Monday, October 26, 2015

Saturday Company and a Duck...

On Saturday after another devastating defeat for the Huskers, we entertained Nick and Jill for dinner. I actually had a hard time coming up with something then thought about those ducks I bought after season last year. I thawed one out and looked up some recipes and how to's before I set about roasting.

I was surprised that most recipes boil the duck for 10 minutes before roasting. It tightened the skin and after being allowed to dry out, made for a very crispy duck. Roasting is kind of a chore with a oven temp, timer changes and multiple turns on the duck  it came out very moist and crispy so totally worth it. Perfectly cooked too. While I did not use the included packet of Orange Sauce, it was actually quite tasty and I could see basting the bird with it then serving it as a side. I am thinking of a little Siracha and soy added to it maybe.

I served it all with a side of mashed reds and broccolini with truffle butter. Overall a very tasty meal but the duck really only serves 3 at best and knowing Brenda would not touch it, I made her a roasted chicken breast.

So, I am no longer a duck virgin and would consider this again (domestic duck of course). My next great minor adventure is airline chicken breasts. I am fascinated with this old school cut so whole chickens, I am coming at you.  Fangman's need to plan a visit so I have an excuse to cook.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's That Time of Year!

Time to stuff those pie pumpkins! From savory fillings to sweet ones, use a pumpkin to deliver a treat to a football party or anything that requires a side or dessert. These little babies from Jill's brother's farm were stuffed with Italian sausage, bacon and leeks. A good dose of cheese and a bit of cream topped off the filling. These are not baked yet but they took a good hour at 325 to get the shells edible soft.

I was considering expanding this to perhaps a cheesecake filling if I can find a way to treat the pumpkin flesh and make it a bit more sweet so off to the test kitchen! I am thinking a brown sugar crust with butter? Yum.

How about Bread pudding? Yes,  please! With a bit of Creme Anglaise to pour on top? No one says no to that, especially with a bit caramel sauce in it.

Endless possibilities, lucky the pumpkin crop was plentiful this year.

Icon Progress....finally

It's been quite a while since I posted anything about his subject as I took most of the summer off to enjoy the weather and back yard. After we came back from Mexico I was reinvigorated to get more painting done and I started working again.

Currently I am working on a private commission and this large canvas for the opposite wall at the church. Folks have not been asking about this much lately and I have become a bit spiritually lazy and allowed the Devil to talk me out of finishing and believe me, he whispers in my ear without end with words of discouragement and eminent failure.

Actually the amount of work itself is daunting and I am trying not to repeat perceived mistakes I may have made on the first canvas.  One of the greatest killers of one's work ethic is to compare oneself to another. When we visited St. George in Kearney early this spring I was so overcome by the quality of the work and talent of the artists I lost my way,  finding that artistic muse so easy to derail. Artist's should only compare themselves to their past, nothing else.

This summer,  after a conversation with the potter I purchased a vase from, I came to realize that working in isolation is really detrimental to some artists as she was complaining about being alone in her studio and missing the input from a peer. Just someone to bounce an idea off of or garner an opinion.

Now the weather has turned cooler and Brenda has a few late nights at work I find myself back in the studio, mildly overwhelmed by what is left to be done but trying to stay on track, paint a little each day and refocus my life back to the church. Currently I have been refining the faces and expressions while filling in large color blocks in preparation for folds and drapery. Why I do not work on hands at the same time is beyond me since you would think I already have those colors available but they are always a separate part of my work.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings

Ben had talked about making Chicken and Dumplings in the crock pot. I started thinking about it and found a recipe for the dumplings I wanted to try. In the past dumplings have been gut bombs, dense and chewy or like wet biscuits and unappealing. I founds something a little different to try but first I have to make the stock.
I know that canned stock is readily available but I had none and I did have a lot of frozen parts in the freezer so that's what I used.

To 8 quarts of water in a large marmite I added one large onion, unpeeled and cut in half, 2 carrots chopped, a celery bottom trimmed from the package we bought, a teaspoon of cracked pepper, thyme and a bay leaf. I also added 1 heaping tablespoon of chicken base and 2 tablespoons of salt.

Dumplings are about ready, steamed and light

I had 4 chicken breast bones with some meat attached and a chicken back.

All in the pot and simmer, not boil, for about 2 hours. Taste for seasoning, filter and set aside.

To make the Chicken and Dumplings:


1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 egg mixed with
1/2 c buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients then add egg and milk mixture. Do not over mix, set aside for a few minutes.


2 carrots chopped 1/4 inch
1 onion chopped 1/4 inch
2 stalks celery 1/4  inch
1/2 cup or less flour
2 T butter

4 Quarts of broth

Saute veggies in butter till onions sweat and add flour.  Pour in broth and allow to come to a boil. Drop dumpling batter by teaspoonful as they will expand x 3 or so. Cover pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes to steam dumplings. Needed a bit more salt but overall very tasty. Dumplings were light as pillows and a perfect texture.


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