Today I received two beautiful ducks in the mail. And, as expected, both were frozen solid!
I do love duck -- Peking Duck being my favorite duck dish. However, I think I love duck fat even more. Namely beautiful potato pancakes lightly sauteed in duck fat rather than butter. (I think I hear my Slovak grandmother rolling over in her grave!)
So instead of making Peking Duck, I'll be checking out a few recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks ---
Momofuku. Interestingly enough, the origins of this name is the creator of the instant ramen noodle packet. After WWII, this guy named Momofuku was appalled by the sad state of affairs of trying to find food. So he decided
that something HAD to be done. It had to be easy to cook -- preferrably with just hot water. It had to taste good. It had to keep someone from major starvation for a while. And it had to be non-perishable. He thought of trying to do something with fresh
ramen, but after many failed attempts, he discovered that if he fried fresh ramen in hot oil, then freeze-dried it, he had the perfect noodle. (The freeze-died part gave the noodles micro-pores which made it so easy to reconstitute with only hot water rather
than boiling water. One had to conserve on fuel, of course!) Hence, the infamous ramen noodle dish.
Momofuku does have a great recipe for cooking a duck for its fat and the meat for their ramen dishes. (I'm quite stuck on ramen. I even have duck-flavored ramen here!) But I am still stunned that kids nowadays think
ramen is only the noodles and the soup broth. HUH? This is the best way to clean out a refrigerator of leftovers! And since I have had chronic nausea and vomiting from my car accident, two eggs and some green onions in a bowl of ramen noodles and soup can
be the only thing I can get down and keep down. (My greatest concern being muscle mass loss which I'm still having a problem with.)
Someday, I should get my friends together and have a ramen noodle contest -- just to see how creative they can get. So far, spruce hen breast, egg, shrimp, and baby bok choi has been a real winner!
I have made Peking Duck in the past. One of my father's work colleagues was from Hong Kong. I had insisted that my family get to Francis' place early so I get to be the kitchen grunt for him. (Francis really did know his cuisine!) I'll never forget
him chopping up the Pekiing Duck -- grease was flying everywhere!!!! He also taught me how to use a bicycle pump to pump air under the skin so that it would crisp up so wonderfully. I have yet to forget how good that meal was...
My next cooking project? Sourdough! A friend sent me a few of his starters -- Yukon Territories and Australian. The YT sourdough is a fast developer... but also a fast sinker. It does make the best quick breads, pancakes, waffles... you get the picture.
However, the Aussie sourdough starter takes much longer to develop but it collapses very late in the process -- perfect for artisan breads!
I also found out something very interesting. Wheat and other grains have a fairly large amount of anti-nutrients onboard. Regular Baker's yeast does nothing to denature these inhibitors of required nutrition -- like calcium, iron, potassium, and other
vital nutrients. However, if you add Lactobacilli to the mixture, the bacteria denatures these anti-nutrients, therefore you can absorb these minerals and other helpful ingredients. Imagine that...
I'll keep you updated on the sourdough front!