As all too often happens, work has been interfering with play. Cooking, blogging, reading, gardening, relaxing on the screened porch with a glass of wine. All of that and more have taken a back seat to a huge transition in our business. Someday soon, I'll have a new website and can share some of the info. It's all good. I'm just looking forward to getting more work/play balance in our lives.
Frequently, I'll jot down recipes and ideas and never post them. Haven't even had time to do that. We've made our weekly loaves of bread in the bread machine. Some, like the lemon oregano and the sage onion have been spectacular. Some like the most recent have been dense and not appealing... We made the best lobster rolls ever. With browned butter. Oh, my, those were GOOD! We made fondue for the first time ever. I went to my first Raymond James Women's Symposium in Tampa and got to see my friend, Sarah, on a panel. Connie ziplined at Craig and Diane's one year anniversary party. We watched Peyton's jersey get retired. Chad and Kelly got married. A trip to Fort Wayne to see Garrison Keillor meant dinner at Casa D'Angelos. We saw Khazir Khan. And, we loved a concert with our friends Mark and Chris. Drinks with my brother John and sister-in-law Pam. We went to a couple of dinners at Chef JJ's. And, a couple at Chef Josephs. A hurricane fundraiser (bbq) and a salmon cookoff at Bent Rail Brewery. One dinner there when we just didn't have the energy to do anything but order. But when it came to blogging, the mountain of unread newspapers and magazines always drew me to that side of the great room. Tonight, though, I really must record what we had for dinner. It was too good and I want to be able to make it again. Please accept my apologies for the guesses on the measurements. It was a last minute thrown together substitution for the much more complicated meal I'd planned for this evening. And, I'm REALLY glad I had to substitute!
Here are some photos along the way of the last six weeks...
Tonight I'd planned crab legs with a champagne beurre blanc. Wasn't happening when dinner prep started at 7:30. My original intent was to get something out of the freezer that I'd actually made and frozen for lunch but had yet to take into the office. Then, I saw the frozen duck breast and thought how wonderful that'd be with pear cranberry salsa. There were pears that had to be used up. I'd gone onto eatyourbooks.com and looked at various pear salsas. The pear and cranberry combo had most appealed to us. But, I didn't want to go to the basement and hunt for the 1996 Cooks Illustrated. Odds are good it's down there. I just didn't want to hunt. So, if I did duck along with pear cranberry salsa what else would be good and quick? Neither of us wanted potatoes or rice. Lentils sounded good. Lentils with artichoke hearts. And, maybe lemon. I'd figure it out as I went along.
The duck breast went into a bowl of warm water to thaw - still in it's package. Lentils went into a pan to cook. A loaf of multi-grain bread went into the bread maker. And, everything else started going into two bowls...
Pear Cranberry Salsa
2 ripe pears, not peeled, diced
1/2 c fresh cranberries, pulsed in the processor until they're diced
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 T sherry vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Mix it all together and allow it to stand for about 30 minutes prior to serving.
Lentil Artichoke Salad
1/2 c green lentils, cooked
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 T olive oil
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1 T capers
1 t lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Cook the lentils. Saute the onion in the olive oil and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Drain the lentils and toss everything together. Serve at room temperature.
Duck Breast with Pear Liqueur
1 duck breast
1 T flour
1/4 c pear liqueur
Score the duck skin in a cross hatch pattern. Be careful to not cut the meat. Heat a skillet until it's hot enough for water droplets to sizzle. Brown the duck breast with the fat side down. Flip it and cook until it's your preferred doneness. Remove the duck from the skillet and tent it with foil to keep it warm. Whisk the flour into the rendered duck fat. Cook it until it's browned. Gradually pour in the pear liqueur, whisking as you pour. You may need to add a tablespoon of water. Slice the duck and serve with the sauce.