Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paella, Brownies, and Duck

I have a bit of catching up to do, so here's one big post about a couple totally unrelated things I've been cooking recently. First is paella. At least, my initial intention was paella, inspired by my Spanish coworkers. But then I realized I don't really keep paella ingredients just lying around, so this is my Cascadian Paella:

Blue Bird Grains wild rice pilaf blend, Skagit Valley Ranch breakfast sausage, chicken stock, onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, cilantro, paprika, saffron, and cayenne. Breakfast sausage is officially no longer just for breakfast!

A few days after the paella adventure we hosted an Indian-fusion themed potluck. I made gluten free chai brownies and they were amazing! First I have to show off a new toy that I used for this recipe; it's essentially a sauce pan with a round bottom that becomes the top half of a double boiler. The rounded bottom is really nice to have for making cooked-egg emulsion sauces like hollandaise or sabayon. But I just melted butter and chocolate in it this time:

I followed Julia Child's recipe for fudgy-gooey chocolate brownies, substituting Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour and adding coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom.

That was Friday, then on Sunday we went to the farmers market. Stokesberry farms had duck again and we couldn't resist. I decided this was a special duck that deserved special treatment so I rummaged through my cookbooks for a while and finally settled on a recipe in Thomas Keller's French Laundry cookbook. The recipe was for duck breast wrapped in cabbage leaves and poached for just a couple of minutes. Thomas Keller wrapped them in plastic wrap for poaching, which seemed excessive to me--I just tied the cabbage on with butchers twine and it worked perfectly. Oh and I poached it in duck stock from the last duck that we got. Here's the finished product served with pilaf:

That was just the breasts. For the rest of the duck; I roasted it and then plucked all the cooked meat off and cooked it in butter with onions, garlic, and carrots. Mean while I made a duck demiglace, washed some spinach, and cooked some pasta.

Then I combined the demiglace with the buttery duck and veggies to make a pasta sauce, seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper, and finished it with the spinach so it just barely wilted. Then I mixed in some cooked pasta and grated a bit of Gouda for garnish. Voila!

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