To round out our theme this month of community inspired dishes, Kymberlee Fajardo of Free Spirit Eater wrote an amazing blog and recipe to share with you using local ingredients. Thanks Kymberlee!
We’ve all heard about sustainable eating, eating local and having a sense of community. But what does this all mean? Consuming produce picked from a nearby farm is always the best way to go. Not only are you helping keep these farms around but protecting the environment from the extra pollution bringing in foreign produce on wheels.
Visiting the supermarket is not what it used to be. It is not about simply getting the best produce for your buck, but making sure what you consume is not harmful to your body. Produce brought in from longer distances has usually been sprayed or injected with chemicals and hormones to protect the precious crops from bruising during the produce truck ride as well as elongating its shelf life. Visiting your local farmers market, fish market, and independently owned supermarkets helps keep Mom and Pop places with great service open.
After visiting my local supermarket as well as Mom and Pop shops, my fiance and I were inspired to create a dish using local grown ingredients (produce that has been grown not too far from home in NJ). This dish included a cranberry cashew couscous and maple glazed carrots sitting underneath a crispy juicy tasting seared duck breast (which my fiancé and I butchered ourselves). Using more local ingredients we created a fettuccine duck ragu with root vegetables. What to do with left overs you ask? Add some beef broth, and heat up some mini grilled cheeses for an incredibly filling and tasting duck ragu soup and sandwiches.
Crispy Seared Duck Breast w/ Cranberry Cashew Couscous & Maple Glazed Carrots
For duck breast
2 duck breasts
Season breasts generously with a coating of salt and pepper on both sides.
In a screaming hot pan with very little coconut oil, place duck breasts skin side down for 6 minutes. Then flip and place pan in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes for a medium rare.
1 cup of vegetable stock
¼ cup of manadarin orange syrup
4 sprigs of thyme
4 fresh sage leaves chiffonade
¼ cup of dried sweetened cranberries
¼ cup of crushed cashews (keep separate)
10 0z package of cous-cous
Place all ingredients (other than the couscous and cashews) in a pan on high. When the water begins to boil, quickly add couscous, stir and turn off the flame.
Add the couscous to a Tupperware container and cover to allow the pasta to cook. Remove thyme sprigs. When it is cooled add the cashews for additional crunch and serve.
Maple Glazed Carrots
½ lb of baby carrots, cleaned and blanched
¼ cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of butter or Kelapo coconut oil
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
After carrots have been blanched, let butter melt in a pan over medium high heat. Then add maple syrup, brown sugar and let dissolve. When it is combined well, add carrots, toss, taste and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for no more than five minutes. Carrots should have a nice slight crunch to them. Serve warm.