Maple and Soy Roasted Duck

Maple and Soy Roasted DuckSo out of the three entrees served at Queen Victoria’s May 15, 1879, one of them was for Filet de Canetons aux Petits Pois or for those non-Frenchies, Fillets of Roasted Ducklings with Small Peas. Of course, I was able to find a Victorian Era recipe for the dish, but the recipe doesn’t fit with today’s tastes, it’s actually strangely both simple and rich at the same time. To fit with more modern tastes, today’s recipe is for a Maple and Soy Roasted Duck with a wine, thyme and grape sauce. Delicious! This dish will serve 6-8 people or can be halved easily for 4 people.

Filets de Canetons aux petits poisIngredients:

2 whole ducks (2 ½ kg each)
Fine sea salt to taste
4 sprigs of fresh thyme*
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 clementine or mandarin oranges, rinsed and quartered
3 teaspoons good quality soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Sauce:
2 ½ cups cabernet sauvignon red wine
2 sprigs of fresh thyme*
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups seedless red grapes, rinsed and halved
2 tablespoons jelly of choice (I recommend cherry, currant or raspberry)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean thyme properly.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the ducks from their packaging, empty the cavities and rinse under cold water. Make sure to pat dry the ducks inside and out. Cut off excess fat from the ends. Using a fork, prick the skin of the duck on top and underneath (on the fatty parts), without piercing the meat.

Season the duck with salt on the outside and inside the cavity. Stuff the each duck with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, the 4 cloves of garlic and 1 clementine or mandarin orange worth of quarters, and then truss.

Place the duck, breast side down, on a grill in an approximately 13 x 9 in broiling pan. If you don’t have a grill for your roasting pan, you can place a wire cooling rack used for baking in a deep casserole dish instead. Just make sure to indicate that the cooling rack is now considered a meat utensil. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, turn the ducks over to breast side up, and roast for another 30 minutes.

In the meantime, put the wine, grapes, 2 sprigs of thyme and jelly in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to half over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, or more to taste. Mix. Set aside. Take the ducks out of the oven, and baste with the fat and cooking juices. Put the ducks back in the oven and continue cooking until the skin turns golden brown, approximately 60 minutes.

Take the ducks out of the broiling pan. Mix the soy sauce and remaining maple syrup together and then brush the mixture over the ducks. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Empty the accumulated fat. Tilt the ducks to empty the cooking juices that have accumulated in the cavity. Skim off the juice and add to the sauce. Transfer the ducks to a serving plate. Remove string and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the sauce on the side.

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Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch

Chocolate Toffee Matzo CrunchThese make a nice dessert, or “something” to serve with afternoon tea. As to how much the recipe makes, well, enough for a family of five, but it all depends on how small you break up the pieces. Here’s a tip: If you’re finding it hard to spread the toffee or chocolate out smoothly, coat your spatula in a little oil or melted butter/margarine. This will allow you to apply a bit of pressure while you spread without the toffee or chocolate sticking to the spatula.

Ingredients:

4-6 matzos
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine (butter recommended)
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (use dairy free chocolate for pareve/vegan)
2 tablespoons chopped pecans (or your favourite Passover-friendly nut – optional)
Sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet tray with a layer of foil, then cover the foil with a sheet of parchment. Evenly cover the sheet tray with matzos. Break or cut the matzos into smaller pieces if necessary.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter/margarine, brown sugar, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 additional minutes and continue stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour the toffee mixture over the matzos. Use a spatula to spread evenly across the entire surface of the matzo. Make sure you spread it out fairly quickly or it will start to get sticky and become harder to smooth over.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. Check frequently to be sure that the mixture is not burning. If it appears to browning too quickly, remove the tray from the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees, then replace the tray when the temperature drops a bit.

Once 15 minutes have passed, remove the matzos from the oven and evenly sprinkle the chopped chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzo. Sprinkle the chopped pecans and a light sprinkle of sea salt over the top of the melted chocolate. While the matzos are still warm, break them into smaller squares or pieces. You can use a knife to break them up, but I like the rustic look of the “natural break”. Place in the freezer until the topping has set. Serve straight from the freezer, chilled, or at room temperature.

Fish Cakes with Citrus “Tartar” Sauce

Citrus Fish Cakes

This recipe will make fish cakes for a crowd, and is a nice alternative to traditional gefilte fish. The citrus in this recipe lightens up the dish, taking away from the fried aspect of it, and would make it a great idea for a lunch meal! Before you start wondering where you’re going to get such small amounts of freshly squeezed juices, simply use the lemon and orange that you just zested!

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)*
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch sugar
Pinch cayenne

Fish Cakes:
2 pounds carp (or perch or bass) fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley**
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
⅓ cup matzoh meal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup or more oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon sea salt

* Click here to see my tips on zesting citrus.
** Click here to see how to properly clean fresh parsley.

Directions:

To make the sauce:
In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill.

To make the fish cakes:
Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Working in 2 batches, in food processor pulse the fish until coarsely ground (do not purée to paste). Transfer to large bowl and add onion, parsley, mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, and orange juice. Mix gently until well blended, then add matzoh meal, salt, and pepper and mix gently until incorporated.

Using wet hands, roll mixture into 1 ¼ inch-diameter balls and press into ½ inch-thick patties. Arrange on baking sheet with additional waxed paper between each layer of patties. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

In large heavy skillet over high heat, heat ¼ inch oil. Working in batches of 5 and adding more oil as needed, fry patties until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot. Serve warm with sauce.

Coconut Flan

Coconut FlanIngredients:

2 cans full fat coconut milk
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional garnish)

Directions:

In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk until bubbling – careful to reduce the heat so it doesn’t bubble over! Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until total volume decreases by ⅓ original volume. Add in ½ cup sugar and whisk until dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Allow the mixture to cool while you make your caramel and your water bath.

Water bath:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and fill a baking dish with water just under half way up the side. Place in the oven.

Caramel:

In a small sauce pan heat remaining ½ cup sugar with water over medium high heat until completely dissolved and bubbling. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once the mixture is syrupy move quickly to pour equally into 6 ramekins or one deep pie dish.

Whisk eggs together until evenly mixed in a medium sized bowl. Slowly, pour a stream of the coconut mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t cook. It helps to do this a little at a time or have someone help you pour while you whisk.

Pour flan mixture into caramel-lined pan or ramekins. Place into hot water bath in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until custard is set (middle might be slightly wiggly still, which is ok).

Cool for 15 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour (preferably 3 hours or more).

To serve, run a knife alongside the pan or ramekins and carefully invert onto a plate, allowing the caramel to flow over the custard. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and serve!

Fajita Spice Mix

Fajita SeasoningA fajita is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.

So I call this a Fajita seasoning mix, but it can be used with tacos, chilies or anything that you want to give a south western flair to. You will notice the addition of two ingredients that may seem a bit out of place. First, there is the cocoa powder; you won’t taste it in the finished product, but the subtle chocolate flavour helps round out the other spices and notes of the blend. The second it the starch. I add this to help thicken, ever so slightly, the sauce/gravy that is created when using this blend, especially in fajitas or tacos. When it comes time to using the blend, other than as a dry rub, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (more to taste), 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. This will give you the slight saucy consistency you want.

This recipe will make about a cup of spice mix.

Ingredients:

¼ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon corn starch/potato starch/flour

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Can be kept for one to six months (depending on how airtight your container is).

Gluten-Free Fresh Egg Pasta

GF Egg Pasta
Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free rice flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup potato starch
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large free-range eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Place the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a rough dough. Tip out onto a rice flour-dusted surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Cut the dough into four pieces, then carefully press a portion out flat with your fingertips and start to roll it out using a pasta machine (cover the remaining portions with a lightly damp tea towel to avoid them drying out). If you are not using a pasta machine, then use a rolling pin and keep plenty of flour on hand to dust with if things become sticky. Try and roll the pasta out as thin as you can without breaking or tearing it. If you are using a machine, then start at the widest setting and roll the dough through it, lightly dusting with the rice flour if it sticks. Roll the pasta through the widest setting a second time, then click the machine down a setting and roll the dough through again.

Now, start clicking the settings down, rolling the pasta through each setting twice – gluten-free pasta isn’t as elastic as standard pasta, so make sure you avoid using the two narrowest settings, otherwise it may rip. Once you have a thin sheet of pasta (about 2mm thick), set aside on a flour-dusted surface and cover with a damp tea towel to avoid it drying out, then continue with the remaining dough.

Now’s the time to transform your dough into whichever variety of pasta you like. If you want to make tagliatelle, roll the pasta through the tagliatelle setting on your pasta machine, or use a sharp knife to slice the pasta sheets length ways into long strips (roughly 7mm thick), placing on a flour-dusted tray as you go. To cook, place in a pan of boiling salted water for around 3 minutes, or until al dente, then serve how you like it.

Gluten Free Chewy Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Ginger CookiesNormally, I wait until the end of the week to give you a dessert recipe, but these are so good, I couldn’t wait! I’m sure you’ll forgive me! Most of these ingredients will be found either online or in specialty stores, but even some of the larger supermarkets carry them these days. If you can’t find them though, substitutions are okay! Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups chickpea flour
1 ½ cups gluten-free oat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
5 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1 ½ cups coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons almond/soy milk
large grain sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside. In another large bowl, cream the oil and sugar with an electric mixer, then beat in the molasses. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat until combined.

A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with electric mixer on medium-low until all flour is combined and no lumps remain (batter will be thick and sticky at this point). Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from refrigerator. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop balls of dough out onto prepared baking sheet, spacing each cookie 2 inches apart. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until they darken a bit and are fragrant. Place cookies on a rack and let them cool before eating. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.

Gluten Free Cheddar Cheese Crisps

GF Cheese CrispsWho says you can’t have a yummy snack when you’re Gluten-Free? These cheese crisps will give you both the crunch and the salt that you crave! This recipe will make about 50 bite size crackers. Note: You do not have to use organic products to make this recipe, however, it couldn’t hurt, could it?

Ingredients:

½ cup organic coconut flour
½ cup organic brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
2 tablespoons organic brown flax seeds

Directions:

Heat your oven to 275 degrees. In a food processor blend all ingredients together except the flax seeds. Once dough comes together turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the flax seeds. Roll to desired thickness and cut into bite size pieces. I suggest 1/16 inch thickness. Distribute pieces onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, turning at 12 minutes. Crackers will be brown and hard when done. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to a week, or until they are all gone 🙂

Maple-Cured Salmon & Barley Risotto

Salmon & Barley Risotto

When preparing this dish, make the barley first, as it takes quite a bit of time to cook from it’s raw stage to it’s fully cooked stage that you will need it to be to make the risotto.  Once it is cooked, the risotto stage is fairly fast. While you can skip the parsley emulsion, I would not skip the mustard sauce, as it definitely adds the kick that the dish needs. To learn how to clean barley and parsley, click here.

Maple Cured Salmon

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds skin-on salmon filet
½ cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over a large sheet pan and top with salmon, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine maple sugar and the salt. Rub onto salmon flesh. Cook in preheated 475F oven for 10 minutes. Turn oven on to broil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the fish rest. When you are ready to serve, cut it into 6 portions. For the mustard sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and a pinch of sea salt. See below on how to plate.

Barley Risotto

Ingredients:

8 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups dried pearl barley
Pinch + 1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups crimini and stemmed shitake mushrooms, chopped (or any other type of mushroom)
2 cups 35% cream
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot, bring stock to boil over high heat. Add barley and pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until soft, about 2 hours. Drain. Return barley to pot. In a medium pan, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cream to barley mixture. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until well-mixed and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan and 1 tablespoon of sea salt.

Parsley Emulsion

Ingredients:

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a blender, combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, parsley, and two pinches sea salt. Pulse until smooth.

Plating suggestions:

To serve, divide risotto among 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with parsley emulsion. Top each with one portion salmon. Drizzle fish with mustard mixture. Enjoy!