Thursday, June 13, 2013

Anniversary Dinner!

Tuesday was our anniversary!  What a blessing to be married a LONG time :) and to still enjoy each other's company across the dinner table!  As with most holidays around here, I wanted to cook at home, but in the morning, Ben took me to a very nice restaurant that serves the best, most elegant breakfasts!  That was a treat!  
For dinner, I wanted to make something seasonal, but Ben had purchased a nice bottle of wine that was going to probably go very well with duck.  Duck is usually a fall / winter meal, but I found this recipe from a BBC website that was made for summer!  The crispy-skinned duck breasts are paired with the most delicious medley of new potatoes, peas, and baby lima beans.  Of course, it's best if all these things can be obtained fresh, but the fresh peas have come and gone in south Texas and it's the same with baby limas ("summer" here isn't the same as summer in England!).  I substituted a good brand of frozen veggies and the result was wonderful!  A little bacon and a teaspoon or two of duck fat really work their magic :) !  If you've never had duck, please give it a try!  It's so easy to make and the flavor of domestically raised birds is mild and tasty!
I also made a super old-school shrimp cocktail as our appetizer.  I wanted to use these dishes I got at an estate sale.  They have one purpose only-- to serve shrimp cocktail, but they were so '60's cool!  A shaved fennel and mixed greens salad and Key lime pie for dessert rounded out the menu deliciously!  
By the way, the pie was the winner of the 2013 National Pie Baking Contest and is officially called "Sittin' On a Sandbar Key Lime Pie".  It was really good and a fun twist on the traditional pie.  The crust is made with crushed vanilla wafers and that was a definite inspiration!  If you want to make it, here's the link.

Kind of a fuzzy pic, but it was tasty!

Duck with Peas and Baby Lima Beans (adapted from BBC Good Food)
2 duck breasts, skin on
coarse cracked black pepper
Kosher or sea salt
1/2 lb. red new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 cup peas 
1 cup baby lima beans
1-2 slices bacon, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1.5 Tbl. red wine vinegar
1 Tbl. chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 425F.  
Boil the new potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes.  Add the baby limas and continue boiling 5 minutes or until the potatoes and beans are tender.  Drain and set aside.
With a very sharp knife, score the skin only of the duck breasts.  Try not to pierce the meat.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat a heavy skillet until hot and sear the duck skin side down for 5-6 minutes, until the skin is browned and crisp.  Turn them over and cook another 2 minutes, then place the breasts in a small baking pan. Pour out the duck fat into a small bowl and wipe out the skillet.  Put the duck into the oven and roast 8-10 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you like.  We like ours medium-well.  Remove the duck and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
While the duck is resting, add 1 tsp. of the reserved duck fat to the skillet and cook the bacon in it until crisp.  Add the potatoes, peas, and lima beans to the skillet.  Stir and cook until everything is hot.  Add the vinegar and parsley.  Cook and stir as it bubbles up.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the duck breasts with the veggie mixture alongside.  Yum!
My mom and dad used to get shrimp cocktails like these at restaurants in the '60's!

Fennel and mixed greens salad was just the right refreshing touch with a simple lime and olive oil vinaigrette.

No comments:

Post a Comment