Monthly Archives: April 2018

Chicken, Corn and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Recently I cooked up the last of my tri-colour quinoa and used part of it to make shrimp and Chinese sausage quinoa fried “rice”. I set aside a cup of the cooked quinoa and finally used it up this past weekend to stuff some sweet peppers that had been lingering in my vegetable crisper drawer.

Warning: Times and amounts in the recipe below are rough estimates based on scaling up the recipe for four people and your particular oven.

Chicken, Corn and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – serves 4, 2 pepper halves per person

1 small onion, small dice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 medium sweet peppers, orange, red or yellow
1/2 lb ground chicken, breasts, thighs or both
1/2-3/4 cup corn kernels (cut from one cob of corn)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2-3/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
2-3 thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish

NOTE: The peppers and filling may be prepared and assembled the night before, covered and refrigerated and then baked the next day.

Cut the peppers in half, removing stems, ribs and seeds. Place into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large saute pan over medium/medium-high heat, saute the diced onion in the vegetable oil until the onions are translucent and just picking up some colour around the edges. Add the ground chicken, season with salt and pepper and saute until no long pink. Add the corn and cooked quinoa, mix through the chicken and onion and saute for a few minutes until warmed through.

Stir in half a cup of marinara sauce, mix thoroughly and, if it seems too dry, add a bit more of the marinara sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Spoon the filling into the pepper halves. Add about 1/4 cups of water to the baking dish to help with cooking/steaming the peppers and cover tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. If you’ve refrigerated the dish, you’ll likely have to add an additional 10-15 minutes to the bake time.

Remove the foil and add about a tablespoon of cheese to the top of each stuffed pepper half. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want a bit more colour, you may turn on the broiler on high for a few minutes but, watch carefully, so that the cheese doesn’t burn. Serve while hot with a sprinkling of sliced green onion.

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Cinco de Mayo 2018 – Bloody Maria ver 2

I haven’t made this drink in ages but, with a week to go until Cinco de Mayo, it seems appropriate to repost this Mexican version of the vodka based Bloody Mary. Besides, I needed to crack open the can of tomato juice I had in the basement, to make gravy with. I didn’t have any horseradish but seafood sauce is a great substitute. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol so you can double the amount of tequila.

 

Bloody Maria – serves 1

1 oz tequila
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes hot sauce ie. Cholula, Tapatio or Frank’s Hot Sauce
1/2 tbsp seafood sauce (or 1/2 tsp horseradish)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
6 oz tomato juice

Garnish options
Lime wedge or wheel
Celery stalk
Coarse salt for rimming the glass

Decorate the rim of a tall glass with salt by rubbing the edge with a lime wedge and then dip into salt.

In a shaker filled with ice, combine all the ingredients except the garnishes, and shake until well chilled.

Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

Breakfast, Snack, Dessert and Drink Odds and Ends

Breakfast for lunch (aka brunch) or dinner (aka brinner) is one of my favourite meals.

Bacon, eggs and cream cheese …

… sometimes the eggs get scrambled and the cream cheese gets spread on toasted sourdough bread. There’s usually bacon in the picture though.

Two thick cut slices of sourdough bread soaked in a mixture of 1 whole egg, 1/3 cup of milk and a splash of vanilla extract and fried in unsalted butter makes a delicious if not diet friendly serving of French toast (pain doré) with lots of real Canadian maple syrup. And on the side … BACON!!!!!!!!!!!

Snacks

Genoa salami and home made crunchy sourdough flatbreads

Before cooking – gochujang sourdough tortilla, guacamole and shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Desserts

I hate throwing away egg whites, though I have often done so. If I had a decent sponge cake recipe, I’d try to make a small version but I only have a full sized sponge cake pan and my last attempt at the full size (many years ago) was a miserable failure. And don’t get me started on macarons. I’m not THAT desperate. So, I’m stuck making meringues. As often happens, I FORGOT to let the egg whites come to room temperature. And they may have been ‘aged’ longer than advised. Still, even a somewhat grainy meringue bakes up to a tasty treat. I sprinkled toasted coconut on some of the meringues before baking. And I beat in espresso powder on the last third of the beaten whites so they deflated. Who cares?

The last of the home made puff pastry rectangles filled with espresso sweetened whipped cream with a cup of coffee … cause you can never have TOO MUCH caffeine.

I bought an unripe mango and cut it too early so it was hard and somewhat tasteless … no problem. Peel and dice and add 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of yogurt, sugar or honey to taste and about a tbsp of fresh grated ginger. Whizz it up in your blender and you get three refreshing servings of mango smoothie.

Drinks

Mango Smoothie

Soup Duo … Vegetarian Friendly

Half an onion and four cups of stock (vegetable or chicken) form the base of both these soups. Your choice depends on whether you want the final product to be vegetarian or veggie-friendly. For some reason, both of my soups are in the orange-red colour palette.

First, an Indian flavoured vegetarian soup. The soup that inspired this used whole cumin seeds but I couldn’t find them in my pantry and I was out of ground cumin so I used a combination of curry powder and garam masala. For a middle-Eastern themed soup, you may used harissa paste or a dry harissa seasoning mixture.

Spiced Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Spiced Carrot and Red Lentil Soup – serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
400 g carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
140 g split red lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups/ 1 liter vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
salt to taste (start with about 1/2 tsp)

Yogurt for garnish
Warmed naan bread, to serve

In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the onion in vegetable oil until it gets translucent and pick up some colour on the edges.

Add the curry powder and garam masala and toast for a few minutes to freshen the dry spice mix. Add the carrots, lentils, salt and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Puree the soup with a stick blender, in a stand blender (in several batches) or in a food processor until smooth.

Season to taste and adjust the thickness with more vegetable stock or water. Another option is to add some milk (coconut or regular milk) to thin down the soup.

Serve with a spoonful of yogurt and warmed naan breads, if desired.

A dozen home made ravioli (sweet potato, ricotta and Parmesan cheese) stretched to serve four in this hearty soup which is put together quickly with the help of a liter of stock and a cup of jarred marinara (or spaghetti) sauce. If you have fresh tomatoes, you can peel, seed and dice them and add them to the soup instead. For a vegetarian version, omit the sausages and use vegetable instead of chicken stock as a base.

Ravioli and Vegetable Soup

Ravioli and Vegetable Soup – serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from a whole cob (diced zucchini are another vegetable option)
3 links hot Italian sausage, removed from casing (optional)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp dried basil or Italian herb mix
4 cups/ 1 liter vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup/250 ml marinara or spaghetti sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 dozen frozen ravioli, home made or purchased

Frozen sweet Potato, ricotta and Parmesan cheese ravioli

In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the onion in vegetable oil until it gets translucent and pick up some colour on the edges

Crumble the sausages over the surface of the pan and cook until no longer pink. Try to break up the sausage as much as possible. Add the minced garlic, corn kernels and dry herb mixture and saute for a few more minutes.

Pour the chicken stock and marinara over the vegetables and sausage. Add about half of the salt and the ground black pepper and bring the soup mixture to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the frozen ravioli, making sure that they’re submerged in the broth and cook covered for 5 minutes, then flip the ravioli and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve.

Mushroom Duo

Spring is finally here … daffodils are the first flowers that bloom in my ‘garden’.

I didn’t grow up eating mushrooms. In fact, my first exposure to them came in the form of canned mushrooms which, texturally, didn’t appeal to me at all.

And then I discovered fresh mushrooms, especially the ubiquitous white, button mushrooms that are often found on sale. They used to be available loose in grocery stores but now, they’re usually packaged in half and full pound versions, sliced or whole.

BUYING TIPS for button mushrooms: If possible, buy them whole as they’ll last longer. Also, make sure that the mushrooms in the package are compact and white without the browning ‘gills’ being exposed. Gills are an indicator of maturing/mature mushrooms and the flavour is more intense. If you want a ‘cleaner’ presentation, stick to the young, solid white mushrooms. Size is not an indicator of maturity so don’t be fooled. There’s also less wastage if you buy young mushrooms since, as they mature, the stems become tough and ‘woody’ and you’ll want to discard them.

Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

I used one of the pre-baked shells from the coconut cream pie recipe. With the additional baking and the savoury filling the pastry was perfect, backing up my belief that under-baking was one reasons for the disappointing cream pie result.

Bacon and Mushroom Quiche – serves 1

1 5 1/2 inch pre-baked pie shell
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
pinch of salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
2-3 strips crispy bacon, sliced
1-3 (depending on size) mushrooms, diced
2-3 tbsp grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 deg Fahrenheit.

Place the pie shell on a baking sheet to prevent spillage during transport. Spread the bacon and mushrooms over the base of the pie shell.  Sprinkle some of the cheese over the top.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, salt and nutmeg. Pour the custard mixture over the contents of the pie shell. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheddar over the top.

Transfer the baking sheet and quiche into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set. Let cool and serve with a salad for a light lunch.

Mushroom and Shrimp Scampi

Mushroom and Shrimp Scampi – serves 2

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, sliced and diced
1 small red, orange or yellow sweet pepper, medium diced
9-12 large raw shrimp, peeled except for the tail
2-3 tbsp green onion tops for garnish
salt and white pepper to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder

200 gm fettuccine or spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

In a small bowl, combine the raw shrimp, a pinch or two of salt and the garlic powder. Let sit for a few minutes.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and olive oil. When hot, add the mushrooms. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of salt over the top and saute until most of the moisture is gone and the mushrooms are lightly golden. Add the diced peppers and saute for another couple of minute until barely tender.

Push the vegetables to one side and add the seasoned shrimp. Saute just until the start getting pink on one side and then turn and continue sauteing until the second side is also pink and the shrimp have started to curl up. Combine the shrimp and veggies, taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Add the cooked pasta, stir through to coat with the butter and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning a final time.

Divide the pasta evenly onto two plates, sprinkle the green onion tops over the pasta and serve

BONUS: Tortilla pizzas topped with the last of the mushrooms in the veggie crisper.

Mini Coconut Cream Pies

This is the coconut dessert I was going to make originally, but with a busy work week I didn’t have the energy to make the filling, crust and topping needed. I found it online and rewrote the amounts and instructions to reflect the pastry making technique I used.

Mini Coconut Cream Pies

Pie Crust – makes enough pastry for a single 9 inch diameter pie top and bottom, or 6 x 5 1/2 inch diameter bases

1 cup very cold unsalted butter**, cut into small cubes
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup to 1/3 ice water (use just enough to allow the pastry to hold together

** I used half butter and half lard

Using a food processor, or a pastry blender in a large bowl, cut the cold butter (and lard) into flour and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible.

Pour cold water over the mixture through the feed tube, pulsing until the mixture begins to clump together. If using the bowl, sprinkle a few tablespoons of water over the flour/butter mixture and toss with a fork until dough begins to form. Take a handful of the mixture into your hand and squeeze gently. If it holds together, stop adding any more water. (Use your hands as little as possible as the heat will melt the butter and work the dough as little as possible as it will develop gluten and your pastry will toughen.)

Divide the dough into 2 even sized balls, flatten into 2 round discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can freeze the second disc for another time. (My pastry weighed about 600 gm.)

For the 5 1/2 inch mini bases, roll the pastry out about 1/8 of an inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter. Drape over the aluminum pie dish leaving some overhang. Finish the edges as desired. With the tines of a fork, prick all over the pastry and bake in a preheated 375 deg Fahrenheit oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Cool the pie shells thoroughly.

Coconut Cream Filling – makes 2 cups of filling, enough to fill 3 of the 5 1/2 inch diameter bases above

1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
5 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, finely ground**
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

** I ground the coconut in my coffee grinder with about 1 tbsp sugar

Scald the milk in a sauce pan or in the microwave.

Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt In a medium sized sauce pan. Pour in half a cup of the scalded milk and whisk until smooth. Make sure that you don’t leave any dry flour/sugar in the corners by using a large soup spoon. Place on the stove over medium/medium-low heat and cook, whisking all the while, until the mixture starts to thicken. Add another half cup of the milk and continue cooking. When thickened, add the last of the milk and continue cooking until it has thickened again. Take the sauce pan off the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low, if needed.

In a small bowl lightly beat the egg yolks. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot custard mixture to the beaten eggs and whisk in to temper the eggs. Add another half a cup of the hot custard mixture to the eggs and whisk well. Pour the egg/custard mixture into the custard in the sauce pan. Whisk well and return to the heat. Cook while whisking until the custard mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the butter and the vanilla and almond extracts. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Whisk a final time and fill the cooled pie shells. You’ll need about 2/3 cup of filling per mini pie shell.

Lay a sheet of food wrap on top of the surface of each pie and refrigerate for 4-6 hrs or, optimally, overnight, before topping.

Vanilla Whipped Cream – makes enough whipped cream to top 3 x 5 1/2 inch diameter mini pies

1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp icing/powdered sugar, sifted

3 tbsp toasted shredded coconut for garnish

Combine the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Spread on top of the cooled coconut cream filling. Garnish each mini cream pie with toasted coconut and serve.

Just a quick review … the filling was very tasty and I’d make it again but I’d use one of my other pie crust recipes for the shell. I may have rolled the crust too thick, and I certainly under-baked it, but I found the resulting crust heavy (not flaky) and bland. NOTE: I did substitute half the butter with lard so that may also have affected my results.

Shrimp and Chinese Sausage Quinoa Fried “Rice”

While browsing the Fridgg website, I decided to google the term ‘quinoa’ and ran across this great idea for a fried rice dish using quinoa. There was no need to add any protein to the dish, other than the traditional fried egg, but I like to go above and beyond whenever possible.

Shrimp and Chinese Sausage Quinoa Fried “Rice” –  makes 4 cups, about 3 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup carrot, small dice
3 large mushrooms, medium dice
1 small pepper (red, orange or yellow), small dice
2 green onions, bottoms added to the saute and tops used as garnish
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 large raw shrimp, peeled and tailed, halved and diced
1 raw Chinese sausage, halved and diced
1 large egg, slightly beaten
~ 3 cups cooked quinoa
2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
shake or two ground white pepper

In a large saute pan, add the butter and oil and over medium heat, saute the carrot, pepper, onion bottoms and mushrooms until the carrots are tender. Add the peas, shrimp and sausage and fry for a couple of minutes until the shrimp are white and the peas are warmed through.

Push the veggies and meat to one side and add the beaten egg to the cleared area. Fry for a minute or two until the egg is almost completely set and then stir into the veggie and meat mixture.

Add the cooked quinoa, mix into the veggie and meat mixture and sprinkle the soy sauce and ground white pepper over the top. Stir through and taste. Add more soy sauce if needed.

Mini “Magic” Coconut Pie Plus a Chocolate Variation

NOTE: I corrected the amount of flour listed in the recipe below as I realized I had written it incorrectly as the full (rather than the halved) recipe amount.

I had plans for a coconut dessert this weekend, as well as the chili etc., but it didn’t happen. I still had a coconut craving when I got home from work today, though, so I made a “Magic” coconut pie.

What does the term refer to, you may ask? Well, it’s one of those dishes in which all the ingredients are whisked together and then, during baking, they separate into a crust, filling and some sort of top. And because I didn’t want to be eating it daily – and doesn’t that sound familiar – I decided to scale down the recipe, which supposedly serves six, to half that. I had to do a couple of adjustments since my shredded coconut was unsweetened, and I used melted margarine instead of butter. I’m posting the revised recipe below.

Mini ‘Magic’ Coconut Pie – serves 3 (2 is more realistic)

2 tbsp  flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp  baking powder
1/4 cup  sweetened shredded coconut*
6 tbsp (1/4 cup and 2 tbsp) milk
2 tbsp melted butter**
pinch of salt**
1 egg
1 tsp  vanilla extract

* Replaced the sweetened shredded coconut with unsweetened coconut and an additional tbsp of sugar
** Replaced the melted butter and salt with just melted margarine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a whisk or hand blender. Pour into a buttered and floured 5 1/4-inch wide pie dish. Place on a baking sheet in case of spills.

Bake in a 350 deg F oven for 35 min or until golden brown and set. (You may want to test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.)

Let cool, slice and serve with a scoop of sweetened whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream or gelato.

Chocolate Variation: Substitute 1 tbsp of cocoa powder for 1 tbsp of the flour in the recipe above.

NOTE: Visual progress of the pie

After 20 minutes, the pie showed little change.
After 25 minutes, it’s puffed up to almost double in size, there’s cracking on the surface, which is pale. The custard inside seems moist.
After 30 minutes, the surface of the pie has darkened somewhat and the custard seen through the cracks seems more set.
After 35 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the ‘custard’ filling comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
Upon removal from the oven, the pie slowly deflates and about half an hour later, there is a definite depression in the central 2/3 of the pie.

The crust is defined but a bit soft and not like a ‘regular’ pie crust. Taste-wise, it’s delicious. And not overly sweet.

Paprika Chicken (Paprikás Csirke)

Whole chickens were on sale this week at $1.67 CDN per pound … so I bought two for just under $13.

I usually spatch-cock or joint my chickens but I decided to roast one whole (1 hr at 400 deg F, covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, and then uncovered at 375 deg F, for 45 minutes) … on an actual roasting pan from my mom’s place, for a change. It was seasoned very simply with dried oregano and parsley and salt and pepper. A sprinkling of sweet paprika helped give it a beautiful bronze finish. A delicious smelling and looking dish.

But the ‘pièce de résistance’ was Paprikás csirke (pronounced paprikash cheerke). This classic Hungarian dish combines fall-off-the bone tender chicken with a creamy sour cream based sauce served over nokedli, mashed potatoes or plain rice, as in this case.

Paprika Chicken (Paprikás Csirke) – serves 4-6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 3 1/2-4 pound chicken, jointed
1 medium sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow, or Hungarian yellow), small dice
1 medium onion, finely diced or grated
2 tbsp sweet paprika, Hungarian if possible
1 large, peeled and seeded tomato, diced or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salt, plus more, if needed
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more if desired to serve
1 tbsp flour
water as needed

Cut the chicken breasts in half. If they’re particularly thick, cut them in thirds so they can be submerged in the stock. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the chicken.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, heat up the oil and saute the onion and sweet pepper for about 5 minutes until the onions get soft and translucent.

Add the sweet paprika and toast it in the oil for a minute or two.

Add the diced tomatoes with juice and the chicken stock.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and add enough water to just barely come to the top of the chicken pieces (about 1 cup.) When the liquid comes to the boil, cover the saute pan with the lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Every 15 min, check to see that the chicken has not stuck to the bottom and that the liquid hasn’t evaporated. If too much liquid has evaporated, add a bit more water to the saute pan. Turn the chicken pieces a couple of times to make sure that the thicker pieces cook evenly.

When the chicken pieces are tender, remove them to a dish or bowl and reserve.

Remove the saute pan from the heat and using a stick blender, puree the vegetable mixture until it’s relatively even. (You can put it into a stand blender or food processor too.)

In a medium sized bowl combine the sour cream and the flour. Whisk together. Add a ladle full of the vegetable puree to ‘temper’ the sour cream so that it will not curdle. Stir well, add another ladle full of the puree and stir again. Pour the flour/sauce mixture back into the saute pan with the rest of the puree and place the reserved chicken pieces on top.

Tempering the sour cream

Return the saute pan to the heat just until the chicken is warmed through. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed.

Serve the chicken and sauce over nokedli, mashed potatoes or rice. Polenta also makes a wonderful base for the paprika chicken.

Paprika Chicken ready to serve

Roast chicken

More Ducky Treats … Shredded Duck Tortilla Stack and Duck Crackling Croutons

If you’re on a tight food budget, minimizing waste is important. The dishes below are re-imaginings or by-products of previous dishes.

I occasionally bake sourdough breads but, in the meantime, I store the sourdough starter in my fridge. It’s fed only once a week the minimal amounts to keep it going. Nevertheless, it DOES accumulate so, every 6-8 weeks, I make a batch of flour tortillas, leaving only enough starter behind to keep the culture going. The tortillas freeze well and make great wraps for sandwiches and crusts for individual pizzas. And you can flavour them with various dried herbs, pureed spinach, finely minced sun-dried tomatoes and pastes like pesto, tomato paste, chipotle in adobo and even, cocoa powder.

I happened to run across the last of a tub of gochujang (Korean chili paste) in my fridge recently so I added two rounded teaspoons to a batch of the tortilla dough for a mild spicy flavor and pretty orange colour.

Gochujang Sourdough Flour Tortillas

 

My duck ragu was delicious but I wondered if I could use it in another interesting way, similar to the way I used pulled pork, combined with barbecue sauce, as a topping for flour tortilla pizzas. But I didn’t WANT pizzas. A Mexican tortilla stack came to mind even though tostadas or corn tortillas are usually used for that. I ended up with something that was delicious and let me clear out more items from the fridge (an avocado that was past its prime) and a scant cup of home made refried beans from the freezer. Monterey Jack cheese, recently bought on sale, was shredded and added to the creation. The rest of the cheese, ungrated, was bagged, labelled and dated,  and tossed in the freezer.

Shredded Duck Tortilla Stack with Salsa Rice

Shredded Duck Tortilla Stack – serves 2 or 3

3 7-8 inch diameter flour tortillas (bought or home made, regular or sourdough)
1/4 cup shredded duck ragu
1 cup refried beans
1/4 -1/3 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 tbsp sour cream
diced avocado and green onion sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a pie dish with a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around your tortilla stack.

Spread half of the refried beans on two of the flour tortillas, spread one tablespoon of sour cream over each stack and then top with half of the duck ragu. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of grated Monterey Jack cheese over the top.

Place one of the stacks in the prepared pie dish and then place the other stack on top of the first. Top with the last flour tortilla and wrap the aluminum foil around the stack. Bake in the oven for half an hour.

Take the pie dish out of the oven, unwrap and top the tortilla stack with the rest of the grated cheese. Return to the oven and bake uncovered until the cheese melts and is bubbly.

Remove from the oven, cut into desired serving portions, top with the diced avocado and sliced green onions and serve with Mexican rice and salad for a complete meal.

Duck Crackling Croutons

When I made the duck ragu, I removed the thick, fatty skin from the breast, and wrapped it up and then refrigerated it. Since I had the oven on today, I cut the skin into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide, made shallow cross-hatched cuts across the surface of the skin for easy drainage of the rendered fat, and placed the strips of skin on a baking dish. Then I put them in the oven (350 deg F) along with my tortilla stack. Periodically, I drained off the melted fat and, when the strips were nice and crunchy, I removed the baking dish from the oven and let the duck crackling strips cool. Then I diced them and sprinkled them on a Caesar salad in place of croutons.

Caesar Salad with Duck Crackling Croutons