Dry-Aged Duck Breast, Parmesan Truffle Risotto, Roasted Shallots, Wild Mushroom & Spinach

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

Serves 3.

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[100% organic, Long Island Rohan duck]

For the Risotto

  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 250 g Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Parmesan rind
  • Hot water
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 100 g parmesan, grated
  • 1 TBS truffle oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large pan, sweat the minced shallots in the butter. Cook until soft. Then add the rice and coat each grain with butter. Add the white wine and cook until almost dry, then add in the parmesan rinds and 1 cup of hot water. Cook until almost dry and add in 1 cup of hot water each time until rice is al dente. Season at the end because parmesan has a lot of salt content.

Remove pan from heat, add lemon juice, grated parmesan, and truffle oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For the Duck Breast

  • 3 duck breasts, dry-aged
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

*Click on link to see how to dry age duck*

Butcher duck breasts off and score them. Season duck breasts generously with salt & pepper, turn heat to the lowest setting and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every few minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 10 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.

In a pre-heated oven of 500°F, flash heat duck breasts for 1 minute, allow to rest, then slice and serve.

For the Roasted Shallots

  • 6 shallots, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Toss shallots with olive oil and salt then roast in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes. When cool, trim and cut shallots in half, lengthwise.

For the Finish 

  • 100 g maitake mushroom
  • 400 g spinach, blanched
  • Golden pea shoots
  • Butter/neutral oil, as needed
  • Salt

Sauté mushroom and sear halved shallots in hot pan, then add blanched spinach. Turn off heat once everything is heated through.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon risotto on plate, top with sliced duck breast, and garnish with mushroom, shallots, and spinach around the risotto. Top with golden pea shoots.

Cockles with Wilted Baby Spinach in a Scallion Thyme Broth

I have the biggest news! My friend told me that there is a freaking seafood market near me, called Dorian’s Seafood Market! It’s just a few blocks away from me and OMG, I went there this morning and I’m so exhilarated! I finally have somewhere to shop for real, fresh seafood. Not like the “plastic” crap they sell at Whole Foods here in NYC. I don’t have to venture to lower Manhattan to Chinatown to get seafood anymore. Plus, the quality of seafood at Dorian’s is much better (and safer) than what gets sold in Chinatown. However, if I want live shrimp and live crab, I’ll still have to get it from Chinatown.

It is 22°C in NYC right now and it’s December 24. I’m thankful that it’s not winter nor snowing because I don’t like that. It’s wonderful, this Xmas Eve.

Serves 1.

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[Cockles farmed from New Zealand]

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 lbs cockles
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Handful baby spinach
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely minced
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Soak the cockles in salted cold water for 20 minutes.

In a pan, melt the butter and sweat the garlic, thyme, and scallions. Turn the heat to high and add the cockles and white wine. Toss and shake the pan. Close the lid and cook for 7 minutes. Before the cockles are ready, add in the spinach and parsley. Throw away any unopened cockles.

Serve with toasted bread.

Farfalle with Canadian Bacon, Fresh Vine Tomatoes & Spinach

It’s been a really long time since I’ve had farfalle. I find that farfalle, orecchiette, and other shaped pasta is easier to cook than noodle pasta. But maybe that’s just me. I found some Canadian bacon lying around in the apartment so this is what I made.

It’s been raining nonstop today and I have no desire to go out and do my errands. This pasta looks happy, doesn’t it?

[100% organic]

  • 2 TBS EVOO
  • 5 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • ¼ lb Canadian bacon, cut into wedges or squares
  • 2 cups farfalle
  • Salt & pepper, for taste
  • Optional: grated Parmesan

Boil the farfalle 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 a pan, heat the EVOO and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Then add the Canadian bacon and cook for another minute and finally, add the spinach leaves. *Optional: season lightly with salt and pepper. Pasta will be salted and cheese has salt content* Cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, spinach, and Canadian bacon into the pasta and mix well. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Shrimp with Tomato & Feta Polenta

I was looking forward to doing something different (i.e. not making pasta or risotto dishes) and while I was going through Taste Spotting for inspiration, I thought of “polenta!!!” Still in the Italian cuisine but it’s different because I’ve only had two other polenta dishes featured on this blog.

Now, I knew I had to have shrimp (because that’s my number 1 choice of meat) and I just absolutely love spinach (ever since I was young, watching Popeye and all) and then I found a nice authentic recipe.

[100% organic & sustainable shrimp from Thailand]

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided into 1 TBS
  • Half small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 20 shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • 3 TBS white wine
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp parsley (I used cilantro because the market was out of fresh parsley)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the sun-dried tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid away and reserve. Dice the tomatoes.

Heat a saucepan to medium low. Add 1 TBS olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomato for 1 minute. Add in the tomato paste and stir until it starts to brown on the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the tomato water, milk and another cup of water. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cornmeal and ½ tsp of salt, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. Adjust the heat so it bubbles gently and continue cooking for 20 minutes.

Heat one pan to medium-high heat and a saucepan to high heat. Add 1 TBS olive oil to the saucepan, all the spinach, and a pinch of salt, stir to wilt. While you are wilting the spinach, add the last 1 TBS olive oil to your preheated pan. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan, cook for 90 seconds, tossing regularly. Add white wine and continue until shrimp are no longer pink. Squeeze the lemon on top and finish with the parsley. Remove spinach and shrimp from heat.

Stir feta into polenta, reserving a little bit for garnish. Pour a ladle full of polenta into each bowl. Nestle a portion of the spinach on top in the center and top with the hot shrimp, and a teeny bit of the feta. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

*Adapted from Daily Adventures in Cooking.

Oyster & Shrimp Risotto

I haven’t cooked anything new since August 29! That is a longggggg time! Every time when I cook risotto, I can’t finish it in one sitting so this afternoon I asked if my cousin, Jenny, wanted to come over for dinner. We went last minute grocery shopping at 4pm and then had dinner 7pm. Jenny was my sous chef tonight. I still have a handicapped thumb from yesterday so I couldn’t do some things such as juicing the lemon.

I asked Jenny what she thought of it and she said:

Fantastic! It was so nice!

Taste didn’t sell clam juice and I didn’t have time to go to other places to look and the shrimp that I bought were shell-less so the cooking liquids were just chardonnay and chicken broth.

This time was also my first time using saffron and honestly, I couldn’t taste it. I know I used enough but is saffron supposed to taste or is it supposed to just add color?

I didn’t have to use my recipe today and my parents’ kitchen does not have any measuring cups or spoons and I can’t believe that everything worked out perfectly! I’m so happy with myself!

Here is the recipe. I just substituted the scallops with oysters and added saffron after the first round of chicken broth. I also had some spinach leaves too so I decided to put that into the risotto too.

[100% organic & wild]

Thanks Jenny for taking the picture!

Pre-Halloween Week Dinner

I probably won’t be able to eat any Halloween-themed foods or snacks this year because there won’t be a house party and Chinese people don’t celebrate Halloween; there’s not even Halloween candy!

For dinner tonight, I made a Napoleon steak (humphead wrasse) steamed Cantonese-styled and some spinach with rice. I also had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. This is nice. I love wine. My EtOH levels have been low recently…