What’s happening over summer vacation? Most of us ask friends and family this question assuming there must be a reservation pending to an exotic destination resort. However, in this economy, an extended luxury vacation might not be in the budget. Fortunately there is often much to do right in your own hometown. Sometimes we take for granted the beauty our own city has to offer, so remember that discovering local attractions may allow you to see their city through a different lens. Of course you will have to cook your own meals, but now is the time to get creative with some great staycation recipes.
Staycations are a great way to save some cash, but no one said you have to eat the same boring meals. Think back to some of your favorite foods eaten while on vacation and look for recipes online. You may find recipes from famous theme parks or luxurious hotels that you can make in your own kitchen. Food and flavors can transport us just about anywhere we want to go. Create a themed meal using recipes from a place you would love to visit like spicy Jamaica, romantic northern Italy or lusty South America. Chiles, cilantro and lime remind us of sunny Mexico; warm curry, garam masala and mustard seeds allow us to visit India; and pungent fish sauce, soy and kaffir lime leaves evoke thoughts of Vietnam or Thailand.
With just a handful of out-of-the-ordinary ingredients and a little technique, many of these dishes are prepared easily in your own home. You could even put on some background music like Bob Marley, Bollywood themes or Brazilian jazz to get your culinary juices flowing! Inspired by a trip to Paris last year, I created this succulent duck a l’orange. Bathed in a flavorful sweet and slightly sour sauce and garnished with fresh orange segments and candied orange rind, it brought to mind memories of a fine French restaurant along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I borrowed the recipe from the classic French technique as described by Anthony Bourdain in his Les Halles Cookbook. When recreating this classic dish, I simply followed the recipe for perfect moist and tender meat, beautifully crispy skin and luscious sauce. Serve along with crispy new potatoes, first blanched, then fried in the excess duck fat and a simple steamed vegetable. C’est magnifique!
For a great vegetarian meal option, imagine yourself lodging somewhere in the French countryside with a chilled bowl of creamy vichyssoise made with
sweet, subtle leeks, hearty potatoes and a hint of white pepper. For dessert serve these light and airy profiteroles in a pool of bittersweet chocolate, then filled with store-bought salted caramel ice cream and drizzled with warm caramel sauce. The vichyssoise can be made early in the day and chilled, and although this dessert may look complicated, the batter for the profiteroles, or cream puffs, actually only takes a few minutes to put together; once mastered it is also a great recipe to use with a savory filling for an eye-catching hors d’oeuvre. As a dessert, profiteroles are delectable with any ice cream, pastry cream or flavored whipped cream. Truly a pièce de résistance.
Duck a L’Orange:
1 fresh duck, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ orange, cut into 4 pieces
1 lemon, cut into 6 pieces
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 cups chicken stock
3 ounces Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons margarine
Confited zest of 2 oranges (recipe follows)
Juice of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ orange
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. After thoroughly washing the inside of the duck and removing the giblets, season the duck inside and out with salt and pepper. Cut off the wings tips, place the 4 orange pieces and 6 lemon pieces inside the bird and then truss with kitchen string. Place duck in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes to tighten the skin. Remove from the oven and allow duck to cool to room Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Spin the pan around a bit to keep the sugar from hardening on the sides of the pan. Continue to
cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid has the consistency of a light caramel. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken stock. Be very careful – this mixture is dangerously hot. Return to heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn oven up to 375 degrees. Raise duck from
the bottom of the roasting pan by using a rack to allow the fat to gather on the bottom of the pan. (Keep the fat after roasting the duck … it makes the best sautéed potatoes!) Cook the duck in the oven for another hour and a half until the skin is deep golden brown. Turn the pan occasionally to avoid uneven cooking. When your duck has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and set it aside on a carving board to rest. Pour the grease from the pan into another bowl for sautéing your potatoes, and place roasting pan on stove. Turn heat to medium high and add Grand Marnier. Watch out: it could flame up and singe your eyelashes! Scrape up all the drippings on the bottom of the pan and pour it all into the simmering sauce. Continue to simmer the sauce until reduced by half, and then pour it through a strainer into a small saucepan. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings. Bring sauce to
a boil and whisk in the margarine, candied orange zest, orange and lemon juice. Carve the duck just like a chicken (but expect less meat) and arrange on a platter surrounded with the orange segments. Pour some of the sauce over and around it and serve the rest on the side. Serves two.
Citrus Zest Confit:
Rind of 2 oranges
1 cup water
¹⁄3 cup sugar
Use a vegetable peeler to peel orange without getting any of the white pith and thinly julienne slices or use a canneleur, a tool that makes nice strips of zest. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the strips of zest and reduce liquid to a simmer. Reduce the liquid in half until it resembles a light syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Strain the zest. Store extra in an airtight container.
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped (2½ cups)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 russet potatoes (bakers), peeled, diced and reserved in 2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Chopped chives for garnish. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water. Drain well. Melt butter in a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Add leeks and shallot, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, with water and salt; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add milk and half and half and bring just to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat. Puree mixture in a blender until very smooth, then strain through a fine strainer pressing firmly on the solids (or use a Vitamix). Stir in cream and white pepper. Allow soup to chill in
a ceramic bowl in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Taste and season with salt just before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped chives. Serves four.
Profiteroles with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce, Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Syrup
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
Store-bought salted caramel ice cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the profiteroles:
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Preheat oven to 425. degrees. Combine butter, water and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and add flour all at once. Stir and cook until mixture pulls away from the side of pan and forms a ball. Place in the bowl of a upright mixer fitted with a paddle blade attachment and allow to cool slightly. Turn to medium high speed and add eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe onto baking sheet making mounds about 2 inches in diameter and placing them about 1 inch apart. Wet finger and tap down pointed tops of each profiterole. Bake about 20 to 25 minute until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
For the chocolate sauce:
Place chocolate and cream in a microwave proof bowl and heat on high for 20-second intervals until chocolate is melted and cream is
For the caramel sauce:
Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over medium heat stirring with a fork until melted and pale golden in color. Cook the caramel without stirring, swirling the pan until deep golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour cream into hot sugar. It will bubble vigorously. Return mixture to heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add butter and a pinch of salt if desired. To serve, place a pool of chocolate sauce on a plate. Using a serrated knife, split profiteroles and fill with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve immediately. Serves six.
Lisa Glickman is a private chef and teacher who lives in Bend. She has recently made an appearance on the Cooking Channel’s “The Perfect
Three.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.