I don't like turkey. I don't like any white meat in general, and turkey has so much of it, its annoying. I also find it tough and bland, and .. the list of its offences is really too long to indulge in. So, instead, like a good Russian, I make a stuffed duck on any qualifying holiday. Qualifying means it puts me in the mood to spend $17 on a bird. Spending $17 dollars on a fatty chicken like bird seemed appalling until a recent trip to Bristol Farms, where ducks come in at 9.99 per pound, so, $40-$50 a duck pre-tax. Jesse and I laaaaaughed and laughed our way out of the door, duck-less. I was on a duck research mission that evening, and found out that Whole Foods were $4.99/lb and Ralphs and Vons at 2.88 and 2.69 respectively. I got some nice fat 6 lb ones at Ralphs, and was pretty pleased. I still wonder - the ducks at Bristol Farms weren't frozen. What happens to these $40 ducks at the end of the night? I mean, do they toss them? Can I come in at 8:59 and make an offer? Are they available shortly thereafter at or around their dumpster? Just wondering...
Russian Holiday Duck:
a package of prunes
I wash the duck and trim as much fat as I can. Rub the inside of it with salt and pepper, and stuff with cored and sliced apples. I don't peel my apples, since they tent to turn into much when peeled. Prunes are mixed in with apples and going into the duck as well.
I prick the duck all over with a sharp fork, or skewers, if the forks are too gentle and child-proof, to help fat escape.
Stitched close with my best surgeon work, toss the excess apples around it, and toss in the oven at 375'F for 2.5-3 hours.
Ducks are super fatty, and as the fat drains out, it helps if the duck is elevated on a rack. I don't own such a rack, so Jesse kindly rolled some foil into thick bars, and the duck rested on 3-4 of these. This way, it's not swimming in a fat-lake when you take it out.
I must warn for $17, you are not getting very much meat. But what you do get is exquisite.
We had dinner with Jesse's family, complete with an enormous 26lb turkey. It was pretty magical, and I even found some turkey leg meat I didn't object to entirely. Afterwards, we headed to my Aunt Diane's for tea and pie, where my father and step mother were visiting from Northern California. The children had dug a giant hole on the beach to play in, and aunt Diane showed us some 90 year old toys passed down in the family.
Friday morning, despite my incoherent objections, Jesse stuck to our plan and threw me in the truck, shopped for camp groceries along the way, and we arrived at Spangler (Southern California high desert) to camp and ride.
Jesse got me a WR250 a few months ago, and I'm still breaking it in. I just discovered this trip, that it's true - if you take whoops at a high enough speed they don't rattle your wrists, shoulders, and neck, and instead, you almost glide over them.
It had rained at night, we listened to the rain and wind in our tent, keeping warm in a sleeping bag with 8 blankets "just in case". There was no dust the next morning. A little windy, but you can't pick your weather, and having lived in Chicago, I'm excited to be out and camping at the end of November. Riding was beautiful and dust free.
We met some friends from ThumperTalk, a message board where I met most everyone I know. There was a band playing - for $600 they got a trailer and will follow you anywhere. There was a sea of toyhaulers and trailers. Jesse and I camp the old fashioned way, but we aren't proud, and are happy to hide out in a trailer when needed, watch Star Wars, even, and have Dave's biscuits and gravy Thanksgiving Trailer Dinner Special. (Thanks Denise and Dave!!) Not to mention the bathroom. Sometimes, and especially in 40'F, it's just nice not to have your butt hanging out in the wind.
I am thankful. Super thankful for all the happy things and people and blessings in my life.
*pictures to come