Duck Day 2010 Menu

And here’s the menu from our annual thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. corwin has been calling it Duck Day since the first one of these he did 25 years ago. This is the 19th one I’ve done with him! Cool, eh?
Since it was the 25th, he compiled all the old menus he could find and we did a kind of ‘greatest hits’ theme, only re-inventing a lot of the standard old dishes like peking duck and chocolate mousse into totally new forms.
This year’s menu:
Peking Duck Steamed Buns
–basically duck confit, sauteed with a homemade hoisin-style sauce, baked into steamed buns, served with a cracklin and a scallion brush. The idea for this dish came from something chef Jose Andres said in his recent Harvard lecture, that Peking Duck was perfect already, what could you change? Which immediately made me want to reinvent it somehow. And then I thought… wait, why isn’t Peking Duck steamed bun already a standard thing? I can’t believe these aren’t already on sale everywhere! Nom nom nom.
Duck Andouille Sausage and Foraged Mushroom Gumbo
paired with 2008 domaine Lind Humbrecht Gewurtzraminer
–the two soups served most often in the past have been gumbo and mushroom soup, so a mushroom gumbo seemed a fitting new twist. corwin made this one and finished it with a piece of fried chicken mushroom and a two browned slices of duck andouille sausage he stuffed and smoked yesterday. Possibly one of the best sausages he’s ever made. This time in beef casings, kielbasa-sized.
Pair of Maki Salads
Spinach with maple-poached pears, pecans, & blue cheese
–the idea behind this reinvention is I love the 1905 Salad from the Columbia Restaurant, which we have served often, but the way it tastes best is when you get all the ingredients into the same bite: green olive, ementhaler cheese, celery, tomato, and the garlicky vinegar dressing with the lettuce. So, I thought, why not make it as a “hand roll” like sushi? We used romaine leaves for the “nori” and put strips of the cheese into the crease of each one, then a layer of “filling” of all the chopped ingredients tossed with the dressing. Then we did more of less the same with spears of maple-glazed Bosc pears, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and a thin layer of chopped spinach, rolled up in a soy sheet. The soy sheets were purchased at H Mart. The original hope was we were going to make some kind of spinach-based sheet, possibly with agar agar, but it didn’t work out.
Duck Frangelique with toasted hazelnut “pound cake” and plantain gnocchi
paired with Corino 2009 Barbera d’Alta
–This is two reinventions in one. We often do toasted pound cake for dessert, so this was a way to bring that into a main dish, with a sweet hazelnut bread toasted as the base, with sliced duck breast on top of it, served with plantain gnocchi on the side with a hazelnut glaze and a parsley hazelnut pesto. The duck breast was a take on Frangelico Duck, one of the old standbys.
Charcuterie Plate
duck prosciutto, honey garlic duck sausage, duck confit, and duck liver pate, with homemade pickles on a bed of arugula, served with pan cubano
paired with Bourgueil 2005 Cabernet Franc
–We completely forgot the arugula. The plate really didn’t need it, anyway, though.
prosecco (or martinelli) with tangerine ice
Tea-Smoked Boneless Ducks stuffed with Sticky Rice
with steamed baby bok choy in garlic sauce
paired with Dominio de Atauta 2006 Ribera del Duero
–This is a combination of two old favorites, the Tea Smoked Duck, and the Whole Boneless Duck Stuffed with Sticky Rice. It was a little tricky to stuff the rice in after the fact once the ducks were smoked, but it worked. The baby bok choy in garlic sauce came out incredible, partly because instead of using chicken broth to make the garlic sauce, I used duck gelee. OMG, intensely good.
* The Washing of the Dishes *
Pound cake and banana pudding brulee
–Reprise of the toasted pound cake and banana dessert we used to do based on the Maggiano’s restaurant dessert. This time, we baked the pound cakes into ramekins, cut them in half and put each half into another ramekin, then filled the other half of each ramekin with homemade banana pudding. Then I sugared and torched the top of each one like creme brulee. Nom nom nom.
Chocolate meteors
–This is what happens when you make chocolate mousse with a nitrous canisters and liquid nitrogen. You get frozen chocolate rocks! Which then melt in your mouth. Yum.
Cornbread Pudding with Spiced Pear Gravy
–And finally, one of our perennial side dishes in the main courses is a cornbread stuffing with spicy pear gravy. This was reinvented as a rich bread pudding, with a touch of vanilla creme topping and a rich spicy pear sauce/gravy. Wonderful.
Dessert was paired with a small serving of Dutch East Indies punch made with real Batavia Arak (spelling?, and some tea and coffee.
Photos to come.

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