My official birthday was last Saturday, September 30th. I happened to be away last weekend in San Diego and Del Mar, California on numerous reunions. I had the chance to reconnect with my lovely childhood friend that I have known for close to a half of a century. Pretty amazing. I also spent time with four wonderful women from my business school class. They started my weeklong birthday celebration which continued until yesterday with the family celebration. My son and his girlfriend were home from college and also joined us. My husband made duck for the first time ever and it was outstanding. In the morning he had a bit of a challenge finding duck in our local stores but thankfully was able to get his hands on one. He later did research and we agreed that the next time we will order the duck/duck breasts from the D’Artagnan website. He made duck two ways, sous-vide/pan-fried and confit. He seasoned the two breasts and then vacuum-sealed them. The duck breasts were then placed in a sous-vide bath and cooked to 125 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve medium rare meat. Normally they recommend cooking duck breasts to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, however our duck breasts were thin and we did not want to overcook them. After the sous-vide bath, my husband pan-fried the breasts, skin face down to achieve crispness. He generously salted the legs and thighs and set them aside. In the meantime he rendered duck fat from remaining pieces. It was this duck fat that he then used to cook the legs and thighs in a low oven temperature for about 3 hours to achieve the confit style. My husband also made a delicious cherry sauce for the duck. The duck was mouth-watering. We accompanied the duck with parmesan mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. And the pièce de résistance was my favorite birthday cake in the world, a double layer chocolate cake with a dark chocolate fudge frosting.
Today is my turn to experiment with a new recipe. A couple of months ago we bought Korean fermented chili paste, Gochujang. I was finally able to use it in a marinade for Korean Bulgogi-style skirt steaks. Bulgogi translates to “fire meat”. The marinade I prepared has Gochujang, garlic, ginger, onion, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, sugar, black pepper, and vegetable oil. I marinaded the skirt steaks overnight. The meat will be grilled. We will accompany the steaks with stir-fried snow peas, white rice, and cucumber slices. We will also serve some of the marinade which I set aside for a sauce.
It was my husband who updated The Kitchen Blackboard yesterday. I thought that was very special. Today I share a quote by Adlai E. Stevenson. It reminds me to not focus so much on the age I am turning, but on how I am living this life and making the most of it.
To learn more about confit: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/01/ask-the-food-lab-what-the-heck-is-confit.html