Alton Brown's Mighty Duck

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One problem with writing a food blog is you don't always get around to repeating recipes. But that's what I've been doing lately-going through my greatest hits and seeing if they're still great.

One good thing about writing a food blog is it motivates me to try new things. Case in point-this duck!

I've never made a duck and I've only had duck a few times at restaurants. Alton's Good Eats episode plus constantly hearing duck fat is "liquid gold" prompted me to try a duck at home.

If you want to see the episode it is available on You Tube. Part One is HERE and part two is HERE.

Finding duck was a bit tricky. Fry's/Kroeger carries them but apparently they don't carry many because almost every time I went they were sold out. I did finally manage to find one from Maple Leaf Farms, which is a pekin duck.

I made the recipe exactly as Alton did. I think mine looks weird because my cast iron skillet is actually a grill pan. Maybe a flat surface would have been better.

This was very good but instead of making this again I'm motivated to try more duck recipes. And I'm looking forward to roasting potatoes in my new supply of "liquid gold".

The chard was just ok. I won't make that again as a side.

Recipe is HERE.

Lao Lemon Chicken

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I got this recipe via email from my brother who spent quite few years in SE Asia. He promised it would be great and I had all the ingredients on hand. So I decided it would be a good dinner after my long commute home.

This is really good! Even my boyfriend who gazes suspiciously on fish sauce(he isn't entirely convinced it's a flavor enhancer) devoured his portion.

I didn't taste much lemon though so next time I will increase the juice. I didn't have 20 of the small Asian shallots so I used one of the giant American ones. I think this will also be good with chiles and limes although that would be a different dish. Probably closer to Evil Jungle Prince.

I'm relaying the recipe exactly as he typed it. Warning: profanity at the end.

Lao Lemon Chicken

2 TBS. Canola oil
20 small shallots, sliced as thin as you can
10 Oz. chicken breast chunks
2 TBS fish sauce
8 Oz. Coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 a small Lemon
of all the small lemon
5 Green Onions, cut into 2.5" lengths
Cilantro to garnish

In a fry pan fry the shallots on a low setting (about 250) until golden brown. (This should take about 8-10 minutes. Stir constantly. Some shallots will appear dark and others appear white, take them out when about 3/4 are brown. The white ones will continue to cook, don't worry.) Remove the shallots to a paper towel. They should get crispy after they leave the oil.

Heat the oil in a saute pan or wok and add the chicken. Brown the chicken as much as you can while leaving the inside raw. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, 3/4 of the shallots, the green onion white bottoms, lemon juice, and zest. Simmer for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the green onion tops, stir 1 minute until they are just soft.

Turn out in a bowl and garnish with remaining crispy shallots and Cilantro. Serve with steamed rice.

This goes well with mushrooms. I just put one clove of minced garlic in a tsp of oil in a small pot and gently cook until white, then add a package of whole button mushrooms, coat them with the oil, add S&P, cover, and set on the lowest possible I can get my stove, and them forget about them. I cooked the whole Lao dish after that, only shaking the pot every once in a while. The mushrooms just extrude all their natural juices and steam themselves so after 1/2 hour-45 min. they're fucking awesome!

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Plum Barbeque Sauce

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While I was packing up to move I found an old cookbook. Betty Crockers Best Recipes of the Year 1989. I remember cooking from it quite a bit when I bought it (for $2.00 at TJ Maxx according to the price tag). I think the only other cookbooks I had at the time were the Better Homes and Gardens red plaid book and some of those magazine type cookbooks you find at the supermarket checkout. Nothing exotic believe me. I remember being attracted to this book because it offered some ethnic recipes.

I flipped through the book and decided to revisit a popular recipe that I remember
making for friends. The page is a bit splattered so I must have made it a lot.

I was a bit worried that it would be too sweet as the canned plums I bought were in syrup and the grocery store didn't carry lemonade that didn't have HFCS. But it was perfectly tangy and delicious.

You can also do these on the grill.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Plum Barbecue Sauce
Serves 6

3 Rock Cornish Game Hens, split

Make Plum Barbecue Sauce and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350. Place hen halves in shallow roasting pan bone side down.
Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.
Brush with barbecue sauce and roast an additional 45 minutes brushing with sauce 2 times more.

Plum Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbs canola oil
1.4 cup chile sauce (I used Mae Ploy Sweet Chile Sauce from the Asian grocery store. It added a bit of bite)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 can (15.5 oz) plums drained, pitted and chopped
1 6oz can frozen lemonade concentrate

Sautee onion in canola oil until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.

Roasted kale is ADDICTIVE. And good for you.

Roasted kale recipes have been floating around the internet for good reason. It's astonishingly good! And good for you.

Kale is highly nutritious. It's a good source of vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, folic acid, copper, fiber and carotenoids. And kale has fewer than 40 calories per cooked cup.

There are only three ingredients to this tasty treat: kale, olive oil and salt.

I prefer Dino Kale. It's also known as Tuscan, cavolo nero and lacinato and but "dino" is more fun to say. Curly kale works well too.

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Remove the kale from the ribs and tear into small pieces. Make sure the kale is as dry as possible as water will steam the kale and it won't get crispy. I run mine through a salad spinner then let it sit on the counter to dry. Toss the kale with a little olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes (until it starts to "crisp") flip and roast another 5-7 minutes until the pieces are crispy chips.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Devour then head to the store for more kale.

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Alton Brown's Ginger Almonds and Sherried Sardine Toast

I watched Alton Browns Good Eats episode Live and Let Diet and was intrigued by two of the recipes featured.

I try to make nuts part of my diet and do pretty well on portion control thanks to Trader Joes Just a Handful bags of individually packed nuts. I just grab one and put it in my lunch bag.

I usually buy the reduced salt dry roasted almonds and have been happy with them.

These are just OK. I'm not sure I'd make them again unless I had some raw almonds on hand.

Recipe HERE.

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The other recipe that caught my eye was what Alton referred to as brisling. I was interested until he said they're sardines. Blechhh! I tried canned sardines and did not care for them at all! But then he mentioned the flavor is milder and they're good for non-sardine fans and I figured I can't dis something I've never tried. I went to the grocery store and there were only two tins of brislings left. They had plenty of other sardines so I guess some other people saw the show and came to the same conclusion.

This wasn't as fishy as regular sardines but it was still too fishy for my boyfriend. He said it would be better without the fish. Ha ha!

I didn't think it was bad. I have another tin of brisling and may play with the marinade a bit.

Recipe HERE

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