Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roast Duck

I served duck, ham, and lamb at my Easter dinner.  A couple of my guests asked how I prepare my duck so it's not greasy.  That's a question I often get, so I thought I'd share it with all of you.  Here's how you get a perfectly roasted, non-greasy duck(or goose, for that matter.)

Start by removing the neck, giblets, and whatever else might be inside your duck.  Put those things in a large stock pot of water and bring it up to a simmer.

Wrangle the wing tips behind the bird, and with the point of a knife, stab it all over.  Go nuts.  Make sure to flip the duck over and stab the backside, too.  Really get all serial killery on the bird.  This will help to render the fat out on the next step.

 Drop your stabbed bird in the simmering pot neck down.  Fat floats.  It'll want to float.  Just push it down and put the lid on.  Let it simmer for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, pull the bird out of the water and let it sit for 45 minutes.  This'll give it's skin time to tighten up.

In the meantime I preheated the oven to 450 and prepared the glaze.  I heated up 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, 1/2 cup apricot mango preserves, 1 tbsp San-J gluten-free soy sauce, and 1 1/2 tbsps red pepper flakes.  For a more traditional orange duck, use marmalade instead of the preserves.  Reserve half the sauce for serving with the bird. 

Brush the sauce all over the duck.  I like to start the bird roasting back side up for 25 minutes, then flip it over breast side up for another 25-30 minutes, basting again when I pull it out of the oven to flip it.  A goose would take slightly longer with slightly more glaze.  Perfectly roasted water fowl every time.

The thing about water fowl, is that they're naturally so fatty and juicy that you really can't overcook them.  It would take effort to dry one out.  I took a cleaver to what was left after Easter dinner, and heated up in a 425 toaster oven for 10 minutes, those bits are better than any $13 chinese take-out duck.

Thanks for popping in and cooking with me.  I'm linking this up to Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Prairie Story's Recipe Swap Thursday, Just a Girl's Show and Share Day, and Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap.
Miz Helen’s Country CottageHunk of Meat Mondays

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

Usually when people say, "When it rains, it pours," there's a bad connotation to it, but rain can be a good thing and an overabundance can be a good thing too.  The last couple of nights the skies have opened up and poured on us with a big light show of lightning and thunder.  It canceled a lacrosse game(not entirely a bad thing as we were winning.)  Our waterfall is running extremely well.  Love the bright green of the ferns awaking for spring around it.(Ignore the dandelions needing to be pulled.)
Editorial Note:  I tried for a really long time to get a video of the waterfall to upload so you could both see and hear it run.  I finally gave up and just posted this pic.

Our grass is looking particularly green and lush right now.

The pouring isn't just happening from the sky.  I've had an embarassment of riches coming from blogland, too.  I've won several giveaways recently.  I won some gorgeous brown transferware from Alison at The Polohouse.  For those of you unfamiliar, Alison lives in a converted barn that is simply gorgeous.  She has such an eye for decorating and accessories, that I was especially excited to win this giveaway.  Included in the prize were a beautiful brown transferware plate, a couple of bone dishes that I used on my Easter dinner table, vintage monogrammed linens, an adorable bird and nest that I tucked into my big mossy "G", and a candlestick lamp.
When her package arrived I tore into it like a kid at Christmas.  Each item in the box was wrapped so beautifully in red toile tissue paper and lace, velvet, and grosgrain ribbons.  I wish I had had the foresight to have taken a pic before unwrapping everything, but like I said, I was pretty excited.

As fantastic as all those things were the absolute best part of the whole package was the vintage Easter postcard that she had tucked into the box.  It was adorable, and I immediately tucked it into the base of my Easter brunch table centerpiece.  But the part that makes it the absolute best is what was revealed at brunch.

While we were sitting at brunch my SIL plucked it out and read the back of it.  My FIL looked a bit shocked and had to read it himself.  The card was signed by Frances and Clarence.  My FIL's father(CG's grandfather,) who we knew as Frank, was named Frances and his step-father was named Clarence.  This card was obviously not from them, but spooky weird right?

I also won a follower milestone giveaway from Carrie at Fine & Handy.  She writes a blog that shares her love of DIY, thrifting, and fantastic makeovers.  What's the absolute best prize for a DIYer?  One of these.  Woohoo!  I'll finally be able to finish that bookshelf I've been working on.  Home Depot here I come.

I also won a pretty fantastic prize from Roeshel at DIY Showoff, but I'll wait until that arrives to show it off properly.

And last but not least, Bianca at Little Brick Ranch presented me with the Kreativ Blogger Award.  She writes a blog that features a terrific mix of food, DIY, and gardening.
To accept this award I need to tell you all 10 random things about me and give this to 10 other bloggers.  So without further ado:
1.  I don't eat mammals.  I know this may come as a shock to those who have tried my pork chops or cheddar brats recipes, but I don't eat those things.  I have no problem feeding them to my family.  It's just a personal thing.  I tend to eat fish or tofu on the nights when I make that stuff for the boys.
2.  I had a really hard time adjusting to SAHMomdom.  I'd worked sometimes 2 jobs since I was 12 and had no idea what to do with myself and WD was driving me nuts.  I told CG that if I'd been a smoker, he probably would have come home to me chain smoking in the bathroom.  I've worked it out since then.
3.  I listen to industrial metal music.  I listen to orchestral, pop, show tunes, folk, etc. too, but in the car by myself I listen to headbanging music.
4.  I went to school in Miami, FL and could never, ever again live somewhere where Christmas lights are strung in palm trees.  I may complain about the long winter here, but Christmas lights do not belong in palm trees.  It's just wrong.
5.  I own over 75 pairs of shoes.  It's a sickness.
6.  I totalled 3 cars by the time I was 20, but have had a clean driving record since.  It's amazing what having kids will do to your aggressive tendencies.
7.  My arms are obnoxiously long for my body.  My wingspan is longer than my height.  I call them monkey arms.
8.  Those monkey arms make me a great rock climber, and in my crazy younger days I even rock climbed with WD in a baby backpack.  Maybe that's why he's the daredevil of the two.
9.  I eat a bowl of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.(only when Glee is a rerun, because if it's a new one - I'm watching Glee.)
10.  Eating that bowl of ice cream while watching them sweat will make me feel tremendously guilty which forces me on the ground for pushups and crunches for the next half hour.  I'm nutty like that.

And now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about me, here's who I'm handing out this award to:

Thanks for popping in and listening to my randomness.  I hope you'll check out some of the blogs I linked to.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Berry Bread with Pecan Streusel Topping

One of the things that I served on my Easter brunch table was a Lemon Berry Quickbread with a Pecan Streusel Topping.  My gluten-eating BIL had such high praise for it, that I thought I should share it on my blog.

I had baked this a week ahead, froze it, pulled it out to thaw the night before, and warmed it up for the brunch table.  I started by whisking together 2/3 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup sorghum flour, 2/3 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsps baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.

In my stand mixer, I beat together 1 stick of melted butter and 1/3 cup turbinado sugar.

I beat in 2 eggs one at a time, then added 1 cup almond milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

I added the dry ingredients and beat them together until the batter was smooth.

I folded in 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1 cup frozen mixed berries.  I had originally planned on making this a lemon blueberry bread, but it turned out that I didn't have the blueberries in my freezer so I went with mixed berries.  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.  My loaf pan is silicone, but use what you have.  Top with 1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, and 1 tbsp butter pulsed in your mini chopper.  Dot the top with 1 tbsp butter.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool further.  This bread is especially good served warm.

Thanks for popping in and baking with me. I'm linking up to Balancing Beauty with Bedlam's Tasty Tuesdays,  All the Small Stuff's Tuesdays at the Table, and Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
MyMeatlessMondaysMouthwatering MondaysTempt my Tummy TuesdaysTuesday Night Supper ClubTransformation Thursday

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunburst Silverware Clock

Hope everyone had a nice Easter/Passover/weekend.  It was a fantastic weekend of both friends and family, and after the last guest left I took a great big nap.  Coffee & chocolate can only take you so far.  I had had big plans to pre-write some posts to launch this weekend while I ran around for the last 3 days, but it just never happened.  I'll be playing catchup with responding to e-mails and comments tomorrow morning.  I had a couple of guests ask how I make duck without it being greasy, so I plan on posting that sometime this week as well as a recipe for a streusel topped lemon berry quickbread that my BIL really enjoyed.  But for now, I'm sharing this Sunburst Silverware Clock that I made last week in between all the baking and prep for Easter.

Remember that big box of silverware my MIL gave me back in February?

I had such a good time going through it.  I picked out a couple of monogrammed spoons to go on my new picture ledges.

Some of the pieces, like cake servers and grapefruit spoons, went into my kitchen drawers.  There were a large number of knives and forks from one pattern, but oddly enough only 3 spoons from that pattern.  I loved the look of them and didn't know what to do with them until I saw this Sunburst Mirror that Flamingo Toes shared at Blue Cricket Designs.  Gorgeous, right?

I didn't need a mirror in my dining room as I had just framed up the needlepoint seat covers for over the sideboard, but I could use a clock in the room.  I had this clock with grape leaves surrounding it that I had bought a decade ago when I was doing a tuscan thing.  It seemed ripe for a redo.

I took it apart, removed the grape vine exterior ring, and painted the remaining rim silver.

I grabbed 10 knives and 10 forks from the box.  They were heavily tarnished.

I gave them a vigorous rubdown with some Rokeach Silver Polish and, not wanting to have to polish the silver while on the wall, several coats of Minwax Spray Lacquer.  I only bothered polishing and spraying the fronts of the silverware.

I arranged the silverware on the back of the clock using a large frame and whatever was handy to keep the silver supported around the clock.

I mixed together small batches of J-B Weld epoxy.  I was afraid to use the hot glue that Flamingo Toes used in her tutorial, because the silver was so heavy.  The epoxy holds really well.

I glued the silverware to the clock, moving, gluing, and placing, each piece before moving onto the next to keep the spacing even.

I love how it turned out and think it's such a fun piece for my dining room wall.

Thanks for popping in and DIYing with me.  I'm linking up to Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday and Centsational Girl's Paint Party.
Keeping It Simple CottageOut on a Limb Tuesdays with Cat on a Limb