Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello friends and family! Just thinking of you on this holiday, so I thought I’d get motivated and post about our day and especially our meal. It’s all a work in progress, so I’m sure I’ll be posting all day about it. Feel free to comment and tell me what you are eating today.

Chris and I are chillin’ today. No big plans, nothing too social. It’s actually quite nice – I’ve been gone a lot for school and work and we’ve been keeping different schedules, so this will be some quality time for us . Heh. Plus, I’m not going to think about school or work all day, which is a treat for me.

Here’s what my menu plans are for the day…I got hooked up with a farmer out of Dallas, OR who models his farming practices after Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm…the name might ring a bell if you’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma. My shortcut way to explain this is Happy Meat. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch, but I want to know that my meat was brought up on a farm in a humane way by people who care about the animals and the land, something that is getting harder and harder to find these days with our food systems focused on factory farms and cheap meat. I’m not going to soapbox here, today anyway. If you want to know more, please ask me.raw duck

So I met my Abundant Life Farm farmer on Monday night and purchased a pasture-raised 4 1/2# duck. It was happy, at least until recently. 🙂 I’ve cooked duck before, but not very often, and there is only one dish I’ve made that I want to recreate – a smoked duck breast that we used to make at Viking Culinary in Franklin. I turned to a cookbook that my mother-in-law gave me a few years back that is co-authored by Jacque Pepin and Julia Child, Cooking at Home. Mom, remember our Julia Child cooking shows? I’ve used this cookbook before for some great recipes and instructions on traditional French-style dishes, and it doesn’t disappoint. I love Jacque’s Roast Chicken.

Anyhoo, in order to use the duck to its fullest, I am going to smoke the duck breast and serve it sliced with a fresh grapefruit sauce over greens and cranberries. I then plan to pan-roast the legs with parsnips and shallots, and make a killer sauce from cooking the carcass down into stock and then into a lovely brown sauce. And cracklins with the skin! squash

Also on the menu are a version of a sweet potato roll that some of you have had before – they are dipped in honey butter and rolled in graham cracker crumbs before baking. mmmmmmmm. This time I’m using butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes and I started the dough last night to get a jump on it. In fact, I should go shape those rolls and start the duck stock now. I’ll be back later to tell you about the additional sides and general updates. What are you cooking today? dough



  1. lauri said

    you will be horrified to know that i can remember ever having duck. people have told me i won’t like it because i don’t like the dark meat on chicken or turkey. i dunno. i most definitely would try this though!

    as for food, i’m not even going to talk about the crap that i’ve eaten today.

    or the fact that i’m on my way to work.


  2. all the animals will appreciate your face today (unless you are giving shots).

    And I would think that it would be more unusual for most folks to have had duck than to not have had duck. I assume you meant you can’t remember ever having had it? I think my first time to eat it might have been at Viking, or when I cooked the birds from a hunting trip for Jim Ed Brown (name drop!).

  3. karen knaus said

    Well, we are trying to grill our turkey. The grill temp is supposed to be maintained at 450 but it’s so cold out today the we can only get it to 350.. I have a feeling this little 10lb turkey is going to take a lot longer than 2 hs. Oh well, more time to drink wine! We are also having that fruited stuffing that Betsy makes, mashed potatoes and green beans with tomatoes. Oh and of course, pumpkin pie.

    I love those sweet potatoe rolls and I skipped the rolls since Bob and I are eating alone today.

    I roasted a goose once with pumpernickel, apricot and prune stuffing. I was delicious but made a mess of the oven. I think I read that you could boil a duck or goose for a short time to get the fat off. Never tried it.

  4. Is the turkey opened up and flat on the grill or is it still a whole bird? I tried to grill a turkey one year in Nashville and had a temperature problem, too. I think I finished it in the oven once I’d felt it had taken in enough smoke flavor.

    What kind of wine are you drinking today?

    I am trying to think if I can send you rolls with Chris at Xmas…not sure yet how that would work, but maybe! I hope the butternut squash works as well…

  5. Deanna said

    I’m writing a paper for Thanksgiving! But I will be making slow roasted baby back ribs for myself, with my favorite Red Tail Ale Spicy Chipotle BBQ sauce, potatoes with a sprinkling of herbs and spices, and whatever else I don’t know yet. I won’t see my family as I usually do, so I’ll miss the mincemeat pie my sister-in-law makes. It is THE BEST THING EVER. I eat a whole one myself. But it’s a beautiful, sunny crisp day out so I can’t complain too much!

    Does it bother you that the bird’s name is also Michelle? (see name tag) ;^D
    Happy Thanksgiving to you both! Thanks for the udate.
    xoxo Deanna

  6. Husband said

    Less blogging! More cooking!

  7. karen knaus said

    The turkey is off the grill and done perfectly. It took a little over 2 hours. I looks wonderful. We are drinking a Sancere and it’s yummy.

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