Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Oven Roasted Duck Legs












I really enjoy Duck but I often forgot to make it. That's probably because I never had it much as a child, except when we had Peking Duck at a Chinese banquet and then it was more about the crispy skin than the meat. Later, I developed a real love for Roast Duck that I would buy at the Chinese Deli and would save the bones to make Thai Duck Noodle Soup. And although Duck was still a little harder to find, I started eating it more and usually bought at my local Asian Market. Lately I've been eating it a lot because I've been ordering it and having it delivered.


First I started buying Duck Breasts and pan searing them to render the fat and then finishing them in the oven, much like Steak. But last night, I decided to make Oven Roasted Duck Legs because I wanted to replicate Duck Confit for a salad. For those of you who've never made Duck Confit, it is Duck Legs (which also includes the Thigh) cooked in Duck Fat. I didn't have any Duck Fat, so I slow Roasted the Duck instead and the accumulated fat and juices basted the Duck Legs. It turned out so well. What I like about this recipe is that like Duck Breasts, you do start them in a frying pan to get the skin browned and then put the Duck Legs in a baking dish, pour in the rendered fat, cover them with foil and cook for 1-1/2 hours. Then you take off the foil and cook them for another 30 minutes until they've crisped up. You can use any number of herbs and spices along with some Salt. I went for the simplest Chinese version, which was just Salt mixed with a little Five Spice Powder. I ate one leg last night with some Chinese Plum Sauce, some Rice and a Cucumber Salad and I was very happy!  I used some of the leftover Duck in a Salad today and I'll make some soup tomorrow using the bones as a base for the broth. Duck is delicious!



Oven Roasted Duck Legs

4 Duck Legs
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Five Spice Powder

Heat the oven to 325 degrees


Mix together the Salt and Five Spice Powder in a little bowl.


Season each Duck Leg all over with 1/4 teaspoon of the Seasoning. Place each Duck Leg skin side down in a frying pan big enough to hold all 4 or cook them in two batches. Heat the pan to medium high for 7 - 8 minutes to render some fat and brown the skin, turn over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.


Put the Duck Legs skin side up in a glass baking dish with enough room for them all to fit. Pour in the accumulated fat and cover with a piece of foil. Cook for 1-1/2 hours. Take them out of the oven, remove the foil and put back in for an additional 30 minutes. If you want the skin to be even crisper, you can turn the oven on to broil after you've drained off al the fat and juices. But only leave the Duck Legs under the broiler for a minute or two and be careful not to burn them. Serve with the sauce of your choice.


Five Element Analysis


Duck is considered a Water Element food and is used as a Yin tonic in Chinese Dietary Therapy. The Five Spice Powder brings in just a hint of the Metal Element, so build your meal around this very Watery food.



Saturday, July 18, 2020

Lomo Saltado - Peruvian Steak and Potatoes













I have a great love for both Steak and French Fries so any meal where they are served together makes me very happy!  Lomo Saltado goes a bit further and serves the Steak on top of the French Fries, which allows some of the Fries to get softened from the sauce of the dish. It's absolutely delicious!  It is a dish from Peru where a Chinese stir-fry met Peruvian Potatoes. It's part of the Chifa Cuisine of Peru. My Mom's Peruvian friend made it for me a long time ago and it became one my favorite dishes to make for many years. But like many things I used to cook, I completely forgot about it until recently when I was talking to my son about cooking frozen French fries and I told him how I used to use them for this dish.  Of course, I had to show him how good Lomo Saltado is and I am happy to say he loved it too!  

I do several things a little differently then the restaurant versions. First, I don't use the Aji Amarillo Chiles, as they are very hot. You can buy the paste online. My son added hot sauce to his, but I like mine not spicy. Also, I don't add Vinegar, even though it's traditional. However, I do use Soy Sauce (Gluten Free naturally) and I like to add a bit of Cumin too. It's usually made with a cut of Beef like a Sirloin Steak, but I used Bison Steaks instead. Be sure to use a wok if you have one, but a cast iron skillet is a good substitute.

Lomo Saltado actually a very simple dish, especially if you use frozen French Fries. They actually take the longest to cook. as once the Steak, Red Onion, Red Peppers and Tomatoes are cut up, it takes only minutes to cook it all in the wok.This dish is easily doubled if you are serving more people, but be sure to cook the meat 1/2 at a time to make sure it browns properly. Then you pile the French Fries on plates and serve the Steak on top. You can also serve it on the side if you want your French Fries to stay crispier and if you like, you can serve it with Rice too. It's so good!

Lomo Saltado - Peruvian Steak and Potatoes

1 pound of Steak (Beef or Bison)
1/2 large Red Onion, sliced thin (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 Red Pepper or a mixture of small Red, Yellow and Orange Peppers, trimmed and sliced
2 Roma Tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, divided
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Tamari
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: 1 teaspoon Aji Amarillo Paste or Hot Sauce
Optional:  1 Tablespoon White Vinegar

Serve with 4 cups of French Fries, cooked in the oven until crisp.

Slice the Steak into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with Salt and Pepper.

Heat a wok and add in 2 Tablespoons of OIl. Put in the Steak slices and let cook until it gets brown. Then turn the slices over with a spatula and cook the other side. Remove to a bowl.  Wipe out the wok and add the additional 1 Tablespoon of Oil. Then put in the Red Onion and Peppers. Cook until the Onions soften, about 2 minutes. Then add in the Tomatoes and  cook until the Onions just begin to brown and the Tomatoes are soft, about another minutes. Then add in the Cumin, toss it all together and then add in the Meat. Drizzle in the Soy Sauce and add the Hot Space and Vinegar, if using. Toss together again to blend all the ingredients and take off the heat. 

To serve:  Put the French Fries on plates and divide the Meat Mixture and the sauce and place on top or on the side of the Potatoes. Sprinkle with Cilantro to serve.

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and I think Bison probably does too. The Potatoes are also an Earth food. So overall, this is a very Earthy dish!  The Onions contribute the Metal Element along with the Cilantro. The Peppers, Tomatoes and Hot Sauce all bring in the Fire Element and the Soy Sauce adds the Water Element.  Only the Wood Element is missing except for the hint of it in the Cilantro, so be sure to serve a leafy green vegetable on the side.  


Monday, July 6, 2020

Miso Glazed Cauliflower











If I had to pick a favorite flavor, it would be a choice between Salty and Savory/Umami because I love them both. And some wonderful ingredients are both - like Miso. Besides making Miso into a delicious soup, I find it to be a wonderful glaze for roasted vegetables. I previously posted a recipe with Eggplant, but my son Stephen helped me create a more traditional Japanese style sauce. This sauce uses both Sake and Mirin, but if you only have Mirin, just reduce the amount of Sugar that you use. The little bit of Sugar is important though, as it what is needed for the sauce to caramelize a bit so don't leave it out. This is a very easy dish to make. All you have to do is roast the Cauliflower and while it is cooking, you whip up the sauce. Then for the last few minutes, you toss the Cauliflower in the sauce and put it back in the oven on the broiler setting until it is just beginning to char on the edges and even and the glaze is bubbly.  It's wonderful!

Miso Glazed Cauliflower

1 large head of Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Miso Paste
2 Tablespoons Sake
2 Tablespoons Mirin (or double if not using Sake)
2 Tablespoons Sugar (use only 1 T if only using Mirin)
2 Tablespoons Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees

Separate the Cauliflower into florets, cutting off the tough part of the stem. Rinse and drain. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with the Oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Pour onto a sheet pan and place the oven. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the florets are just starting to turn brown.

In the meantime, put the Miso, Sake, Mirin and Sugar into a small pan. Stir and heat until the mixture just begins to bubble and the Sugar is melted. Take off the heat and cool.

Remove the Cauliflower from the oven. Turn the oven on to broil.  

Put the Cauliflower back into the mixing bowl and pour the glaze over. Toss lightly to coat. Put the Cauliflower back onto the sheet pan and put into the oven. Cook for about 3 minutes or more until the sauce is bubbly and the ends of the Cauliflower start to char. Serve hot or cold.

Five Element Analysis

Miso is a salty and savory condiment that belongs to both the Water and Metal Element. Cauliflower is one of the few Metal vegetables, so this is a mostly Metallic dish. However, the Fire Element shows up in the Sake and Mirin. And because the Mirin is also sweet along with the Sugar, it brings in the Earth Element too. Only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to serve this with another dish that incorporates Green Vegetables and whatever main dish you like to create a balanced meal!