Roasted Spiced Duck Leg & Thigh with Butternut Squash Purée

This was the fifth course to my 7-course Friendsgiving party for 8 people.

I usually serve the legs and breast of the duck together in one composed dish but this time I decided to separate them into two separate courses!


Serves 8.

For the Marinade

  • 2 bottles red wine
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ cup rosemary, chopped
  • 8 crushed juniper berries
  • 8 star anise
  • 4 bay leaves, crushed
  • 8 duck legs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine all spices.

Wash and pat dry the skin of the duck leg with a kitchen towel. Using a cake tester or fork, prick tiny holes all over the skin. Rub spice mixture onto skin side of each leg.

Pour the wine into a large mixing bowl and add the legs and stir. Cover with plastic wrap, put in the fridge, and leave to marinate for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Remove the legs from the marinade. Pat dry with paper towels to clean off spices. Place on a wire rack on a roasting tray and cook in the middle of the oven for 1 hour or so, depending on the size of the duck legs, basting frequently with pan juices.

For the Purée

  • 1 lb butternut squash, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, sliced into 8-wedges
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 150 mL/5 oz. cream
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon stick, anise, cardamom seeds, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour.

Place the butternut squash and onion in a large bowl. Add 1 TBS of oil and toss well to coat. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the tossed squash and onion on it. Roast until the vegetables are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the squash and onion from the oven and place into a blender. Strain the cream mixture through a chinois over a small bowl. Pour the strained cream into blender, add 1 TBS of lemon juice, season with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Blend until smooth.


Remove the duck legs from the oven, cover with foil, and rest for 10 minutes.

Spoon the purée into the center of warmed plates and top with the roasted duck legs. Drizzle with pan juices and serve.


Seafood Terrine

I’m glad my team is finally done with our charcuterie buffet. I was responsible for making the seafood sausage, seafood terrine, and pork buns. Originally, I was just going to make the seafood sausage but since there was so much of the mousseline/forcemeat, my chef instructor suggested that I make some terrines in addition to the sausages.

Don’t worry, I already cut down the recipe size. Makes 4-5 terrine molds.

[wild arctic char, flounder, scallops]

For the Garnish

  • ¼ lb shrimp
  • ¼ lb fresh scallops
  • ¼ lb arctic char fillets, skinless
  • 1 cup peeled pistachio nuts
  • 2 TBS chives, finely sliced
  • 2 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 TBS tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS chervil, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS basil, finely chiffonade
  • Salt, as needed
  • White pepper, as needed

Shell and devein shrimp. Then chop coarsely. Chop scallops and arctic char fillets. Put all seafood in a bowl and place in fridge.

Make sure than all the herbs are finely cut and chopped. Leave pistachios whole.

For the Mousseline

  • 2 lbs flounder/fluke fillets, skinless
  • ½ lb fresh scallops
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • Up to 2 cups heavy cream, ice cold
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Chop/cube the scallops and the fish fillets then place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes.

Place in food processor with white pepper, salt, and egg whites. Pulse and continue to process by adding ice cold heavy cream slowly until desired consistency. Remove from food processor and place in large mixing bowl.

Fold in all the garnish, first seafood, then pistachios and herbs. Mix well.

Make test dumplings and adjust seasoning.

Line terrines or earthenware containers well with plastic wrap, making sure to allow for overhang, then pack terrines with mousseline. Close terrines with the overhanging plastic wrap and place in a double boiler in simmering water for 10 minutes. Then place in the oven, with the double boiler, for 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature of the terrines should be 145°F.

Remove from oven and take out of double boiler. Place on top of terrine another same-size terrine mold or a piece of wood or heavy cardboard cut to fit inside the mold that has been wrapped in plastic wrap. Put a 1-pound weight in the empty terrine mold or on top of the wood/cardboard. Chill terrine with weights for 24 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Slice them at least 1 cm thick.

This is the marble slab that I presented the seafood terrines on during the charcuterie buffet.

*Adapted from Fritz H. Sonnenschmidt’s “Charcuterie: Sausages, Pates and Accompaniments” and Chef Nicolay Yerofeyev from the French Culinary Institute.

Salmon Tartare with Avocado, Mango & Cucumber

I want spring and summer to come as quickly as possible to this miserable weather in NYC. I miss Texas so much! Yesterday was gloomy and rainy. Since today is quite sunny, I decided to make tartare and the colors turned out very bright and spring-like! I lightly dressed the salmon with some leftover vinaigrette that I still had in my fridge.

[100% organic, conventional avocado, farmed salmon]


  • 5 oz. salmon
  • Half of English cucumber
  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • Salt & pepper

Juice and zest the lemon. Work with the least likely to oxidize ingredients first. Peel and dice the cucumber, mango, avocado. Toss all ingredients separately with little lemon juice, zest, and salt. Dice up salmon and season with salt and pepper at the very end.

Layer with avocados at bottom, then mango, then cucumber, and top with salmon. Serve with toasted bread slices or tortilla chips!

Click here to see with Ahi Tuna and here for another Salmon rendition.

Edamame Hummus

Can I still call this hummus even when it doesn’t contain chickpeas? I guess I can can, it’s the modern movement of sorts.

[100% organic]

  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. bag frozen shelled edamame
  • ½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBS canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Salt

Boil a pot of salted water and cook the frozen blanched edamame until the water boils again. When cooked, drain, and shock in ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside.

In a food processor, combine scallions, cooked edamame, parsley, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, garlic, and ground ginger. Season lightly with salt because the edamame should already have some taste. Save a few edamame for garnishing (which I forgot in the photo).

Cover and process until nearly smooth. Garnish with reserved edamame and serve with vegetable sticks and flat bread.

Flat Bread

This is a continuation of the Traditional Hummus post. You can use any bread or any cracker to use the hummus as a dip or spread but I made my own flat bread.

[100% organic]

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • ¼ cup non-fat milk
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 TBS rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 TBS garlic oil = 2 TBS olive oil and 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Add the flour in a medium bowl and make a well in the center and add in the yogurt, milk, and olive oil. Lastly, add the warm water into the well and immediately use a wooden spoon to gently combine all the ingredients together. Remove the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the garlic oil. Combine the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan and gently warm over low heat until fragrant but garlic is not brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

After the dough is rested, divide into 4 sections and stretch each section with your hands. Add some flour if the dough is too sticky. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and place two flat breads on each tray. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of each flat bread with some garlic oil and sprinkle chopped rosemary and sea salt on top.

Bake the flat bread for 10-12 minutes or until the flat bread is lightly brown. Cut into wedges and serve with hummus or other dips.

Hash Brown Pizza

It was impossible to make this pretty because, for me, pizzas are always a challenge at making them aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They say to put less things on the pizza but I can never stop myself from overloading the pizza. I don’t make pizzas that fall apart but there are always a lot of things going on with my pizzas.

Kitchens in Hong Kong don’t come equipped with ovens, nor dishwashers, and my parents didn’t buy the former so I had to come up with some other way to make pizzas. I actually got inspired by that awful tasting Japanese rice-pizza restaurant in Shatin. So instead of rice, I used shredded/grated potatoes, which translates to hash brown pizzas!!! YUM! I love hash browns!!!! I mean, who doesn’t? When I used to eat breakfast, I used to gobble down hash browns…

[100% organic]

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Bag of potatoes
  • Tomato sauce (I used arrabiata)
  • Mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • Parmesan, freshly grated
  • Prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Salami, thinly sliced
  • Mushroom, thinly sliced
  • Bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Arugula, fresh
  • Basil leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Peel potatoes and then grate them into a bowl. Squeeze excess water out of grated potatoes and then immediately heat a pan with 2 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter.

Flatten grated potatoes into pan and form into a circle, turn heat to low and allow potatoes to fry. Spoon 1-2 TBS of tomato sauce onto the top and sprinkle some grated cheese. Also season with salt & pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

Once the base of the hash-brown is cooked/burnt enough, it’s time to add the toppings. Be careful not to add too much or else the hash brown will not hold.

Serve immediately once out of pan. I put more basil leaves and sprinkled more cheese onto the pizza because that’s how I like it!

Green Bean Salad

It’s weird of me to eat something purely vegetarian… for lunch, a couple of days ago, I just had this and I felt satiated – partly because I had a huge breakfast. I love eating blanched green beans… I feel like a happy rabbit.

[100% organic]

  • ¼ lb green beans, blanched
  • 1 TBS capers
  • Handful of croutons
  • 1 TBS butter

Melt the butter and fry the capers for 1 minute. Mix everything together and toss well.