Crispy Duck with Orange-Fennel Slaw

duck with orange fennel slaw-2

duck with orange fennel slaw-2

Duck has a little bit of a bad reputation. People think it’s fatty, greasy, and finicky to cook. With a little know-how and understanding of the cooking process though, it’s a great protein choice with tons of flavor. And – according to the self nutrition database - it only has about 2 calories more per ounce than chicken!

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, The French Market: More Recipes from My French Kitchen. I picked the book up randomly one summer in a local bookshop, and it quickly became one of my favorites. The recipes are filled with fresh ingredients inspired by the French countryside.

{SRC} Lamb Souvlaki Pitas

lamb in pita

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to get the most that I can out of these last few weeks of summer. Between enjoying the sun, seeing one last drive-in movie, catching one last polo match (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it – it’s way more exciting than the track!), and finishing the impossible task of cleaning/organizing my house from top to bottom (not sure why I started that one but I have to admit it looks a lot better) I haven’t been left with a ton of time or energy to cook.

That’s normally not a problem – I’ve been making tons of quick and easy recipes like the two-minute salmon teriyaki that I posted last week – but then I realized that it was time for Secret Recipe Club again. This month, I was paired with La Belle Aurore, a Canadian expat currently living in China. Her blog is full of beautiful travel photographs and amazing stories, but I was a little overwhelmed when it came to choosing a recipe to make. She has tons of delicious breads that I just wasn’t feeling up to making. She also has lots of recipes for homemade soaps, which are gorgeous and really fun – if only I had given myself more time to complete this month’s post I would have veered off my path and made one of those. Ultimately, I settled on her “gyro souvlaki kebabs.”

Two-Minute Salmon Terryaki

simple salmon terryaki

I saw this salmon teriyaki over on The Kitchn a few weeks ago and immediately ran to the store to get the ingredients to make it. I’m so glad that I did, because now not only do I have a new go-to weeknight recipe, I have a fail-proof new way to cook fish! I feel like this photo doesn’t do the recipe justice at all; the salmon is incredibly succulent and falls apart into big, tender flakes with a gentle tap with your fork. Served over rice it doesn’t look like much, but we’re still talking about it weeks later and I can’t wait to make it again.

Rather than cooking this salmon on the stovetop or roasting it, you cook it very quickly under the broiler – it literally only takes 2 minutes!

Mini Cherry-Almond Turnovers

cherries


Working title: The Awesomest Cherry Preserves Ever Made in the History of the Whole Wide World.
Seriously, I haven’t been this excited to post a recipe in a very, very long time. And while these cherry-filled pastries are unbelievably delicious, it’s only because the filling itself it so stellar. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors, with just th slightest hint of almond – not so much that you’d be able to identify it if you didn’t know it was there, but enough to make you pause and wonder what the mystery ingredient is.
Tuck a spoonful of preserves inside some puff pastry and brush it with a vanilla bean infused egg wash, and you’ll have a homemade pastry to rival those from your favorite bakery. Or skip the pastry and eat the cherries on an English muffin, over ice cream, or with a spoon. It’s your call but, whatever you do, you won’t be disappointed.

Ginger Beef Stir Fry

beef and ginger stir fry.jpg


On Monday night, I got a text from Shawn: I’ll be home at 8 tomorrow. Want to do dinner?

I answered yes, figuring I would just eat a little later than I had originally planned. It’s always nice to eat together.

I wasn’t expecting his reply: Cool. Pick something up on your way home from work, Surprise me.

What the hell? I’m very indecisive when it comes to what to make for dinner as is, so I hate being solely responsible for making that decision. Plus we just rejoined Weight Watchers*, so I needed to come up with something extra good that wasn’t a lot of points. (I don’t get many, so I have to make them count!)

I ended up making a sweet and spicy stir fry loaded with a combination of everything that looked good in the store plus a few things that I had in the fridge. I was pretty hungry by the time it was ready so I wasn’t planning to take pictures, but before I had even finished serving myself Shawn was yelling to me from the other room about how “super good” it was. I’m glad that I took a few extra seconds to snap some, because he was right: the steak was super tender and perfectly seasoned with lots of bite from the ginger and garlic, the sauce was subtly sweet, but not heavy or sticky, and the vegetables added lots of fresh flavor and satisfying bulk without seeming overbearing.

When it’s too hot to cook…

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The thermostat says says its currently 86 degrees in our house. I swear that the kitchen is a good 10 degrees more than that. I attempted to make risotto and salmon tonight, but standing over the stove made me feel like my face was going to melt off. I gave up and had a grilled chicken wrap instead.

If you’re in the same boat, here are a few meals that I’ve enjoyed in the past few days that didn’t require much time or effort in the kitchen. (In short, meals that tasted awesome but didn’t make me want to die.)

Clockwise, from top left: