Chicken Paillards with Avocado and Pomegranate Salsa (p51 Fine Cooking February/March 2010)
The avocados that I bought seemed ok in the store, but by the time that I got to use them...I wasn't thrilled, but it was ok. Also, the pomegranate, which according to my the app I have, goes out of season in early January...so it makes me wonder why a magazine, which says that it's for February/March, that I didn't get until late January at the earlier would tell me to try to find them? Anyways, I wasn't going to buy the pomegranate molasses anyways, because, well, I couldn't see myself using that again. So with that I called an audible, added some diced tomatoes to the sweet salsa and made it more of a guacamole then anything else and then sort of made it into a taco salad. It ended up working well.
Penne alla Puttanesca (p67 Fine Cooking February/March 2010)
This was part of their articles about cooking for your vegetarian and not vegetarian friends, but since it was just for us, and I didn't feel like buying shrimp, I stuck with the vegetarian recipe, but added anchovy paste to give it some of that savory characteristics that it imparts so well on items. It was simple and turned out pretty well.
Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette (p47 Fine Cooking February/March 2010)
So I opened up the avocados, and instead of that lovely green color, it was a mixture of green and brown on the inside, and I just couldn't bring myself to use this. So I used the last of the Quinoa that I had in the house, and made this as it was. I figured since I had basically a whole protein (quinoa), and then the fruit and other additions, would make for a decent meal, even if it wasn't meat based. So it was simplified a bit, problem was that Shannon was a big fan of the raisins, so not a complete success there, but it kept me full until breakfast, which is a good thing.
Roast Duck with root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips...perhaps others) (movie night)
Vaguely looked at a few recipes around the internets, but ended up kind of vaguely riffing on my on. I used a combination of olive oil, honey and rosemary and the duck and the root veggies, and I stuffed the insides of the duck with a couple of cuties. I think I used too much honey, because I wanted just a lightly sweet taste on both the duck and the vegetables. It still looked good though and I've enjoyed the root veggies for lunch. I was unsatisfied with myself because by the time I got the duck meat cut off the carcass, the duck had cooled quite a bit...so.. Maybe this is something I need more practice on...like on something inexpensive, like chicken, rather then duck.
On the other side of that, I made my first stock... I used the duck neck (it was inside the cavity with the liver and other gizzards) and the carcass along with carrots, celery and onions (Mirepoix) and let it go near a simmer for 3 hours or so (finished at 11:15 or so on Thursday). After putting in two of my bigger tupperware containers and letting it refrigerate for a couple of days, I broke it out again yesterday (Saturday) and, as I stated, it did need salt. After adding salt, pepper and reducing it by more then half, I'm left with this rich, delicious stock. So that, with the bit of leftover duck, I'll be making a duck risotto.
Are whole chickens and chicken stock in my future? I'm thinking so.
I used pork this time and started with dried beans, which I soaked over night. I took extensive notes, though I may have messed up the order. I started with bacon, went to the onions and then went with the pork...so I ended up with not much of a pork flavor in the slightest. Because I was also making a bigger pot then I thought, I ended up not using enough spices to get the kick that I wanted. Which was contrary to what I was thinking, because I was worried that it would be too spicy for Shannon. So while the chili is good, it is not the flavor profile that I want. But I did take notes and will adjust next time around. I have lots of left overs, considering I made near 2 gallons of chili.