experimenting with duck.

There are two things that Chris LOVES to eat whenever he has the chance: scallops and duck! I decided to try cooking a duck meal for us this past Friday night, and though it was somewhat intimidating at first, it turned out really well!

I think I get a little nervous whenever I attempt new meats or new fish, because I never want to overcook or undercook. Either extreme can obviously ruin a whole meal. I do have a pretty good meat thermometer though, so there really should be no reason to worry. Someday I want to try to cook a whole entire animal! I plan to learn from my amazing Greek mother at some point.

Anyway, I decided to sear and bake duck breasts for us. I watched a few YouTube videos, and learned a lot of different things, like which side is the skin side, how to know when it’s done, etc. I would say that Gordon Ramsay was the most helpful… though if you also want to learn how to drain the fat by scoring in a criss-cross fashion, you’ll have to watch this video.

Basically, I scored the duck breasts, salted and peppered them, seared them for about 10 minutes on each side, baked them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (skin-side down), and finally added some pan-fried pancetta on top. I don’t think you even need pancetta for a nice result, but I wanted to make sure something was good in case the duck itself tasted awful. :)

Baked Duck w/Pancetta & Sweet Potato Fries

As you can see, I also made some sweet potato fries! I attempted to make similar fries a few months ago, and ended up burning them and setting off our fire alarm multiple times! I think the key is remember to turn them over halfway through cooking. This go around, I also cooked the fries at a lower heat for a longer amount of time… broiling just didn’t seem to work out well before. This was the recipe I used, only with sherry vinegar. Also, I just invested in some Spanish smoked paprika, so I was excited to throw that in there as well.

The meal turned out a lot smaller than it looks in the photo (the duck breasts seemed to shrink a lot in the cooking process), but it was still filling and very yummy. I was so glad Chris felt treated! I cook a lot of veggie meals, so he definitely deserved some manly meat. :) By the way, did you know that duck is apparently the new pork?

Advertisements

the livingsocial best of washington party!

Thank you, Washingtonian Magazine and LivingSocial, for putting on an incredible party last night!  What could be better than trying out numerous food and beverage samples from the top spots in the area, while looking glam in the National Building Museum?  Such FUN!  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Best of Washington Party at The National Building Museum

Salmon Sashimi w/ Tomato Salad & Basil - J&G Steakhouse

The "Best Of" Magazines

Foie Gras Panna Cotta w/Macerated Summer Berries, Micro Basil, & Candied Pistachios - Bastille

Assorted Cupcakes - Georgetown Cupcake

Smoked-Duck Lettuce Wraps - Jackie's

Lemongrass Sangria - Ping Pong Dim Sum

One of the bars.

Decorations, the fountain, and the bidding area.

Chris & I’s Favorites:  1789’s fried peach pies, BGR The Burger Joint’s Greek sliders, Bistro Bis’ Vidalia-onion vichyssoise, Cava Mezze/Cava Grill’s mini pitas, Citronelle’s tomato tartare, J&G Steakhouse’s salmon sashimi, Jackie’s Restaurant’s smoked-duck lettuce wraps, Kushi Izakaya’s drunken chicken, Perrys’ scallop sashimi, Ping Pong Dim Sum’s lemongrass sangria, Rappahannock River Oysters’ raw oysters, Red Hook Lobster Pound’s lobster rolls.

Regular ticket-holders could enter the party at 7:00pm, and “gold” tickets got in an hour earlier.  Chris and I started getting full around 8:30/8:45 or so, and felt affirmed in buying the standard tickets.  However, it was too bad that a lot of stations ran out very early… so maybe that could be a draw to buy the more expensive tickets next year.  We were especially sad to miss PassionFish’s Kamikaze Roll (so good!).  Another small complaint –  which was also affirmed by others on Twitter – was the incredible amount of desserts.  We wondered if it would have worked better if the dessert stations were all grouped in one section of the room.  A rearrangement of stations doesn’t solve the main issue though: most people weren’t expecting a dessert to be the only selection from some of DC’s top all-around restaurants.  In any case, the foods – both the savory and sweet ones – were very yummy! :)

All in all, we had a BLAST.  The party was so glam, we felt like we were in foodie paradise, and we were inspired to try out many new restaurants!  Next year, I plan to wear a looser dress, and I also plan to spread the word beforehand about how much fun this party is!

I missed the restaurants of Chef José Andrés at the event, but it actually turned out okay for us in the end… Chef José tweeted that it was his birthday, and that he was giving away free glasses of Cava after 9pm at all of his restaurants!  Chris and I took a short walk to Jaleo after the party, and enjoyed some Cava in celebration.  Happy birthday, Chef José Andrés!

Cava at Jaleo

Now I find myself very sad that the Living Social Best of Washington Party is over, but it will live on in photos and in fond memories of the taste sensations!  To find out more about the event, go here, here, and here.  By the way, one of my tweets is featured on their Tweets page!  :)