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Gourmet Duck Salad | aka Landaise Salad

This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.

November 1, 2016
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Chicken Liver Pâté | Terrine de Foies de Volaille

This recipe is classic French/European recipe for chicken liver pate, except for the first step with soaking livers in starchy ice bath. Most recipes include soaking livers in milk. “It is often said that milk improves the taste, purges blood, lightens the color, or affects some other property of the meat.” (“Modernist Cuisine” (Nathan Myhrvold, p. 147) Soaking lean proteins in cold water (or flavored liquids) mixed with starch is “velveting”, a technique used to prevent delicate foods from overcooking. I’ve heard about it first from my Japanese friend and then found more in Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin.

October 14, 2016
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Poultry Hearts and Gizzards Confit

Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.

October 7, 2016
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Duck Breast: Cured and Smoked at Home

Many people do not realize how easy it is to make cured and smoked duck breasts at home. No special equipment is needed. Just 12 hours of curing in a mix of three basic ingredients, 48 hours for air drying in refrigerator, and you get a gourmet deli product to use for salads or main fancy dishes. Duck breasts taste good cured and air-dried, but if you own a Cameron’s stovetop smoker and slightly smoke them at the end, they’ll be extraordinary good.

October 4, 2016
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Dumplings: Potstickers With Lacy Wings

This recipe is part of DIM SUM Steamed and Fried Dumplings cooking class.

First, there was a picture in Dim Sum cookbook (by Janice Wong, Photography © Kevin Koh, Lighedpixels). Actually, I bought the book because of that picture, and the recipe with crunchy lace was the first one I tried in my kitchen. It didn’t work. Many times. Online search showed nothing in English with proven and attractive results exists either. I’ve got all kinds of starches in MT Asian Supermarket, rolled my sleeves, and started experimenting — spent a lot of time and wasted a lot of ingredients mastering this recipe!

July 14, 2016
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Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms Julienne

While the rest of the world used this word to describe a matchstick knife cut, for Russian-speaking culinary community julienne has always been a chicken and mushroom casserole en cocotte. This legendary dish was extremely popular during the Soviet era in high-end restaurants as well as at home. Naturally, the assumption was that the recipe is a result of French influence on pre-revolution Russian cuisine. All stories I know about this dish are mostly anecdotes. Many different recipes claim to be original. Some insist on using mushrooms, preferably porchini. Other include cooked chicken and other vegetables. Restaurant versions often add bechamel or mornay sauces, while home cooks prefer sour cream. Everybody makes this dish adjusted to their personal taste, keeping the same only basic ingredients and the way it is served. Russian julienne has to be cooked individually portioned in mini casseroles and covered with a generous amount of cheese to melt on top. It is simple and delicious!

April 16, 2016
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Romantic Food Goes Texan: Texas Quail, Peaches, Pecans, and Texmati

Cooking together is one of the most romantic activities! This recipe requires cooking rice, quails, and sauce at the same time. While the logistics are easy for pros, it might be challenging for home cooks. That’s where cooking with loving partner might be highly beneficial. Come to my kitchen and I’ll teach you every step. Make this dish your special for special occasions!

January 9, 2016
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Fast-Cooking Stir-Fries and Sautés

According to my sources, today Central Market receives the last shipment of mild Hatch chili peppers. That’s it for this year. Let’s cook more Hatch while supplies last!

August 21, 2015
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