Garlic Brusells Sprouts

These were the side dish for the goose. They are super yummy and really easy to make. This is a recipe that I got out of my Taste of Home cook book, and as it is written only makes one serving, so we had to double or triple the recipe. What you need:
5 brussels sprouts, halved
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp butter, melted
1 TBS shredded parmesan cheese

What to do:
Place brussels sprouts and garlic in sauce pan; add one inch of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes or until crisp/tender; drain. Drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Cucumber Salad

This accompaniment was meant to go with the duck. The thought behind it was that the acidity of this salad would counteract the fattiness of the duck meat. This side dish is best if made atleast a few hours ahead of time so that all the flavors have time to blend together. What you need:
Cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
Green onions, sliced
equal parts vinegar and water
pepper, prefereable freshly ground

What to do:
Put all the ingredients in a bowl. You need just enough vinegar/water to cover the veggies. My family likes lots of onions, but you can use however much you want. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate a couple hours or even overnight.

Roast Stuffed Goose

This dish was a little more work than the duck, but was definitely very good. The stuffing was really really yummy and the apples that are to be served with it as a garnish are amazing. We carved into this bird so fast that Marquette couldn't get any more good pictures, so this one will have to suffice.

What you need:

1 young goose, about 8lb

2 TBS butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cups port(we just skipped this ingredient)

1/2 cups stock (you can find a recipe for this online)

1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 TBS water

For potato stuffing:

3 medium onions, finely chopped

4 large potatoes, peelied and cut in large pieces

1/2 cup butter or heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons sage

salt and pepper

for garnish:

1/4 cups butter

10 small tart apples, peeled and cored

1/4 cup red currant jelly (we couldn't find this anywhere so we used seedless raspberry jam)

2 TBS red wine vinegar

What to do:

1. To make the stuffing: cover onions with cold water and bring to a boil and simmer 5 mintes, or until tender. Drain well. Boil potatoes in salted water 15-20 minutes or until soft, drain and return to pan. Dry over very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Mash with a potato masher or electric mixer, then add butter or cream, beating until potatoes are light. Take from heat and stir in onions, sage, salt and pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill the body of the goose with stuffing and truss (see duck post for trussing directions), sewing each end firmly shut. Cream the 2 TBS butter with the salt, pepper, and ground ginger and spread over the breast of the goose. Set in a roasting pan and roast in preheated oven for about 2 1/2 hours, basting and turning bird from time to time so it browns evenly. After 2 hours, pour off all fat in roasting pan, spoon the port over goose and continue to cook until skin is crisp.

3. For the garnish: melt butter in a small pan (I used a couple of glass pie pans for this). Put the apples in and cover them all over with the butter. Bake in the same oven as the goose for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Put the red currant jelly in a pan with the vinegar and melt over gentle heat.

4. Take the goose out, remove trussing strings and wing pinion bones and set on a serving platter. Arrange apples around and spoon melted jelly over them. Skim any fat from the juices in the roasting pan, add stock to the juices and boil well to disolve the meat juices(Be sure you really scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the yummy stuff off the bottom of the pan). Adjust seasoning and thicken by stirring the cornstarch mixtures into the pan, bringing it to a boil, and stirring and simmering it for 1 minute. Strain into a gravy dish.

Canard aux Navets (Roast Duck with Turnips)

This was one of the main dishes for our big gourmet dinner. It was my definitely my favorite of the two choices. It is fairly simple to make and is very impressive. The most difficult thing about cooking duck is that it is very fatty, so you have to be careful to follow the directions so that you allow most of the fat to drain off.
What you need:
4-5 lb. duck
peeled rind of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 cup duck stock(you can find a recipe for this online)
1 1/2 cups Espangonle sauce (you can find a recipe for this online)
1 cup white wine (I used water)
juice of 1/2 lemon

For garnish:
6-8 small white turnips, peeled and quartered
2 TBS butter
1 TBS sugar
10-12 small onions, blanched and peeled

What to Do:

1. Put the lemon rind into the duck, sprinkle the inside with the salt and pepper, and truss it. Trussing is just using a thick piece of string to tie the legs of the bird together, and another to tie the wings of the bird down to it's sides. You do this to make the bird hold it's shape while cooking so it will look prettier. If you don't want to do this you don't have to. Once the bird is seasoned and trussed, place on a rack in a roasting pan, pour around the stock and prick the skin all over to release the fat.

2. Roast the bird in a 400 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until the skin is crisp and the thigh of the bird is tender when you stab it with a fork. (Duck and goose are both very dark meats, so they will not look done when you cut them open.) During cooking, turn the duck from one side to the other, then onto it's back, basting occasionally. (Basting is just taking the juices from the bottom of the pan and drizzling them over the bird) Discard excess fat as it gathers on the bottom of the pan.

3. To prepare the garnish, blanch the turnips and drain them. (Blanching is putting the veggies into boiling water for a short period of time, then putting them into a bowl of very cold water right away. It's not hard and doesn't take very long.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the turnips. Sprinkle with sugar and cook over very low heat, stirring the pot from time to time, for 10-15 minutes or until the turnips are almost tender and the sugar has begun to carmalize (turn brown). Add the blanched onions and cook 8-10 minutes longer or until the onions and turnips are tender and glazed with caramel.

4. When the duck is cooked, transfer it to a serving platter(I just took mine out of the pan for a few minutes while I got the gravy ready then put it back in to serve it out of the pan) and keep it warm. Discard the fat from the pan and dissolve the pan juices in the wine(water) and lemon juice, boiling well. (Make sure you really scrape the bottom of the pan well so that you get all the yummy flavors that have cooked to the bottom) Strain the mixture into the espagnole sauce and boil it rapidly until glossy and the consistency of light cream. Spoon a little sauce over the duck, garnish the platter with the turnips and onions and serve remaining sauce separately.

Tahitian Fruit Cups

This dish was served as the appetizer of our meal. It was a lot of work to get the coconuts prepared, but it was really yummy. Most of us had never tasted fresh coconut before, so this was a fun treat for everyone. I think it would be just as yummy with the processed coconut from the grocery store baking aisle, and would be a lot less hassle. I'm sure it's possible to find empty coconut shells somewhere if you want to preserve the look of this dish. We made rings of paper to set the shells in to make them stand upright.

What you need:

3 small coconuts
1 medium pineapple
1/4 cup orange juice
Whole strawberries (I used lots more than this recipe suggests. We quarted them and mixed them in with the fruit before serving.)
Mint sprig(this is just for garnish, I didn't use this)

What to Do:

Break each coconut in half crosswise (We got on youtube and watched videos about how to do this). Remove coconut meat; save the shells. Cover and refrigerate half the coconut meat for future use. Cut remaining coconut into bite sized pieces.

Remove rind from pineapple and cut fruit into bite-size pieces. Stir together coconut meat and pineapple; add orange juice and toss. Cover; chill several hours.

At serving time, fill coconut shells with fruit mixture. Garnish each with whole strawberries and a mint sprig.

I've been in New Mexico visiting my family for a few weeks and had the opportunity to try cooking a few things that I've wanted to make for a long time. Due to a generous gift of certain food items that had been given to my mom, I was able to make a bunch of really fun stuff for pretty cheap. Over my next couple of posts I'll be showing you all the different dishes that I made for a huge gourmet dinner, in the order of the courses in which they were served.
My little sister Nina was my official assistant in all the menu decisions, guest invitations, and food preparations. We spent about two days figuring out the menu and making a plan for how we were going to accomplish all the cooking. Then we did all the cooking over a period of three days. In the end, we served a three course meal to eleven people. It was really fun and the food turned out amazing.

My older sister Marquette was the official event photographer, and I think did a great job. She made sure to get pictures of every dish we made. My younger sister Carolyn was in charge of decorations and table settings. I was pretty impressed with what she accomplished. Our mom was there through the whole thing to lend a helping hand or word of advice through the entire process. It was so much fun to get to work on this with all of them.