Las Vegas: Alex at the Wynn

Dining at Alex at the Wynn summed up our trip to Las Vegas very well. This is the last of the food series in Vegas – and it was also the most memorable one because it was the first true fine dining experience I’ve ever had! When compared to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Alex’s atmosphere is very classy and high end, everything in the restaurant were cover in gold weaves and a large crystal chandelier – it just screams Fine Dining. Although, the food in both food establishments are comparable – both were equally very good. P preferred Alex over L’Atelier and I vice versa. It’s not that I don’t think food at Alex isn’t great, far from that, it’s just a little bit too rich for my palate. I enjoyed the conventional pairing of flavors tremendously.
P and I both had tasting menus. As P is vegetarian, the staff printed a new menu just to accommodate him. If that isn’t five star service, I don’t know what is. The regular tasting menu fare changes from time to time. Thank god for the fact that the good waiter gave me a copy of my menu tied up in a brown ribbon, otherwise I would have forgotten the names.
So, on to the courses.

 


To start us off, the waiter swooped to our table with two platters and told us that it was from the compliments of the chef. It was an array of amuse bouche that we were told to start from left to right. P had almost the same thing except his was without the beef tartare opening.

 

 


Next came the first course from our tasting menu. Mine is Santa Barbara Prawn Carpaccio with Osetra Caviar, Giant Clam and Celery Salad. This is very similar to L’Atelier’s langoustine carpaccio but with the caviar, there is a rich and nutty flavor to it, a stark contrast to L’Atelier’s fresh and clean flavor.

 

 


P’s was a savory warm panna cotta, I think it’s flavored with Parmesan. Smooth and creamy, just as good as his corn and truffle cream at L’Atelier. :)

 

 


My second course was Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Sea Urchin Linguini, Lime Zst and Brussel Sprouts. The linguini was black as it was made with squid ink – it is my first time eating squid ink pasta and I must say, it tastes exactly like any other pasta except that it’s black. The whole dish was delicious. I loved how the sea urchin gave the pasta a very butter flavor – as if the poached butter lobster wasn’t buttery enough. It was sinfully good.

 

 


P’s was a gnocchi dish. The gnocchi was so soft and pillowy, it almost melts in the mouth. With the buttery cream sauce over the top, P swore he’d never look at gnocchi the same way again. Oh yea, ricotta was a main ingredient in those gnocchi!

 

 


The richness just kept on coming. The next non-vegetarian course was a thick slice of sauteed foie gras. Oh. My. God. It was so rich, when I put a piece in my mouth, I could have swore I ate butter but then this subtle flavor of the dried fruit mostarda cuts through along with the refreshing Hakurei Turnips really made this dish. I won’t order foie gras but I would order this foie gras dish.

 

 


P’s dish was a medley of vegetables – unfortunately, I don’t remember what it was anymore but I remembered him enjoying every bite on this plate.:)

 

 


Next was Dover Sole with Gem Lettuce, Chanterelles, Oven Dried Tomatoes and Red Wine Reduction. Lovely sole was coated with Parmesan, which gives it a very salty and creamy flavor.

 

 


P’s course with mine. It was a roasted tomato relish over chives pancake. Simple but effectively good.

 

 


Last of the savory course was the Wagyu Beef with Parsnip custar, Bordelaine Sauce and Crispy Bone Marrow Fritter. God this is crazy. That beef was so tender, I don’t think I can eat regular beef ever again. Which is a good thing because I don’t cook beef at home anyway. The wagyu was beautifully marbled and melts in your mouth with every bite. Notice how everything here melts in your mouth like butter?

 

 


P’s course was a slice of meaty mushroom. I think it’s rabbit’s foot but I could be wrong. Now, P is not a big mushroom fan but he Loves truffle…this dish was so good, he couldn’t believe it was just straight up mushroom.

 

Our dessert was the most wonderful of all. We had three desserts and mini cake even though there was only two dessert items on the menu. Compliments from the chef, according to the wait staff – we won’t complain. Maybe it was because we were celebrating our anniversary. ;)

However at the end, we were SO full we could no longer take a bite but we trudge on with the first and second dessert.

 


Coconut Tapioca with Tropical Fruits was the most ridiculous tasting thing we have ever had. How do they expect us to go back to our lives the way it was before after we’ve tasted this?? This wonderful dessert was a beautiful balance of flavors and so light, but at the same time …rich? I can’t fully explain it without my head getting a bit fuzzy. It was that good.

 

 


Second dessert item was the toasted vanilla brioche with butter poached apples and maple ice cream. This is perhaps the weakest link of the dessert. I liked the poached apples but everything else were just okay. And oddly enough, Mr. Sweettooth agreed.

 

 


By this time, we were really, really full. We want to just crawl out of this majestic dining room to catch Phantom of the Opera when the waiter swooped by again with two platters of desserts. 5 different options on each plate…AND a miniature cake with a “Happy Anniversary” written on a white chocolate marzipan (forgot to take a picture of that one). Goodness.. we decided to take the desserts away because we really had to go, and quite frankly we didn’t want to further test the limit of our stomach. On our way out, we were given a box of macarons courtesy of the reception. Food was delicious but there’s only so much deliciousness one can take. The desserts as we attested the next day were delicious, the macarons were te most delightful thing to eat.Ever. Perfect breakfast, imo. Though, I wished we had the time gone back to Tableau for a quick lunch before heading back to Montreal.

 

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Las Vegas: Breakfast and Brunch at Tableau

One of the nicest, most memorable experience we had in Las Vegas was having brunch at Tableau. This establishment is located at the Wynn, and serves only breakfasts/brunch and lunch; each with a slightly different menu selections. What makes this place special is the 5-star treatment you get despite looking like the worse mother-hangover in the morning. Not that we were hung over or anything, maybe a bit giddy after L’Atelier. The food was unworldly delicious, everything on the menu was made in-house, from sausages, to their danishes, breads and even their ketchup!

While P and I poured through their one page breakfast menu, we had a hard time choosing what to eat. So many things to try and in the end we settled on two choices; for her, the Tableau Breakfast and for him, a White Chocolate and Orange Bread French Toast.


That morning we were in a silent and content mode, after L’Atelier the night before. Our conversations were peppered with previous night’s meal when our our extremely proper and appeasing waiter, Peter, arrived with my basket of hot breads and three breakfast condiments. Instantly, we knew it was going to be a very good morning. The basket had three types of confections, all freshly made that morning and jams were strawberry, and marmalade and freshly whipped butter.


When our main meals arrived, our eyes glued to P’s White Chocolate and Orange Bread French Toast. It was a sight to behold, I tell you. Thick golden bread with crispy edges, powdered with icing sugar sends wafts of orange flower perfumes over to my end of the table. I almost fainted with delight.



And my plate was a very typical breakfast fare of homemade sausages, eggs over easy and potato cakes with some wheat toast. Not the prettiest, but definitely hearty. I don’t really like sweet foods for my mornings except for my coffee.

I did try a bite of the French toasts and it was really as good as it looks. Peter did say we can never find this served anywhere else but here.

Peter was an excellent waiter, he had a regal to him that makes you feel like he’s your personal butler. Every conversation ended with a prim and proper nod, “sir”, “ma’am”, “very well, sir”, “wonderful choice, ma’am”, “an excellent pick, sir” and so on. And he served us so well, we felt pampered. The beautiful English-style decor was a little intimidating at first because of it’s grandness but after a while, it grows on you and it becomes as comfortable as sitting on your grandparents’ table having breakfast; rich grandparents.

We loved Tableau so much we went back a second time. This time it wasn’t Peter who served us but a nonchalant waiter who did not tell us that huckleberries were not in season and our pancake came with blueberries instead.

And next, proper pictures for Alex, by Chef Alessandro Stratta.

Read about my other dining experience at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

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Las Vegas: Dining at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon


This was the first proper dining destination for our Vegas trip. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is the sister establishment of Joël Robuchon, which incidentally was fully-booked until New Year’s eve. It was a very memorable experience eating at the casual L’Atelier and a stepping stone for our taste buds to rest of this culinary trip. Never have we been wowed like that by poncy food propped atop of each other but we are getting it now. Poncy food only works well if the food is at the very least excellent, anything less can only be considered as stacked food with foam that reminds you of something unappetizing. For the uninitiated, Chef Robuchon has been named as Chef of the Century by Gault Millau so eating at any of his restaurants is indeed a privilege!


L’Atelier Joël Robuchon served us masterpieces of beautiful, intricate and delicious plates of food. P and I were delighted that the staff were so accommodating as well. P is vegetarian; and despite the little snafu made by the hostess who lead us to believe that the L’Atelier had a separate vegetarian-friendly menu like its fine dining counterpart, the wait staff quickly and ingenuously accommodated P’s preference by crafting a 5-course vegetarian menu for the evening. It was very much appreciated despite it being last minute; and it did not disappoint. I had the holiday tasting menu, which had 9-courses from an amuse bouche to dessert(s as there were two for me). And bless the restaurant for they gave me a copy of their menu – I don’t have P’s menu however, so my dishes will have proper names while P’s vegetarian courses will be identified as we go along.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s Menu

*** Please forgive the low quality photos, the lighting at the L’Atelier was pretty dim and I was using our old Fujifilm F10 camera to take these pictures. I know, and if it’s any consolation, I took my DSLR to Tableau and Alex so expect better pictures in those reviews. :)

Appetizers

L’Amuse Bouche:

Foie gras parfait with port wine and Parmesan foam.
This was the perfect amuse bouche for me because it made me even hungrier than when I started. Good thing I still have 8 more courses to go. At first, I wanted to drink the glass like a shot then I was told by the waiter I should perhaps use the spoon because there are surprises at the bottom. Of course, a piece of foie gras swimming at the bottom of the glass with the rest of the parfait.

P’s savory cream of corn with champagne gelee and white truffles

This is a vegetarian course that is not on the menu. It was created on the fly by the excellent chef at L’Atelier. You should have seen P’s face when he first tasted this. He was engulfed in so much pleasure, I never thought he’d be so affected by a cup of savory cream of corn. “It’s the white truffle”, he said. Corn and white truffle, I’m putting that on my list of things to stock in my pantry.

La Langoustine: Langoustine carpaccio with roasted poppy seed dressing

I have had fish and beef carpaccio but never shellfish carpaccio. I missed out, obviously. I loved the fresh flavors of the sea in this dish and the poppy seed dressing was so yummy with the langoustines.

P’s Les Legumes: Mediterranean vegetables layered with buffalo mozzarella with green pesto.

Vegetables are like gems in the rough. When cooked properly, it can be the most delicious stack of food you can ever put in your mouth. Evidently. The buffalo mozzarella with the green pesto is like a marriage made in heaven.

Les Huitres: Poached baby Kussi oysters with French echiré butter

This was perhaps my favorite course of the evening because I LOVE OYSTERS. These kussi oysters were lightly poached and while I would be happy with it being completely fresh, I absolutely adored how the oysters were so perfectly plump and juicy and soaked in butter. My mouth salivates still every time I look at this picture.

P’s La Cebette: White onion tart with smoked bacon parmesan and asparagus

Nevermind the bacon, P thought it was going to be something of a filler-course but the white onion tart was utterly delicious. It was probably the least fancy looking thing but flavor-wise, it more than made up for it’s lack of aesthetics.

L’œuf: Steamed egg in a macaroni ring with black truffle and parsley coulis

When I first saw this dish, I didn’t know what to make of it. I don’t exactly like foamy sauces and I could not see the steamed egg. But let me tell you that this dish spoiled me and I can never eat an egg the same away again. Nestled within the foam and macaroni ring, lies an egg, round and pure. The whole egg was like a soft, pillowy cloud – and when I cut into it, a beautiful golden stream flowed out and envelopes the dish into a beautiful and tasty mess.


P’s La Courgette:Roasted zucchini with eggplant caviar and Parmesan crisp
“So beautiful”, we said in unison. This roasted zucchini was absolutely delicious and surprisingly rich. The eggplant caviar gave this dish a different dimension to it with a nice tartness that cuts into the richness of it all. P was raving, and raved some more the next day, about it.

La Sole: Dover sole fillet, baby leek with ginger

Who would have thought fish could taste this god-awesome good? I believe it was the lemon oil and combination of the sweetness of the leek that did it for me. It was the perfect palate cleanser for what is to come.

Main Courses

La Caille: Foie Gras stuffed free-ranged quail with truffled-mash potatoes

OR

Le Chevreuil: Venison with sweet and sour cranberry and chestnuts – I picked this one because I didn’t feel like foie gras
The venison was cooked to medium rare and when I sink my knife for a bite, I gasped in surprise at how tender it was. It was like cutting into butter, and it melted in my mouth. The venison was not gamey as I thought it would be either, it was just utterly delicious.


P’s Les Spagetti: L’Atelier style spaghetti with truffle oil
Do not let this unassuming pasta dish fool you, it was perfumed with truffle oil and bathe in a rich tomato sauce.


Dessert:

La Passion: Fresh passion fruit in a coconut meringue, Champagne brut – P’s menu did not have La Passion, which was a pity. But thankfully for him, I shared.
This dessert was the most divine pleasure at L’Atelier. As everything else was perfectly delicious, the sweet and tartness of the passion fruit ice cream enclosed in a cloud of crispy meringue atop a wafer atop a brut was the perfect ending to our meal. But in the spirit of hedonistic decadence, our waiter brought us our final blow….


La Noisette: Hazelnut dacquoise, gianduja crunch and chocolate ice cream.
Decadent, rich chocolate ice cream on hazelnut dacquoise a nutty crunchy wafer deck with a gold leaf. The entire plate was powdered in gold circular patterns – yes, it is real powdered gold on our plates.


Overall, it was an excellent experience from food to service. L’Atelier Joël Robuchon was an exciting experience that opened up our gastronomical horizons leaving us hankering for more. And thankfully, this is just our first stop.

Next, I’ll write about Tableau (the best breakfast and brunch spot in the whole of Vegas).

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A Wish

*** Edit [29th Dec 2009]: Las Vegas was a culinary adventure. I can’t wait to share with you my experiences at Alex, L’Atelier Joel Robuchon, Raku (who said sushi and ramen were the only things Japanese ate?), Stratta, Pizza Place and Tableau (best brunch and breakfast). And because I stayed at the Wynn, most of these restaurants are located within the vicinity. Wynn is by far, the best hotel experience I have ever had and that is saying a lot because I’ve stayed in Many hotels (granted most of them are in South East Asia with a sprinkling in the south island of New Zealand, and Canada). The service at the Wynn was top-notch and full of class, even the casual dining places had very commendable service. This is it for me. The Wynn, Las Vegas has spoiled me rotten and the seductive gastronomical and fine dining experiences has left me wanting me more. Even my first experience in Au Pied de Cochon paled in comparison – no, APDC is out of their league.


A Series of Kitchen Experiments would like to wish all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

I won’t be updating this blog till the New Year, I’ll be in Vegas and hopefully I’ll get to try ALL the restaurants I want to go to. Joel Robouchon, Michael Mina, et. al. here I come!

xoxoxo,
Elaine

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Christmas Gift Idea: Biscotti – three kinds.

It’s almost that time of the year! Here’s a Christmas Gift Idea: Biscotti – three kinds!

I have three biscotti recipes to share and they make wonderful gifts. Shipping them overseas is not a problem at all because biscotti last for weeks! Just make sure they are well padded so they don’t break into crumbs! I don’t know about you but I like to give things that are made instead of bought – at least, for me, I appreciate gifts like that a bit more because of the personal touches put into it.

So, back to the biscotti recipes, I have three that I’d like to share;

1) Pistachio and cranberry biscotti
,

2) Orange-flavored Chocolate chip and hazelnut biscotti
and

3) Japanese Green Tea and chocolate chip biscotti
.

All three biscotti recipes are delicious and goes extremely well with coffee and tea.

1) Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti

This is a very cheerful and colorful biscotti, perfect for the Christmas season, it also has the holiday colors with the green pistachios and red cranberries studded in every golden bite. Imagine receiving a package of these colorful biscotti at your door steps – it would warm even the coldest days. :)


Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter, unsalted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Rind of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pods discarded – or use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup of pistachio
1 cup of dried cranberries

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Spray baking sheet with some oil/coat with butter. Sift, the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

1. Cream butter with sugar until it turns into a pale creamy consistency. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.

If you have a stand mixer or a hand mixer this would be a breeze but to be quite honest, it is very doable by hand too.

2. I like adding my flavoring in the butter mixture, I feel that it’s better incorporated that way. So, add your vanilla and lemon rind in here and stir to perfume the butter mixture.

3. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients; I like to add the flour mixture and the pistachio and cranberries alternately into the butter mixture so it gets incorporated well.

At the end, your batter will have a chocolate chip cookie batter consistency. If it’s too sticky, chill the batter in the fridge before baking for 30 minutes.

4. With your spatula, half the batter and shape it into logs on your baking sheet. Flatten it until it’s about 1 inch thick and approximately 9-inches in length. You will have two logs from this one batch of batter.

5. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven. After that, cool the batter for 30 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Slice the biscotti logs into approximately 3/4 inch thick cookies and bake for 15 minutes minutes in the same oven temperature.

Let the biscotti cool completely before storing.

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It’s simple, isn’t it? :)

Next biscotti recipe!

2) Orange-flavored Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti

This is a very traditional take on flavor. Orange and chocolate? Can’t go wrong with that :)


Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter, unsalted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Rind of 1 large orange, grated
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pods discarded – or use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
1+3/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup of hazelnuts, whole

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Spray baking sheet with some oil/coat with butter. Sift, the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

1. Cream butter with sugar until it turns into a pale creamy consistency. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.

2. I like adding my flavoring in the butter mixture, I feel that it’s better incorporated that way. So, add your vanilla and orange rind in here and stir to perfume the butter mixture.

3. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients; I like to add the flour mixture and the hazelnuts alternately into the butter mixture so it gets incorporated well.

4. With your spatula, half the batter and shape it into logs on your baking sheet. Flatten it until it’s about 1 inch thick and approximately 9-inches in length. You will have two logs from this one batch of batter.

5. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven. After that, cool the batter for 30 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Slice the biscotti logs into approximately 3/4 inch thick cookies and bake for 15 minutes minutes in the same oven temperature.

Let the biscotti cool completely before storing.

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3)Japanese Green Tea and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This is a very unique flavored biscotti. The flavor of the green tea powder gives it a very pleasant bitterness, almost like dark chocolate with a hint of floral tea leaves that green tea imparts. And with chocolate chips, it’s quite delicious with a glass of cold milk! Here’s to all the green anti-oxidant goodness in a bite! :)


Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter, unsalted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pods discarded – or use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
1+3/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of green tea powder, also known as Matcha
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup of chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Spray baking sheet with some oil/coat with butter. Sift, the flour, matcha powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

1. Cream butter with sugar until it turns into a pale creamy consistency. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.

2. I like adding my flavoring in the butter mixture, I feel that it’s better incorporated that way. So, add your vanilla beans/extract in here and stir to perfume the butter mixture.

3. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients; I like to add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips alternately into the butter mixture so it gets incorporated well.

4. With your spatula, half the batter and shape it into logs on your baking sheet. Flatten it until it’s about 1 inch thick and approximately 9-inches in length. You will have two logs from this one batch of batter.

5. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven. After that, cool the batter for 30 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Slice the biscotti logs into approximately 3/4 inch thick cookies and bake for 15 minutes minutes in the same oven temperature.

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Let the biscotti cool completely before storing.

Posted in dessert, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Steamed tofu with meat sauce

This is a very Chinese-style dish that often made it to my family’s dinner table back home in Malaysia; steamed silken tofu with meat sauce garnished with ginger-garlic oil and scallions. I made this on a work night to go with some rice and simple stir-fried veggies and that’s dinner in less than 45minutes.

You can use vegetarian “meat” as a substitute for this dish as I had done. I bet you couldn’t even tell the difference from that picture! Feel free to use minced chicken, pork or shrimps in this recipe, it would still be very tasty.


Steamed Tofu with Meat Sauce Recipe:

250g of silken tofu block, handle with care

Sauce:
150 grams of minced chicken, pork and/or shrimps
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 scallions/green onions – chopped and used only the white part, reserve the green ends for garnish
1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
1 tablespoon of goji berries (optional)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1/4 cup of water
salt/pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of oil

Garnish:
Green scallions (green part of the stalk)
garlic-ginger oil (recipe below)

Method:
1. Carefully remove tofu out of its package and pat it dry with a paper towel. Wrap paper towels around the tofu and set it over a plate, cover with another plate and put some weight over the top. This is to draw the extra water out of the tofu. I used canned vegetables as my weights. Do this for 10 minutes and prep the other ingredients.

2. To make the meat sauce, pre-heat a pan over medium high heat until hot. Add oil and sesame oil and add in garlic for a saute, do not burn the garlic. Add your minced meat in and cook the meat for 5 minutes, until it is nicely infused and fragrant with the oil.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients in and let the meat sauce come to a simmer. Once it is slightly reduce, the meat sauce is ready. Set aside.

4. Remove the paper towels off the tofu, and place the silken tofu in a plate. Add the meat sauce over the top of the tofu and steam it in a steamer for 10 minutes.

5. To serve, garnish with chopped green scallions and ginger-garlic oil drizzled over the top.

Ginger-garlic oil
(makes about 1/4 cup of ginger-garlic oil)
2 tablespoon of garlic
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Method:

There are two ways you can do this, by frying the ginger and garlic in oil in a pan on your stove top until golden brown or via your microwave. I did it in the microwave because it’s simple and does not compromise the flavor of the oil.

1. Mix the ginger and garlic with oil in a microwavable bowl and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. If the garlic and ginger still looks a bit pale after two minutes, cook for another 30 secs until it is golden brown.

Posted in meat, recipes, vegetarian | Tagged | 7 Comments

Very Easy Roasted Duck Breast


Honestly, this duck dish does not have a name. But it is the duck dish for all duck dishes because this is a basic duck preparation that anyone can use and then customized to their liking.

I love duck. It’s one of those meats that I can’t get enough of. Have you had Chinese roast duck? That crispy brown skin and gray flesh nicely imbued with Chinese spices and herbs? It is to die for. But I do not have time to dry and blow a whole duck’s skin up before roasting for that Peking goodness so I make do with a nice slab of roasted duck breast from Lac Brome Ducks.

Why are ducks from Lac Brome Ducks special? I just know that this is the oldest duck-breeding farm in Canada that breeds Peking ducks – and knowing that their ducks are not forced-fed for foie gras is good enough for me.

It’s really easy to get duck at the market, your every day grocery stores carries frozen duck breasts in their freezer sections at the very least. And cooking duck breast cannot be any easier. Duck is probably the only poultry you can eat a little raw. You treat it like steak and cook it to your desired done-ness; I like mine medium. There are two ways to finish cooking this roasted duck breast, on the stove top or in the oven. This is the stove top method.


A Very Easy Roasted Duck Breast

serves 2 people

1 Duck Breast, with skin intact
salt & pepper

Optional seasonings:
1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Chinese Five Spiced Sauce:
1 teaspoon five spiced powder
1 star anise
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 teaspoon of duck fat, reserved from duck breast
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt to taste



Method:

1. Crush the Szechuan peppers with cumin until powdery fine. Use a pepper mill to do this. Mix it with the garlic powder to combine well and set the seasoning aside.

2. Make small slits on the duck skin, in a crisscrossed manner – be careful to not cut through to the meat.

3. Season with salt and pepper throughout the duck breast. Rub the seasoning spice you had milled on the meat of the duck and not the skin. Let the duck breast sit for about 15 minutes so the flavors of the spice get a chance to work its magic through. It would be best if you could let it sit in the fridge overnight.

4. Heat a skillet on the stove – there is no need for any oil. Once the skillet is really hot, put the duck breast in skin side down and let it roast in the pan for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

At this point you’ll be seeing a lot of oil gathering around the pan, save two teaspoons for the sauce later. Or save it all and use it as you would with olive oil, just remember to store it in the fridge so it won’t go rancid.

5. After 5 minutes, pour the excess oil out into a small bowl. Turn the duck breast over and cook for another 4 minutes.

6. Remove nicely pan roasted duck breast onto a cutting board to let it rest for 10 minutes – cover with some aluminum foil.

To make the sauce:

7. In the same skillet, add two teaspoon of the duck fat and the crushed garlic. Saute until the oil is fragrant and then add in the chicken broth, star anise, brown sugar, five spiced powder and thyme. Scrape the fond off the skillet and let concoction boil until it is reduced by half.

8. To serve, slice the duck breast as thin as you want, serve with some sauce.

I served mine over some left over butternut squash puree. MMm!

You can make changes to this duck recipe to suit your taste. Duck a l’orange? Sure, follow the recipe for the sauce and drizzle it over the roasted duck breast. Duck is a very tasty meat on its own and while you pay premium price in restaurants, you can easily make it at home at a fraction of the price!

Posted in meat, recipes | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Back soon

Oh boy, has it been that long?

I need to get my ass back to posting! Sorry, readers – I’ve been very bad in the kitchen, eating toasts with peanut butter for dinner and opening cans of tuna with a drizzle of ketchup with some hard-boiled eggs for dinner. AND I have 5 beautiful Lac Brome duck breasts in my freezer waiting to be thawed, roasted, basted, sliced and served with a nice spicy sauce.

Gotta get cooking…soon!

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The open-face smoked meat sandwich for breakfast

Have you ever had one of those days when you just don’t know what to eat? I’ve been having a lot of those days lately.

I stared at my fridge for 5 minutes thinking about what I could make for brunch. And after a long halloween night (yay, Montreal Canadiens won!), I was famished.


Thankfully, I had some left over smoked meat from Schwartz’s so I made an open-face breakfast sandwich with some pan roasted cherry tomatoes. Topped with a lot of pepper, a sprinkle of salt and it was just scrumptious! I know, it’s perhaps not the most healthiest of breakfast but I wanted some greasy grub, yo. Ok, it wasn’t that greasy but I shoulda added some home fries to the mix, drizzled with some maple syrup for a little more kick!

Sorry for the lack of food postings, there’s been lots of eating but not much of them are blog-worthy. I seriously need to cook up a storm.

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enRoute’s Food Issue 2009

And here we have it:

Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurant 2009


This might come as a little surprise to some of you. I have never blogged about this before but it’s such a pity that not many people know about this because it’s really an homage to food and good eating. I’m talking about enRoute Magazine’s Food Issue that comes out every November. It’s in its 8th installment this year and this year, it’s our sexiest food issue yet. Okay, okay…every year is sexier than the other but I digress.

With pictures like these – how can you resist not wanting to feast your eyes on them?

Taken from CBNR 2008 No.1 restaurant: Nota Bene

Taken from CBNR 2008 No.2 restaurant: Le Local

Taken from CBNR 2008 No.10 restaurant: Stage

I feel that all of you should know about this magazine’s food issue because it used to be a magazine that was made for a certain select group, a certain group that flies with a certain airline. But that is all changing now that the monthly content of enRoute Mag is published in http://enroute.aircanada.com – everyone can have access to their monthly publication online.

So on November 1st, enRoute’s 2009 Food Issue will be published online for all to see. And because I work with the magazine; you will have to take my word for it that this issue is going to be a very yummy one! It’s more than just a Canadian centered magazine, it’s a magazine that is true to its travel and lifestyle stories, it’s international.

For all you who are interested in the restaurant scene in North America, Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants 2009 will be announced tomorrow at Canada AM at 9am. The list will be made available online then as well.

Check out the previous years’ #CBNR list (click on the magazine covers):

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Posted in misc | 3 Comments