Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's for Dinner Tonight?

NOT Smart Duck for the coyote's (or racoon's) dinner, at least! I know this is a terrible photo -it's painfully obvious by now that I'm not much of a photographer- but it shows her roosting for the night, safe on top of the shop roof when I was locking up the chickens last night. Daily answering the question, 'What's for dinner?' is what all home cooks (and coyotes and racoons) do, day after day. I personally almost always enjoy the challenge, and pondering the myriad of possibilities. What's everyone feeling like? What's in the freezer and cupboard? What haven't we had for awhile? What about this new recipe?

I've been on a bit of a Vietnamese food streak, started Friday night, when we went out to eat at the Vietnamese restaurant, Green Leaf (very good, I highly recommend it). Saturday, we made a Lobster Bisque and Crab Cakes (the seafood was a very much appreciated gift, and yes, the bisque was heavenly). Sunday we had the Vietnamese Chicken Curry and Rice that I posted, and Monday I made Venison with Peanuts, adapted from the Vietnamese cookbook, KOTO (I checked this out from the library and totally fell in love with it), with sticky rice and a simple salad. Thanks go to my youngest brother, Wayne for his expert hunting skills and sharing his venison with us.

Last night, I had planned to make an Asian-style Duck and Rice Soup, but decided to veer away from Vietnamese foods, and instead made duck cooked in red wine in the crock-pot, Coq au vin style. I put dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped carrots, sliced garlic, shallots, seasonings and the duck in the crock-pot and then poured over several odds and ends of red wine -a homemade grape-blueberry I'd just bottled but wasn't very impressed with, the last bit from a bottle we drank the night before (I was impressed with it), and several frozen portions I had saved in the freezer. I often pour that last half cup of wine left in the bottle into a container and freeze it. I stock several of these to pull out when I want just a bit of wine for cooking and don't want to buy a bottle. And a bit of wine is often just what I want to add to something.

I cooked the duck on high all day in the crock-pot, turning it several times, since I hadn't marinated it in the wine overnight, as I really should have done for this, until it was falling off the bone. I removed the duck to a plate, removed all the bones and shredded the meat. Meanwhile, I made a roux, added the wine broth to thicken it all, and returned the sauce and the meat to the crock-pot and turned the heat to low until dinner and served it over pasta. Tonight? I can't decide. Caesar Salad and duck cooked in red wine in a sandwich roll comes to mind. Or maybe Vietnamese-style fried rice.


  1. I too go through phases in my cooking. For a while all I made was Indian food. Lately, it has been Moroccan.
    I have never been brave enough to cook duck. You make this look so easy. I love the freezing wine idea. I always end up throwing little bits away and then regret it when a recipe calls for it a few days later.

  2. Nicole, I highly recommend cooking duck (be brave!) -it is delicious, but you can easily substitute chicken. And this IS easy.