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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Easy Barbecue Chicken

BBQ ChickenI got this recipe from a family friend and neighbour, Stella Katz, and it is quite the winner! Easy and delicious, you’ll make it over and over again! This recipe will feed 4-6 people.

Ingredients:

1 chicken, divided (you could also use breasts, or what ever cut your family prefers)
8 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, chopped*
2+ cloves of garlic, minced (depends how garlicky you want it)
1 ½ lemons, juiced
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
3-4 tablespoons honey

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Instructions:

Combine ingredients together in a extra large zip-loc bag to create a marinade. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, and let marinate for up to 24 hours. To cook, grill chicken on a BBQ or indoor grill, until the juices run clear. This dish can also be baked in a 350 degree oven, for 30 to 45 minutes.

Easy Marinades

Marinades 101These marinades use ingredients that you likely have on hand. Remember that they typical ratio for marinades is one part oil to three or four parts acid, with extra ingredients added to taste. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk, then transfer the marinade to a large freezer bag and add your favourite protein. Seal the bag, turning it so the protein is exposed to the marinade, and refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight, for meats or tofu, or about 1 hour to 4 hours for fish.

Honey Barbecue Marinade
Olive oil + Dry Red Wine + Honey + Crushed Garlic + Pepper

Fresh Mediterranean Herb Marinade
Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Finely Chopped Rosemary* and Basil* + Salt + Pepper

Asian Fusion Buttermilk Marinade
Sesame Oil + Buttermilk** + Ground Ginger + Cilantro* + Soy Sauce + Pepper

* Click here to learn how to clean these herbs.
** Click here on tips for making non-dairy buttermilk.

Hot and Sour Chinese Eggplant

hot and sour eggplantIngredients:

4 long Chinese eggplants, cubed
4 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 green chili peppers, chopped (to taste)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons chili oil (to taste)
1 tablespoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Place the eggplant cubes into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Fill with enough water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well, and drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sugar, chili pepper, cornstarch and chili oil. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant until it is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant is evenly coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Ginger Sesame Peanut Chicken Noodles

Chicken Peanut NoodlesIngredients:

5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 ½ red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 ½ green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ lb. linguine or spaghetti noodles
¾ cup Peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground ginger root
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Sauté the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, until chicken is browned. Remove from the skillet. Add remaining canola oil and sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and ginger. Once the vegetables have softened and caramelized, return the chicken to the skillet and add the peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, chili peppers, and salt and pepper.

In a separate pot, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, removing from the water just a minute or two shy of fully cooked. Add the pasta to the skillet with the chicken mixture, and toss to coat. You can add some of the pasta water to the sauce if needed to be thinned out. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the pasta and serve warm.

Chinese Happy Family

Chinese Happy FamilyThis dish is called a “Happy Family” because it is blend of all different ingredients, coming together to make something delicious, much like how a family is. This recipe can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting tofu for the chicken. You can also use beef instead of chicken. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Ingredients:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes/strips
1 tablespoon oil

Marinade:
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Vegetables:
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 ½ cups sugar-snap peas
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water chestnuts
1 ¾ cups baby corn
1 ½ cups bamboo shoots, sliced

Stir-fry Sauce:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water/chicken broth

½ cup sliced green onions*

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour them into a large freezer bag or a bowl that you can marinate the chicken in. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight.

In a wok or large skillet, on medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of oil and sauté the chicken pieces until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan. DO NOT put them back into the bag or bowl that you were marinating in. That is a good way to get food poisoning! Just set the chicken (and any juices) aside on a clean plate or bowl.

Next, add the ¼ cup of oil (or less) to the wok/skillet and add the onions and carrot. Toss to coat and let cook for about 2 minutes. Next add the peppers, tossing and allowing to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Next add the peas and mushrooms, then the water chestnuts, corn and bamboo shoots. Allow everything to cook together for another 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken back to wok/skillet.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce. Make sure you have fully incorporated the cornstarch, so that it is not too lumpy. Pour the sauce over the stir-fry/chicken mixture. Allow the sauce to come up to temperature and you will notice it begins to thicken. Once it has done this, toss the stir-fry to cover everything in the sauce. Serve hot garnished with the green onions. This dish goes really well with rice or noodles.

* To learn how to properly clean green onions, click here.

Authentic Chinese Egg Rolls

Egg RollsOriginal recipe makes 20 egg rolls

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded*#
½ carrot, julienned#
1 (8 ounce) can shredded bamboo shoots
1 cup dried, shredded wood ear mushroom, re-hydrated (or other mushroom)
1 pound barbecued or roasted meat or tofu, cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced*
2 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 (14 ounce) package egg roll wrappers
1 egg white, beaten
oil for frying, as needed

Directions:

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Pour in beaten eggs and cook, without stirring, until firmed. Flip the eggs over and cook for an additional 20 seconds to firm the other side. Set egg pancake aside to cool, then slice into thin strips.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in cabbage and carrot; cook for 2 minutes to wilt. Add bamboo, mushroom, meat/tofu, green onions, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Continue cooking until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in sliced egg, then spread mixture out onto a pan, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

To assemble the egg rolls, place a wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush a little beaten egg white onto the top two edges of the wrapper, then fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the egg roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the egg roll with the egg white. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers, covering finished egg rolls with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Heat about 6-inches of oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry egg rolls 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Alternatively, for a healthy version, you can bake the egg rolls at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown.

* To see how to properly clean cabbage and green onions, click here.

# For ease of convenience, you can purchase pre-cleaned, pre-checked, bags of shredded cabbage and carrots.

Dates – תמרים

Date in Hebrew is תמרים related to the word תם—to end, and so on that note we make the following request when eating this symbolic date:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּתַּמּוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that there come an end to our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us.

So having this in mind, here are two recipes for how to serve up your war-ending dates this year!

Dolci Datteri

Dolci Datteri – Sweet Stuffed Dates

Makes 24 dates

Ingredients:

24 pitted dates
½ cup chopped, toasted pine nuts (or nut of your choice)
6 tablespoons red wine
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
½ cup honey

Directions:

Stuff dates with chopped nuts in the empty cavity left by removing the pit. Place the dates in a medium sized sauté pan. Sprinkle with pepper if desired. Add wine, and then drizzle honey over the dates. Cook over a medium heat until the skins begin to peel off the fruit. Transfer the dates to a serving dish, and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Angels on Camels

Devils on Horseback – Angels on Camels?

This recipe originally called for the use of bacon, but I’ve switched it up with the use of deli meat instead, and re-named them Angels on Camels rather than Devils!

Makes 20 dates

Ingredients:

20 wooden toothpicks
¼ cup reduced-sodium or regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup brown sugar
20 dates, pitted
20 whole smoked or roasted almonds
10 thin slices of turkey or beef pastrami, cut in half to make strips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Soak the toothpicks in a bowl of water (so they don’t burn in the oven). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce and ginger. In a separate shallow bowl place the brown sugar. Spread open the pitted date, and stuff each one with an almond. Wrap a strip of the pastrami around the date and then secure in place with a toothpick. Dip the bundle in the soy mixture and then into the brown sugar, and then place on the prepared baking dish. Repeat this process with each of the dates. If desired, sprinkle a little more brown sugar over all of the bundles. Bake in the preheated oven until the pastrami is brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving; serve warm or at room temperature.

Crisp n’ Crunchy Stir-Fry

Stir Fry

Serve this with short grain brown rice which has a really nice nutty flavour and pleasantly chewy texture. Add tofu or shredded chicken if you like, though it will no longer be vegetarian if you do. Some tips regarding the ingredients listed: If you do not have rice wine, you can always use Gin or Dry White Wine instead. If you do not have Coconut Oil, you can use Vegetable, Canola or Olive; just as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavour. With regards to the broccoli, I do not recommend using fresh, as it is close to impossible to check for insects. Instead, frozen florets are available with reliable hechshers at your local grocery store.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup stock or water
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 cup finely sliced carrots (1-2 medium sized carrots)
2 cups broccoli small florets
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

Directions:

Remember the number one stir-fry rule: prepare everything before you start cooking. Wash, dry and trim all of the vegetables and then slice and chop them as described above, keeping them in neat separate piles, perhaps in small bowls. Portion out the cashews and chili flakes.

Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients but the cornstarch. Mix a little liquid with the cornstarch to make a smooth paste before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.

In a wide skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cashews and toss and stir until browned; remove pan from heat and cashews to a kitchen towel. Return the pan to the heat add the other tablespoon of coconut oil, when hot, add the garlic, ginger and chili; cook quickly for not even a minute, briskly stirring. Add the carrots, broccoli and celery, stir several times. Add the mushrooms and pepper; stir fry for a minute or two and then pour in the sauce; bring to a bubble and cover. Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and coated everything well. Add the cashews back in, stir to combine and serve on rice.

Teriyaki Chicken

Terriayki Chicken

This sticky, sweet and tangy chicken recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. You’ll find the meat is juicer and MUCH less expensive! Yields 8 Servings

Ingredients:

3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce
⅓ cup cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ tsp. ground ginger
4 ½ tsp. cornstarch
4 ½ tsp. cold water
1 bunch scallions
Sesame seeds
Rice

Directions:

Place chicken in a 4-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper; pour over chicken. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Bring cooking juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Toss the chicken in the sauce, saving some to pour over the rice. Thinly slice the green portion of the scallion and top the chicken with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve the chicken up over hot rice.

In order to make this ahead of time, in a large gallon sized freezer bag, place the chicken, and combine the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper and pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Rub the chicken through the bag, rubbing the marinade over and into chicken. Store the bag flat in the freezer until frozen through, then you can stand it up until you’re ready to use it. When it comes to the day you decide to serve the chicken, cook on low for 8 hours, and then follow the rest of the steps for preparing the sauce the same as above.