Duck

Duck

Today's domestic ducks are all descendents of either of two species -- the mallard or the muscovy duck. The Chinese are credited with being the first to raise ducks for food. Since most ducks are marketed while still quite young and tender, the term "duck" and "duckling" are interchangeable. Broilers and fryers are under 8 weeks old and roasters are no more than 16 weeks old. Fresh duck is available from late spring through early winter. About 90 percent of the ducks that reach the market are frozen and available year-round. The USDA grades duck quality with the classifications A, B and C. Grade A is the highest grade and is usually what is sold in markets. Grade B ducks are less meaty and well finished. Grade C ducks are used for commercial purposes. Although higher in fat than other domestic birds, duck is a good source of protein and iron.

 

Ingredient

Season: available year-round

How to select: Choose a duck with a broad, fairly plump breast. The skin should be elastic, not saggy. If frozen, make sure the packaging is tight and unbroken.

How to store: Fresh duck can be stored, loosely covered, in the coldest section of the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Giblets should be removed and stored spearately. Frozen duck should be thawed in the refrigerator. Do not re-freeze duck once it has been thawed.

How to prepare: braise, roast

Matches well with: apples, apricots, artichokes, bourbon, brandy, cabbage, cherries, chiles, chocolate, cider, cilantro, cloves, Cognac, corn, cranberries, currants, curry, figs, garlic, gin, ginger, hoisin sauce, honey, lemon, mint, molasses, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, olives, onions, oranges, parsley, peaches, pears, peas, pepper, peppers, pineapple, pistachios, plum sauce, pomegranate, port, prunes, red wine, rhubarb, rice, rosemary, sage, sauerkraut, scallions, shallots, sherry say sauce, spinach, star anise, stuffings, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, turnips, vinegar, walnuts

Cinnamon

CinnamonThe inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree, harvested during the rainy season when piable and then dried into curls sold as sticks or ground into a powder.With its warm, sweet flavor, cinnamon is one of the biggest workhorses on the spice shelf. Cooks often use it to flavor baked goods and drinks, but cinnamon also works wonders in stews and sauces. The best cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon = canela = Sri Lanka cinnamon = true cinnamon. Indonesian cinnamon has a similar taste, but larger quills. Much of the cinnamon sold in the United States is cassia cinnamon, which isn't as well regarded.

Ingredient

Season: available year-round

Matches well with: apples, berries, chicken, chocolate, coffee, custards, fruit, lamb, oranges, pears, rice

Substitutions: One cinnamon stick yields 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; nutmeg or allspice

Olive Oil

Olive OilOil made from olives. olive oil varieties: (ranked from highest to lowest quality) extra-virgin, superfine, fine, virgin and pure. Extra-virgin olive oil is the first pressing of whole unblemished olives done within a day of harvest. No more than 1% of the oil is free oleic acid which makes the oil taste sharp. Light olive oil refers to the color and taste of the oil, not the calorie count at all. Often these oils have little or no extra-virgin oil in the blend and are therefore bland. Though not normally sold in the U.S. the standards for virgin olive oil are the same as extra-virgin olive oil, only the free oleic acid can be up to 3% of content, so the quality is not as good.

Ingredient

Season: available year-round

How to store: Olive oil should be stored in a cool dark place.Light and heat will cause the oil to decay and go rancid.

Substitutions: walnut or almond or hazelnut oil (for cold dishes and salads) OR corn or peanut oil (for sauteing) OR cooking spray (for greasing pans)

Garlic Powder

Ground GarlicGarlic powder is dehydrated ground garlic, and provides some of the flavor, but not the texture, of fresh garlic. It disperses well in liquids, so it's a good choice for marinades.

Ingredient

Season: available year-round

Substitutions: fresh garlic (Substitute 1 clove for every 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.) OR garlic salt (Substitute 4 teaspoons garlic salt for every teaspoon garlic powder, then reduce salt in recipe by 3 teaspoons.) OR garlic juice (5/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice) OR garlic flakes (5/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes) OR granulated garlic (5/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic )