Garden Diary - November 2021

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Thanksgiving Dinner for Two
Thursday, 25 November 2021

This year we decided that staying home was the prudent way to celebrate. There would be a family gathering with twenty other people, adults and children, several from out of state. No quick tests for covid 19 mentioned, weather chilly enough that we'd be indoors - nope, no way.

When I start thinking about a menu it is easy to get carried away. First the entree. Venison was one option but then I found fresh duck at the supermarket. I asked, and the butcher very graciously took it apart for me - boned the breasts, cut off the two leg quarters, left the wings on the carcass which I would use to make stock. I used the leg quarters for duck with lentils

The two duck breasts are for our entree. Now I need to decide about the sides. But remember to keep it simple. If there are two vegetable side dishes, why not three. Or four. Because more is not necessarily better.

The same with cooking the duck. An elaborate, multiple ingredient recipe was not what I wanted. They were seared in hot cast iron frying pan skin side down for about 6 minutes to melt out the fat. Turn over for just a minute or two. Turn back skin side up and finish in a very hot, 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on the cutting board for 5 minutes.

What for carbohydrate. Maybe spatzle. No. Decided on wild rice. Have you ever enjoyed this native North American grain? Very nice, also expensive. A special treat. Don't make the mistake of buying a wild rice / white rice packaged blend. Wild rice takes much longer to cook than white rice, which will be gummy by the time the dark, nutty flavored grain is ready. Braised carrots and Brussels sprouts for the vegetables.

Sour cherry "side" to go with the duck rather than something cranberry.

Special occasion, not the kitchen table. Decided to dine in the dining room.


Dessert, or so a friend once told me, is spelled with two ss-es so you can ask for seconds. Not today. Today we had two desserts. Well brandied fruitcake from last year, periodically taken out of the refrigerator and baptized again since last December. Also a flourless chocolate orange cake with creme Anglaise flavored with dark rum.

A meal consumed, with pleasure. Leisurely, quietly, conversationally. And afterwards . . . the dishes are dealt with. And the pots can wait until tomorrow.

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