Smoked Duck Breast with Braised Bok Choy, Ginger Pear Salad

Smoked magret duck breast is rubbed with Chinese 5-spice, then seared in its own fat until the skin is crisp.  The duck is then sliced and served with braised baby bok choy and a salad of Asian pear, pickled ginger, sunflower sprouts and toasted sesame dressed with an ume plum vinaigrette..

Smoked Duck Breast with Braised Bok Choy, Ginger Pear Salad

For the Duck

Rinse andpat  dry half of a smoked magret duck breast. Use a thin, sharp knife to score a crosshatch pattern into the skin, taking care not to cut into the muscle.  Rub the breast with Chinese 5-spice then place skin side down into a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the skin is crisp and much of the fat has rendered, then turn and quickly sear the other side.  Transfer to a cutting board.

For the Bok Choy

Season quartered baby bok choy with salt and pepper then place flat side down into the pan with the rendered duck fat. Cook until slightly browned, then add 1/4 cup water, turn and cover until tender, about 5 minutes.

For the Salad

1 Asian pear, jullienned
1 1/2 tablespoons sushi-style pickled ginger
1/4 cup sunflower sprouts
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, cracked and toasted
1 teaspoon crispy garlic, crushed
1 palmful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger juice
2 tablespoons umeboshi plum vinegar
1 teaspoon traditionally-fermented soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and freshly-ground Szechuan pepper to taste

Combine ginger juice, vinegar, soy and lemon juice together in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in oils.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Refrigerate until needed.

To serve, slice warm duck breast about 3/8 inch thick and arrange over braised bok choy.  Garnish with ginger pear salad and drizzle with a little vinaigrette.

Mary had a little lamb. I ate it with curry and rice.

Freshly-ground local, pastured lamb is seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper before being seared in blazing-hot grass-fed ghee with hulled cardamom, sweet cinnamon shards, mustard seeds, fresh ginger and green chilies, tomatoes and garlic.  The pan juices are combined with turmeric, sweet paprika and coconut milk and reduced until thick.

Short grain rice is simmered with 4x its own weight in homemade bone broth with golden fried onions, toasted cumin and coriander, fresh English peas and a pinch of saffron..

Lamb Curry with Rice and English Peas

Curry in a hurry!

Phở bò tái

Originating in northern Vietnam, Phở (Pho, pronounced fuuh) is a Chinese and French-influenced soup of carefully-crafted beef stock flavored with roasted ginger, star anise, coriander and cinnamon.  It is typically served with rice noodles, thinly-sliced beef, lime and fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil and mint.

I followed Steamy Kitchen’s recipe, and thoroughly enjoyed the results..

Phở (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

Tulsi Chai

Revered in India for over 5,000 years as an adaptogenic balm for body, mind and spirit, modern research suggests that tulsi may be effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and may also help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar.

A soothing and healing decoction of holy basil, green tea, fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with fresh milk and a touch of raw honey.

Tulsi Chai

Makes about 2 cups (adapted from a recipe in The Herb Companion)

1/2 cup fresh holy basil leaves, compacted or a scant 1/4 cup dried
2 cups cold, filtered water
2 rounded teaspoons green tea
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
one 1/4 inch-thick slice fresh ginger
one 2 inch length Ceylon cinnamon
2 whole cloves
freshly-grated nutmeg
honey to taste
milk to taste

Bring water to to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add basil, cover and simmer 3 minutes.  Stir in tea and spices, cover and steep 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then pour through a fine-mesh strainer.  Stir in milk and honey to suit and garnish with grated nutmeg and crystallized ginger.   May be served warm or cold.

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding

Fresh ginger, Thai basil, kaffir lime, lemongrass, fresh mango, tapioca, cream, coconut milk and cayenne..

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding (adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth Falkner)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 tablespoon fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
4 Thai basil leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1-2 small kaffir lime leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemongrass, sliced
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup fresh cream
1/4 cup organic palm sugar
1/3 cup Bot Bang (Thai pearl tapioca)
1/2 cup heavy coconut milk
1 small fresh mango, diced
cayenne pepper

Combine ginger, galangal, basil, cilantro, lime leaves and lemongrass in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3-4 times.  Transfer to a heavy saucepan and add 1 cup cold water.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.  Strain liquid into another heavy saucepan, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible.

Add cream and sugar to the decoction and bring to a boil.  Stir in tapioca, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until reduced in volume by about a third, about 1/2 hour.

Stir in mango, cover and allow to cool 10 minutes.

To serve, spoon pudding into a glass or shallow plate and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.  Garnish with basil and crystallized ginger.