May 28, 2011

Roasted Duck Leg

My senior year of college, I had duck for the first time.  My friend Brad and I set out to do a french night, complete with french onion soup, poached pears, garlicky roasted potatoes, and duck a l'orange.  It was a fun culinary adventure and we still talk about that meal every time we get together.

When I saw duck legs on the cheap at my market, I literally did a little skip and a gasp.  When I got it home I was too excited to even fuss with spices or marinades, I just wanted some fatty slow-roasted goodness.

Golden-brown and Juicy: The Perfect Roasted Duck Leg

To prepare the duck for roasting, I trimmed off the excess fat and scored the skin.  To score the skin, you make shallow cuts just deep enough to release the fat but not reaching the meat.  The most common way is to do crossing diagonal cuts to create a diamond pattern.  I tucked the extra thigh meat under the leg, topped with salt and pepper, and slow-roasted for 2 hours at 325 F.  After removing from the oven, I rested for 10 minutes to reabsorb the juices.

The resulting leg is succulent and juicy with a crispy skin.  In the summer duck is too rich for me as a stand alone protein, so I pull the meat off and put in salads and tacos.

May 25, 2011

Onion and Green Apple Quick Pickle

Like Snooki, I am a giant fan of pickles.  While I don't deep-throat bread and butters on the regular, I do quick pickle.  Tangy and crunchy quick pickles are perfect for cutting rich dishes while maintaining the crunch and freshness of the fruits and vegetables.  The basic formula is any crunchy veggies and/or fruits, an acid like citrus or vinegar, and any other flavors you want to add.

Today, I tried out an onion and granny smith combo with Latin American flair to go with the roasted duck leg and summer creamed corn.

May 23, 2011

Summer Creamed Corn

As much as I love the convenience of frozen corn, there is nothing better than sweet fresh corn.  Which is why I was so happy to dig into the 6 for $2 corn display at the grocery store and get my shuck on.  While grilled corn with chile lime butter will always be my favorite, there is something to be said for corn that can be a condiment.

Summer Creamed Corn

May 21, 2011

Lemon Basil Tart

Today was a gorgeous sunny (summer?) day, so I went out for a bike ride and gander at the farmers markets in my area. Strawberries, rhubarb, spring greens, and asparagus were all tempting but I had one mission: finally start growing my own herbs! After a quick trip to target for all of my backyard gardening needs here is the result:

Julep Mint, Genovese Basil, and Thyme

I settled on thyme, mint, and genovese basil. Genovese basil has a softer leaf than normal basil and is preferred for pesto. I thought that the softer leaf would be best for combining into fruity summer desserts like lemon tart, one of my favorite unexpected twists.

When it comes to baking I trust Ina Garten and Alton Brown implicitly, so I took an Ina crust and tweaked an Alton Brown lemon curd recipe.

With the curd, I ended up doubling the recipe because there never seems to be enough in typical curd recipes for an 11" tart. On this end, it was impossible to melt two sticks of butter into the egg, sugar, and lemon after the double broiler. I ended up pouring the thickened mixture into a sauce pan on EXTREMELY LOW HEAT and whisked in the butter that way.  It was quite an indulgence, watching two sticks of butter melt into the curd.  I think I avoided any curdled eggs, but to be safe I could have strained the mixture through a sieve.

I finely chopped three large leaves of my lovely new basil plant and added at the end off the heat to avoid any wilted bitter herb taste.  The result is a light basil flavor with pretty green flecks throughout the tart.

Lemon Basil Tart
Gorgeous day produced a gorgeous and delicious tart!  Now to deal with ten leftover egg whites . . .

May 03, 2011

Welcome to Everything in the Kitchen Sink!

 Every Sunday morning growing up, I would go to Safeway with my Dad. My favorite aisle was the spice aisle where I would stand in awe, wondering how all of these fragrant mysteries could be used. I would obsessively pick out the best produce, sifting through entire bins comparing every single fruit and vegetable. I watched cooking shows on public TV on lazy weekend afternoons and dog-eared my favorite recipes in Gourmet and Bon Appetit. When I got tired of microwave pizza before ballet, I begged to learn how to make scrambled eggs all by myself. I always wanted to help in the kitchen and couldn’t get enough.

Years later, I'm a 20-something PhD student who hasn’t lost her childhood wonder for all things culinary. I love clean, healthy food with a lot of flavor and no recipes. If there is something I can make myself, I will dive right in regardless of difficulty, absurdity, or kitchen destruction. I love food and people seem to love the food I make.

So, I came to the question: Why not? Why not start a food blog? I love sharing my food, so why not share my food ideas?

And thus, Everything in the Kitchen Sink was born. It’s going to be delicious and it's going to be messy!

I think we're going to need a bigger sink...
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