Sunday, June 20, 2010

Duck Dinner

This past weekend I had my friends, April and Wes and their sons, over for another Saturday Night Supper. This menu was inspired by some foods we got to sample at the Taste of the Nation Event here in Orlando.

Everything turned out well but the hit of the evening was the cheese spread!

Menu - June 2010


Four Cheese Spread with Toasted Pecans and Craisins
Tomato Bruschetta


Duck 2 Ways
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Limas with Bacon


Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

My daughter has been asking me to make the pumpkin roll we enjoy during the holidays. Needless to say, you do not need to wait until Thanksgiving and Christmas to enjoy this treat so we made it for our most recent Saturday Night Supper. To lighten things up we did not use the cream cheese icing that is the norm for this dessert but instead filled it with a carton of light cool whip.

Pumpkin Roll

1/4 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans
1 8 oz container light cool whip

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 15x10 inch jelly-roll pan very well and coat with flour. Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and lemon colored. Beat in pumpkin, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Spread into pan and sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. While the cake is baking, coat a large cotton towel with the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. When the cake is done loosen it all over with a spatula. Turn out onto the sugared towel. Immediately roll it up starting from a short side. Let it cool. Once cooled, unroll cake and spread with the cool whip. Wrap and refrigerate until serving.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Duck, Two Ways

Okay, I have never cooked duck before. Whenever I wanted duck I would just ask my dad for it and he cooked it for me. Luckily for this dinner I was having my good friends over who would understand and do not mind being experimented on. Also, I make enough food on these evenings so that no matter what happens, no one will starve. Something is bound to turn out.

I did not really have time to shop around for duck. I only had my local grocery store and they only sell one kind of duck. Whole frozen duck. And you had to get the orange sauce pack to boot which really bugged me because you are paying by the pound and I did not want that orange sauce pack, but so be it. So now I had my duck. What to do with it? I knew I wanted to cook the breast part medium rare and I knew the rest had to be cooked longer, so I combined 2 recipes I found to make my meal.

We all loved the breast and I will seek out a place where I can just buy those, however, the port wine sauce turned out really good and you need the duck bones, gizzards and carcass to make the stock for that so I guess you still have to buy the whole duck too!

Duck, Two Ways

One 5 lb Duck
2 onions
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch sections
1 stalk celery, cut into 1 inch sections
1 tbls butter
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup ruby port
1 lb parsnips
1 1 inch piece fresh ginger
3 tbls lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
salt and pepper

Cut the duck into 2 breast and 2 thigh sections, removing the back bone. Remove the wings and bone the breast portions. Cut the wing tips off the wings. Put the wing tips, neck, gizzards, and breast bones into a pot. Add one onion, sliced, the carrot and the celery. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour and a half. Strain. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of stock. Put remainder back into the pot.

Heat oven to 350. Chop the 2nd onion. Peel the parsnips and cut them into 2 inch by 1/4 inch sticks. Season the duck wings and leg/thigh sections with salt and pepper. Heat a large non stick pan with lid over medium high heat. Brown the duck on both sides. Remove the duck. Add the onion and parsnips and saute 5-6 minutes. Add the lemon juice, lemon rind and the 1 1/2 cups of stock. Place the duck thighs and wings over top of the parsnips. Cover the pot and bake for 1 hour. Set aside and let rest until serving time, up to 1/2 hour.

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the sliced garlic. Saute until the garlic starts to get lightly browned. Add the port and the remaining duck stock. Boil until reduced to 1 cup. Keep warm.

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over high heat. When hot add the breasts skin side down and cook for 6 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 6 minutes. Slice and serve with the port sauce.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the all time best comfort foods. I have a friend who makes the absolute best mashed potatoes and I beg her to make them for me whenever I can. I do not even try to compete with her creamy, traditional version. Here I use the thin skinned yukon gold so I can mash with the skin on and I have seasoned them with garlic. These potatoes held on the to the port wine sauce that I made for this menu to go with the duck. The sauce turned out fabulous.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup milk
3 tbls buttery spread
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the whole potatoes and the garlic in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil until the potatoes are tender, 25 minutes or so. Drain the potatoes and the garlic and put in a large bowl. Do not peel the potatoes. Heat the milk to a simmer. Add the milk to the potatoes and mash. Add the buttery spread and continue to mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lima Beans with Bacon

I try to serve a vegetarian meal or two a week, but I still like my meat. If ever I were to become a vegetarian the one thing I would truly miss is bacon. In my mind there is just nothing better in the meat world than crisp, yummy bacon. We do not eat it often, but we do enjoy it when we do. Here I have paired it with lima beans. Everyone at the table agreed that while limas would never become their favorite vegetable, if they had to eat them, bacon was a good bribe!

I thought they went really well with the duck.

Lima Beans with Bacon

3 slices of bacon
1 15 ounce can small green lima beans, undrained
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces. Saute until crisp. Do not drain. Add the lima beans. Bring to a boils and cook until most of the liquid cooks off but they are still moist. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Cheese Spread

My friend April invited me to be her guest at the Orlando Taste of the Nation Event. We sampled this wonderful cheese spread there. This is my attempt to recreate it. I think it was the hit of my Saturday Night Supper.

Four Cheese Spread with Toasted Pecans and Craisins

4 ounces Brie cheese
4 ounces mild small holed Swiss cheese (such as Lorraine)
1 1/2 ounces Blue cheese
1/3 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Honey to taste

Crackers for serving, I used a flat bread cracker

Remove the rind from the Brie. I use a carrot peeler for this. Combine the cheese in a food processor and process until well blended, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Put the cheese mixture in a serving dish. Sprinkle with the pecans and cranberries. Drizzle lightly with the honey. Serve with crackers.

This is best served at room temperature.


I love basil. I have an herb garden that is mostly about growing it and I use it in anything and everything all summer. Recently, I made some delicious pesto and some homemade basil pasta. I used my Atlas pasta machine to roll it out. In fact, I think I will dedicate a Saturday Night Supper just to basil in the very near future. This past weekend I used it in my fresh bruschetta topping. It is so simple and so delicious. The key to the best bruschetta is you must use really good bread and really good tomatoes. If you have that, the rest just happens.

Our grocery store here, Publix, sells this mountain white bread that is just so good and that is what I used. The loaf is a big round loaf so the slices are quite large. I used about 4-5 slices which I cut into 8 squares each to make bite size toasts to go with the topping.


Enough slices of bread to make 25-30 bite size toasts
1/4 + 2 tbls olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
2-3 tomatoes (about 2 cups diced)
2 tbls chopped red onion
3 tbls fresh basil sliced into think ribbons
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 350. Crush one clove garlic into 1/4 cup of olive oil. Brush the garlic oil on one side of the bread slices. Bake the bread on a cookie sheet, checking every 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Dice the tomatoes and mix with the remaining 2 tbls olive oil, the remaining garlic, and the onion and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the toasts.