Monday, December 5, 2005

Kitchen Addiction

Hi. My name is Helen, and I am a kitchen addict.

I got this nasty cold last week and really needed to take it easy, but I just couldn't get myself out of the kitchen. I finally found duck legs and couldn't help buying a bunch for confit. I've been trying to find them couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and everyone seemed to be out of duck. I guess it was turkey time, but still -- when you need duck, you need duck.

After salting the duck for 2 days and cooking it in duck fat for 3 hours, I was the proud owner of 8 golden duck legs that make duck lovers swoon with pleasure. The meat just melted in the mouth. The first night, I crisped the legs in the skillet and served them with buckwheat, caramelized onions and mushrooms. Maybe it's my Russian blood, but that's an ultimate winter comfort food for me. You can keep your chestnuts roasting over the open fire and your cookies. I just want my duck with buckwheat.

The next day, I made some duck tortellini with duck broth. Duck broth -- that's like chicken soup, only better. So I decided it must cure colds even faster. At least that was my excuse for spending 2 hours in the kitchen making pasta. The duck broth was already in my freezer, but I felt like making something special to go with that incredible amber liquid. I don't think there is any broth more magnificent that duck broth. If you ever consider throwing away the bones from roasted duck, just mail them to me, and I'll make more duck broth.

Good thing I was feeling better on Sunday because I was planning to make a tart for a party at work. Isn't finishing a project a perfect excuse for some merriment? Most of my tarts are usually best served warm shortly after they are made, so I tried a new recipe that seemed more durable and better served cold -- pear tart with almond custard. I used David Leite's recipe from Leite's Culinaria and my recipe for basic all-butter crust. Even on the second day, it tasted great -- delicate juicy pears, in puffed up custard, and flaky crust -- mmmm :)

If there is help for people like me, please let me know. I promise to spend less time cooking and more time writing this week.


Alanna Kellogg said...

Heavens! What happens in your kitchen when you're feeling healthy?!!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Kitchen Addict! LOL! All this looks good. I've never had duck legs before. Your tart looks delicious, too. I'm glad you're feeling better and I think that begin a kitchen addict isn't so bad. ;-)))


Pyewacket said... broth

Shauna said...

Oh, you are a woman after my own heart! I've never made anything so wonderfully elaborate with duck, even when I'm perfectly healthy. As Alanna said, what do you make when you're well?

Brava, my dear. I think you speak for many of us kitchen addicts.

Anonymous said...

Hi from downunder...
I have a bunch of frozen duck "thingies"in the freezer...the bones (wings?)attached to the breasts which we cut off when we make our Duck Breast with Red Wine, prune and chocolate sauce...divine. I want to make the duck it the recipe/procedure as Chicken stock?

Helen said...

Hi OzLouise,

Yes, you make duck broth the same way as brown chicken stock. Roast the bones in the oven at 425F until brown, 20-30 minutes. Then put them in a pot with cold water (6 quarts water per 8 Lb bones) and simmer very gently for 3-4 hours skimming occasionally. Add some carrots, onions, celery, and bouquette garni and cook another hour. Strain and chill. The fat will solidify on top and you'll be able to lift it off. If you want a really clear stock, rewarm it and pass through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.