Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Love to love you

Valentine's Day, the 2009 edition. We don't really make a big deal but I do like to cook a nice meal:

Vday 2009
Citrus salad made with grapefruit and oranges. Chiffonaded some mint, sliced some red onions and topped with prosciutto and kalamata olives. A little sprinkle of pepper and then drizzled with extra virgin and good balsamic - so refreshing!

Vday 2009
For the main course, roast duck with apricot-port-balsamic sauce, roasted parsnips and carrots with sage, and some sauteed potatoes.

To roast the duck, put it on a rack and roast breast side up at about 400. Our oven gets really hot so I usually roast at 350-375. After about 30 mins, flip the duck over and roast for 10 mins. I've had disasters doing this in the past so I've found the best way to do it is to take big metal tongs and use the body cavity to turn it over. Juice from the cavity might spill out so be careful of splatter! Roast for another 20 mins, let rest and then carve. I love duck and it's so sad to me that one whole duck feeds only two people :( All that fat and air is good for keeping them afloat I guess.

The recipe I used for the sauce was from Epicurious. I made my own "demi-glace" by boiling beef stock with duck gizzards until it reduced, and used sherry instead of brandy because that's what I had instead. What resulted was a rich, slightly sweet sauce with plump apricots.

For the parsnips and carrots I just peeled and sliced them, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roasted them for about 15-20 minutes. I added chopped sage at the last minute and they crisped up nicely.

Chocolate mousse with olive oil

For dessert I made chocolate mousse the night before using a recipe from Delicious Days. In three separate bowls I had to whip heavy cream, egg yolks and egg whites. BY HAND!!! I did the cream last and by the time I got to it I had to break out the electric mixer. Just the handheld, variety, but it did the job. This recipe used olive oil, which gave a nice richness but also made it a little heavy. The mousse tasted delicious but was too dense. Alex said it was like cake that melts in your mouth, which was a nice compliment.

All in all a pretty stress free evening. And, now I have a little tub of frozen duck fat to cook with! Should last me until the fall.

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