Impressive, Easy, and affordable: The Frugal Foodie’s Garlic Chicken Confit

Garlic Chicken Confit
The Frugal Foodie Cookbook’s Garlic Chicken Confit

I’m a sucker for duck confit. It’s one dish I simply cannot resist when I see it on a restaurant menu. I trace my passion for the sumptuous poultry back to a sublime dish at the retro-cool Bix Restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. It was back in the gravy days of the late 1990s and a friend and I popped into Bix after work one evening for no reason at all besides the feeling of money burning holes in our pockets, I suppose. The dish I ordered–Duck Confit with Huckleberry Sauce—was so sublime, so perfect, that I can still taste its rich, velvety, falling-off-the-bone meat and tart-sweet, syrupy sauce all these years later. I’ve been dreaming of a recreation ever since.

Back then, I was child-free with a steady job and cheap rent. Frugality was not a top priority in my dining choices. But all these years later, with a hungry toddler, skyrocketing overhead costs and in the midst of global economic disaster, let’s just say, I rarely pop into chi-chi restaurants for a quick $100 weeknight dinner on a whim. If I can find a way to eat well for less, well, I’m all over it. That’s why I was excited when our publisher, Viva Editions, gave me a copy of a little gem of a cookbook they published last year called The Frugal Foodie Cookbook. Flipping through its pages, I was immediately drawn to a recipe for Garlic Chicken Confit.

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Winter Just Got a Little Brighter: Farfalle with Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto
Kale pesto brightens up your winter table.

I have a love/hate relationship with my CSA box. I love the idea of having fresh, seasonal, locally grown vegetables plucked from the earth and delivered to my doorstep. I’m totally like a kid on Christmas morning as I struggle to pull open the the sturdy tabs and discover what gustatory surprises await. I ooh and aah over the contents as I unload the box layer by layer—Fuji apples, Satsuma tangerines, Bosc pears. Ooh, what’s this? Bibb lettuce! And green beans! In the Spring and Summer, and even in the Fall, I’m rewarded with delights like berries and stone fruits, sweet squashes, corn, and tomatoes. Unfortunately, in these dark days of winter, too often what arrives are vegetables and fruits, like kale and grapefruit, that are just, well, too hardy and bitter for my taste. But if there is anything I hate more than a bitter dose of produce, it is wasting food, and so I curse the farmer as I choke down bushels of winter greens week after week throughout the season.

So it was that I found myself complaining (bitterly, I might add) to my neighbor about getting kale in my box yet again when she told me about a kale recipe so good at disguising the green’s less appealing qualities that even her avowed non-vegetable-eating toddler would scarf it down. The best thing about this recipe was that I had all the ingredients—a bunch of kale, plus a lemon, pine nuts, pasta, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese—on hand.

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shrimp and asparagus salad

Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

Asparagus and shrimp salad is a great way to use fresh spring asparagus. I heart San Francisco’s New May Wah grocery store! Spanning half a city block, this Asian mega-market … Read more