Thursday, June 12, 2014

Madeleina gone, what's a boy to do?

Well, with Madeleina at Disneyworld this week--or whatever you call the Florida Disney place--I've sort of been alone. Well, not quite. On Monday, Italo, my oldest, came over to take a look at the sink that's stuffed up and which I couldn't get open no matter what I tried. He brought his baby, my granddaughter Taylor Rain and Chepa, my wife/ex-wife's babies Sierra and Alexa. So I tended kids and fed them while he worked.
    Tuesday, I came back from running errands to find Chepa, her sister Amelia, the kids, plus a niece, plus Italo all here. Chepa was cleaning the kitchen--which I'd just cleaned but what the heck. Italo was cutting new pipe for the sink. I took care of kids, entertained, fed them and then at about 9 PM fell asleep. I woke to the banging everyone was making--the kids had decided that they should have a "pot drumming session" and were banging all the pots with spoons--and nearly lost it.
   For penance, I was ordered to bring a meal sufficiently large enough to feed everyone at Italo's house, where a fence was being built. Italo, Marco, Chepa, her sister Amelia, Italo's wife Sarah, and all the kids, of course, needed food and needed it now.
   By chance I'd just bought 5 lbs of good chopped chuck and a bag of great burger buns and made a dozen 7 oz burgers. Before I put them on I threw half-a-dozen chicken legs in the oven and a pot of good rice on the stove.
   An hour later I had beautifully wrapped--individual baggies--cheeseburgers and a pot of baked chicken and rice. I also had baggies of sliced organic tomatoes, burger pickles and sauteed sweet onions for anyone inclined to add those to the burgers. I didn't have one but man, I was dying for one. They smelled so darned good!
   At the same time I put the chicken in, I put a duck in for me. It was meant for Madeleina and I so it was a fresh duck going on four days, so I knew I had to get it cooked. This was how I made it:   

   After a good cleaning,  I rubbed it inside and out with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and minced garlic in olive oil. Then I stuffed it with a cut up slice of perfect pineapple and a cut up super sweet orange. Baked it at 325 for 1 1/2 hours, then squeezed fresh orange juice--from the fruit--onto it, scored the breast to eliminate fat, reduced it to 300 for another hour or so while I went to Italo's to deliver the food and help with the fence. Came home, made gravy, cut a half-breast, served it on spinach with the sweet sauce. Man, that was good. We used to sell the hell out of duck when we ran it as a special at Wilson's Restaurant on 75th and 1st Ave in New York every 10 days or so. The slow, slow cooking is the trick. And the fruit stuffing that saturates the meat and keeps it moist and sweet. And cooking it on a bed of celery and onions. And making a great sauce or gravy. Trick to the gravy is to pour the pan juices into a container and put the container in the freezer for 30 minutes to get the fat to congeal at the top so you can get rid of that--or save as schmaltz if you're so inclined--and then use the essence for the gravy or sauce.   
    Tonight? Not sure what I'll do. I've got most of the duck and sauce left, but I'm leaning toward a few shrimp with garlic, diced tomatoes and scallions sauteed in a touch of olive oil on garlicky couscous with a nice green salad with blue cheese and balsamic vinagrette? Maybe, after I mow some lawn to earn it.
    PS: The family loved having their dinner catered by me.

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