to go with our grilled skirt steak (recipe to come).  last night, we grilled some tilapia and topped it with the leftover chimichurri. so good. we enjoyed it with Enso Winery’s Pinot Gris. It was a perfect pairing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fillets of tilapia
  • s&p
  • olive oil

Chimichurri:

  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • s&p

Recipe:

(makes 2 servings)

  • Chimichurri: (can make ahead and keeps for 4 days)
  • finely chop all the fresh herbs and toss in a bowl
  • add in the finely chopped garlic and shallots
  • add the capers, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar
  • Mix the ingredients and slowly add in the olive oil while stirring. Taste as you go. It should taste tangy but not too strong of a vinegar flavor. Add s&p to taste. Set aside.
  • Grilled Tilapia:
  • Pat dry the tilapia. S&p both sides and coat with some olive oil.
  • Heat a grill pan on medium to medium high.
  • Once the grill pan is hot, gently lay down the tilapia.
  • Grill on one side for about 4 minutes.
  • Gently flip over using a fish spatula and grill for another minute or two.
  • Arrange the grilled tilapia on a platter and spoon some of the chimichurri all over.
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