Progress Check: Responsible Eating – week of 2.3.10

They are predicting a foot of snow this weekend.   Hmmph.   I’m already anticipating a weekend snowed in, helpless, leaving my Saturday farmer’s market visit an unlikely event (thank goodness for Netflix).  Saddened by this thought, I take pleasure in knowing this week was packed with nourishing meal and snack choices from my most recent CSA share pick-up and farmer’s market selections (click here for a refresher and names of local purveyors).

I set the bar high in the beginning of the week, starting off with Roasted Beet Soup and Egg-topped Rainbow Chard and Leek Sauté.  Here’s how I carried out the remainder:

Tossed salad with leftover duck breast

  • Pan Roasted Duck Breast – recipe to follow
  • Poturnips  (my take on Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin) – recipe to follow
  • Honey chevre cheese spread on toasted cinnamon walnut raisin whole-wheat bread
  • Tossed salads:
    • Mix of spinach and romaine lettuce
    • Tomatoes
    • Sliced red onions
    • Crumbled chevre cheese
    • Chopped hardboiled egg
    • Chopped duck breast (leftovers from recipe)
  • Roasted turnips, leeks, and potatoes (CSA trifecta!)
  • Apple and pear as snacks


Pan Roasted Duck Breast

I did quite a bit of reading on duck because I had never cooked it before.  I realized my naivety as I read phrases like, “tricky to cook,” “only in a restaurant,” and “scared off by its reputation.”  Despite heightened intimidation and waning confidence, I resolved to make it work – I spent a pretty penny on that duck so I wouldn’t let it defeat me.

Duck breast from Griggstown Quail Farm, Princeton, NJ

I decided on pan roasting to practice skills acquired in cooking class – use it or lose it.   I found a fantastic pictorial from Cookthink web site that I followed almost exactly.  I used olive oil rather than canola oil, and extended the cooking time for a total of 15 minutes in the pan followed by 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Once out of the oven, I rested the meat for 10 minutes.  This is key.  When meat is cooked, the proteins are stressed causing the protein fibers to shrink and tense up.  By allowing the meat to rest, the fibers relax and the liquid is able to spread throughout the meat.   Juices redistribute so the meat is flavorful and moist

Finishing in the pan - scored fat

throughout.  And it was…

As the duck rested, I made a quick wine-cream reduction using the fonds from the duck breast (I used ½ cup good white wine, Pinot Grigio, and then whisked in ½ cup 1% milk).  However, both J and I found the duck to be so moist and succulent that we didn’t even need to use it.

I believe I may have conquered the duck.

Resting... out of the ovenCut of the duck - very moist!

Poturnips (my take on Bon Appétit’s Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin)

J loves his potatoes.  I tried, again, to sneak in some variety with turnips (hey, it looks white and mashed, what’s not to love).  Turnips have lots of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, folate and vitamin B6.  Despite the nutritional impact, sometimes you just can’t argue with over-30 taste buds.  I reduced both the amount of butter and cheese that the original recipe called for; maybe that was my demise.



  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. Butter 11x7x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and pre-heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cook potatoes and turnips in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain.
  3. Cool vegetables slightly and peel.
  4. Cut into large chunks; place in food processor or use hand blender.
  5. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.
  6. Add 1 tbsp cheese and pinch of ground nutmeg; blend briefly.
  7. Season puree to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp cheese.
  8. Bake gratin uncovered until vegetables are hot and top is golden, about 25 minutes.

Packing Poturnip to go


2 responses to “Progress Check: Responsible Eating – week of 2.3.10

  1. Love poturnips! Because frankly, turnips are a tough one to use up on their own sometimes! Also try it with parsnips. I found this great website for uses of turnips:

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Tammy! I still have about 4 more to use and the Quick Turnip Soup is right up my alley. I do love parsnips too…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s