New Protein

Duck season is upon us!!

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A successful harvest so far this season means that I’ve had a fun chance to do something new with a protein I’ve never used.  I’ve had restaurant duck plenty of times, and it’s always been delicious.  But wild duck is a whole different animal, and it really puts a whole new spin on it when you can take something all the way from harvest to plate.

In addition to eating we also have some wings stashed in the freezer for a taxidermy/biology lab style display I want to do for the upstairs loft.  I’m thinking something along the lines of displaying the wings with little tags and their Latin names.  It’s a nice way to blend hunting with science in a stylized way, and it will feature the prettiest part of the birds….in my opinion.  Using as much of what we bring home as possible is something I really put a lot of focus on, The Engineer might say too much focus….but he usually goes along with my ideas! 🙂

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The most shocking part of duck season so far is how strongly Madam Roo has taken to the whole situation.  My usual timid, perpetually nervous girl has taken to charging right through The Engineer when he arrives home that she can go investigate what he’s brought home every morning.  Poor guy just wants to say hello to her, and she can’t even be bothered until she’s accessed the daily harvest.

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I’ve shared this already on Instagram, but it’s just too good and too cute!
“The Stay at Home, Delicate Duck Hunter”

I have grand cooking plans for all sorts of wild game, so I tend to get a bit bossy with home the birds should be cleaned.  Sadly, it’s been a bit too early in the season to pluck a bird for roasting.  They have all been about halfway between their summer feathers and having their dense winter, downy feathers grow in.  This has just led to a mess of plucking, so sadly I haven’t had a bird yet for roasting with my canned apple chutney.  That will come with time I’m sure, but I am antsy to try that and let you know how it goes!

While we patiently wait for the birds to fully plume for winter, and hopefully cleaner plucking, we’ve been breasting out the birds.  I tend to be a bit more skilled than The Engineer in that capacity, so bird cleaning as really become a whole family affair.  We usually try and keep Scout in the house while the knives are flying, but she’s taken to crying like she’s being beaten if we are out with the ducks without her, so we usually cave about halfway through.

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Ummm excuse me iz trying to investigate pleez!

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Pleez do not mind while I investigate these ducks pleez….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My very first adventure into cooking duck was Spicy Thai Duck Burgers curtesy of From Field to Plate.  I’ve used other From Field to Plate recipes before, and I’ve always had really great results.  I really can’t say enough good things about his lime and tequila turkey marinade!  The burgers were alright, but I would defiantly tweak the spices and flavors next time we make them.

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I think I’m just not a huge fan of cinnamon paired with meats.  I know that it’s a normal flavor profile in some Eastern cuisines, but it’s just not my favorite flavor.  Also, I didn’t find it all that spicy, and even The Engineer thought it was too mild.  I will say I did half the jalapeño in the slaw, but usually a single jalapeño is all The Engineer can tolerate spice wise.  It’s so hard to know especially because every pepper is a little different, but it could have used way more oomph.

I would definitely remove the cinnamon and amp up the spice for round two.  Also, I don’t like peanut sauce and it was a Wednesday night, and I was feeling lazy…..so I cheated and bought some peanut sauce for The Engineer.  The From Field to Plate homemade version is probably much better.  If you’re into peanut sauce and give it a try let me know!

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High on list of things you don’t want in your burger patty…..

This week we were a bit crunched for time, so instead of trying a new recipe we went to an old fall back.  Friday night duck taco and nacho night with margaritas was exactly what this week called for!  Just treat it exactly the way you’d use regular ground beef, and no one will even know you’re sneaking waterfowl into the dinner rotation!

I do a bit feel like I’m not really using the ducks to their full flavor potential, and it’s making me a little bummed.  I’m not really in love with the texture of ground duck….it’s a bit soft.  More on the side of ground turkey or chicken then say ground beef or deer.  It defiantly goes better, in my opinion, with something crunchy….slaw or tortilla chips.  But, at the end of the day, it’s all getting gobbled up and that’s really what counts.

Meals do really mean more when you know the time and sacrifice that have been put in to make them happen.  So many people have moved so far away from knowing where their food comes from.  Nothing that arrives on your table arrives by magic, and I’m glad that in this house we are active participants in at least some of the meals that arrive on the dining room table.

Bonus points for not having any shot end up in the taco meat!  I’ll take that as my major victory for the week!!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

For the second year in a row, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house.  It always makes me a bit stressed, not because I can’t cook, but because I have an issue with timing!  Last year I was probably 10-15 minutes off my projected 2pm meal time.  This year….perfect timing!  I looked at the clock as we all grabbed our plates to dig in, and it was 2:00 on the nose!  Glorious victory!  So, we had an epic afternoon of eating and way too many leftovers because I’m also not super talented at planning how much food to make…..  Turns out a 10.5 lb. turkey is like 3x as much turkey as 5 people need, and I have essentially an entire 9×13 pan of cornbread bacon pecan stuffing left over.  I shall be eating well for several weeks to come I’m sure!  I still haven’t worked my way up to making pie, so I had Momma bring the pies, and Aunt N brought a couple salads, but otherwise I did everything myself.  Adulthood Level: Intro to Pro Skills!

The Feast!

The Feast!

On to the meat and potatoes so to speak……!

Have you ever just reached a point in life where you need a change?  It feels like everything you’ve done to this point is dumb, and somethings gotta give.  I wanted this year, 2015, to be different.  I was going to be bolder, do things that scare me, and karma was supposed to reward me!  Karma did not behave like she was supposed to, and all my brave moves fell flat on their faces.

I tried to go find him......Karma wouldn't help me!!!  WTF KARMA!

I tried to go find him……Karma wouldn’t help me!!! WTF KARMA!

So…..I did the next best thing…..I changed my hair!  I had been meaning to do my traditional fall hair change anyway, but one change lead to another which let to another, and I just feel like a whole new girl!  It’s amazing how switching small things up can really change your whole outlook.

The changes started off simply enough.  I decided that it was time to be an adult and accept that fact that I don’t have perfect vision.  So, I ordered myself some glasses so I could actually see my tv and the world around me is a crispy, sharp way.  Like dropping a pebble into the mystical lake that is adulthood, that one event set off ripples of change.  After the glasses came the new hair.  The new hair brought new shampoo and styling products.  I truly believe deep down in my soul that everyday is a good hair day when your hair smells the way it does when you leave the salon!  Please, no one pop my bubble of hope about this…it’s science, I should know!  Actually, it’s probably more about the fact that the smell reminds me of the salon, and the salon is one of my favorite places.

My desire to have an epic bath time experience post Asshole Tinder Cowboy spurred me to buy fun new things from Lush.  On a whim I ordered a bath bomb in their new fall smell.  It seemed a bit questionable at the time (black pepper, patchouli, and vanilla) but I’m so glad that I did!  My new smell is Lord of Misrule!  It smells like everything that’s right with the world.  It’s a bit manly, a bit fall, a dash of vanilla, and just all around epicness!  If they ever discontinue that smell I shall be oh so sad.  So, I ordered a second order of bath bombs and the shower gel to try and get me through the year until next fall.  Cross those fingers people!  

I’ve been wearing the same perfumes since college, and they are finally running out.  For awhile I debating just rebuying them because perfume shopping is actually the worst thing ever.  Things that smell good in the bottle smell like butt on you, and lord forbid you try more than one at a time and then have to spend the rest of the day smelling “like a French whore house”!  However, I did finally find one that I’m totally digging on.  I had originally passed on it several times, because I don’t like how it smells in the bottle.  On a lark I got a sample at Sephora and I’ve been wearing it everyday.  Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is my new jam!  I’m adding it to my Birthday/Christmas list I think! (Cough, Cough….Hint, Hint, Hint)

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It’s really amazing how sometimes it really is the random things that can change everything.  I’m sure eventually the newness will wear off, and I’ll run out of Lord of Misrule shower gel, but in the meantime I’m loving my whole new situation.  It hasn’t changed me as a person, it’s just changed the way I feel about my situation!

The thing that never changes……and will never change…..is that even when I feel like I can’t change the small things I have my friends and family to see me through.  It doesn’t matter how bad things get or how much success you have, your friends and family are always there to support, encourage, and congratulate.  That’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving week, my friends that put up with my crazy and my family that puts up with my bitchiness.  

My friends became the focal point of my trip to the hills the other week.  So here’s to my friends, the ones who had my back when I saw my college dream frat boy with his fugly new girl in the hills (Yes….I saw him out at the bars :/), the one’s who distracted me and kept my mind off the Asshole Tinder Cowboy, and the one’s who are always down for cheeseballs, beers, burgers, too many orders of chile rellenos, mystery flavor jello shots, and generally having the best time!  

I also spent a great night with G and his gorgeous baby girl when I was in the Hills, but idk that babies belong on blogs cuz the interwebs can be a weird place.  She did however teach me how to “make potatoes” on the kitchen floor, and she amazed me with her technology skills.  18 month old me could not have worked a smart phone!  Technology on little one, and grow up to show the world what’s what!