Hors D'oeuvre

A benefit to the cookbook club is that the host can pick the recipe.

courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

One of the best clubs I have been in was a cookbook club.  I missed this since moving to Arizona so decided to start one up.

I just formed a cookbook club here in Oro Valley.  The kickoff was held last week.  

Maybe some of you are familiar with a cookbook club; but if you aren’t here is what we do.

We meet once a month at someone’s home and cook dishes together from the same cookbook picked by the host/hostess.  It is kind of like a book club meets a potluck.

It is an informal setting that allows everyone to have a good time.  We first open a bottle of wine, can’t cook without a glass of that.  We chat about cooking techniques, what works for each of us, what doesn’t work for each of us.  We try out new cooking gadgets and the best thing is that you pick a recipe out of the chosen cookbook that is out of the box and something you typically wouldn’t make.

Last week, we used the cookbook, “Williams Sonoma Hors D’ Oeuvre.”  We had everything from grilled nachos with chorizo to homemade guacamole.  We also had some easy to do bruschetta that anyone would love to have in the hot of the summer.  I wanted to find something that I have never tried, so my contribution was Chinese Duck Parcels in Rice Paper.  

I haven’t eaten duck since I was a little girl, so I kind of forgot what it tasted like.  It is great.  I cooked the duck breast in red wine, garlic, peppercorns, salt and broth for a couple of hours so it was fork tender.

I also have never worked with rice paper, it is really unique.  The texture before immersing it in water is like a placemat. Odd huh?  But you just immerse the sheet in water for two seconds then place your filling in the center and it changes texture to a spring roll wrapper.  

The best part though is meeting new people, sitting around and talking and laughing and enjoying each others company.  

I am already looking forward to the next month.  For more information on joining the Oro Valley Foodies 4 Life Cookbook Club, feel free to contact me.  We would love to have you.

Below is the recipe for the Chinese Duck Parcels in Rice Paper – these are wonderful for a hot day.

To make the filling, in a heavy saucepan combine the duck, wine, stock, garlic, peppercorns and 1 tsp. of sea salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover and adjust the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and cook until the duck is tender about 2 hours.  Transfer the duck to a paper towel lined plate and let cool slightly.  Remove and discard the skin and cut the duck meat into strips about by 1.5 inches long, by a half inch thick.  

Have ready on a work surface a large shallow bowl filled with water and a damp kitchen towel.  Immerse a round of rice paper in the water for about two seconds, then remove it and spread it on the towel.  It will become pliable within a few seconds.  Place a few strips of duck, a few cucumber juliennes and a few slices of shallot in a line across the center of the rice paper leaving a two-inch border on either side.  Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the hoisin sauce over the ingredients.  Roll the nearest edge up to cover the filling, compacting it gently.  Fold in both sides and continue rolling up gently but firmly to the end.  Place seam side down on a large platter.  Repeat with the remaining rice sheets.  Cover the rolls with the damp towel and set aside until serving time, no more than two hours.  To serve, use a sharp knife and cut each roll in half on the diagonal.  Arrange on a serving platter and serve.


What You'll Need:

Chinese Duck Parcels

-1 ¾ pound Boneless Duck Breast (Dickman’s meat market carries these)

-1 cup dry red wine

-½ cup chicken stock

-5 large cloves of garlic, pressed

-20 peppercorns, lightly crushed

-Sea Salt

-16 rice paper rounds (found at the Asian   


-1 English cucumber halved and cut into

  julienne 1 ½ inches by ¼ inch thick

-2 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced


-1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce


(Editor’s Note: Kathy Bullerman is a licensed personal chef, and can be reached at 850-4356, or at www.kuisinebykathy.com.)

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