Peking Duck Noodle Bowl

Local peeking duck, poached egg, rice noodles, spring peas, mustard greens, radish & leek.

Local peeking duck, poached egg, rice noodles, spring peas, mustard greens, radish & leek.

I recently had the opportunity to do a guest chef night at Peeves Public House in Fresno, California. Peeves is trailblazing the Fresno food scene and offering a daily seasonal menu from Head Chef, Sean Dunn. I had the pleasure of planning a menu with Sean and he was gracious enough to let me loose in his kitchen. I was thrilled! The walk-in was loaded with wonderful local veggies from KmK Farms, fresh fennel, spring peas, radishes, mustard greens and my favorite peking duck, sourced from Mary's Ducks in Central California. As a starter we put out a simple fennel carrot slaw with mustard greens, romaine and a honey mustard aioli. For the noodle bowl, Sean prepared an aromatic broth with our vegetable scraps and pressure cooked the ducks, taking about an hour and half (as we only had 3 hours to prep for 60 covers, so pressure cooking saved us sometime). This dish was really a culmination of my favorite things about pho & ramen and really playing with textures and highlighting fresh seasonal produce. Noodle bowls is all about presentation and customization. Breaking a poached egg into the broth, nibbling on fresh greens, savoring the duck breast, slurping noodles…it’s a dynamic experience. Noodle bowls are also quite easy, and though I wouldn't recommend serving 8 of them a once (which happened during service) if it’s your first time, it really is a great way to enjoy your leftover veggies and meat. Making your own stock isn't necessary, but it is one of the simplest things to do, and you feel like you’re recycling your scraps and getting free soup in the process! Preparing stock also allows you to control the sodium level and mix those preservatives found in most store bought stocks. Though I used some out of this world ingredients for this bowl, you can really throw anything into some broth with noodles and be a happy camper!

Peking Duck Noodle Bowl

serves 4

BROTH

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Bones from 1 duck

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 orange, quartered

Salt and pepper

In a stock pot, bring oil to temperature and cook bones for roughly 5 minutes. Add onions, celery and carrots stir until caramelized(about 10 minutes). Season with ginger, garlic, peppercorns and orange. Slowly add 16 cups of room temperature water, making sure to scrap up the flavor on the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered, tasting intermediately. 

Garnishes 

1 pound spring peas sliced

1 bunch red mustard green, chiffonade 

1 cup chopped scallions or leeks, chiffonade

1 cup radishes  

1 tablespoon soy sauce/ fish sauce 

1 package rice noodles (about a pound)

2 cooked duck breasts

Thai basil, for garnish

Handful bean sprouts 

Lime slices, for garnish

Sriracha sauce, for serving

Bring broth to a boil, add noodles and boil until tender, about 3-5 minutes (depending on brand). Remove from broth and add to bowl. Top with veggies, duck breast, and garnish as desired! Don't forget, slurping noodles is a compliment to the chef.  

Biscuits & Gravy

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Claire & Natalie of The Sun Flights and I talk about breakfast a lot on our tour Roam To Ramble. I'll go as far to say it is one of our favorite meals. Since we've been on the road for the last two months it’s been a challenge to maintain a healthful diet.  From the late nights, long drives, and unfamiliar territories, we try our best to eat well and are working on a project to share our experience. I have found that starting your day with a hearty breakfast really helps when you're on the road. If you have access to a kitchen while traveling, it doesn't take much to whip up some killer biscuits and gravy. 

Like most meals, I prefer ‘em homemade. We have been talking about biscuits and gravy for quite some time. Dehydrated and exhausted, Natalie and I labored one morning to make some of the best biscuits and sausage gravy I've ever had. The gravy was made of the drippings from the sausage and we added some mushroom stock. It was killer. These biscuits are super simple and a breeze to make with a food processor, though I kneaded them by hand this time around. 

It’s hard for me to remember my first biscuits and gravy, and at this point I've had it so many times, I've lost count. It's one of those iconic diner plates. One of the best was at a truck stop in Omaha Nebraska called 11-Worth Cafe. It was 7am when my best friend and I rolled in before our long drive to Colorado. It was a real local joint with all the early birds, well on there 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee, working their way through cigarettes and gossip. The joint was so famous for their sausage gravy, that you could even buy it vacuum sealed. Making biscuits and gravy also works well for a crowd, as you can prep everything beforehand. Though waking your friends up with the smell of fresh biscuits and sausage on the range is one my favorite ways to greet the day. 

BISCUITS & SAUSAGE GRAVY

Biscuits

3 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

red pepper/chili powder to taste

In a bowl add flour, baking powder and salt. Knead or in a food processor, add butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Add buttermilk and seasoning. Roll or press dough into 1-2 inch balls and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Makes about 20 biscuits.

*The dough is pretty fool proof and can be as simple or as dressed up as you'd like. I used butter for this batch but animal lard takes it to the next level, giving it a more savory depth (lamb lard being one of my favorites). Substitute lard in equal parts (3/4 cup).  

Sausage Gravy 

1 pound good sausage

2 tablespoon flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 teaspoons Black Pepper

pinch of salt 

Cook sausage until brown. Remove meat, keeping the drippings in the pan. On low heat slowly stir in flour and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking and cook mixture until flour begins to brown. Add milk, cream and seasonings. Drizzle gravy over biscuits and enjoy! Also, a soft boiled egg on top is always a good idea. Makes about 2 cups gravy.

*I love using my cast iron skillet for this recipe. After cooking the sausage and scrapping up all the crusty bits on the bottom, really makes this gravy that much better. I also like to sauté mushrooms with the sausage or adding a little bit of stock if I have it around. You can make your gravy as creamy or as thin as you prefer by adjusting the flour and milk.

Breakfast Tacos

Reese's Breakfast Tacos

Reese's Breakfast Tacos

I have a real thing for breakfast, always have. Though as far as cooking it goes, I tend to drag my feet in the morning, especially after a night of drinking. Breakfast Tacos are one of those marvelous hangover meals fit to feed a crowd. If you're lucky enough to wake up to a friend making them for you, that's a friend for life. When The Sun Flights and I found ourselves in Lafayette, LA in the heart of Cajun country it was truly a homecoming. We're talking about a remarkable and prideful culture, one steeped in traditions from the Acadian people and one very much centered around food. These kindred spirits of ours would hold heated debates on the best spice mixtures, critically taste and critique every meal and offer advice for the next preparation. I was smitten. After our first nights in town, one of our host, a Texas native greeted us in the morning with a breakfast taco buffet.We knew we found a second home in Lafayette and life long friends. So gather your krewe one morning and serve up some breakfast tacos, they will be indebted to you for life. I however will be chasing breakfast tacos all over SXSW this week...

Breakfast Tacos

12 corn tortillas 

2 cups refried beans

24 small red potatoes, quartered* and roasted

1 dozen eggs scrambled with or without cheese

Roast potatoes in oven for roughly 40 minutes with olive oil and salt and pepper and any other desired seasonings. In a skillet with butter or oil heat tortillas till golden. Refry beans and keep warm. Scramble eggs to desired texture. Set up buffet and enjoy!

Suggested Garnish-

Salsa, Fresh Cilantro, Hot Sauce, Shreeded Cheese, Sour Cream, Avocado, Sausage

*to get perfect breakfast potatoes, after cutting, place in a tub of salted water for a few hours or overnight