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Honey and Mustard Marinade

I don’t like pre-fab foods. Maybe it is because I like to cook, that I figure why buy a ready made mix or sauce or marinade, which has any number of preservatives, colorings, and what-nots in it, when I am perfectly capable of making it myself. Thus I make most of my foods at home from scratch. It may take a bit more time, but I think it is worth it. It’s my small part in making sure we are eating healthy, yet still delicious.

Since we eat chicken quite often, I have to find a different way of cooking it so we don’t get bored. Fine by me! I enjoy experimenting. Roasted chicken is a family favorite, and with a few marinade recipes under your belt, you can add variety in flavors while keeping the meal simple.

Honey and Mustard marinade

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tablsp. Mustard

1 tsp. Whole grain mustard

Pepper (I like to use whole grains in a grinder)

paprika

1 tblsp. Honey

Instructions:

honeymustard02

Crush the garlic with salt using a mortar and pestle.

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I use a small ceramic one. I learned about the garlic/salt crush in Brazil. It definitely makes a difference in the flavour.

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Once it is crushed add the mustards.

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Next the pepper, paprika, and honey. Mix together well and use. You can also use this as a BBQ sauce, or a dip for Chinese fondue or stone-grilled meat. Works the best with chicken or pork.

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Stuffed Zucchini

Here is a nice simple way to add some variety to your veggie intake, stuffed zucchini. It can be either a side dish or a main vegetarian dish.

This recipe serves 2 to 8, depending on if it is a side or a main.

Ingredients:

2 zucchini halved

4 small mushrooms

½ onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tblsp. Butter

salt

pepper

paprika

parmsesan

grated cheese

Instructions:

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Cut the zucchini in half.

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Using a knife and/or spoon scoop out the inside, leaving just a thin edge.

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Cut up the parts you scooped out into small pieces. Chop the onion.

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Slice the mushrooms into small pieces.

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Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the mushrooms. Next the zucchini bits and allow it to cook for a minute or so. Add the salt, pepper and paprika. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.

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Mix in the grated cheese.

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Fill the zucchini halves with the mixture. Top with Parmesan and bake about 15 minutes at 180° C, then under grill setting at 200° C till the Parmesan is lightly browned.

Because I Love My Duck

We are fortunate to live close to Germany where food is very reasonably priced. We find duck often at an extremely good cost, so are able to have it regularly.

I do not recall cooking duck much before 2012, so it took a few tries and some research, to make good tender meat and nice crispy skin. I finally settled on a method that has worked perfectly every time I used it. I based it off of the method described by Jessie Cross at The Hungry Mouse.

Roast Duck

If frozen, take your duck out 2 days ahead and let defrost in the refrigerator. If fresh, then never mind. In the morning remove the innards, wash the inside, and trim the extra fat on the ends. Place the innards in a pan and make duck stock for your gravy, and set aside the fat for use in frying your stuffing.

Put the duck in a baking tray and set in a sink. Pour boiling water over it. This is the first step to getting that crispy skin. Pat the duck dry with a paper towel and set it in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

duck

In the meanwhile prepare the stuffing. (see below for one idea)

Set oven to 150°C (300 F). Pull out your duck. With a sharp knife score along the top just cutting the fat. Take care not to go to deep. You do not want to cut through the skin, just the fatty part. Using a needle, poke all over the skin. This allows the fat to escape and will help make that skin crisp.

duck scored

Stuff your duck and seal the cavity with a skewer. I use a wooden one that I soak in water to keep it from burning too much.

Bake duck as follows: this goes for a 1.8 (4 lbs) to 2 kg (4.4 lbs) duck. For bigger then that, add one or two more half hours depending on the size of the duck. For a 2.4 kg, (5.2 lbs) I needed close to three hours.

150°C (300 F)

bake ½ hour; flip and poke

bake ½ hour; flip, poke, pour out fat

bake ½ hour; flip, poke

bake ½ hour; flip, poke, pour out fat, glaze

raise oven temperature 200°C (400 F)

20 min; carve

To finish, lay carved duck on top of the extra stuffing. If some pieces are undercooked, pop back in the oven for a few minutes. Serve.

Unfortunately I was too stressed to get dinner out before the baby woke up that I forgot all about my plan to take a pic of the finished duck. I will try to update this post sometime in the future if I manage to remember to grab the camera and shoot before serving.

Date and Cashew Stuffing

Ingredients:

duck fat scraps

1 tblsp. butter

½ cup chicken stock

½ cup pineapple juice

½ cup red wine

3 cloves of garlic

2 mushrooms chopped

5 or 6 large slices of bread, diced

100 gr. Dates

60 gr. Cashews chopped

salt and pepper

1 tsp. rosemary

stuffing ingredients

Instructions:

In a large frying pan, fry the duck skin to let loose the fat. When the skin is crisp, remove it from the pan. Add the butter. When melted fry the garlic, mushrooms, dates and cashews for a few minutes. Add the rosemary and bread. Fry till toasted. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Add the broth, juice, and wine, salt and pepper. Mix. Stuff bird then put remaining stuffing in a shallow baking dish to heat up right before serving.

The finished product

The finished product

Glaze

Ingredients:

¼ cup honey

¼ cup molasses

1 tblsp. Worcester sauce

1 tblsp. Lemon juice

2 tblsp. Apple juice

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a small pan and bring to boil. Allow to cook on a low heat until slightly thickened. Using a cooking paintbrush, glaze the duck when needed. You will have leftover glaze. Save it for the gravy.

Gravy

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup red wine

1 cup apple juice

1 cup duck broth

leftover glaze

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Put the red wine in a small sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Leave to boil till it is reduced by about ½ . Add the apple juice and the duck broth. Let boil about 5 minutes. Add the leftover glaze and salt and pepper as needed.