Duck Leg Confit with Homemade Fettuccine, 7 Spice, Basil Breadcrumbs & Chili

This was the fourth course to my 6-course Friendsgiving party for 3 people.

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[100% organic, Long Island Rohan duck]

{no recipe}

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Avocado Pasta

Another Sunday has passed, another food party has ended.

Menu:

I wanted to make a simple and quick pasta for Sunday’s dinner party. There were 4 courses, as usual, and this was the third savory before dessert. My dinner parties always end up really late but last night we finished at 10:30pm. Or maybe I’m getting better with time management.

Serves 4.

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[100% organic]

For the Avocado Sauce

  • 2 large ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Blend avocado, lemon juice, garlic cloves, parsley, salt and pepper together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set pesto aside in an air-tight container, with cling wrap directly on top to keep air out.

For the Finnish

  • Linguine
  • Pecorino Romano, for grating
  • Candied pecans
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Olive oil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook pasta until al dente.

Drain pasta and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Plate pasta and scoop desired amount of sauce onto each plate. Toss to combine. Microplane cheese, add sunflower sprouts, and garnish with candied pecans. Serve immediately.

Brown Butter Gnocchi, Baby Taro, Tomatoes, Shimeji Mushrooms & Watercress with Shiitake Consommé

I always like doing an ambitious dish because it’s fun and I get to spend the whole day cooking. Yesterday was really ambitious because I made three things; the cauliflower-kale soup, used the leftover dill for pork dumplings, and this. Even though this dish took forever, the final result was sooooo delicious. I had to refrain myself from drinking the shiitake mushroom by itself because this was a very labor-intensive process!

I had a lot of vegetable scraps from the cauliflower-kale soup and the trimmings of the raft ingredients so I made my own vegetable stock for this consommé. Just FYI, the organic carrots that I use are as thick as your fingers.

[100% organic]

For the Gnocchi

  • 1 large Idaho potato
  • ¼ cup AP flour, sifted
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Olive oil

Cook the potato with its skin on in cold water with the bay leaf and thyme until done. Drain, and peel the skin. If you have a food mill, process them. If not, like me, mash finely with a fork and allow to cool.

Sift the flour over the potatoes and add in the salt, cheese, egg, and using your hands, work the ingredients into a soft dough ball. Do not overwork!

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut off pieces of the dough and using your hands, roll into cylinder shapes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Press the gnocchi lightly with the tines of a fork or roll them off a gnocchi board. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water and gnocchi are done once they float to the top of the water. Shock in ice water, drain, and transfer to a large tray. Drizzle olive oil over gnocchi to prevent sticking.

For the Consommé

  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, julienned
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • Salt

In a stockpot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Place all ingredients – shallots, celery, carrots, shiitake, tomato paste, egg whites, bay leaf, thyme – in a bowl and whisk gently. Add the warm vegetable stock into the bowl and whisk well. Pour the mixture back into the stockpot and bring to a simmer, while stirring often.

A raft will foam and by this point, stop stirring or else you’ll break the raft. At a low simmer, cook for 1 hour. Do not stir or boil. Poke a hole in the center with a ladle and use the ladle to pour the liquid over the raft once in awhile. This will moisten the raft and will further the clarification process.

When the hour is up, turn off heat, and let it to rest for 10 minutes. Then carefully use a ladle to pass it through a chinois lined with cheesecloth. Transfer to a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and keep warm.

For the Other Garnitures & Finish

  • Tomatoes
  • Baby taro
  • Shimeji mushrooms
  • Watercress
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Tomatoes: cut “x” on the tomatoes, season lightly with salt and olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 300°F for 20 minutes. You still want the tomatoes to be firm and remove the skin. Set aside and keep warm.

Baby Taro: boil a pot of salted water. Add in the taro once water is boiling and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Remove from water and cut into obliques. Set aside and keep warm.

Shimeji Mushrooms: boil in salted water, set aside and keep warm.

Watercress: wash and pick through, saving the nice sprigs for garnish.

Gnocchi: melt butter and wait for butter to turn a light brown color. Sauté the gnocchi immediately and season lightly with salt. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a shallow bowl, arrange tomatoes, taro, gnocchi, and mushrooms in the center. Ladle consommé into bowl and top with watercress garnish. Serve immediately.

Fettuccine in a Lemon Garlic Sauce with Asparagus & Fava Beans

Having a dish with no meat, this recipe took me foreverrrrrr – mainly because I made chicken stock from scratch.

I really enjoyed making Pasta alla Chitarra with Morels, Peas & Asparagus in class (garde manger) because the sauce is something that I’ve never done before. First of all, it’s not tomato-based. Second, the pasta is so refreshing!! And third, I am a pro at making the pasta noodles with the chitarra now. It took me 2 minutes to figure out the secret!

If I had a pasta machine and a chitarra, I would make my own pasta noodles.

[100% organic]

For the Brown Chicken Stock

  • 2 lbs poultry bones
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, white & pale green parts only, roughly sliced
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni – ½ head garlic, 1 TBS whole black peppercorns, few parsley stems, few thyme sprigs
  • Canola oil

Preheat oven to 500°F. Trim the bones of fat and skin, then rinse the bones under cold running water. Roast bones with drizzle of canola oil in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until bones are golden. When bones are done, degrease by straining and let the oil drip for a few minutes while you do something else.

In a stockpot, place the roasted bones and a little of canola oil over medium heat. Add in the onions, carrots, celery, and leeks. Sauté until a little bit of color is reached and then add in the 1 TBS tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste before adding enough cold water to cover the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add in bouquet garni and then simmer for 2 hours.

Strain the stock and transfer to a clean pot. Reduce the stock by a quarter, or until chicken stock becomes gelatinous. Cool in an ice bath. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

For the Sauce

  • 1 qt reduced chicken stock
  • 6 garlic heads, peeled
  • 6 lemons, zested (save 1-2 lemons)
  • EVOO
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Using a vegetable peeler, zest the lemons. Be careful not to peel the pith of the lemon or else your sauce will be bitter. Blanch the lemon zest 3 times: boil in cold water, strain, boil in cold water, strain, boil in cold water, strain, and set aside.

After peeling all the cloves, degerm the garlic by remove any green parts. Blanch them in cold water, 3 times, too. In a clean pot over low-medium heat, confit the garlic by adding equal parts of canola oil and EVOO, and then cook until tender and sweet, 10-15 minutes.

Purée the chicken stock, garlic, and zest in a blender. Season with salt and black pepper, and taste. Sauce should be bright and garlicky. Set aside.

For the Finish

  • Fettuccine, as needed
  • 1 lb fresh fava beans
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • Tarragon leaves, as needed
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Remove fava beans from pods and then set aside. Cut off 1-2 inches from the bottom of the asparagus and peel the asparagus one inch from the bottom of the head. Cook the asparagus whole before cutting them. In the salted boiling water, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Immediately shock in cold water and ice. Once asparagus is cold, cut asparagus on the bias and set aside. Boil the fava beans for 3-5 minutes and shock in cold water and ice. Shell the fava beans and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Reheat ½ cup of sauce, taste and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the sauce and add some asparagus and fava beans, then toss in sauce. Cook pasta until al dente, drain well, and add to sauce. Toss to coat pasta to allow the flavors to blend. If sauce is too thick, add a little bit of heated reduced chicken stock. Add some tarragon leaves and grated parmesan. Plate pasta in a warm bowl and garnish with more grated parmesan.

Roasted Beets over Linguine with Dual Beet & Butternut Squash Purées

Yesterday for class, I was in charge with making the vegetarian plate for dinner service. I was browsing recipes online and I came across Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup. Just by looking at the photo, I just had to make it. Our regular chef instructor is never there on Thursdays but when I showed him the recipe on Tuesday night, to order the ingredients for next class, he said that the recipe was “complicated”. Chef Nic took a look at the recipe yesterday and he also said “complicated”. What is wrong with me? I brushed off what my two chef instructors’ opinions because I always want to challenge myself? I definitely bit off more than what I could chew last night but in the end, I managed to get everything together.

I wasn’t very happy with the presentation of the dish because I didn’t get all my ingredients when I went into the kitchen – annoying – and I was pressed for time making the beet syrup. Therefore, I couldn’t decorate the plate with beet syrup. I would have had enough time because even though service started at 8pm, I didn’t need to actually start cooking until 9:13pm; I just had to be “ready” at 8pm. Did I mention that I had to hand make the egg fettuccine. Yes, I had the attachment to roll out the pasta but I had to roll and then cut and then unravel each noodle…

Today, I had a friend come over because I’m sick but that doesn’t mean that I can’t host, so I made a better looking vegetarian plate with what few ingredients I had at home. I also had some leftover butternut squash soup and it was thick enough to put on a plate.

I love how beets make everything pretty. No artificial colorings used.

[100% organic]

For the Beets

  • 6 red beets, leaves removed
  • 1 garlic head, sliced horizontally
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a rectangular baking pan, place beets into them and season generously with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add in the two garlic halves and a few sprigs of thyme. Wrap up the beets and place them in the hot oven for 45-60 minutes, until soft.

Remove from oven, let the beets cool and peel the skins. Strain the cooking juices and set aside. Take two of the peeled beets and roughly chop them. Place in them into a blender and add the cooking juices. Blend until a purée, pour into a container and set aside.

As for the rest of the beets, cut them into small cubes and set aside.

For the Finish

  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Linguine

Boil a pot of salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook pasta 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm.

In a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add a generous amount of both beet purée and chopped beets and toss in the pasta. Cook for 1 minute. Plate to your liking and sprinkle chopped chives over beets and pasta.

*Adapted from Taste with the Eyes.

Fusilli with Roasted Bell Peppers & Shrimp

You can easily make this dish vegetarian/vegan if you skip the shrimp and cheese. I wasn’t going to add shrimp but you know me, I love shrimp and I eat it with everything!

This makes two lunch portions or one large lunch portion.

[100% organic, sustainable farmed shrimp]

  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • ½ orange bell pepper
  • 16 shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 TBS ground ginger
  • 1½ cups fusilli
  • 2 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp parmesan, freshly grated
  • EVOO, as needed
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove all the ribs and seeds to the bell peppers. Place bell peppers in a deep baking tray and drizzle olive oil over the tops of the peppers. Do not season. Bake for 20-30 minutes but do not allow bell peppers to burn. Once peppers are ready, remove from pan and chop into small squares. Reserve the olive oil.

Sprinkle shrimp with ground ginger and salt for 15 minutes. Sauté shrimp with some of the reserved olive oil. Add a little water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Boil the fusilli in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm.

In the remaining olive oil, sauté the cut bell peppers. Season and taste. Then add in the pasta and the shrimp. Sprinkle in the cheese and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle the parsley at the very end. Serve in warm bowls.

Linguine in Arrabbiata with Octopus Tentacle

I am almost done with my menu project! Just two more dishes and then fini!! I wanted to feature all kinds of seafood and the cooking techniques that I’ve learned in school for my menu project. I am limited to certain things when cooking at home because I don’t have all the fancy equipment and machines. I did have to edit and tone down my excitement.

I’ve always had octopus grilled or steamed (sushi). But I boiled and simmered this one for the pasta. The texture turned out right and I was very happy with the dish. This recipe serves two portions.

[100% organic, wild octopus]

For the Octopus

  • 2 octopus tentacles
  • ½ head garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt

In a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil with half a head of garlic and 1 bay leaf.

Put octopus in boiling water and when it comes to a boil again, add a little cold water. Bring it to a boil again, and repeat the addition of cold water for three times. After the third addition of cold water, when the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to the low simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain from water and set aside, covered.

For the Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • ⅓ lb linguine
  • Few drops of oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped

Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm, save 1-2 cups of pasta water.

Melt and heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and shallots. Sweat for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn or have coloration. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Put the tomato paste into the pan and cook it well, making sure to mix around with everything else in the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

Then add the crushed tomatoes along with the juices, red pepper flakes, and some of the pasta water (if mixture is too dry) into the pan. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper. Add the octopus into the sauce and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta with the sauce and toss well.

TO ASSEMBLE

Plate pasta in the center of a bowl. Prop the octopus tentacle on top and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with sliced bread and eat immediately!