Comforting Crock

Crock Pot Asian Style Ribs

I have been regrettably neglectful of my blog…

This is a post that was set up for February, when we had much cooler temps.

It’s here now…  Thank you for sticking around!

The Crock Pot entered my life years ago as a food warmer; never thought of it as a cooker even after interviewing a food writer on her Crock Pot cook book!  My wonderful supportive friends online turned me onto its genius!  Yes, it cooks for hours however it creates the most flavorful dishes as it seals in the spices, herbs, flavors and juices of the dish you have in it!

I made these ribs as an initial experiment.  Did some investigating on the use of a Crock Pot and found many recommendations to add liquids to dishes no matter what the desired result.  Hmmm, additional liquid would turn dishes into stews, wouldn’t it? That was not my intention here.

I just followed my instincts and made an Asian-styled marinade for the ribs then added them to the pot after sufficient marinating.  I cooked them for about 6 hours while I worked from home.  And man, oh man…  What a flavorful result!  Meat was super moist and tender!

Since this trial I have made the following in my Crock Pot:  fresh brussel sprouts with balsamic, duck breast soup, and chicken stew with lots of fresh veggies!

The simplicity is what won me over in addition to the great results!  One pot to clean!

Good deal on good pork from Whole Foods. I pounced!

It begins with the freshest!

Here’s the recipe and the process.

Crock Pot Asian Style Ribs

Ingredients for Asian Marinade
*Note:  these measurements are approximate as you can tailor the marinade to your personal tastes.
1 T Chinese Five Spice
6 garlic cloves – minced
¼ C Hoisin sauce
1 T minced ginger
1 orange – juiced
¼ C citrus seasoned soy sauce
2 T Zhenjiang vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 T canola oil
dash of red pepper flakes

Process:  add all ingredients to a bowl and combine; add the marinade to washed and dried ribs and allow to permeate the meat for at least 2 hours; add the ribs to the Crock Pot set on high, cover and allow it to cook for 5-6 hours checking on them and turning them from bottom to top on occasion.  Remove, allow to cool, and enjoy the flavors!!!

Ribs are melding with the flavors.

Asian flavors abound!

No dried out ribs here.


The Duck Came C.O.D.

Roasted Duck with Ginger & Chinese Spice

Roasted Duck

I haven’t made duck in YEARS so of course I forgot how to do it.  When I crave duck I venture down to Mott St. for succulent roasted duck with Asian spices from Big Wong.  Fresh duck is not the easiest thing to find or to cook.

Or so I thought…

I was able to find fresh duck breast through Fresh Direct which I NEVER use after a not-so-pleasant customer service experience however I was recently sent an offer I found too good to pass up and they had fresh duck in their meat department.

I don’t know about others but ordering groceries online is a magical experience for me.  You go through the selection process sifting through beautifully arranged food images, apply your payment and the groceries appear at your door at a time you choose.  No waiting on line, marching up and down aisles or darting around moving shopping carts.  Nice!

I wonder about super-sized stores such as Fresh Direct and Amazon.  How are their products stored?  In particular, the perishable items?  How humungous must these places be to store all these wonderful products and have them delivered at a moments notice?  Fresh Direct is a wonder world of deliciousness for foodies like me.

I wanted to do this right so I looked around for cooking methods and roasting times and temperatures and got a variety of instructions.  I’ve roasted delicious chickens so I know how to do this.  What was consistent in the articles I found was the step to cook the duck on top of the stove, skin-side down first in order to render the fat and then roast the duck in the oven for the remaining cooking time, again skin-side down.

Roasted Duck

Vital to Asian cooking: fresh ginger & garlic and I love adding chive flowers, my new favorite ingredient.

I wanted to keep things simple so I cooked the duck in my oven using the broiler to crisp and brown the skin of the duck.  I baked the duck in the oven, skin-side down, for 30 minutes and then finished the cooking process in the broiler, skin-side up for another 20 minutes since the heat comes from above.  I often add my oven-roasted meats during the final cooking time to the broiler to sear and brown the skin giving it ultimate roasted flavor!

Roasted Duck

I didn’t want to overcook the breast and wondered if it were anything like chicken breast which I always cook for a much shorter time than other chicken parts to maintain its juiciness but thought otherwise since the meat was so dark.

Wow, look how much fat rendered from the two duck breasts:  1 1/4 cups!

(I have to rethink this since I slightly overcooked my duck breast.)

Although well-done, the resulting flavor was out of this world and I may never have to wrestle with the crowds in Chinatown again.

Here’s the recipe and process.

Roasted Duck

Spices and herbs.

Roasted Duck

Spices and herbs mix for marinade.

Roasted Duck

Rinsed, dried, scored and seasoned duck breast.

Roasted Duck

Done to close to perfection!

Roasted Duck with Ginger & Chinese Spice


2 duck breasts (free roaming)
2 T dark soy sauce
2 T mirin sauce
2 T katsu sauce (can use another Asian sauce such as hoisin)
1-2 T minced garlic
1-2 T minced ginger
¼ C chives, finely chopped
1 ½ t Chinese Five Spice

Process:  wash and dry duck breast; slice the skin to better absorb spices and render fat; combine all other ingredients to make a rub; rub onto the duck breasts and let marinate for a few hours; preheat oven to 400 F degrees; add duck skin-side down to oven and bake for 20 minutes then remove and turn skin-side up and broil for another 15 minutes; let stand covered before slicing and serve.