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Old 09-28-2007, 12:21 AM   #21
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Oh me oh my I do hope you give us a full report. I'll take one from each column. Where did you say your restaurant is located! :) This is a bigger challenge by far than the one I took on.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:23 AM   #22
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Like I said, feel free to join hte challenge. Make this meal at your home.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:26 AM   #23
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Oh! Oh!, fresh phyllo dough! That sounds like a challenge.

Spanakopita, Marinated Mushrooms, and Moussaka with fresh flat bread, maybe some fried eggplant. You could even make most of that ahead of time. Yum!
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Good luck with Saturday. Who's the lucky guinnea pig?
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:30 PM   #24
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First challenge is completed and was a partial success. I made the formal Chinese Dinner with the following menu and served 5 adults until they were full:

Menu:

Cold dishes:
1. Sushi – filled with shredded scallops and wrapped in spinach leaves isnstead of Nori
2. Ranguns – filled with crab and sweetended cream cheese
3. Glazed skewered chicken strips
4. Mellon and berries, skewered and candied

Hot Main Course
1. Mongolian Beef.
2. Chicken Velvet with Mushrooms
3. Stir-Fried Veggies with Chicken Sauce

Soup:
Egg Drop Soup

Staple:
Dumplings filled with sweet beaf and veggies

Snack:
Chicken Spring Rolls

Desert:
Tanghulu – Haw fruit is not available and so will be using kiwi and strawberries

Beverage – Herbal Teas


Of these, the accomplished items were, in order, Crab Ranguns, Glazed Chicken strips (skewered), Glazed Veggie Strips (skewered again), mongolian beef, stir-fried veggies with chicken sauce, Egg-drop soup, and spring rolls.

But I had a coupld of challenges thrown my way that I wasn't anticipating. First, I didn't get to do my shopping until the night before, and had little time Saturday morining for prep-work, and so had to start everything 20 minutes before it was time to start serving the food. 2nd, one of the visitors wanted to help, but I had to teach him how to bias-slice the veggies, and he was a vegitarian and so I had to alter the menu to include the same foods, only veggie style for him. These were in addition to the already planned menu.

The foods that were cooked came out very nice, with great flavor and texture. What I learned from this experience is that to do this meal justice, you need at least 4 hours prep time, with 2 additional cooks to assist, and the cooks need to know what they are doing. In other words, I bit of more than I could chew. Things were so hectic that I only got off pitures of the glazed veggie skewers and crab rangoons. The glazed chicken skewers were done at the same time, but things were moving very fast in my kitchen.

For the glazed chicken strips, I boned, then sliced four chicken breasts, and sliced the meat into very thin strips (cut with the grain). I had a marinade made from 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp. granulated onion, 2 tbs, rice vinegar, lite soy sauce, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and a dash of ginger. Enough water was added to form a syrupy liquid.

The glaze was seperated into two bowls, with the chicken strips placed into one and thinly sliced and steamed carrot and onion strips placed into the other. These were then put onto bamboo skeweres and two seperate baking sheets. I cooked them at 350' for twenty minutes in the oven.

For the rangoons, I combined 2 packages cream cheese with 3 tbs. Splenda. This was divided itno equal portions in seperate bowls. 8 oz. surimi (fake crab) was mixed into the first bowl, with a combination of finely chopped onion, celery leaves, garlic powder, and finely diced carrot mixed into the other. I brushed wonton skins with egg-wash made from 1 large egg, mixed with 1/8 cup water. I placed about a tsp. of the filling onto the wonton skin center and folded the corners inward to meet. I then placed the rangoons (veggie versions first) into hot peanut oil (360') and fried until golden brown.

The rangoons and glazed skewers were served at the same time.

The mongolian beef consisted of stir-fried water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bok choy, sliced onion, bias-sliced carrot, bean sprouts, lite soy sauce, and hoison sauce, fresh, sliced mushrooms, with garlic and sesame oil to season.

While the veggies were cooking in seperate woks, I sliced the beef into thin strips. I marinated them in a combination of lite soy sauce, ginger, black pepper, rice vinegar, and hoison sauce, all mixed with just enough water to form a bath. I removed the veggies into a a large and a somewhat smaller bowl. I fried cubed tofu with vegetabe soup base and garlic, and added it to the smaller bowl of cooked veggies. I then stir-fried the beef until it was just done, and thicken the pan drippings with a cornstarch slurry to make a lite sauce. The beef was mixed into the large veggie bowl and appropriate dishes were served to the vegetarian, and the rest of us.

While all else was cooking, I made a veggie soup base, and a chicken broth usint the skins and bones from the chickens I had boned. I seasoned the chiken broth lightly with salt and garlic. I seasoned the veggie broth with garlic and soy sauce. I beat two eggs, removed the boiling broths from the heat, and drizzled the beaten eggs equally between the two pans, forming long strings of egg threads. I garnished both soups, in the bowls, with freshly cut chives. Egg-drop soup, is authentically a very mild chicken broth, flavored only with salt, onion, and garlic, with chives dressing up the bowls.

The rice for the sushi was cooked to sticky perfection, but had to be saved for another night. There just wasn't sufficient time.

The spring rolls were an experiment of my daughter's. I had planned chicken egg rolls, something I do very well. But she took the remaining crab rangoon filling, mixed it with water-chestnuts, bamboo shoots, onion, and bean sprouts, rolled it into perfect spring rolls, and prceeded to fry prettier product than I ever have. It was light and crispy on the outside, and the filling was extraodinary. But I can't take credit. It was her brain child.

I did succeed in teaching a young, vegitarian man how to improve his knife skills, and to make the various recipes, and opened the eyes of a picky young adult woman who had accompanied him (both freinds of my daughter's). She gushed about the food quality. I have only one picture as I said, and here it is. You now have the tale of my partial success. I will be making the velvet chicken tomorrow night.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-30-2007, 11:23 PM   #25
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Congratulations to you Goodweed. That is awesome. I'm amazed that you accomplished as much as you did in the time you had. I could not have come close. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-01-2007, 10:57 PM   #26
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The velvet chicken came out wonderful tonight. Here's the pictures. I'll get the recipe to you hopefully tomorrow.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:11 PM   #27
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Goodweed - about the nori - a local sushi bar uses the rice paper you make summer rolls out of for those that don't like nori - just a thought for you.
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Old 10-03-2007, 07:36 PM   #28
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Kitchen Elf, what a great idea. Thanks. Here, by the way, is the recipe for the Chicken Velvet. It came out very yummy.

Chicken Velvet
Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, cut from the bone.
2 cups chicken broth (made from the bones and skins, seasoned to taste)
2 egg-whites
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. MSG (optional)
Peanut oil to fill a wok or deep frying pan 3-inches deep
2 tsp. peanut oil for frying
12 oz. sliced straw mushrooms (or whatever are available to you)
2 tbs. lite soy-sauce
1 tsp. sugar or Splenda
1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil
3 tsp. rice vinegar
4 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water to make a slurry

Preheat the oil to the point of fragrance (360' F.)
Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a food processor. Add 3 tbs. of the chicken broth and process into a smooth paste. Add the salt, pepper, and msg. Process to combine. Remove to a large mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the meat mixture. Fold in the dry cornstarch.

Heat a large saucepan with the two tbs. of peanut oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, turning often. Add the remaining chicken broth and cover. Allow to simmer while you cook the chicken mixture.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd. Turn after two minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes and turn again. Repeat until the chicken is lightly browned.

Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined bowl to drain. Cook all of the chicken in this manner.

Stir the rice wine into the saucepan along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the fried chicken and bring to a boil. Thicken with the cornstarch slurry. Serve on a Platter garnished with steamed, bias-sliced bok choy and carrots.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:29 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Jeff G. View Post
Here is your task if you choose to accept it.

Using a main ingredient, cook a meal in which each course utilizes the main ingredient. (i.e. Iron Chef style).

Since it's fall. I would suggest Pumkin!!!

you will need an opening course, main dish, side to go with it and dessert all featuring the main ingredient... good luck..
All right, ne pay period. I will take this on as my next challenge. However, I am going to use winter squash varieties as the ingredient. These will include pumpkin, acorn squash, and a few others. I will let you see pictures of everything and post the recipes.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:50 AM   #30
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Winter Squash Challenge Reprot:

Menu

Squash/Pumpkin Soup
Fruit & Nut Stuffed Acorn Squash
Glazed Dumplin Squash
Spaghetie Squash With Rustic Tomato Sauce
Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

The Squash/Pumpkin soup was made with pumpkin meat from 1 1/2 cup of roasted pie pumkin combined with the meat of one steamed hubbard squash. The meats were mashed with 1 tbs. Kosher Salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander. A medium yellow onion was then diced and added along with two, red-ripe jalepino peppers from my garden. Four cups of water were added to the mixture and it was allowed to simmer until the onions were tender. Everything was blended together in the pot with an imersion blender. 2 tbs. freshly ground coarse black pepper added the sweetnes required by the dish.

The flavor was reminiscent of Dahl, but sweeter, and with a mild squash flavor. The texture was creamy-smooth. It was a big hit with everyone.

Two acorn squashes were halved from top to bottom and seeded. One Gala Apple was peeled, cored, and diced. The apple was combined with whole cranberry, cranberry jelly and cashews. To this mixture was added a tsp. of key-lime juice to protect the apple color and add a brightness of flavor. The halves were stuffed with the fruit-nut mixture and put together. I then sealed them in tight fitting aluminum foil nad baked them for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

The glazed dumpling squash was prepared by cutting the top from the 4 squashes. The seeds and thread were then removed. I then melted 1/2 cup of butter and poured equal amounts into each squash, swirling the hot butter around the insides. I then sprinkled sugar and cinamon into one, brown sugar into another, sugar, cinamon and ginger into a third squash, and finally brown sugar and maple into the last one. I replaced the tops on all of them and microwaved them until they were done.

The favorite was the dumpling squash glazed with sugar, cinamon, and ginger. But they were all eaten and enjoyed.

Spagheti Squash with herbed tomato sauce:
My Sister's favorite of the menu comes next. I cut and seeded one spagheti squash, quartered, and baked in the micorwave until tender. I removed the threads with a fork and piled into a large, glass bowl. These were drizzled with EVOO and topped with a tomato sauce made from diced tomato, chopped, fresh tomato, 12 oz. canned tomato sauce, sliced onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary, with a hint of sugar added. Fresh Parmesano-Regiano was grated over the whole thing and it was baked again in the microwave for another minute to melt the cheese. To my suprize, everyone actually ate it, and I was serving more than one picky eater.

Pumkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
This came out great. Here's the recipe:
2 cups pie pumpkin (I had roasted two pie pumpkins and so had plenty of pumpkin meat for both the soup and the cake).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
1-1/2 tsp. cinamon
4 eggs
1 cup cooking oil

Combine all ingredients and pour into a ten inch, prepared cake pan. Bake at 400' F for 40 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Remove from the oven when the toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean. Cool to roome temperature.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
4 sticks butter
Confectioner's sugar.

Place butter and cream cheese into a microwave safe bowl and heat until butter is liquified. Combine butter and cream cheese with a ballon whisk. Add 1 cup powderd sugar and whisk in until smooth. Add more powdered sugar, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth an creamy, and has the consistany of a soft, flowing paste. Pour over the cake and spread evenly all over the top, letting the icing drip artistically over the sides. Let cool and serve.

The meal came out great, with everuthing served hot and on time, and the cake served cold.

This one was a complete success.

Oh, and my sister made my recipe of Italian pork sausage/ground beef meatballs, with rice mixed in, as the meat serving. They were jsut what the meat needed.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:36 PM   #31
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Exclamation Awwwwsome

That's great Chef, I'm making copies of your recipes and instructions of course. Thanks for sharing all your efforts.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:06 PM   #32
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That's great Chef, I'm making copies of your recipes and instructions of course. Thanks for sharing all your efforts.
Haha. I am only chef of my home kitchen. I make telephone systems work as my day-job, along with video-conference systems, voicemail systems, and a host of other electonics thingies.

But then again, when I'm at relatives, or freinds homes, I seem to be the one put in charge there as well. Guess that makes me an ameture chef, or chief of the kitchen (no disrespect intended for formaly trained chefs).

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-11-2007, 06:47 PM   #33
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Last pay period saw me giving money to one of my children and so things were a bit tight. But this pay period, I've purchased a duck. I've never worked with duck before. And to top it off, I'm going to try and make something grand, like Peking Duck. I know you have to sew the skin to the meat, making everything air-tight, and then brush a glaze on the inflated skin, allowing it to dry. but that's all I know and so some research is in order here. As always, I'll give a report and pictures.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:23 AM   #34
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Ok, I know this thread is supposed to be about gourmet top notch food but I have a different type of challenge for you, that I'm hoping you'll give a go.

I LOVE to cook, both for the health benefits of knowing exactly what's in the food I'm eating and simply because I just enjoy doing it, so for the most part I've given up eating at all fast food places, except one that I just can't kick. Taco Bell is the one and only fast food place I go to whenever I get the chance. the closest one to me is 30 minutes away but I go because I love it that much lol. I've made tacos and burritos at home often but I just can NOT seem to recreate the flavor. I've even bought the little taco bell season packs at the market and still not the same. So, my challenge for you is to recreate the seasoning blend used on the chicken at taco bell. after you've perfected your peking duck of course.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:32 PM   #35
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Ok, I know this thread is supposed to be about gourmet top notch food but I have a different type of challenge for you, that I'm hoping you'll give a go.

I LOVE to cook, both for the health benefits of knowing exactly what's in the food I'm eating and simply because I just enjoy doing it, so for the most part I've given up eating at all fast food places, except one that I just can't kick. Taco Bell is the one and only fast food place I go to whenever I get the chance. the closest one to me is 30 minutes away but I go because I love it that much lol. I've made tacos and burritos at home often but I just can NOT seem to recreate the flavor. I've even bought the little taco bell season packs at the market and still not the same. So, my challenge for you is to recreate the seasoning blend used on the chicken at taco bell. after you've perfected your peking duck of course.
I'll tackle that challenge. I'm pretty good at desconstructing flavors in my mouth. So, I'll need to eat the menu item that you want me to figure out. Let me know what the item is and I'll check it out. Chances are that it can be made in a healthy way.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:57 PM   #36
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Ok, now that you've done Chineese move on to Russian stuff, here is an easy cake for you: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...nik-35086.html. Good luck.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #37
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I order the same thing every time, that would be the "Chicken Soft Taco Supreme" and the "Chicken Grilled Stuft Burrito". can't wait for your results.
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:11 PM   #38
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Ok, now that you've done Chineese move on to Russian stuff, here is an easy cake for you: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...nik-35086.html. Good luck.
Gonna do the duck tomorrow. Then I'll try your cake.

It'll be next week before I can take on the Taco Bell reconstruction.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:37 AM   #39
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The Peking Dcuk came ot nice. The skin was crispy with a lightly sweet glaze, and the duck was juicy. The dipping sauce was great, if overpowering for its intended use. I didn't much care for the Chinese Pancakes though. But they did serve their purpose. If I were to do this meal again, I'd find a different recipe for the chinese pancakes, and cook the bird over a divided bed of charcoal, with a light maple-wood smoke. I believe it would give the Peking duck more character.

Recipe and Technique:
Peking Duck Recipe II

Ingredients :
2.5 lb Duck
Coating
1 tbs. Honey
1 tsp. Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Vinegar
Sauce
2 tbs. Hoisin sauce
1 tsb. Peanut butter
1 tbs. Sesame oil
1 tsb. Water
40 pieces Chinese pancakes
6 Scallions
½ Cucumber, sliced
2 Red chilies

Method :
Allow the dcuk to heat to room temperature. Clean and rinse the duck inside and out. Remove any pin feathers or quills from the skin. Cut away and discard any excess fat found in the cavity. Pat drywith paper towels.
Heat 1/2 gallon of water in a very large pot (big enough to contain the whole duck) until it boils and turn off the heat. Place the duck into the water, rolling it for about 1 minute. Remove. Bring the water to the boil again and repeat the previous step.
To help in this next part, I used a fan and a small, ceramic space heater to speed the drying process. I also hung the duck in such a way so that I could spin it, allowing all sides to dry evenly.
Hang the duck in a cool, but drafty place and wipe inside and out with paper towels to remove as much moiture as possible.
Mix the coating ingredients until completely combined and brush the duck all over with it. Let hang until dry to the touch. Brush on a second coating and again dry. Continue this process until all of the coating mixture is used up.
Cooking Technique
Pre-heat the oven to 450' F.
Place the duck, breast side up, on a v-rack that will lift it about 3 inches from the roasting pan bottom. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn the duck over, taking care not to pierce the skin (I used clean dish towels to handle the hot and sticky bird), and roast for 10 minutes more.
Turn down the heat to 350'F., and turn the duck breast over once more, so that the breast-side is up. Roast for 30 minutes more.
Next, reduce the temperature to 250'F., and roast for 20 minutes. And finally, fire that oven up to 450'F., yet again and roast the duck for about 15 minutes.
turn off the heat and test the duck to make sure it is cooked through (Kids, that's 165'F. on a meat thermometer). The skin should be a rich and yummy red, just like in my pictures.

While the duck is roasting, make the Chinese pancakes, according to the provided recipe.
Cut the spring onions into 1-inch lengths, cut slits in the end of each piece with a sharp paring knife and put it in iced water for 10 minutes. This makes the onions "flower". When the onions are in their icy bath, cut the cucumber into 1-inch lengths as well. Cut the chile's into rings and garnish the cucumbers by placing a peper-ring over each chunk.

Blend together the sauce ingredients with a whixk until silky smooth.
remove the skin from the duck's back. REmove the crispy skin from the breast and legs, and cut into enough pieces to serve everyone. Carve thin slices of meat from the carcass and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Place the meat and skin onto a suitable platter and serve with the pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and sauce.

To eat, taek a pancake, a piece of duck meat, and a piece of each veggie. Dip the onion into the sauce, and place it with the duck and cucumber onto the pancake. Fold and munch.

Chinese Pancakes Recipe
Ingredients to make 40 pancakes. Don't worry. They're small,
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Boiling water
1 tablespoon Sesame oil

Place the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well and pour the water in while stirring with a fork. Add a bit more flour or water as needed to make a moist dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and firm. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover, and let rest for about an hour.
Lightly knead the dough again on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 2-inch thick roll and cut into four, equal pieces. Roll these into 1 inch diameter roll and slice into 5 equal disks. This will give you 40 little dough-balls to work with. Roll each into a little ball.
Dip your fingers into the sesame oil and and flatten the dough-balls with your fingers, laying them out on your work surface. Brush the tops with sesame oil.
Place the oiled sides of two pancakes together, and cook for 30 seconds on each side, in a frying pan that has been lightly brushed with sesame oil. Peel the pancakes apart and stack into a foil-lined casserole dish. Use two casserole dishes if needed. Add 3 tbs. of water under the foil of each baking dish, cover and place into a 215'F. oven for 30 minutes. Remove and serve.

Rice:
The rice came out fluffy and perfect. The recipe is simple and foolproof.
Ingredients:
1 cup long-grain White Rice
2 cups Duck Broth

Make the duck broth by boiling the duck neck and giblets. Add 1 tsp. good chicken soup base and one cleaned and chopped stalk of celery, along with 1/4 cup diced onion. Boil for thirty minutes while the duck is drying.

Strain the broth into a bowl. In the same pan, add 2 tbs cooking oil and the rice. Stir over medium-high heat until the rice turns solid white. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to it's lowest setting, and simmer for 20 mintues. Remove from the heat.

As I said at the top of this post, I think I would change the pancake recipe to make them less bland, maybe add a bit of salt anyway. And the sauce, well it was yummy, if overpowering for the delicate duck flavor. I'm not sure how to get around that part. Oh, and that's a piece of the skin laid on top of the rice. yum. Here's the pictures:
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:53 AM   #40
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Goodweed, did you go on to do the soup course and the meat course as well? I love the Peking duck soup, probably more than the pancakes. My preference for the meat course is always duck san choy bow. San choy bow is my favourite Chinese dish. And I love duck. I have a pair of shanks just sitting idly in my fridge waiting for me to eat them!!!
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