Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Le Quack Duck Story

This article was originally published with the title, "Giving Amsterdam A Down-Home Flair" on September 26, 2007 in the Northeast Chronicle, a publication of the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

Giving Amsterdam A Down-Home Flair or AKA My Le Quack Duck Story
By Kathi Dameron ( A Florida food writer and culinary artist who use to cater big fancy parties but now writes about food and teaches cooking classes in North Florida and South Georgia.)

Whoosh! The cars whipped past us as we voyaged through the city of watery reflections.
“Watch the pothole!” Beth barked. “Pay attention and don't shilly-shally! We are going to turn at the next street.”

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. The motorcars zipped down the street.

“If I survive this, it will be a miraclem” I mumbled as I crossed through the mirror.
Somehow by the grace of God, we arrived at our destination. As we parked, the pint-sized, kangaroo-pouched adoptive mother of two hopped off her bike to remove her toddler from the back seat.

Beth, my step-sister, had been trying to teach me street smarts ever since our parents had stitched our two families together, during a season when she was a graduate student in Bologna, Italy, and I was a college freshman in Podunk, middle America. A good 10- or 12-year span had passed in the interim.

“Kathi, what were you afraid of?” Beth snapped with her standing-on-tip toes-know-it-all attitude that could either stretch you or shrink you, depending on your openness or resistance.

“You can't come to Amsterdam and not ride bikes. It's the quintessential Dutch experience. Everyone does it.”

“I didn't come all this way to get crushed to death,” I wanted to say, but the sight before me took my breath away.

We had arrived at the famous floating flower market.

That night as the spell of moonlight pulled its shade of darkness over the day, I dined on one of the most incredibly delicious appetizers I had ever put in my mouth.

I ordered Peking duck at the restaurant my Dutch brother-in-law declared as Amsterdam's best eatery (and probably it's most expensive, too). The crisp duck, green-onion fans and hoisin sauce wrapped up in tiny blankets of mandarin pancakes were worth every penny.

Years later, I prepared this dish for a sophisticated catered event I did at a Thomasville, Ga., plantation. On the menu and monogrammed entree card, I named the dish Le Quack Duck. These delicate crepes were a huge hit with the game-loving crowd, for I had taken the traditional dish and tweaked it with Georgia flavors. Caramelized Georgia pecans and a peachy hoisin glaze brought the dish home and gave it a taste of regional relevance.

Le Quack Duck

Paper-thin crepes

Hoisin sauce mixed with diced peaches

Green onion fans

Crispy roasted duck

Caramelized pecans

Smear peach hoisin sauce over crepe. Place one or two green onion fans, 2-3 slices crisp roasted duck and caramelized pecans on the crepe. Take one side of the crepe and fold it into the middle, take the opposite half and fold it to meet the other, then take one unfolded side and fold it in half.

To learn about the step-by-step process involved in making Le Quack Duck and other great tasting recipes by Florida Chef Kathi Dameron, visit http://www.kathidameron.com/

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