Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Epic Meal Time: Let’s Get Shucked Up

(Or, perhaps more accurately, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kitchen”)

It’s Epic Meal Time, y’all! Better watch out. Tonight I am making a three-course affair: freshly shucked Malpeque oysters on the half shell, a roasted whole duck with honey-sriracha glaze, and spicy Mayan pot au chocolat (because we all survived, after all).

I’m going to live-blog this so you can see what a monumental meal this is going to be. But first of all, it’s been a fabulous day. I started the day with a trip to the beautiful Farm Boy grocery store where I bought my whole duck, my fresh oysters (along with a free demo of how to shuck them), and the fixins for my desserts. Then I went and treated myself to a massage. Just ‘cause I can.

Okay, let’s cook.

Duck is ready to go in the oven
4:45: Arrived home and tackled opening up my duck, which still had giblets and a neck. I was really confused at first; I thought you pulled the neck out of the head side. So I don’t know what piece of waterfowl anatomy I was tugging on for so long, but I finally found the neck inside the cavity. Okay, done.  Next up, I trussed up the legs with twine (but I only had the equivalent of yachting cable, so it looks stupid. Pay no attention to that). With a sharp knife I scored the duck skin in a diamond pattern and then seasoned with salt, pepper, and pats of butter sitting on top. Bird goes in a 375 degree oven in the beautiful new roasting pan that Momma got me!

5:00: It’s break time. A hot shower, a little bit of spiced whisky (rye not?), and some folk music. Bird must roast breast-side up for an hour. I’ll be back.

6:13: Flipped my bird to roast breast side down for an hour, and now starting on my Mayan pot au chocolat. Sit tight.

6:49: Criminy! I’m run ragged and I haven’t even touched an oyster yet! But My Mayan pots are cooking away. I followed the recipe from Dec. 24th’s blog, with the minor addition of a little chili powder to the chocolate mixture, just to make them even fancier! I also heated up some sriracha and honey to make a glaze, but I decided it smelled too spicy so I added a bit of raspberry jam and some bacon fat (we had quite a bit on hand). I figure the extra fat will help crisp up the duck. So I’ve got another 20 minutes until I take out my desserts. Then I’m going to blast the heat to crisp up the duck skin and give it a generous glaze bath. I plan to shuck the oysters while the duck rests. Time for another break!
My pots au chocolat sitting in their water bath

6:52: You may be wondering what I plan to make for side dishes. Originally, it was going to be a savoury quinoa salad and parmesan baked broccoli. But this is already a lot of work. So to hell with it. Steamed broccoli with lemon it is.

7:01: Oh dear. I just forgot that I left my extra glaze simmering on the stove while I got caught up in an old episode of the West Wing. It’s now destroyed. But who cares anyway because it’s time for JEOPARDY!

7:06: Ugh, the anecdote portion of Jeopardy. Mute.

7:20: Well, this had to happen I suppose. I was trying to transfer my pot au chocolat to the freezer for a quick chill. Not picture: molten hot chocolate lava all over my face, clothes, ceiling, cupboards, etc. I think it’s time for another drink.
Chocolate explosion

7:35: Just took a peek while I basted. My duck looks SO BEAUTIFUL!

My own freshly shucked oysters!
8:17: I’m back! The oysters were a bit of a process. I had to both Google and Youtube the shucking method after I broke into a sweat wrestling with them for about fifteen minutes. Apparently my friendly neighbourhood fishmonger’s demo was not sufficient. But everyone, I am telling you, there is NO BETTER FEELING than shucking your first oyster. It’s definitely my proudest kitchen moment so far. That little click as it pops open…magic! As for the actual shucking technique, I’ll make that its own blog post because it’s complicated. We ate them with lemon and a dash of tobasco on a bed of fresh Ontario snow. Delicious, I tell you! Right now I have the broccoli steaming for course number two.

8:49: Wooo! Finished course two and the duck was fab. And so beautiful! I tell ya, there was a time there where I didn’t think she was going to crisp up or brown up at all. But those last 30 minutes changed everything. Although I do think I overcooked it a tad, it was still a hit. I served it on a bed of steamed broccoli with lemon. Simple but great. Now we are having a glass of wine and watching a movie while we wait for dessert!

My beautiful roasted duck on a bed of broccoli and lemon
10:50: Well, we have finished our spicy pot au chocolat and our delicious wine. What a wonderful meal! Can’t wait to see what I’ll be cooking up next. Today at my local grocer I saw young goose for sale! Hmmmm……..

Til next time, friends!

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