Wednesday, September 3, 2014

End-of-Summer Dinner Party

To celebrate the end of summer, my best friend Kate, of Sara Kate Styling, and I decided to host an "End-of-Summer" dinner party! With Kate's styling expertise, and my cooking skills, our party was nothing short of being fabulous!

While getting set up, we sipped on an amazing cocktail made of:
1 liter of lemon-lime soda
a quarter of a watermelon, cut into wedges
and a cup of frozen peaches (fresh peaches work as well)
*For an adult version, add a bit of peach flavored vodka*

As an appetizer, I got creative with your typical "caprese" flavors and made tomato stacks with sliced mozzarella and basil, finished with a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil (this is one of my all time favorite flavor profiles)!

I then made duck as our entree. Now, I was a little bit nervous making duck. I had never made it before and had always hear that it was very technical (which it was). But, that being said, anyone can make it! You just have to pay careful attention as you cook.

I started pre-heating my oven to 375 degrees. I then covered an oven-proof pan in butter and turned my burner to med-high heat. As my pan was heating, I used a sharp knife to score the duck skin (about 3/4" deep). The trick to cooking a perfect duck breast is to render the fat. Once heated, I put the duck breast (skin side down) on the pan. as the fat renders, it will build up in the pan. It is important to drain the fat off as it renders (you can save this fat for later). Once the fat stops rendering and you no longer have to pour it out, flip the duck breast onto the meat side and sear for 1 minute. 

Once seared on both side, stick the duck in the oven (I left my duck in the pan and put the entire thing in the oven. If you do not have an oven-proof pan, you can transfer the breast to a baking sheet and cook it that way. You will bake the duck for about 12 minutes, until it reaches the internal temperature that you prefer. This comes down to personal preference. I cooked my duck a little more well-done and paired it with locally grown roasted cherry tomatoes and green beans!

It was a busy day, but also a fun one! Can't wait until our next party! Cheers!

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