Honey Lacquered Duck and Red Wine Risotto

 Honey Lacquered Duck and Red Wine Risotto

Decadence called and I answered.

I had bought the magret duck after watching an episode of No Reservations in which duck was  prominently featured. I cannot remember the episode but it inceptioned deep into my brain and unwavering desire for duck.

May I digress for a moment though and talk about my deep, unrepentant love of Anthony Bourdain? It’s my blog, so that question is rhetorically asked to myself, and I grant myself permission. It might be cliché and I never really had a “bad boy” phase, but I really dig his devil-may-care attitude. Why shouldn’t you? He has one of the single most desired jobs in the world and took a rather unorthodox path to getting there. That deserves respect, in my book.

I am also painfully aware that he likely has a disdain for food bloggers, and to that point, I will spare two facts in my defense: I do not Instagram every single dinner I eat, and I certainly spend my fair share of time eating/enjoying/seeking out less than prestigious or trendy food. Hell, I subsisted most of last year eating avocados and almonds for dinner.

That being said, let’s get back to this duck. I almost never cook duck as its somewhat pricey, and I just don’t crave it that often. For this meal, we blew the budget on the actual duck breast, so we couldn’t go accessory ingredient crazy. I went recipe hunting for what we could do to make this tasty using things we already had in the cupboard. These recipes require under 10 ingredients, most of which are pantry staples in our household.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am in awe that an ingredient list this remarkably tiny is responsible for the flavor wallop they deliver right to your mouth.

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Chili Balsamic Glazed Shrimp with Pasta and Arugula

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After all these seafood-heavy posts, it feels like this is RG’s own personal version of shark week. It’s not my fault that everywhere I turn lately, there’s a glut of affordable, quality seafood in our neighborhood and that might have a lot to do with it. For today’s dish, I wanted to try and do something a little Thai inspired. We don’t eat nearly as much Thai food as I would like due to Davis’ and I’s food allergies, so this is something I want to try and change in our personal kitchen.

Let me warn you, the pictures might look like there is heat in this dish… and well yeah, there is. We love our food spicy and this dish had me sweating. Homemade chili oil tends to do that; you could even follow steps 1 & 2 of this dish for a fiery oil base to cook most anything, if you wanted.

While they might not pack too much heat, my love of red peppers is second to none, so I include them everywhere I can. I think this dish is a bit of a mish mash between sweet and spicy, but it’s one that I can’t wait to make again.

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Deviled Egg Salad

In the south, we do deviled eggs at pretty much every function. Everyone’s gramma makes the best, and even though my husband’s aunt MJ’s aren’t too shabby, they don’t come close to my Gramma Ginger’s. He disputes this fact, but he just doesn’t understand.

One thing you have to understand about deviled eggs: they smell vaguely… fart-ish. Still, a perfectly done deviled egg is out of this world. Just ignore the smell.

Similarly, after living in New York for a few years I came to fall in love with deli-style egg salad. Piled sky high on some rye bread with some celery and a tad bit of mustard – if there are better ways to spend 5 bucks, I can’t think of it right now.

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Fusilli with Clam Sauce

I know this recipe doesn’t follow the strictly traditional version we’re used to seeing, which typically uses linguine. However, I like to make it with fusilli for the way the pasta catches the sauce. I typically use quinoa-based pasta and fresh clams. However, canned clams will do, and if you prefer standard linguine – go for it.

This recipe is easy and not super expensive, but it is dependent on the freshness and flavor of the ingredients to really stand out. Try to not buy the clams until the day you’re going to cook them, and if you need to shop ahead, make sure you put the clams in a bowl of cool water and keep it (uncovered) in the refrigerator. It will help keep them from opening, a trick I learned from Mr. Mark Bittman’s quintessential How to Cook Everything.

If you use fresh clams, it can be labor intensive to cut the clam meat out before you’re eating, so Davis and I just pick them out before we go to town on the bowl. When serving others, I cut out the meat ahead of time and toss it in the pasta. Either way, the pay off is there.

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