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Duck, Duck…Pass?

June 2, 2020
Five Spice Duck Breast
with Cucumber “Pasta”
Pg. 93
Samuel, Season 2
5 down…94 to go!

I can hear Gordon Ramsey saying, “Look at those juices. It’s cooked to perfection. It’s still glistening!”

Let me just say, I really liked it. My sweetheart, Chad, on the other hand—not so much. We’ve not eaten much duck in our day, and as my Grammy would put it, “Maybe his palate is not as mature,” as the contestants/judges on MasterChef Junior. Well, Grammy, I would agree. 😉

I personally really enjoyed the juiciness (and the fattiness from the skin) of the duck breast. I’m already learning a great deal from these kids about how to properly cook meat, poultry, and every kind of protein so that it stays moist. I also really loved the cucumber “pasta.” However, my S/O didn’t like that either. He may be older than me, but he’s got some maturing to do when it comes to liking things that aren’t just steak and potatoes. I’d consider it one of my new favorite carb replacements, as it was so light, refreshing, and much better for you than real pasta. I thought it was a smart and wonderful pairing, Samuel!

In conclusion, my guy might not have liked it all that much, but I’m definitely keeping this recipe in my back pocket in case I need to impress a group of people around the holiday season. Who wouldn’t be impressed by perfectly cooked, moist duck with a low carb, refreshing side? Well, besides Chad.

What I did differently:

  • I added some garlic powder and red pepper flakes to the cucumber “pasta.” It added just a bit more flavor, in my opinion.
  • This might go without saying, but the recipe didn’t call to add any oil to the pan when pan-searing the duck, when most others do. I’ve never cooked duck before so I questioned, “Do you not add oil with duck?!” I used my better judgement (thank goodness because that duck was NOT cheap) and added oil to the pan. Maybe it was just an editing error?
  • I enjoyed it with a glass of wine, because while I’m learning to cook like a kid, I can still drink like an adult 😉
I can also hear Gordon Ramsey saying,” Well done,” because one of his well-known mantras is, “No color, no flavor!”
I’m slightly embarrassed I got my dog’s bed in the photo. He’s so spoiled he has a bed in every room so he can be comfortable while he monitors our various activities.

What would I do differently next time?

  • Well, I would start off by buying duck “in season.” I went to three different grocery stores before I ended up calling five different butchers/Asian markets before I found frozen-only duck breasts for a whopping $16.99/lb. The pack of four ended up costing me over $32. Ouch.
  • I have two breasts left over, and I’m keeping them frozen so in the future I can try another recipe that hopefully my fella will like.
  • I would use regular cucumbers instead of the Persian kind. For one, I didn’t taste any difference. Secondly, it was like the duck; I couldn’t find it at my usual grocery stores, and I had to pay too much money, in my opinion, for Persian cucumbers, when I’m sure regular ones would have done the trick.

Pictured: My Grammy’s pitcher I use most often for flowers, and my favorite food tray which says, “To Live Well, is to Eat Well.” Amen to that!

All my love,
Dani, a big Tid

P.S. What are your favorite duck recipes? Do you have any advice on seasoning or ways to prepare it so that it doesn’t taste quite as gamy? Also, what is your favorite/signature recipe to impress others? Mine is a Salmon Wellington with roasted veggies. But who knows? During this journey, we both just might find a new signature dish!

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