Serves 3 people, depending on the size of the duck breast and your appetites
1 thick duck breast (magret), preferably very thick
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Score the skin side in ½-inch diamonds, only cutting into the fat layer and not into the meat. Make a mixture of 1 tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp ground black or green pepper. Rub the generously all over the magret.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and as it nears the desired temperature heat an oven-proof pan on medium heat. I prefer a cast iron pan. When the pan is hot, place the magret skin-side down. Cook for 7 minutes on that side. Drain excess fat and turn over magret.
Place pan in oven for 5 to 7 minutes (for rare center). Remove pan from oven, place magret on board and let rest 3 to 5 minutes in a warm place before slicing. Be sure to slice across the grain of the meat.
♦ATTN These times are for a thick magret: if yours is thinner, the cooking time will need to be reduced.
When sliced, it will make about 12-15 slices and serve 3 people.
Cream 1½ sticks butter until soft. Add 1 TBL Pernod, ½ tsp ground white pepper, 1 TBL fennel seeds (ground after measuring), ¼ tsp salt. Add ¾ cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 egg white. When mixed, add 1¾ cups flour and ⅔ cup cornmeal, blending just until mixed in. By hand, mix in grated lemon peel from 2 lemons.
Put dough into a pastry bag or plastic bag with a ½-inch opening cut at one corner. Pipe 3- to 4-inch cookies onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 1½ inches apart. Bake at 325 F convection for about 20 to 25 minutes. (Bake at 325 F non-convection for 25 to 30 minutes.) Cookies will be golden and brown around the edges.
Heat some oil in a large pot. Add 2 TBL finely minced garlic. Cook briefly, add 6 anchovies, mashing them as they cook. Add 1 cup white wine, 4 cups canned tomatoes with paste/pulp, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, ½ cup chopped parsley (fresh), 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes. Taste it before you add any salt or pepper… you probably won’t need either.
Add 3 dozen scrubbed and dried little neck clams. Cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Serve with large garlic croutons (slice bread, brush with olive oil, toast until golden brown and rub with cut garlic clove).
Puree 1 lb peeled, seeded yellow tomatoes with 1 TBL olive oil. (I was short on yellow so I added one red one: the soup is still a rich yellow.) This will make about 3 cups of juice. Add ¾ cup chicken stock. Strain through a coarse strainer to capture any seeds. To the puree add 2 tsp sherry vinegar and 3-4 TBL heavy cream. Chill.
*Small Recipe (for 9″ cake): Combine in top of double boiler, 2 egg yolks, zest of 3 lemons, ¼ cup lemon juice, pinch of salt, ¾ cup sugar and 3 TBL butter and cook as directed below.
*Full Recipe (for tube cake): Combine in top of double boiler, 4 egg yolks, zest of 4 lemons, ½ cup lemon juice, pinch of salt, 1½ cups sugar and 6 TBL butter.
Set double boiler over medium heat and stir mixture continuously making sure nothing sticks to the pan. Cook for 10-20 minutes… time varies according to the temperature of the ingredients, etc. It is done when the mixture starts to thick and it coats a spoon. (It thickens more when it cools completely.) Transfer to small bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled.
Beat whipping cream (8 ounces for small cake, 12 ounces for large) until it is thick, but peaks don’t form. Add lemon curd to taste, and beat more. Generally there will be more lemon curd than you will need to flavor the whipping cream, but it just depends on how you like it to taste.
The lemon curd keeps refrigerated up to 5 days. This is great with a fruit salad or as a filling for Lemon Cloud Cake.
For 9″ cake: With mixer, beat 3 egg whites, ½ TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) ¼ cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 1 cup flour, ½ cup sugar, 1¼ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. In mixer beat 3 egg yolks, 3 ounces milk, ¼ cup oil and 2 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.
For 10″ tube cake: With mixer, beat 7 egg whites, 1 TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) ½ cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2½ tsp baking powder and ¾ tsp salt. In mixer beat 7 egg yolks, ¾ cup milk, ½ cup oil and 4 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.
Add dry ingredients and beat about 2 minutes at medium speed. Fold in egg whites, blending thoroughly. Pour into an ungreased spring-form pan (9 inches is ideal). Bake about 50 minutes — don’t open oven until at least 45 minutes have passed. Cake rises and then settles back down. A finger pressed in gently into cake won’t leave a print when it’s done, and you can probably hear a crackling sound, too.
Cool in inverted pan for 30 minutes. If it’s a tube pan, rest inverted pan on a bottle. When completely cool, remove from pan, cut into layers and fill with Lemon Whipped Cream.
Chiffon cake doesn’t get hard in the refrigerator, so you can make and fill this a bit in advance.
Put 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup milk, ½ cup Grade B maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan. Add either 1½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped into mixture. Include the pod in the mixture, too. Heat until steaming, but do not let boil.
In a bowl, combine 4½ TBL (that’s a generous ¼ cup) of corn starch and ¾ cup milk. Stir with fingertips to confirm there are no lumps. Remove vanilla pod from pot. Add cornstarch mixture, cook, stirring until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring so it won’t scorch.
Strain and chill a couple of hours and freeze in ice cream maker.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine 4+ cups of pitted sour cherries (I prefer the bright red Montmorency cherries), 3 TBL minute tapioca, ¾ cup sugar and 2 TBL kirsch. Let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out pie crust and fit into 9-inch pie plate. Pour filling into crust, dot with 2 TBL butter cut into small pieces, cover with top crust and seal. Brush top with egg white.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until crust is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes more.
Make whipped cream using 2 cups heavy cream, 2 – 3 TBL confectioners’ sugar and 1 – 2 tsp vanilla. Spread ½ TBL whipped cream on each cookie in a box of Famous Chocolate wafers, building up a stack. Arrange two 7-inch stacks next to each other (on their sides) on a plate to form a cake. Cover generously with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight. Serve, cutting on diagonal.
The perfect thing for a hot summer night. Normal people will probably want to cut this in half or freeze some of: it freezes really well.
Peel and dice 3½ lbs of beets (to make 8 cups). Bring to simmer in pot with 8 cups water, ½ onion finely grated, 2-3 cloves garlic run through a garlic press and salt. When beets are cooked — not too soft — remove from heat and add sugar (2 TBL) and sour salt (½ tsp) to taste. Let cool. Mix with sour cream to serve and garnish with any of the following: diced boiled potatoes, diced cucumber, diced hard-boiled eggs or none of the above.
Easy as can be. Get a 1-inch thick swordfish steak. Let it come to room temperature and season lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Get the grill hot (400 degrees F.), and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes per side. I prefer charcoal but it works just fine on a gas grill.
In a pie plate, beat together 1 egg, ½ cup milk and some salt. Put some very fine (Indian Head brand) corn meal in another pie plate and mix with some ground pepper. Dip each cleaned soft-shell crab in the egg mixture, let drain a bit and dredge in the corn meal (on both sides). Heat a large frying pan, melt butter and fry crabs 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
Trim fennel bulb, cutting off bottom end of bulb. Slice vertically into thin slices. Saute in olive oil on high heat. Let brown, but not burn. You may want to cover it to accelerate the cooking. Toss in some Pernod, stir quickly and serve hot.
Don't wait a for a dinner invitation. Try cooking for yourself for a change.