Rebecca Hunt: SP cook takes top Keebler prize for Peking Duck Topper

December 29, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesOut of over 2,600 recipes submitted for the Keebler Harvest Bakery Crackers “Top It and Win!” contest, a Santa Paula cook took first place.Peking Duck Topper, a cracker topping recipe by Rebecca Hunt, was tops with the delighted judges of the national contest.Closer to home, Hunt’s Three Flavor Paella was deemed the best Main Dish in the 2002 Santa Paula Times Cookbook, released Dec. 18th.Hunt was awarded a new KitchenAid refrigerator, “putting me one step closer to remodeling my kitchen, which I had planned to do before entering the contest.”Hunt, who said she has been cooking “pretty much all my life,” just started entering recipe contests in September. When she won first place for salads and a third place for side dishes in the Ventura Star contest, “it prompted me to keep trying,” by sending entries to more cooking competitions.Hunt has entered about a half-dozen national contests she discovered - like Keebler’s - on an Internet cooking contest site and is still waiting to hear if she’ll rack up more tasty wins.“I love cooking, it’s a great creative release and fun to do,” said Hunt, whose tastes run the gamut from oriental to Italian, and “all kinds of seafood. I just like trying new things. . .”Her cooking tips for new cooks are to start with something simple, “don’t start with the most complex recipe, build your confidence. It’s a series of steps and you follow the series of steps. Once you get your confidence up you can start experimenting.”
Learning to cook is “not rocket science, you can always dump your mistakes and start over. . .”Hunt admits to an occasionally craving for take-out pizza, but otherwise she and husband Jimmie Wellman - “A good eater and very good cook himself” - like their own home cooking the best.Hunt’s Peking Duck Topper, a unique combination of tender, pre-cooked, boneless duck meat sautéed in hoisin sauce, chicken stock, white wine and soy sauce, reflects her love of Asian cuisine.“I wanted to create something new and different to put on a cracker,” said Hunt.Hunt’s prize-winning recipe for a dozen Peking Duck Topper canapés is to combine 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of chicken stock or broth, 2 tablespoons of white wine or vermouth, and 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) of shredded, cooked duck meat without skin or bones, and bring it to simmer. Simmer uncovered until mixture is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.Spoon the duck mixture over 12 Harvest Bakery Cornbread Crackers; top with 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions. You can add some salt and ground black pepper to taste.Hunt’s delicious recipe can also be made with chicken instead of duck, preferably using the dark meat.

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