It’s not every day you have duck. It’s also not every day your boyfriend brings home the duck. While this meal was created during fall duck season, it could be beautifully re-created with frozen or store-bought duck any time of the year!
Soaking your duck breast in a brine will make it moist and tender. Leaving some skin on gives this pan-cooked duck a bit of fat to keep the meat from over-drying.
1 duck breast
1 quart of water
2 Tb salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch each of thyme and oregano
Salad & dressing (mix ingredients in a jar and shake well):
Mixed greens, spinach or arugula
2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb orange juice
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
1 tsp orange zest (grated or finely chopped peel)
Dash of maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Blue-cheese twice baked potatoes
Two roasting potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Clean the breast, leaving fat on one side. Mix the brine ingredients in a medium bowl. Brine for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Bake potatoes whole after poking holes in them with a fork. Typically, 45 minutes on 375F will do it. Allow potatoes to cool before cutting open. Scoop insides out and retain skins. In a medium size bowl, mash the potatoes with the sour cream and blue cheese. Re-fill the potato skins with the mashed mixture and top with shredded cheese. Bake again at 375F for 20 minutes while covered in foil. Remove foil and bake at 425F for 5 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove and prepare to serve.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the duck breast. In a large skillet, brown the breast 4-5 minutes on each side or until medium-rare (or longer, as you prefer). Note that over-cooked game gets a “gamey” taste and is a common mistake in cooking game. Slice the duck breast to serve.
Plate the potato with a large bed of greens and top with duck breast. Dress with the vinaigrette and serve at a candle-lit table.
Fall turns into winter and the instinct to put food away kicks in. Perhaps like me you’ve visited your favorite apple orchard or can resist the huge variety of apples in the store.
I decided to foray into canning this year. Except for watching my mother can way back when I was a toddler, I was a novice. Conveniently, a family friend has become one of the most popular canning experts in the country! Head on over to Food in Jars to get instructions on canning from Marisa McClellan.
I started with the a half bushel of Courtland apples that I picked up at Allenholm Farm at Pam’s suggestion for sauce and butter. The first step to making apple butter is making apple sauce, which I describe here. I wanted to make enough to give to friends for the holidays so I started with this recipe from Its Not Easy Eating Green.
Vermont Maple Bourbon Apple Butter [Original recipe makes 4 cups. Scaled recipe in ( ) makes ~14 full 4oz jars].
6 cups (6 quarts) unsweetened apple sauce from Vermont apples
1/2 cup (8 cups… or less) apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup (I substituted maple syrup) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (12 cups) Vermont maple syrup
1/2 cup (8 cups or less) bourbon
2 teaspoons (10 tablespoons) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (5 tablespoons) ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (1 1/4 tablespoons) ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon (2 teaspoons) ground allspice
Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker set to high. Once an hour stir the apple butter scraping down all the sides and bottom of the slow cooker. Repeat this process for 4-5 hours or until the mixture is very thick and dark. To tell when the apple butter is done, drop a small spoonful of it on a plate and wait a minute or two. When the apple butter is done, a liquid ring will no longer ooze to the outside of the drop of apple butter; it will stay solid. Store in the refrigerator. Or, to can, carefully pour into in sterilized jars and process for ten minutes in a hot water bath. For larger batches, turn slow cooker to low after 4-6 hours and prop lid open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Use the test above to tell when the butter is done.
Finally, a dessert for everyone!!! My friend Nada swears this recipe is the best— no diary, gluten or sugar added! She suggests going lean on banana if you don’t like that flavor. So what the heck is in there? Bananas, avocado, dates, almond butter and cacao powder. The author suggests adding a squeeze of agave– but why not Vermontify it and use a smidge of maple syrup? That’s never a bad idea. [Ok, it is not a good idea if you want to claim no sugar added and be kind to our diabetic friends! But it sure sounds tasty!]
Gluten Free Vermont