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Today was my first day off in about ten days. No, that’s not a complaint about overworking…I enjoy my job as the cheese department manager. It keeps me on my feet constantly which is good exercise, I’m learning new things, meeting new people…it’s all good.

But today I’m off and I’ve got French cooking on my mind, the ingredients prepared in the kitchen, and I’m hoping…hoping that the piece d’resistance which is my attempt at Confit de Cuisse de Canard will come out reasonably nicely.

This confit is a tried-and-true method in French cooking which accomplishes two things…as the duck (in this case) is cooked in its own fat which preserves the meat, but also imparts terrific flavor, because after the duck legs are cooked for two hours, they are then fried in the remains of the duck fat for a deliciously crispy skin with soft, near fall-off-the-bone interior meat. Following this are parboiled fingerling potatoes cooked in this same fat, the Chez Panisse Goat Salad, a verrine of Asparagus And Zucchini Gaspacho with a dollop of whipped cream, as well as olives, baguettes, a simple selection of charcuterie, and for dessert David Lebowitz’ Lemon Yogurt Cake with Cherry Apricot Compote which you can see here.

There were more hors d’oeuvres, including Peruvian sweety drop peppers, dry cured olives, and cracked green olives..and for good measure, some spiced nuts in the Spanish style with pimenton.

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I also served a nice selection of charcuterie including braesola, rosette de lyon, and sopressata calabrese, a French delice de Jura and a Vermont made crottin.

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Here is the forestiere terrine, with sautéed mushrooms in a mix of creme fraiche, eggs, aaaand… I’m so full now I can’t remember the rest of the ingredients.

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Here is the duck meat after overnight marination.

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And after roasting, sitting in wait for the frying…

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And during the frying.

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From Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook I made a simple verrine of Asparagus Gaspacho for lack of a better term for this chilled soup…and happy I was to decide to serve it chilled–it was a hot day here in Berkeley with the guests in skirts and shorts or roll-ups.

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Not to mention the now classic Alice Waters’ Goat Cheese Salad, twisted though with a vinaigrette of hazelnut oil and raspberry flavored balsamic vinegar. Wow!

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And dessert was adapted from a gluten-free recipe then adapted by David Lebowitz which I then adapted myself, essentially using less sugar all around. A classic Lemon Yogurt Cake with a quick Cherry and Apricot Compote.

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And the fruit compote–how easy and delicious was that to make? Migod…sugar, a splash of wine…scary how easy it was.

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All in all, it was one of the nicest meals I’ve ever made, and the fact that I prepared the duck to near perfection, a meat I am totally unfamiliar with, that I managed to season the asparagus soup which is so simple so spot on, and that the dessert was so wonderfully prepared…well, I’m still floating with happiness at the dinner’s success.

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