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Incidentally, Martha got it wrong.

Don't use the roast duck recipe in the March 2010 Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Or if you do, cut the cooking time in half. They've got you roasting a 4 pound duck for 2 1/2 hours at 425, which will smoke you out of the house and give you a very, very overcooked bird.

I'm still working on the perfect simple recipe, will get it up in the near future. I love duck, but so far have only attempted boneless duck breast.
I've been so excited to start cooking from the new Lee Bros. cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern, ever since I got it in the mail last week. There are a ton of recipes I want to try, and everything I've made so far has turned out really well. I'm always impressed with excellent directions in cookbooks, and these are very well written. The measurements are all accurate (1 1/2 pounds of collard greens really do make about 4 cups once they're sliced), and the timing is good. They even tell you about how long it'll take you to peel your shrimp.

Anyways, last night I made the Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo. I'm making it again tonight, it was such a hit. I'm a sucker for anything with chorizo, either fresh or cured. I love the smoky, vinegary hit it gives to dishes. The recipe recommends fresh chorizo, the kind that crumbles when you cook it, but what I had on hand was dry-cured chorizo, which you have to chop and is already cooked. The flavor is very close, it's really a texture difference. Needless to say, the cured chorizo worked beautifully.

A note on the collard greens: don't buy the pre-washed bagged collard greens unless you absolutely can't spare the 5 minutes it takes to prepare them. The greens are dried out, ragged, the wrong shape for this recipe, and they never remove the ribs. You end up with a big chunk of stem when you are aiming for silky greens. Ick. To wash whole collards, fill up a large bowl or your clean sink with cold water. Swish the leaves around for a bit, then let the collards sit for a minute to let any grit settle to the bottom of the bowl. Gently lift out the leaves, and give them a twirl in a salad spinner if you like. If they still seem gritty, empty out the water and repeat the rinsing. It's easy to pull out the ribs by hand, or just run a sharp paring knife down either side of the rib. Then you just stack up the leaves and cut them into thin slices.

This recipe serves 4 as a side dish, but we had it along with a salad as a main course for two. There wasn't any leftover.

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Blog to share

I found a cool new-to-me food blog via www.chocolateandzucchini.com: http://kitchenscraps.ca/ .

I'm totally going to make the "green cigars" this weekend!

Oh yeah! I have a blog!

It's been forever since I've posted - so here's a quick pancake recipe.  These are light and fluffy and can soak up an enormous amount of syrup.  Yum.  The recipe is supposed to serve 3 to 4, but it only serves 2 at my house. 

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour (or 1/2 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat, if you want to pretend you are being healthy), 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER, 1/4 teaspoon baking SODA (don't mix up the soda and the powder.  They do different things), and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.   

You can even double or quadruple this and keep it around as your own personal bisquick, just use of cup of the mixture with the following amount of liquid ingredients.

In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, pour 3/4 cup milk.  in a second liquid measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons melted butter.  Separate one egg, whisking the egg white into the milk and the egg yolk into the melted butter.  Stir well, then stir the butter and yolk into the milk.  Stir all the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until all ingredients are moistened - it'll be a little lumpy.  Let the batter sit while you prepare the pan.

Set a medium-to-large sized skillet over medium heat.  Don't use a non-stick skillet for this.  Let the skillet get good and hot with nothing in it.  Sprinkle a few drops of water into the skillet - if they sizzle and evaporate immediately, it's hot enough.  Pour about 2 teaspoons of canola or vegetable oil into the skillet and carefully brush the oil all over the surface with a pastry brush or a paper towel. 
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the hot pan - I can usually fit 3 at a time.  Let cook until you start to see bubbles in the surface of the batter, then flip them over and cook for about 1 minute more.  Flip them onto a warm plate, and cook the second batch - re-oiling the pan if you need to. 

To be totally decadent, melt some butter and maple syrup together and pour over the pancakes - nothing spoils a good hot pancake like cold syrup right from the fridge. 

To recap, you'll need:

1 mixing bowl
2 liquid measuring cups
Skillet - not non-stick
Spatula or pancake turner
Measuring spoons and a measuring cup

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
2-3 teaspoons canola oil for the pan
butter and syrup for serving 

"Health" tip of the day

I have a little "health tip of the day" application on my Google homepage.  This morning when I logged on, the tip was "Eat breakfast - it'll stop you from pigging out later on."

How sad is this?  What a negative message.  How about "Eat breakfast - it tastes good and gives you fuel that you need after an 8 hour fast:."  Or "Eat breakfast - start your morning sharing with the people you live with, or contemplating your day, your god, your good fortune to be alive and awake."  Or something like that. 

Our relationship with food in this country has become so adversarial, it's second nature.  Almost every single party - Party!  Celebration! - I've been to as an adult has a group of us talking about our weight and how unhappy we are with it.  I catch myself saying " I shouldn't eat this, but...." way more often than I want to admit. 

I'm currently reading Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food", which is the most important book I've read in a long time.  One of the over-arching themes of the book is that as we've become more and more obsessed with eating healthily as a nation, we've become less and less healthy.  Definite "food" for thought. 

There's so much more to say on this topic, but right now I'm finishing the bread and butter that I made last night (10 minutes, tops, actual labor time) and enjoying my coffee with the cats before heading in to work. 

My new definition of "awkward"

Hanging out with my boyfriend's father, waiting for the boyfriend to come home from work, and deciding to watch the first episode of the HBO show TrueBlood.

Not realizing that a portion of the show qualifies as softcore porn.

Oh my.
It's not that I'm delighted with the outcome and happy to reclaim my answering machine from the 8 robo-calls I've been getting each day, that's all true but perfectly normal. The main thing that scared me is that I've been so glued to CNN for the last two months that I found myself seriously considering ordering that sonic-scrubber, or that nifty tool that files down your pet's nails. The snuggly blanket with sleeves and the suction handle were tempting, too.

This from the woman who fell asleep during the Obama-mercial last week.

Meme from annmcn

Your result for What's your key signature?...

E-Flat Major

Three flats, honky cat.

Congratulations, you’re E-flat Major, a key to swing in. This key is THE key if you play jazz saxophone, making it a very popular key among jazzophiles. You know those stupid radio commercials you hear for “smoooooth jazz radio; KKUZ” or whatever? There’s a damn good chance that the music behind that commercial is in E-flat. Pianos and woodwinds are pretty fine with this key as well, guitars and basses being a bit left out. Who needs rock when you’re swingin’, though?

You are one loose hip dude, my friend. You take life as it comes, and you can take a beating with a smile and move along. Life is just one swinging song after another, and most of us would kill to have the suave attitude you do. But between you and us, carpe diem isn’t really THAT bad of an idea.

SONG EXAMPLE: Spiral by John Coltrane


* Actually, I could’ve named almost all the songs from Coltrane’s great Giant Steps album, a good half the songs are either in E-flat or its parallel minor, C Minor.

Take What's your key signature? at HelloQuizzy

Buffy Meme!

A Joss!Meme seems like a good idea: When you see this, post another Buffy quote in your LJ. Let's see how long this can go on.

"I didn't jump to conclusions! I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were!"

Oh and a twofer:

"Uh oh, you have but face"


"You look like you're going to say 'But...'"

a rare quasi-political post

So I'm listening to the Republican convention on CNN, listening to all the speakers blasting the "liberal media" for their "attacks" on Sarah Palin and their "adoration" of Barack Obama. 

All I can think of is the tenet we held back in my rock band days:  Don't piss off the guy with his finger on the "suck" button.

Oh, and I doubt very seriously that Mitt Romney loves me.