I gotta say, I'm finding this drizzly, dreary, rainy Saturday kind of delightful. I'm curled up in the media room with Ernie. He's watching some car restoration show, I'm reading a trashy novel and half watching. I've got a blanket over me and am feeling cozy.
Updates from the week:
The other night I got tired of everybody being grumpy and irritable so I got grumpy and irritable which somehow was interpreted as me overreacting. So I ate too much meatloaf by myself and went to bed. The meatloaf was pretty damn good. I broke off pieces and wrapped them in lettuce. I recommend it…not the getting grumpy part, but the meatloaf in lettuce part.
I had a meatloaf sandwich on some not bad gluten-free bread for breakfast the next morning. I came to a final determination after finishing that meatloaf sandwich. WAIT FOR IT: I prefer Hellman's to Duke's. Ernie doesn't agree but then again he doesn't like mayo as much as I do so his vote may not count.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, whom I'm doing some work for, put out a really good story this week. Go read it.
We're still trying to get the right amount of laxative into Hattie. Easier said than done. The other day she pooped in the fireplace and we were so thrilled she was pooping that we just let her. This is our life. Right now she is sitting on me making it quite hard to type. All typos courtesy Hattie.
Last but not least, last night we roasted a duck. I love duck but we rarely cook it. I used a simple Mark Bittman recipe. I'm not always the biggest fan of his recipes (I think they're poorly written….kinda the way I write recipes) but this one worked well.
- 1 4- to 5-pound duck
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup soy sauce, more or less
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove giblets and neck from duck cavity and discard or reserve for another use. Cut off excess fat from duck cavity.
- Place duck, breast side down (wings up), on a rack in a roasting pan; add water to come just below the rack. Sprinkle duck with pepper and brush with a little soy sauce.
- Roast 30 minutes, undisturbed. Prick the back all over with point of a sharp knife, then flip bird onto its back. Sprinkle with pepper and brush with soy sauce again. Add a little more water to the pan if the juices are spattering (carefully–you don't want to get water on the duck).
- Roast 20 minutes, then prick the breast all over , and brush with soy sauce. Roast 10 minutes; brush with soy sauce. Roast 5 or 10 minutes more if necessary, or until duck is a glorious brown all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh measures at least 155 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes before carving and serving.
- There are four challenges to roasting a duck by the simple method given here. The first is spattering. All that fat can make a mess of your oven. But the solution is simple: keep a thin layer of water in the roasting pan. The fat drips into it and stays there. (You'll need a rack to elevate the duck, but you should be using one for a crisp bird anyway.) The second challenge is to achieve a uniformly brown color. I cheat a little bit here and brush the roasting duck with soy sauce, which works like a charm. The third challenge lies in the carving; a duck is a little more complicated than a chicken. The best way is to cut on either side of the rib cage to remove the two breast halves, then cut the legs off the carcass. The rest is for picking. Finally, there's the basic challenge of having enough to go around, for a roast duck can easily be finished by two people. If you want to serve four, roast two, or plan on a lot of side dishes.
I went with the suggestion in the notes that several people had mentioned, and instead of using water in the pan, I layered it with potatoes. Well, the suggestions were layers of potatoes, onions and carrots but I didn't have carrots and had no onions. There weren't enough potatoes for the bottom of the pan so I added half a cabbage in there.
The vegetables turned out luscious but I'd probably stick to just potatoes next time so the green vegetable could be something sharper. The duck turned out to be wonderful however. I was worried I'd overcooked it but it was pretty damn perfect. The meat was moist and flavorful, and while the skin wasn't crispy, it was well rendered. It was also incredibly simple and quick AND I've got leftover duck fat potatoes and roast duck in the refrigerator!