Musing with Max

Musing with Max

November 28, 2014


Our Thanksgiving forecast went something like this: Cold, snow, cold, snow, etc, etc. Temperatures were due to plummet on Tuesday night, going from a balmy fifty something to 30F. Wednesday morning would greet us with freezing rain which would then turn to snow as the temperatures dropped sometime in the afternoon. Depending on where you were the accumulations varied greatly: New York City, a slushy 1 to 3 inches; Northwestern New Jersey 6 to 12; everybody else, somewhere in between. We fall in the somewhere in between category. Regardless, a white Thanksgiving was on it's way. Luckily Frank works remotely from home every Wednesday and my office was closing at 2:00 PM. I imagined, correctly, that most people would work remotely that day but since I'm only 15 miles away I was going in. Our Thanksgiving this year would be just the two  three of us, we had planned on maybe going away and then changed our minds so all I needed to do was go out and get the turkey because we wouldn't be making the customary 40 side dishes and appetizers followed by 12 pies just for us. On Monday after work I hightailed it off to Trader Joe's where last year I got a beautiful fresh organic turkey and at a great price to boot. I ran to the back and stared at these giant lumps sitting in the case, and no matter how much I stared they never got smaller, the smallest turkey they had was 16 pounds, that's a large baby and to much for us. I went home dejected, and clueless. When I told Frank my very sad story (which by the way is pretty dramatic of me, there are other markets!) he said "who needs a turkey, let's have duck!" Ooooh duck! Our Thanksgiving was saved!

Our Thanksgiving morning looked like this:

and Max and I went walking in our snow gear,

and since we had no place to go, read the newspaper until it was time to move into the kitchen, to prepare our lovely little duckling.

Roast Duck

1 whole duck, about 5 lbs (this one is a biggy-7)
1 duck neck
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
1 lb of beets, cut in large pieces
2 large leeks, cut in two inch pieces, well washed
1 large red onion cut in slivers
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt, pepper, fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 500F

Rinse duck inside and out and dry. Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper. Place 2 garlic cloves, a couple of thyme sprigs, piece of carrot and leek inside the cavity and truss the duck.

Place the duck in a shallow roasting pan and scatter the remaining vegetables around it. Cover loosely with aluminum foil

Place in oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 300F and roast the duck for 3:30 to 4 hours

Remove the foil and roast one more hour

Remove the duck to a platter, place vegetables around it. Simmer the liquid until thickened a bit and pour into a gravy tureen.

Carve, serve with vegetables and rice with sauteed leeks and onions.

Start off with Black Bean and pumpkin soup from Smitten Kitchen

because once you've had that you'll never go back! For dessert I made chocolate panna cotta which I neglected to photograph.

Friday morning we decided to go to Newton New Jersey for some antiquing because I will not step foot inside a store on Black Friday. Didn't find anything I particularly liked except for the beautiful calm of our first winter storm.

Oh to have four seasons! I am very thankful.


  1. Sounds like a really nice time. Beautiful pictures! Hi Maz!

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  3. I've never cooked duck at home because I've watched enough cooking shows to know that there's a certain skill level required to render such a fatty bird.
    But I'm encouraged enough by your clear instructions to give roast duck a try before the end of the year.
    We'll be certain not to mention any of this to the backyard chickens...
    (Edited for spelling - what can I say, I'm a stickler!)