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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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…..

alta strada

Life has been super hectic and busy, but I thought I’d post a slightly late but still kinda recent food adventure before a personal post :] This is first and foremost a food blog right?

So last month I finally had the chance to eat at alta strada in Wellesley. It’s so close yet I never had the chance to go.

I even broke out the nice Vera Wang stems

Of course I started off with a nice Italian red…

They gave us a beautiful slab of delicious bread.. EVOO, S&P and I asked for some Balsamic Vinegar as well :]

COULD NOT STOP EATING THIS BREAD.  The crust was perfection.

We ordered three AntiPasti [basically Italian Tapas]

Chilled Calamari with Cucumber and Citrus [top]
Marinated White Anchovies with Frisee [botom]

I looove anchovies.. the frisee totally helped balance out the saltiness of the fish… MMMM…..  The calamari almost felt like a ceviche… and the squid was cut into noodles… It was good, vinegary but nothing out of this world.

And of course Roasted  [Golden] Beets with Grana Padano

I actually wanted more but the waiter said that for two people this was far more than enough.  And he was right, I expected smaller dishes but these were HUGE.

And then split a pizza…

Prosciutto and Arugula

I asked for an egg in the middle, you know the pizzas that come out like this:

But I guess they just had no clue.. even tho I just asked for ONE gooey egg in the middle… they gave me chopped eggs all over the pizza… Kinda disappointing but it was still delicious.

And for dessert, even though we were super full, we got the Mascarpone Cheesecake; Lemon Curd, Vanilla Tuille

Light fluffy and a perfect sweet ending to an amazing dinner.

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately….

My trips to NYC has been inspiring me to cook more lately.  I’ve been able to experiment more and more with different foods.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned some of these from previous trips:

The dangerous habanero chicken pizza… which was delicious but deadly.

My famous meatballs…

My Short Ribs over Mushrooms and Chard

But here are some more recent things I’ve made in NYC

OK this isn’t really “made” but J and I decided to have a simple wine, cheese and meats night…. with steamed artichokes and baked Yam fries..

Iberico, Chorizo, Duck Salumi and Coppa

So many cheeses…

Half of these are chili/cinnamon rubbed, the other half are truffle butter rubbed..

And then the next night I made a warm grilled brussel sprouts salad with different peppers and veggies… topped with habanero vindaloo chicken…

And some Kale Chips and Fresh Avocado

STOP BEING USELESS
AND START BEING A CHEESEBURGER

So these were the peppers…

That cause me to split my finger open…

and go to the ER :[ WAAA

And then the day before Miami.. uh… night before, we had a a dinner party

I forgot to take pics of the panko pan fried quail I made [marinated in Honey , Orange, Habanero] which each person got a whole quail, cut in half on top of mixed greens as an App]

and I made Duck Breast “Confit style”

Jonathan brought Capri Sun BEER!!!!!!! <3

Oh back to the duck… slow cooked for like 2-3 hours… and then popped into oven with some balsamic vinegar, red wine, pear, raspberries, shallots and fig jam,

See… demolished the salad already… I served with truffled broccolini and mushrooms and baked chili/cinnamon yam fries.

And then the night after we got back from Miami I made bunny curry. YES. Rabbit Curry. And it was actually NOT overpowering on the bunny as some people said it would be.  You could taste the bunny cuz I left them in big chunks…the legs were kept whole, etc…..  just celery, carrots, potatoes, yams, onions, a whole rabbit [I butchered a rabbit for the first time] 

Some steamed okra on the side…

And then I put it all on a bed of mixed greens, freshly made sushi rice, topped off with rabbit meat and curry sauce. DELISH!

OK, now that we’re caught up on that I feel a bit better and will continue onto more NYC eats and Miami posts.

The amazing Tomato Pie from Anguilla

Early last year for my annual “Faux” Spring Break, I was in Anguilla… one of the best vacations of my life. There I had some of the most delicious food of my lifeand than some….. AND THEN some not so good ones

And then there was the Tomato Pie from Straw Hat
Warm Tomato Pie
Flaky pastry and mozzarella, over mixed field greens and balsamic reduction

R and I were gonna get something else…. but I couldn’t stop thinking abotu this Tomato Pie and changed the order last minute. It’s kinda like a take one a pasty from Neopets. I swear. – I’m so obsessed with Neopets –

Yep.. I wish I lived in Neopets world to eat their food…

ANYWAYS. Tomato Pie had a light flakey amazing crust on the outside.. freaking phyllo dough like… and delicious cheeeeeeeeeeeesy tomato – yes fresh sliced tomatoes – filling…. and a beautiful drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette…  SOOOO amazing and SOOOOOOO mind-blowing and just… melted in mouth.. into my tummy, sunk into my body and butter-ly melted into my soul… TOTALLY tattooed into me and imprinted in my mind. The smell, the taste, the textures.. crisp outer crust, thin and flakey and buttery and a creamy heavenly innard.

I. Want.

Too bad I hate the mosquitoes overload there in Anguila. Someone please tell my T Bear that we should tropical vacay getaway together  AY. ESS. AY. PEE :]

Sel de la Terre: Wine Tuesday “Summer Sippers”

It’s that time of the week again :] Every Tuesday night, chances are you’ll find me at my usual corner booth table in the Natick Sel de la Terre – calling all stalkers [apparently I should stop joking about this because it does happen.. so if you’re creepy I WILL eat your arm!]

BREAAAAAAD… the usual, french baguette, foccacia and whole grain

Yes after the millionth meal at SDLT I’m still taking pictures of the bread basket… because I can! It’s myyyy blog, I DOOO WHAT I WANT!!! ;D

Cartman is my hero <3  — currently watching Southpark while I blog :]

First Course
Tuna Crudo, Melon, Radishes, Lemon Emulsion
Paired with: 2010 Huber, “Obere Steigen”, Grüner Veltiner, Traisental, Austria

This wine was delish… I’ve been such a red wine obsessed girl for the past few years that I’ve forgotten how yummy a good white wine is :] Thank goodness for wine pairings!!!! I rarely order a white wine on my own anymore.. teehee…

The tuna was super fresh…. MMM so tasty.. I had been craving some good sushi.. a LOT.. recently anyways so this made me super duper happy!!!! I actually wasn’t too much of a fun of the emulsion and the sweetness of the melons with the tuna…. I prefer my crudo to be a lot thinner… super thinly sliced so that it just melts in your mouth – these were just two pieces of sashimi, basically…

Second Course
Grilled Branzino with Tomatillo Nage and Native Corn Succotash
Paired with: 2010 Domaine de Houchart, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France

I had to look up what Nage was…

Nage – An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked. The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these dishes is lobster la nage.”  — Source

Rosé is usually too sweet…  and, to me, is an introductory “girly” wine that is bipolar and having an identity crisis -am I red of white?!- hahahaha… I’m being mean, no no, this wasn’t too bad – not sweet at all – I think I ended up drinking most of it :]

This was my favorite dish of the night.. I LOOOOOOOOOVE Branzino.. the original menu was supposed to be Mackeral but they switched it last minute to Branzino OMG delish!!!!  I love going to little Italian eateries and ordering a whole branzino, oven roasted or grilled with just lemon slices, salt and pepper [obviously] and some olive oil :] YUM!  The succotash was delicious, and very fresh but had a slight sour/tart taste to it, which was weird since it was also creamy.. it confused my taste buds a bit but I licked up the plate anyway… I like curious flavors :]

Main Course
Roasted Pork with Herbed Spatzle, Stone Fruits and Asparagus
Paired with: 2009 Bielsa, “Viñas Viejas” Campo de Borja, Spain

While I’m prone to spanish wines this isn’t my favorite – it paired well with the dish though, I drank it with the dish and had a few sips on it’s own… maybe it’s cuz I tried it with some of the other side dishes and/or still had some fish in my mouth… who knows…

The pork was nice and lean, I wish it was fattier, altho I did get a bite or two of a bit of that wonderful pork fat :] BUTTTT… it was a bit tough, still tasty though, loved the accompaniments tho… asparagus <3 My favorite! I’m also obsessed with spatzle.. wait isn’t it spelled spaetzle?!  Or something.. am I wrong or is the menu wrong? Who cares, the stuff is delicious! I even at the rest of my dinner date’s :D Super herby, doughy, “QQ” to be super fobby ;D TEEHEE

Side Dish: Rosemary Pommes Frites

My favorite – per usual :] I usually get these to go and actually nosh on them on the carride home #fattie I know :D

Side Dish: Sauteed Spinach with Parmesan

The spinach is always cooked to perfection with a beautiful sprinkle of parm :D Best of all worlds… and makes me feel semi-healthier :D

Cheese Course
Aged Gouda
Paired with: 2009 Beppe Marino, “Muray”, Moscato D’Asti, Piedmont, Italy

Light but sweet, yum yum, not a hugeee fan of sweet white wines anymore but it went great with the cheese!!!

CHEEEESE… well GOUUUUUUUUDA.. nice and aged :] MY FAVORITE.. while it wasn’t crunchy it was SOOO YUMMY!!!!!… Once again it was paired with more baguette… fig jam, apple slices, walnuts, hazelnuts, dried cranberries and a nice smudge juuuuuuggggeee or honey :] NOM!

Dessert Course
Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Gastrique and Champagne-Basil Seed Sabayon
This was more goopy than I imagined it would be.. I thought it’d be beautiful grilled peaches on a plate with a drizzle of the gastrique and the sabayon… it was really good though, the balsamic made it savory and the peaches were sooo sweet and had a delicious smokey grilled taste to them!!! YAY

Made some friends with our neighbors – the elder man was really really nice and asked if I was in the business hahaha… we also giggled around with the waitress who was super sweet :] She actually forgot the dessert at first and kicked herself for hearing wrong, silly girl :] Once again a beautiful meal, amazing wines and a wonderful time! Until next week……

XO