Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lord love a duck

Perfect for dinner for two!

It’s fowl, but it tastes like steak! Which means that your mammal abstaining dinner guests may eat it, and if they don’t, all the more for you!

Expensive? Yes and no. At around $10 per pound for a breast, duck is far cheaper than a decent cut of beef and only slightly more expensive than organic boneless chicken breasts. Plus, because it’s so rich, one half of a large breast (pictured right here!) easily feeds two healthy adults. I always keep one in the freezer.

Still not sold? I think you’re just a-scared. No need! Cooking duck breasts could not be simpler. Nigella has a nice recipe for gingery duck salad if you’re in the mood for a little spice (especially tasty in summer), but here’s the easiest way I know to prepare duck.

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Mother of the Year: Rice pudding

courtesy popularsmokers.com

I’m not one for PTA meetings, and truth be told, whenever the candy/magazine/little crappy knickknack drives are on I just write a check and leave the order form blank. I’ve slept through more holiday pageants than I can remember and once even nodded off during a particularly torturous curriculum night. There is, however, one area of motherhood where I excel; it’s the sick day, with its hot lemonade, pharmacy forays and bland, sugary treats.

So without further ado, here it is: my take on rice pudding the easy way. It has a pleasantly glue-y consistency that the unwell find soothing, can be made from ingredients on hand, and has a binding quality that frequently comes in handy during these little detours from the path of wellness.

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Say yes to cherries!

Photo courtesy of ©www.CocktailTimes.com

I love cherries, but let’s be honest, the pits are a real issue. Now, I’m willing to commit to some lingual gymnastics when eating fresh ones, and actually that’s a skill set that can come in handy. Hypothetically speaking, say you’re having a pleasant evening in a bar but realize you’re a bit short on cash and suspect your cards will go all code red if swiped even one more time. Quite often, I have heard, the ability to tie that maraschino cherry stem from your Manhattan into a knot using only the tongue can be parlayed into a side bet that yields adequate funding for another round. In my younger days, I might have seen or heard of such behavior, but these days, well, anyway, let’s move on.

Buy 'em by the sack!

So, recently I was visiting Costco with a friend (and mooching off her card to buy industrial size boxes of fabric softener and Cheerios, I’ll admit) and I stumbled upon these huge bags of dried cherries. I had been buying them at the gourmet grocery for upwards of $20 a pound, but here they were at Costco (and at various sites on the web) for less than $10 a pound. And they taste as good as the high end ones. Happy day!

Let me tell you, dried cherries are the greatest things to have on hand. Tart, sweet, chewy and delicious. You can put them in your oatmeal, add them to brownies or chocolate chip cookies or apple pie, toss them in salads, or just pop a handful in your mouth when you need a little something sweet.

Cherry!

Have you made your fruitcake yet?

courtesy blisstree.com

Aw come on, don’t be a lemming, a follower, a “me too” person. Give it a try! Despite the bad press, and it is legion I know, fruitcake is delicious and I’m not ashamed to say so. Now, here’s the thing: a good, brandy soaked fruitcake is actually a very adult treat, and this is why, in my opinion, it’s been so maligned over the years – a lot of bad PR from the under twelve set.

I was not always a believer, but a friend of mine from Down Under changed my mind forever when she brought a fruitcake as a hostess gift during a summer vacation in Maine. I know, I know – fruitcake in summer?!?! It was absolutely delicious and completely appropriate. I ate half of it myself and have been hooked ever since.

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Everybody’s thankful for something

Got no checkbooks, got no banks.  Still I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

~Irving Berlin

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