Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese and Honey Mustard

This recipe is my all-time favorite burger recipe. It's incredibly simple, but the flavors are outstanding. The creamy tang of the goat cheese is perfect melted on the hearty turkey burgers, and the citrus-scented honey mustard is a deliciously fresh sauce. Enjoy these burgers all summer long!

Grilled Turkey Burgers
The perfect summer burger!
Serves 4

o    1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 heaping tablespoon clover honey 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, squeezed from half an orange
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, squeezed from half a lemon
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds 90-percent lean, freshly ground turkey (not all white meat), chilled
8 slices goat cheese, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 pieces leaf lettuce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the honey mustard: Whisk together in a small bowl the mustard, mayo, honey, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

For the burgers: Preheat the grill or a grill pan to high. Form the meat into four 6-ounce burgers. If you are not going to cook right away, keep the burgers cold in the refrigerator. Sprinkle the burgers on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. During the last minutes of cooking, add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover the grill and let the cheese soften slightly, about 1 minute. Put the burgers on the buns, drizzle with some of the Meyer lemon-honey mustard and top with leaf lettuce and red onions. Serve with extra mustard on the side.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coconut, Almond and Dried Cherry Granola Bars

Just in time for summer, lately I have been making many delicious snack and breakfast recipes. Clients have requested portable, easy to eat food that tastes good any time of day, and I've quickly jumped on board. Why spend the money on packaged granola bars, when you can make them yourself from wholesome ingredients, and best yet, know what's inside. These granola bars are simple to make and are loaded with oats, nuts, seeds and natural sweeteners. Pack them to go on a bike ride, hike, or just keep a couple in your purse. You'll be ready anytime for a healthy snack!

Coconut, Almond and Dried Cherry Granola Bars
Sweet and nutty, these granola bars are good for you and are great on the go!
Makes 24 bars

o       2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats 3/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil plus more
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (about 4 oz.)
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (about 3 oz.)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds (about 3 oz.)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds, toasted
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix oats and almonds on a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Meanwhile, brush a 13x9x2” metal or glass baking dish with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with oil.

Brush a large bowl generously with oil. Place oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds in bowl.

Bring 1/4 cup oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top.

 Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 24 bars. DO AHEAD: Bars can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Recipe from Bon Appetit


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Classic Ragu Bolognese

This is my quintessential comfort food. A big bowl of pasta smothered in a slow-cooked red wine and meat sauce that sticks to your ribs and warms your soul. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, and it is the best I have found. A perfect Sunday dinner that will make your house smell amazing all day long!

Classic Ragu Bolognese
A truly delicious and comforting pasta that everyone will love.

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
12 oz. ground beef              
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups (about) beef stock or chicken stock, divided
3 Tbsp. tomato paste      
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper      
1 cup whole milk      
1 lb. tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh egg)      
Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add beef and pancetta; sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Transfer ragù to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry. Divide pasta among warm plates. Serve with Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asian Flank Steak with Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad

I recently discovered this recipe for Asian-marinated flank steak served along an amazing crisp and refreshing cucumber salad, and I just know it will be the hit of my summer table! The steak is succulent as the sugar in the marinade creates these delicious crusty bits, and the Asian seasonings give it a sweet and savory flavor. Served with a cool cucumber salad on the side, it's not only low-carb, but highly delicious!

Asian Flank Steak with Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad
A delicious Asian-inspired steak and salad recipe that will be just awesome on the grill this summer! Serves 4

1 2” piece lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, lightly smashed, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut into 4 pieces   
Cucumber Salad
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, julienned
1/2 small daikon, peeled, julienned
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced                                    
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper   
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts 

Combine lemongrass, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sweet chili sauce in a resealable plastic bag. Add steak; seal, turn to coat, and chill at least 30 minutes to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
Prepare grill or skillet for medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and grill, turning occasionally, 8-€“10 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing.
Whisk vinegar, sweet chili sauce, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add cucumber, carrot, daikon, and onion and toss; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Drain salad. Serve with steak, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I am not a baker, I heartily admit. I am a cook, and love throwing new dishes together in the kitchen. But when it comes to baking, I don't quite have the patience to follow a precise recipe. But every cook needs a few desserts in her repertoire, and I'm happy to say that I have found one that I love to make- chocolate pot de crème. It's an amazingly rich chocolate mousse topped with homemade whipped cream. It is creamy and decadent and satisfies every chocolate craving you've ever had. Best of all, it is easy to make and is best made a day ahead of time, leaving me with all my of energy when I'm hosting or catering a dinner party to prepare the meal, not the dessert!

Chocolate Pots De Crème
A sinfully rich and simple dessert to wow your dinner party!
Serves 8

10 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolk
5 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder mixed with 1 T water (or 1 T espresso or strong coffee)

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings
Chopped toffee

For the pots de crème: Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8-12 minutes. Do not let custard simmer or overcook.

Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among eight 5-oz ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving let pots de crème stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

For the whipped cream: using a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30-45 seconds longer.

Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 T whipped cream. Garnish with cocoa, chocolate, or toffee, and serve.

Recipe by Cook's Illustrated

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

What's a simple, beautiful and healthy appetizer to make for any party? Roasted red pepper hummus! Don't bother buying the pre-made stuff, it is so easy and so much more delicious to make hummus yourself! Serve with fresh crudité such as bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and baked pita bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika and salt. Be sure to make extra hummus to enjoy on sandwiches and in wraps.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
An easy and healthy appetizer or snack!
Makes 3 cups

3 cups drained cooked chickpeas
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons water
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground black pepper, to taste                                                                    
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
In the bowl of a food processor, place the chickpeas and red bell pepper. Add the garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, tahini, water, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, and pepper and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and additional lemon juice, if necessary, to taste. Transfer to a wide shallow bowl for serving and use the back of a serving spoon to form a well in the center of the hummus. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the top with the parsley, and paprika. Serve at room temperature, with pita chips and fresh veggies for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

In honor of my upcoming trip to Italy, I'm sharing one of my new favorite Italian recipes- Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi. What is gnudi, you ask? Well, it's naked ravioli! Imagine ravioli without the pasta, and that's gnudi (pronounced "nudie"). Ricotta and parmesan cheese combine with spinach and herbs to make a delectable, creamy bite atop a fresh tomato-basil sauce. Served with a big salad and crusty bread, this is a fantastic Italian meal. Don't forget the chianti!

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi
Ravioli "undressed" this creamy, cheesy baked Italian dish is delicious!
Serves 4

1 large bunch raw spinach, washed, dried, trimmed and chopped
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for smearing hands
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
All-purpose flour, if needed
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute the spinach with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 the quantity of the garlic for a few minutes until soft. Let cool. Then in a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmigiano and salt to taste. Add a small amount of flour, a little at a time, only if ricotta if filled with too much moisture. Combine the mixture thoroughly and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat up the remaining olive oil, then add the remaining garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil and cook for 5-10 minutes. Spoon the sauce into a baking dish. 
Smear some olive oil on your hands. Scoop ricotta mixture, in the amount of an egg , onto the palm of your hands and form into a compact ball.  Add the "gnudi" balls on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Crispy Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrot

Here is a delicious and nutritious salad or side dish you can serve with any meal! Heart-healthy quinoa is tossed with balsamic vinegar with oven-crisped kale and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots. The flavor is lightly sweet and earthy, and the colors are beautiful! Even if you're unfamiliar with quinoa, this salad is so simple and visually stunning. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Crispy Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrots
A delicious and nutritious light lunch, salad or side dish.
Serves 4-6
1 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups kale
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place carrots, sweet potatoes and red onion slices in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and then put them on a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir a few times while baking.
Drizzle kale with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. When the sweet potatoes and onions have been in the oven for 15 minutes, put the kale in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until kale is wilted and starting to get a little crispy.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the quinoa. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool to room temperature.
When the vegetables are done roasting, let them cool to room temperature. Chop up the red onion slices and kale. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, red onion, and kale. Drizzle the salad with remaining three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and add in the dried cranberries. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe by Sarah Lang

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicken Parmigiana with Pasta

Italian comfort food is one of my favorite cuisines to cook and enjoy. Chicken Parmigiana fits the bill in every way. Tender chicken breasts are coated in Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, lightly fried, and finished in the oven before being topped with oozy fresh mozzarella cheese. I whip up a batch of my red sauce that is tossed with fettuccini, and the chicken perfectly nestles on top of the pasta. It all gets showered with more cheese and fresh basil, and is one impressive family-style dish to serve. Everyone loves this dish!

Chicken Parmigiana with Pasta
Crispy chicken atop red-sauce pasta, it's an Italian comfort food classic!
Serves 6

6 chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch                                                                    
2 T olive oil                                                                       
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping 
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)                                                                    
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. dried Italian herbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk                                                                     
6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 cups marinara sauce
3/4 pound pasta 
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped                                                                    

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
Set out three bowls. In one bowl combine panko and Parmesan cheese, in another bowl place flour combined with Italian herbs, and in the third bowl beat eggs and milk to combine. Make sure chicken is dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Working with two pieces of chicken at a time coat chicken in flour, then eggs, then in panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Gently lay chicken  aside. Once coated, place in pre-heated skillet. You may need to do this in a couple batches.
After 3 minutes turn chicken over to brown the other side. Once chicken is lightly golden brown on each side place on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken from oven and top with a spoonful of tomato sauce and two slices of mozzarella cheese. Return to oven to melt the cheese.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Combine with tomato sauce, basil and pasta and keep warm.
Serve chicken with pasta tossed in tomato sauce and extra Parmesan cheese and basil on top.
Recipe by Sarah Lang

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grilled Pork Steaks with Hot Link BBQ Sauce

For as many veggies as I eat, I love a perfectly cooked piece of meat as much as anyone. Pork is one of my favorites. It's leaner than steak, but so much more flavorful and juicy than chicken. Add a BBQ sauce, and I'm in heaven! This one is made with beer and hot links, adding complexity. The great news is it starts with bottled sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's) making it easy! Serve with cheesy mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli for a completely fabulous meal.
Grilled Pork Steaks with Hot Link BBQ Sauce
An amped-up sticky sweet BBQ sauce slathered on juicy pork steaks.
Serves 4
4 bone-in pork shoulder steaks: 12-16 oz. each                                                                     
Salt and pepper                                    
Olive oil                                    
1/4 cup butter
1 cup onions sliced
1 to 2 jalapenos sliced
1 T chili flakes
3 to 4 cloves garlic sliced                                                                      
1 smoked pork hot link roughly chopped into small pieces
2 cups sweet BBQ sauce with a high sugar content: important so that the glaze sticks to the steaks.
1/2 bottle beer
Juice of 1 lemon

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan then sauté the onions, jalapenos, chili flakes, garlic and hot links over medium-high heat stirring frequently and until softened about 10 minutes. Add the beer, BBQ sauce and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until thick and sticky. The sauce can be made up to a week in advance.
For the steaks:
Coat the steaks lightly with the oil of your choice. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper with an emphasis on black pepper. Grill the steaks over high heat until cooked medium- about five minutes. Start glazing the steaks with the thick and sweet BBQ sauce turning frequently to caramelize the sauce.
Serve the steaks with additional sauce on the side.
Recipe adapted from Butcher and the Boar, a phenomenal Minneapolis restaurant 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cooking Demo- Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn Relish and Avocado Crema, and Sweet Potato Risotto Cakes with Seared Duck Breast and Shallot Jam

I had the pleasure of conducting a cooking demonstration for premium season ticket holders of the Minnesota Wild with Chef Jason Steidle of Levy restaurants. We demonstrated two recipes in front of a live audience, and had such a blast cooking and talking about food in front of a friendly crowd. Enjoy these delicious recipes and watch the video.  

Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn Relish and Avocado Crema
Tender scallops topped with fresh salsa and cool creamy avocado.
Serves 12
Roasted Corn Relish
Corn                                  2 cups
Red onion, small dice          ¼ cup
Red pepper, small dice        ¼ cup
Yellow pepper, small dice     ¼ cup
Roma tomato, small dice     ¼ cup
Olive oil                             ¼ cup
Rice wine vinegar               2 Tbl
Lime juice                          2 Tbl
Honey                                1 Tbl
Chili powder                       ½ Tbl
Coriander                           ½ tsp
Garlic, minced                     1 Tbl
Cilantro, chopped                ¼ cup
Parsley, chopped                 ¼ cup
Salt                                    1 tsp
Black pepper                      ½ tsp
Avocado Crema
Avocado, pureed                 ½ avocado
Sour cream                         1 ¼ cup
Cilantro                              1 ½ Tbl
Lime juice                           1 Tbl
Lime zest                            ¼ lime
Salt                                    pinch
Scallops                             30 pcs (depending on size)
Salt                                    to taste
Pepper                                to taste
Olive oil                              ¼ cup
Make the relish and avocado cream ahead of time. 
For the Roasted Corn Relish: Start with a little bit of oil in a pan, roasting the corn until some kernels start to brown. Add all other ingredients and stir to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
For the Avocado Cream:  Puree the avocado pulp and mix in all other ingredients until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Scallops: Season your scallops with salt and pepper and get your pan nice and hot. Add your oil and sear each side of the scallop until it is golden brown. Cook just until the scallop starts to firm up, taking care not to overcook. You want the scallop to just be done, even with the smallest bit of clearness in the middle, that’s OK. If overcooked they will get rubbery.
Place scallops on a plate to serve and quickly heat a portion of the corn relish until warm. Top scallops with a small bit of relish and a little of the avocado cream.

Sweet Potato and Sour Cherry Risotto Cakes with Seared Duck Breast and Spiced Shallot Jam
Flavorful sour cherries and creamy sweet potatoes in pan-seared risotto cakes with duck breast and sweet and spicy shallot jam.
Makes 12-15 cakes
Risotto Cakes
Yellow onion, small dice         1/2 cups
Butter                                     1 Tbl
White wine                            1/3 cup
Arborio Rice                             2 cups
Vegetable Stock                       1 qt
Sweet potato, cooked/ pureed  1 cup
Kosher salt                             ½ Tbl
Black pepper                           ¼ tsp
Marjoram, fresh or dried           ½ Tbl
Parmesan cheese                   1/3 cup
Dried cherries, minced              ½ cup
Spiced Shallot Jam
Butter                                     2 Tbl
Shallots or red onion, minced   ½ cup
Sugar                                     ¾ cup
Cider vinegar                         1 ½ cup
Thyme, picked and chopped    2 sprigs
Cinnamon                                pinch
Nutmeg                                   pinch
Duck Breast
Duck Breast                         4 breasts
Salt                                     to taste
Pepper                                 to taste

Make the risotto and shallot jam ahead of time. 

To make the Risotto:  Sauté the onions in butter until translucent. Add the risotto and stir until toasty. Over medium heat, pour in white wine and slowly begin to add the vegetable stock in increments stirring after each addition. Do not add stock until the previous pour is absorbed into the rice. Season with salt and pepper and add the pureed sweet potatoes. After the last addition of stock, add marjoram, parmesan cheese and dried cherries. When the risotto is nice and creamy, pour into a greased baking pan or two to cool. The size of the pan will depend upon the height you want you cakes to be.
To make the Shallot Jam:
Sauté shallots in the butter over medium-low heat until they are soft. Add in the sugar and cook until combined. Pour in the vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients, continue cooking until syrupy and the mixture resembles a loose jam. You should have a little over ½ cup of jam. Set aside to cool.

To put it all together:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pan of risotto and cut out cakes with a knife or a ring mold. Over medium-high heat, sear the cakes in a small amount of oil until brown on both sides. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cakes are hot throughout.

Score your duck breast in a crisscross pattern on the fat side cutting just down to the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Start a pan over medium heat and place your breasts in the pan. You will want to render some of the fat off of the breast before turning up the heat to medium high to crisp the fat. Take care when turning the duck breasts to sear the other side as there may be a good bit of grease in the pan from the skin side of the breast. Reduce heat slightly and cook until medium (or whatever degree of doneness you prefer).

Let duck rest for a few minute and remove your cakes from the oven. Thinly slice your duck (1 breast should top 3-4 cakes) and serve on top of risotto cake. Finish with a bit of shallot jam on top.