Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Roast duck plus turkey and chicken stock makes for an awesome soup.

1 roasted duck carcass, with lots of meat on the bones
1 qt. chicken stock
1 qt. turkey stock
1 c. wild rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
1 really big leek
1 medium onion
3 stalks of celery
1 package "gourmet mushroom mix" from Whole Foods
marsala or sherry wine

Simmer the duck with the stock. Fry the chopped leek, onion, mushrooms and celery in oil or duck fat. Remove the meat from the bones, add the vegetables, rice and wine, and simmer until the rice is done.

Mmm. If there is any left, I'll can it tomorrow.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Birthday Feast

Today we celebrated my husband's birthday and, in typical fashion, I spent most of it in the kitchen making a (hopefully) wonderful dinner for him. I started this morning with a complicated cake - "Fudge Ribbon Surprise Cake." I was in such a hurry to get it started I did it all without coffee! Anyway, if a cake requires more than 1 bowl, it's complicated. This was 2 bowls and a pot in which to melt the chocolate. The last time I made this particular cake was 19 years ago, for the same guy. I was baking in a dorm kitchen without a lot of gadgets or even mixing bowls, so it's no wonder I have a memory of it being the hardest thing I've ever made. It really isn't. It just requires stuff I didn't have at the time. Like space. And bowls.

Once everything was in the oven, I could make coffee, and we finally had breakfast around 9:30. While the cake layers cooled I worked on the stuffing for the duck - regular bread stuffing but with apple pieces mixed in. A few hours later, after getting the kids some lunch, I frosted the cake, using a fudge frosting. I'm not usually so talented when it comes to frosting things, but see for yourself; I think this one came out great.After the cake was done, it was time to get the duck in the oven. As I've mentioned before, I have had issues with my oven not working correctly and things taking too long, so I made sure I got the duck in the oven a full hour before I had originally planned. That was the absolute right thing to do. The duck had the apple stuffing and was seasoned with salt, maple pepper, and thyme.
Lastly, the side dishes - I went pretty simple, with maple glazed turnips (which didn't really taste very maple-y) and green beans with butter. The turnips took longer than expected, too, but that gave the duck more time to rest before carving. And, no, the almost 5-year-old wouldn't go near any of this. Peanut butter was also on the menu...

Dinner was lovely. There are very few leftovers. I plan to try to make turducken soup again - that was really yummy and I think I remember what I did. After a break for presents, we had cake. It's never official until you've had your cake.
Happy Birthday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finally, Something Other Than Soup!

Ah, Whole Foods. Just when winter doldrums are their worst, Whole Foods comes through with something seasonal and unusual. Yes, it's Meyer Lemon season, and it's time for more curd. I decided I didn't need to make any more of the Meyer Lemon Marmalade, as good as it is, because I still have some from last May. But the curd is very popular in this house, and goes fast, so I made a double batch.

Note to self: when making a double batch, use the LARGEST pot.

For Christmas my wonderful family got me more gadgets, and this was my first opportunity to use the zester. I LOVE it! It's so EASY! And it's dishwasher safe! (Good thing, otherwise the cleaning cloth would be shredded in 2 seconds flat.)Since I make this a lot, I've decided to rewrite the recipe here, so in case the website where I found it goes away, I will still have the recipe. To give credit where credit is due, here is where I found the recipe in the first place.

Meyer Lemon Curd
(also, Key Lime Curd, just replace with the correct citrus) - makes 16 oz. of curd

1/2 c. Meyer lemon juice
zest from the lemons that produced the juice
3/4 c. organic sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces - use real butter

Whisk juice, zest, sugar and eggs in double boiler until smooth. Add butter, and continue whisking over the simmering water about 10 minutes until opaque and thicker but still liquidy enough to pour. While it’s still hot, carefully pour the lemon curd through a fine strainer. I use the large mesh strainer set upon the canning funnel and balance it all on the edge of the pot since I'm not Krishna and just don't have enough arms. Process in boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

We had a little left over, which the 8 year old ate this morning on a crepe. YUM.

Now I just have to watch for more muscat grapes....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Crazy Work Week

This has been a particularly stressful week at work - the emergency department launched a new electronic medical record system 4 days ago, going almost completely paperless in one fell swoop. And it wasn't just our pediatric emergency department, it was the entire group: 3 departments on 2 separate campuses. People have been very patient and supportive of each other, and I'm so proud of everyone for making it work.

Yesterday was the last day in which food was provided around the clock for staff. Food always makes things easier. So today I'm going in for a support shift followed by a clinical shift and I'm bringing 3 jars of jam and some stuff to serve as jam vectors: crackers, pound cake, and so on. I've selected 1 pint of blackberry jam, 1 pint of spiced plum jelly, and one half-pint of the cherry/peach/apricot jam.

Wish us luck - now that the company's support staff is no longer on site, it gets harder for a little while!