Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wok-Seared Duck Salad: One-Pot Wonders

As part of the One-Pot Blogger Party that I've been participating in, I was supposed to make at least nine recipe from the Emeril Lagasse's book, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders - three recipes each week for three weeks. We were given three recipes we could publish during the three weeks.

The rest of the recipes we could write about, but not publish the actual recipes. It makes sense - if all 20 bloggers somehow chose mostly different recipes, we'd have the whole cookbook published online.

It's been an interesting process. I've "met" some new blogger friends, and I've found some new blogs that I'm going to be keeping up with. And I made some recipes that I might have made if I hadn't been working on this project. You see, I don't use cookbooks all that much to make recipes as-is. I use them for inspiration, and I make occasional recipes - but I usually don't make nine recipes in a row from one book.

Would I do this again? Well, maybe. It was kind of tough to make three recipes a week from this book. Problem was that there are only two of us, and these are all recipes for full meals. With the other cooking commitments I have, it was a lot more food than we could eat. I did cut back on some of the recipes and chose others based on the fact that they would freeze well.

About halfway through the process, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I had a refrigerator full of leftovers, and I was facing a lot more recipes I was going to make soon.  But then, after the recipes worked out so well, I started getting excited about trying more of them. After seeing what other bloggers made, I wanted to try some of those recipes, and I had even more bookmarked.

Instead of being overwhelmed at the idea of having to cook nine recipes from one book in three weeks, I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of narrowing down the list. But even though I wanted to make the recipes, it was a lot of food going through the kitchen in a short period of time.

A different sort of book might be easier to cook from like this. If there were main dishes and appetizers and side dishes and desserts, it would have been much, much easier to cook three recipes each week. Heck, in that case, I could cook three recipes in just a day or two.

But once I got started, I couldn't stop. I ended up making more that the required recipes, just because I wanted to. But so far, I only made two of the three recipes we were allowed to publish. There's one left, so I figured I'd share it with you as sort of an end-of-event bonus.

I haven't actually made this recipe yet, but it's on my radar. Other bloggers have made it, and it looked pretty good. One blogger made it with pork. I might make it with chicken. You can make it with whatever you like.

But before we get to the recipe, how about  a quiz? How much do you know about Emeril? Check it out here. 

And I have a question: If you're a regular - or irregular - reader of this blog, what did you think of all the posts that described the dishes, but didn't have recipes? Were they worth reading? Did I give you enough information to make them worthwhile?

From my perspective, it was a fun project, but a lot of work. I'm still weighing whether I'd do this again if I found another opportunity like this. And part of what I want to know is whether it was worth it to you.

While I'm officially done with the Emeril party, there may be a little more to come. As part of my blogger package, I'll be receiving some of Emeril's books. I'm not sure which ones those will be, If I get any books I already have, I'll be giving them away. So stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, here's a recipe.

Wok-Seared Duck Salad

This recipe was inspired by a Thai dish called laap, which is made with minced or ground chicken, fish, pork, or duck and seasoned with the wonderful flavors of chiles, ginger, fish sauce, and citrus. I decided to use the same flavors with a seared duck breast and make it into more of a main-course salad. This is a refreshing take on northern Thai street food.

2 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
2 magret duck breasts (about 12 ounces each) or 1 ½ pounds other domestic duck breasts
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼ cup fish sauce (see page 213)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup julienned red bell pepper

Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the rice. Toast the rice, shaking the wok constantly, until all the grains have turned golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mortar and set aside to cool.

Once the rice has cooled, grind it using a pestle until it reaches a sandy consistency. Alternatively, grind the toasted rice in a clean spice grinder. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the chile in the wok over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the wok, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to the bowl with the rice.

Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily.

Place the duck breasts in the wok, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the wok. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck from the wok to the bowl with the rice and chile and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine.

Serve the salad immediately.
4 servings

So there we go. My final post in this series. I hope you enjoyed going along for the ride.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and some serving bowls made by Zak! and they also provided a book and set of serving dishes to give away. Bloggers who complete the 3-week party will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.


diabeticFoodie said...

Stay in touch, Donna. It's been great getting to know you through this experience!

Sara said...

Hi Donna,
I'm a regular reader of your blog (but an infrequent commenter). I've commented since you specifically asked a question about how your readers felt about this series.

I on the whole disliked the series. Did it make me want to buy the book? No, but I don't have much interest in Lagasse and most of the recipes featured seemed very meat-heavy and rich, which is not how I like to eat or cook. So I'm not really his target audience anyway.

As for not publishing some recipes, yes that's a bit frustrating but understandable from a money-making point of view. For example, the group of bloggers working their way through Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table" also doesn't publish recipes.

I liked that your reviews were honest and straightforward but the whole "party" seemed very Food Network-ish to me. That is, over-marketed, lots of fine print (9 recipes, only 3 may be published, etc.). This of course has nothing to do with you but with the TPTB that thought of the blogger party.

Of course, I will continue to read your blog regularly anyway because of your extensive bread-baking knowledge and dry humor.

Donna Currie said...

Hi Sara -

Thanks so much for the honest comment. This was something that was discussed among the bloggers, and I was really curious what it looked like from the "outside." Since I was looking at all the other blogs with Emeril posts, it was like total Emeril immersion for me for the three weeks. It was hard NOT to get caught up in it.

I honestly liked the book, and more important, my husband liked the results. But it was rather frenetic. The bloggers who don't post often had almost 100% Emeril for the three weeks, but I ended up posting twice a day on some days, just to keep up with other things I wanted to get out.

But this really was a departure from my usual postings. Most of what I post is original recipes, with some book reviews thrown in. I was wondering how I'd like the idea of cooking from a book this often, which was part of the reason I agreed to do this. Something different. See if I like it. It was difficult at first, but by the end, it was getting easier.

Still, I'm looking forward to posting more original recipes and getting to the stack of other books I want to write about. With recipes. And different authors.

SherriM said...

Hi Donna. I'm new here (just been reading you for a few months after reading SE and enjoying what you cooked and posted). I'm not a fan of Emeril's and while I enjoyed seeing what's in the book, I kind of got bored with it. So much of his stuff is complicated (ie...lots of ingredients, lots of time), but it turns out that several of the recipes did serve as inspiration for what I can do. I'm a bigger fan of the things you do (have been working my way through your older bread posts and making,rather trying to make, some of them). Maybe 3 weeks is a little long...a week or 2 would have been fine. But I don't think it's a total lost cause. Inspiration comes from many different places and you just never know what will strike a chord with some people. Thanks!

Donna Currie said...

Sherri, sometimes I use cookbooks JUST for inspiration, so I'm glad you got something out of it. Heck, sometimes I get inspiration from photos. I wasn't a huge Emeril fan (like, not a groupie) before I started, but I was happy with all the recipes I tried. He does manage to dirty a lot of dishes, though ;-)

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