puu's passover challenge, day 5

my menu planning, which was seriously comprehensive as of monday and has been constantly updated since then, has been thrown off course by the fact that i missed dinner last night between my job interview and my studio flash class. this would be much more palatable--pun intended--if my lunch had not, once again, been an inedible disaster. this time i blame it squarely on kylie kwong. i think she intensely dislikes me, because this makes 4 recipes i’ve tried from her and 4 inedible disasters. i’d been saving a package of lovely ground beef to make her mongolian beef, even though, no, it’s not strictly KFP because of the shaoxing wine and goodness only knows what goes into oyster sauce (please don’t enlighten me. i’d much rather not know), but i felt that with a pile of kosher egg noodles it would pass muster.

it tasted like dog food.
which happens to be what it looked like, even with the noodles added to the mix.

so today i took it simple, enjoying my day off and working my way through my ongoing spring sanity restoration project to-do list (today’s tasks included doing the laundry, changing the sheets, cleaning out the closet, and working with my new terabyte network drive) and made a sublime little bacon turkey burger (atkins-style, with no bun) and a side order of sweet potato fries, my favorite. i had originally planned to take a leaf out of michel richard’s book and make potato “risotto” for my semi-weekly risotto dish, but i lost the will as the day went on and pulled out one last kylie recipe instead.

i swear, the only reason i did it was because of the duck breasts i had in the fridge. i couldn’t freeze them AGAIN and so i had to make use of them and here in front of me i had a duck with honey and ginger stir fry recipe. i braced myself for the worst even as i cheerfully used up the required ingredients (all, incidentally, off my list of things languishing in either my fridge or my “pantry”--and yes, i made a list, because without it i’m totally scatterbrained and inclined to stop at mcdonald’s much too often) and boiled the last of my kosher egg noodles.

you could have knocked me over with a feather as i savoured the first bite. it was light, and sweet with a hint of fire, and the duck was the perfect compliment for the honey marinade (even though kylie uses this particular marinade on all of the major meats within her book: chicken, beef, pork and duck), substantial without being heavy or meaty. even the kosher noodles (which, by the by, are a meager combination of egg and potato starch) seemed elevated by the spicy honey syrup.

for dessert, i broke out the ice cream maker for the first time all season. i pulled out the last of my stash of blood oranges (the bland ones i’ve been suffering through) and made a chocolate-blood orange sorbet (inspired by david leibovitz’s FANTASTIC book, “the perfect scoop”) to go with a plate of cacao nib meringues (inspired by a juvenile, but surprisingly delightful, book called “ice cream treats” which had a delectable photograph of the meringues sandwiching a scoop of raspberry sorbet).

so, a note about the meringues. i was emboldened to try them, even in my sucky oven, because of my recent mastery of macaroon technique, and figured that since i wussed out on SHF and used cocoa powder instead of making something nibby that i might as well give it a go. the meringues came off surprisingly well. i used my newfound egg-white-whipping expertise and a pinch of cream of tartar to make the batter and then threw in a handful of nibs. the recipe suggested that they be added after being “finely chopped” but i think, on reflection, that i should have rocked the mortar and pestle action a little bit and turned them into a powder. the nibs definitely added a deep, profound sort of flavor to an ordinarily simple cookie, but the actual experience of biting into bits of nibs (nibs of nibs, if you will) was decidedly unpleasant.

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