Duck Breast with Fig Sauce over Grilled Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

I made this recipe a week or two ago and I thought I’d post about it….

Sauce:
Red Wine
Shallots
Figs
Balsamic Vinegar
Maple Syrup (only if figs are not sweet enough for you)
Black Pepper
Rosemary

Reduce.

[ps. if you haven’t noticed, I tend to cook by taste, feeling and not by measurements – unless I cake, so sorry… I also do not add salt to my food because I tend to have a bad reaction to too much salt, so I only eat it when it’s unavoidable outside of my house/cooking, but I promise you the flavor is there… that’s why I always use a lot of spices and herbs.]

Duck:
Take the duck breast and score diagonally and sprinkle with Black Pepper
Cook with extra duck fat (always start skin side down on a cold pan)
When you flip it (after skin is crispy) add xxx and xxx in pan (can’t give away all my secrets right?)
Add rosemary, [or thyme] cook to liking.

Veggies:
Use duck fat to coat asparagus and my beautiful multicolored cherry tomatoes.  Cook until asparagus is still firm, not limp with a bit of char.  The tomatoes should have a bit of char as well and will burst by themselves. Pop!

Garnish with a freshly sliced fig! Oh I so fancy yo. LOL.

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End result: Yumzers! ENJOY!

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Happy Mothers Day 2014 at Cottage Wellesley

I’m behind on my Mother’s Day Post….. I took my mama to The Cottage in Wellesley for the special day…

We got there in time for the reservation but still had to wait awhile for our table… which was kind of disappointing – and annoying.

Me and my beautiful mommy…

I got her flowers delivered to the restaurant… which she loved because she loves purple roses and we both took a million pictures… this is one of my favorites… she will always be the most beautiful woman I know in my life.

We got a half bottle of champagne to celebrate the day.

Cheers to you mommy for being the most amazing woman in my life.

We said no to bread but they gave it to us anyway and it was SO GOOD.  Warm creamy butter and hot delicious fluffy bread. YAY – so bad for us since we’re both carb-o-holics.  It was kind of foccacia-y….

For appetizers we got  a grilled vegetable salad and fried eggplant fries.

DUDE.

FRIED. EGGPLANT. FRIES.

They came with a sauce that kind of tasted like a tartar sauce mixed with a thousand island dressing…. but just on it’s own it was…. light, fluffy, crisp outside and soooo soft and yummy inside – NOT OILY AT ALL.

They actually split our salad for us.  It came with avocado… like a split whole avocado between the two of us… grilled red peppers… asparagus… corn… squash… different kinds of greens… it was just beautiful… you didn’t even need the dressing to make it delicious.

This was my duck duo – which was duck leg confit and duck breast. BEAUTIFUL.  Pickled Cabbage and mandarin slices.

Mama got the sweet potato crusted cod with Potatoes and corn…. also completely amazing.

 

When we got home I made us Watermelon Margaritas with just Fresh Watermelon and Patron in my vitamix. YAYYYYYY

 I love you Mommy

岩波庭餐廳 Zen Garden Fusion Cuisine

Being in Yilan…. at the spa resort, my uncle reserved a place for us at the Zen Fusion for dinner…. basically we got a set menu and it was DELICIOUS.

We all wore the kimonos that the spa provided…. which was sooooooooo inspiring and free-feeling

Sparkling Sake… oh Uncle, you know me too well

Delicious Scallion Bread…… Yilan is known for their scallions…. so this was amazing

Afterwords when my family went up to the rooms to gossip and talk I stayed at the bar… having whiskey and wine.

Before heading to the hot springs bath in my room to chill out with a bottle of wine.

Life is just so grand.

吉凡尼的花園 Le Jardin de Giverny in the 美術館 area

Woke up super hungry…… time for some delicious eats at 吉凡尼的花園 Le Jardin de Giverny – I’ve been here before, years ago and it was pretty bad but they changed owners and have definitely improved 10 fold.

I so hangry

We ordered two add on lunch meal sets and two a la cartes to share.

Delicious Fresh Foccacia Breads

[You can actually buy breads and pastries in the front of the house]

You can also buy different vinegar, oils and balsamics in the front as well… yay for dipping yummy warm bread…

Fresh Veggie/Fruit Juice

My clear vegetable soup… which tasted a bit buttery to me so I wasn’t that into it. The flavors were great though.

And of course for my “drink” that came with my meal I got a nice glass of white wine.

Fresh salad with walnuts and starfruit.

Appetizer: Ratatouille

It was absolutely delicious and one of the few times I’ve ever had it.  I’m so glad I ordered this.. it was between this and escargot.

My aunt’s appetizer: A Crab “Tart” which is so not a tart, but it was good and fresh none-the-less

And for her main dish she got the seafood risotto.  YUM.  I had a bite and you could taste yummy saffron…. reminded me of a paella but creamier…

Mama, of course, got the pan-fried duck breast, but which was cooked really well and just fatty enough. So so tender.

My other aunt got the pan-fried sea bass, which was one of my choices….

But I ended up getting, DUH, the spicy seafood stirfry :]

And then we went straight into dessert….

A mini Creme Brulee… which I gave to my aunt since she rarely gets to eat these things….

But I enjoyed my delicious iced coffee…. MMM froth

地址:台中市五權七街58號 (台中綠園道)
電話:886-4- 2376-9755

I ended up staying for tea time as well but while my aunts chatted I explored the area a bit…..

Tattoos at 西門町 Ximending and 三味食堂 Sushi

We met up in the afternoon and immediately decided to headed down to 西門町 Ximending by subway to eat and then get my last tattoo there fixed and decided to get a new one.

Stars!!!

Afterwards we were sooo starved so we headed to 三味食堂 for sushi.  This place opens at 5pm so we walked around shopping and took us forever to find the location… we were scared that we would have to wait in line but we ended up not having to at all YAY.. which is great cuz the crowd outside grew fast,

Tiny place but worth the $$ and free Miso Soup.. all you can drink :]

We got some sushi handrolls… Asparagus for S and Shrimp for me – filled with veggies, corn, bonito and other yummies….

They’re HUUUUUUUGE

As is the SUSHI

Each slice of the salmon over a tiny it of rice is about 4-5 slices of regular sashimi. It’s wrapped ALL around the rice…. and thick cut – super fresh.

Chicken Yakitori… tender and yummyily sauced

Agedashi Tofu

It was delicious…. we ended the night super full so we met up with his brother at Cellar Lounge and then headed back to 09 Whiskey Bar for a night cap.

Miami Day 3… Pool, Cigars, Bubble Bath and Blade Sushi at Fountainbleau

After a super crazy fun night… we just wanted to relax… and cover up from all our sunburns.. of course J took caution and I didn’t…

Ready to beach….

After our free breakfast!!!

That’s a pulled beef  benedict…. OMG….

We also got some cigars for later…

Adult Pool

Beach

Yep I got tanner and burn-ier….

And then it was cigar time.. the “cheaper” one so we can compare

GANGSTA YO

And then I left J to the balcony and a good book and I decided to bubble bath…. not enough bubbles….

CAW CAW CAW CAW

Ok too many bubbles…

Drowning…

UHHH…

I am now dubbed the bubble/foam Queen <3

This is After I let the water out and got out of the tub…

And awesome BF cleaning up my mess hahaha

SO MUCH BUBBLES

This is for you Steve. Stellar Revival shoutout YO. Wait what… yo… way to be so famous and have a FAN OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE….

OK cleaned up and time for my last night in Miami… Mokai here I come….

So first we had dinner at Blade Sushi Bar/Lounge at Fountainbleau… yes yes remember I came here last year? Well we were supposed to go to Hakkasan… but decided that partying after dimsum and Cantonese food/dimsum [omg I’m so craving dim sum tho] would suck [food coma] more than sushi at Blade.

BLINDING menus. Unnecessary

Magical hot towels that grow…

Edamame


I love piping hot edamame… freshly steamed and large sexy sea salt flakes… :]

We couldn’t choose which sake to to buy so our waiter suggested we try a flight first and then choose what we liked most.

Sake Flight

The Sake we ended up choosing… delish! Oh and J called it… we liked #1..  the others were way too sweet…

Octopus Carpaccio
Sweet pepper, Tomato, Red Onion, Cucumber and Spicy Vinegar Dressing

AMAZING. I remember I loved it when I got it the first time and was asked if I was in the food industry/food critic – cuz I guess, people don’t REALLY get the things I do?!

Yellowtail with Yuzu Miso Glaze
Asian pear, Avocado, Micro greens, Yuzu Miso vinaigrette

Amazing… delish yellowtail… yuzu tang… and the sweetness of the asian pear and creaminess of the avocado… this literally MELTED in my mouth. SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD.

Salmon Sushi and Uni Sushi

You can never fuck up OG sushi. AMAZE.

Geisha Maki
Yellowtail, Ooba leaf, Orange, Asparagus wrapped in Soy paper,  Wasabi, Tobiko, Yuzu Miso Glaze

This was my roll choice. I loved it… jalapeno… light, refreshing.. definitely super fusian…. so Miami.. reminded me of Samba Sushi.

Bleau Maki
Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon, Avocado, Scallion, Masago wrapped with Daikon, Soy Onion dressing

J’s choice. Also good. It was tasty but WAYYYYY over-doused in that dressing…. ugh.. drowning in it….

And dessert…

A gorgeous Key Lime Tart with pineapple and blackberries

The tart was creamy and also grainy from the sugar. Not sure how much of a fan I was… but it was quite delicious, super sweet…. hey we had a HUGE ASS bottle of sake to finish, we needed to keep on eating until it was gone… and while, yes, if you havent noticed we rarely do dessert, we did it and loved it.

Afterwards…. we decided we were old. We hit up the Lobby Bar… got some scotch, whiskey and champagne… brought it up to our balcony and had our other cigar and drank the night away in the beautiful weather and view. Life is perfect.

Village Yokocho… and more beer…

Friday Night means one thing: NO ALARM CLOCK – hottest words EVA. But that talks for later….. Friday night and J comes home and we decide that Japanese is what’s up.

Time for some yakitori. MMMM St. Marks time.  Which means Village Yokocho.

First thing we did was order a giant pitcher of beer. SO MUCH FOAM.

UMM… I couldn’t resist.

Takoyaki.

Asparagus. Scallions.  Green Pepper.  Mushroom.

Different parts of chicken and beef … and balls :] Oh chicken balls…. ground chicken balls not their “BALLS” durrrr…. that’s at a different place<3

Somehow all the sticks were on my plate. HAHA. Way for J to make me the fattie.

Not enough, we want MORE!!!!!!!!

We need more and more chicken skin…..

MORE chicken skin, alls, shishito peppers and then some…. OH cartiledge

After a delicious dinner.. we headed to the secret yet so known, Angel’s Share but the wait was too long and didn’t seem worth it.  The bathroom was gross and it was freezing in there… So we left….

… and headed to the sure thing: Proletariat

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Scott Conant makes my tummy swoon: Scarpetta in Vegas

It was a lazy day of pool and grubbing.. and yes, more drinking… but we finally decided to get our deal together and realized that it’s hard to find a good place to eat on a Friday night.. trying to book a table when it’s already 7pm… in Vegas…OOPS.  After a few failed attempts with the concierge at Caesars…

…[we got ready anyways] and ended up deciding on Scarpetta

[Oh Scott Conant you so dreamy <3 swoon]

…with an old coworker of mine, who also happened to be in town.. we headed over to Cosmopolitan – GORGEOUS hotel.  Had a few drinks at the bar and then finally sat down before 10.

Bread and yummy stuff to dip it in… MMM BREAD!!!

George & I

Appetizers Round

Roasted Sea Scallops
truffled white asparagus, pink grapefruit & uni aoili

Super tender scallops… delicious white asparagus… MMMMMM….. To me, if someone can cook a scallop to perfection, they can cook. It’s hard to get it just right, especially since it’s so easily overcooked and turns rubbery like whoa.  These melted at the touch of my tongue. Light, decadent. Amazing. But hello. Two scallops and two asparagus for three people? Awkward!

Special: Steak Tartare

This was okay.  Probably shouldn’t have ordered it, wasn’t bad, wasn’t great.  Wish there was a bigger portion….

And the best dish of the night — and possibly of the whole time in Vegas:

Creamy Polenta
fricassee of truffled mushrooms

Here is the guy pouring the sauce with truffled wild mushrooms all over the creamy polenta…


SO good we got it twice – YES twice!!! We started smothering ALL of our food with this stuff.  Words can NOT describe how amazing it is… and as soon as we licked the bowl clean, we ordered another one.  I’ve never had creamier, buttery polenta in my life.  It was like melted ice cream of savory truffled goodness.  Delicious tender mushrooms.. OMFG.  Last dinner sort of food. I can die happy in a hot tub of this.


We all ordered our own dish but shared everything – not allowed to order the same thing hahaha….

Duck & Foie Ravioli
marsala reduction

This  was obviously mine.  It was the least tasty of the three, methinks, not that it wasn’t tasty.. the filling was good but a bit dry/mealy.  The texture was a little weird for me, but the flavors were spot on – and the pasta was a good al dente.

George picked the Special: Bone-In Prime Rib with a side of Potatoes

It was delicious. If you fuck up beef, than you can’t cook at all.  It was HUGE, Fred Flintstone style. I love a good piece of meat with a nice bone in it.

Kelly got the Special: Chicken & Sweet Corn Agnolotti

This was actually  in my running to be one of my choices.. it was really good and the only thing we all finished!!!! YUM – the corn was amazing and added such a great texture and sweetness to it. YUM

We opted out of dessert but our awesome server gave us some deliciousness anyways…

Butterscotch pots <3 YUM

We headed to XS afterwards…. but ended up waiting a million hours in line.  I ended up cutting a ton of people to get thru, get stamped, just to wait LONGER.  Got to see B for a brief moment and say hi at least…. at least tummy was happy – cuz feet were NOT.

Prime Rib always hits the spot.

I’ve been indoors for awhile now.. antisocial and too much work has really got me in a rut.  So I finally decided to get some dinner OUTSIDE of my kitchen and pantry.

YESSS

Coach Grill it was.  As much as i didn’t wanna stay in, I did’t wanna stray too far. SOOOO I ended up at Coach Grill.. I had to make it quick since I had an urgent call for more work for WORK. LAME.  So good choice..

Iced Raw Oysters.

A lot of horseradish and lots of dashes of tabasco of course – they were huge and delicious!

DINNER TIME

Rotisserie Pork Loin pan gravy, mashed sweet potatoes and fresh applesauce

Super tasty and juicy – perfectly cooked.  The applesauce was homemade and chunky. YUM!

Steamed Asparagus with EVOO and Hollandaise

YAY FOR ASPARAGUS PEEEEEEEE

Steamed Broccoli and Hollandaise

Sauteed Mushrooms

My sexy Prime Rib of Beer w Au Jus… USDA PRIME GRADE seasoned and slow-roasted with rock salt…. served with horseradish.. the one they gave me was creamy and with mayo methinks, so I asked for fresh and they gave me a slivered and mushed YUM

Going at it like whoaaa…

My dinner date… hahaha boyfriend was jealous – OBVIOUSLY ;]

I was so full of moo that I got my dessert to go ;D GIANT slice of multi-layered chocolate cake! WOOT!

Small Bites at Blue Stove

I had to go to the eye doctor’s today… After finding out I had spots in my right eye, I’m stuck with glasses for a few days and hopefully it’ll clear up…

Along the way to dinner I managed to goof around a bit…

And then off to Nordstroms for dinner at Blue Stove.  It’s sort of an Americanized Tapas place.  Or more like, all sorts of tastes from around the world… the menu is constantly changing, but they do have amazing constants.. we’ll get into that once the pictures start rolling…

Since it’s restaurant week I decided to order one set of 3 courses w/ wine pairings along with other dishes.  I’ll write “RW Course #” by the dishes that were in the set.  That’s a REALLY good price for 30.12$, app, entree, dessert, ALL with delicious wine pairings. Winner winner chicken dinner.. and yes I had chicken tonight too

As soon as you sit down they give you water, take your drink order and give you some yummy bread to nibble on while you look over the small, but still extensive menu.

bread with olives and evoo

The must have? Their sweet potato fries.. no seriously.

sweet potato fries with cilantro lime aioli

For some strange reason I feel like the portion is a lot smaller than what it used to be?! Or maybe I’m just fatter.. or actually, I think I used to order two servings at a time…. anyways, DELICIOUS.  The fries themselves are seasoned so well you don’t even need to dip it in anything.  I’m not a huge sauce person so I loveeeee them without the dippity – which is also good.

salt & pepper calamari with lemon zest

Not greasy at all… a good amount of tentacles – my fav – nicely breaded, and not heavy. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, not overly fried, and like I said, not drippingly greasy like some places. YUM!  The squeeze of the lemon just adds more pop to the zest.

RW Course 1: mango & apple salad, red belgium endive, great hill blue cheese

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this.  I’m iffy about blue cheese, some I love some I don’t.  But I had some recent GOOD times with blue cheese.. I wanted something light and refreshing to nibble on, crunchy, fruity, sweet and salty… I LOVE SALADS, good salads, so why not?!  Fresh chunks of mango, thin slices of apple…. endives around the plate and chopped up in the salad, tossed in a light dressing and tons of delicious creamy blue cheese…

paired with: pacific rim riesling, columbia valley, washington 2009

The wine went SO well with the salad, and really cut thru the light stinkiness of the blue cheese. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD, and went SOOO well together. I LOOOOOVE endive, crunchity. Slightly bitter and supppper pretty and fresh MMMM, all the textures, creamy, cheesy, salty, sweet, crisp.. juicy MMMMMMMM I could eat a TUB of this.

And then one of my favs..

cilantro lime chicken tacos

SOOOOO delicious. These are tiny little things, but FULL of amazingness.

And then one of the first things that jumped out from the menu when I looked at it – new additions!!! And the most intriguing one?

bahn mi vietnamese chicken sandwiches

SCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCORE!!!!

It had a nice slice of hot pepper on top.. the bread was fluffy and had a delicious daikon carrot slaw with cilantro and a perfectly cooked chicken… SOOO GOOD

Confession, I ONLY eat the classic super fatty bad-for-you but OH OH SO GOOD Banh Mi. I think the grilled meats and all that other stuff is “fake” HAHAHA…

“The classic version bánh mì thịt nguội, sometimes known as bánh mì đặc biệt or “special combo”, is made with various Vietnamese cold cuts such as sliced pork or pork bellies, chả lụa, and head cheese, along with the liver pâté and vegetables.” – Source

It’s ALL about the headcheese.. okay, so this didn’t have headcheese but it was DELICIOUS, PLUS the delicious lotus root chips on the side. NOM!  I wish there was more filling cuz I ate it all up but even inhaled the bread by itself, the sauces were THAT amazing!

roasted garlic chicken with grilled corn & arugula

This is a classic and I’ve had this dish here since… well it was considered a salad… hahaha now it’s a dish… but still oh so good.. get the dressing on the side cuz they tend to overdress the arugula… but yummy kernals of corn sprinkled thru-out it and delicious tender, slighty fatty chicken with a nice crisp skin.

RW Course 2: pan seared red snapper filets, early spring vegetables, meyer lemon emulsion

paired with: acacia pinot noir, carneros, california 2008

This was tender, with a nice crispy skin…. two small pieces on top of a creamy succotash of asparagus, corn, peas and potatoes…. it was a bit on the salty side but delicious nonetheless.. kinda wish they were meatier.. or bigger pieces, but for some weird reason I was already getting full.. [been having stomachaches] so it ended up being the right size.

And then spur of the moment we added on some tuna.

ahi tuna stack with ponzu & crisp wontons

MMMM nothing like a delicious fresh raw tuna, roughly chopped and stacked up with mangos and lightly dressed greens…  scoop it on top of a perfectly crunchy wonton chip and you’ve got a great asian alternative to nachos…. and dairy free ;]

RW Course 3: butterscotch pot de creme

paired with: ceretto muscato d’asti 2009

I LOOOOVE butterscotch… and I looooove pot de cremes… and while this was no foie gras this was nice, rich, airy but also light… SOOOOO freaking good with the muscato… which wasn’t as sweet – or the dessert was more sweet, but either way they enhanced each other’s flavors incredibly!

And of course, ended the meal with their complimentary mint chocolate sticks.

NOM!

For some strange reason I was super full after this meal… and a bit tipsy… so OBVIOUSLY I’d go shopping in Nordstroms for jeans #fattie – hahahaha DON’T try on clothes after eating makes you feel pudgey.. BUT I still managed to get a new top and two new jeans…. woohooo.. I bought these AWESOME neon sky blue kiddie jeans that turn into capris on me.. for only 44$ YAYYYYYYYY so happy!