Just Harried

Little Harrys on the Prairie

What the Duck Day

In early October, Andrew and I visited a local farm as part of the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Vesecky Family Farm is – wait for it – a family farm, obviously. They had lots of cool stuff going on that weekend, including a hay ride tour of their grounds. We saw free range chickens and other birds living up the Kansas fall, which is beautiful, by the way.

We wanted to support this local family farm, which was selling various meats. We decided that we would get some duck, a pound of duck to be exact. Before we could specify how much, a Vesecky child came around the back of the house with a whole duck.  A whole, dead, plucked, headless duck, but a whole duck nonetheless.  So instead of a pound of duck, we found our newly informed selves with 5 lbs. of duck.  WTD – what the duck are we going to do with a whole duckin’ duck?

Duck it, we’re going to have a dinner party, and it’s going to be great practice when I have to roast a whole turkey (which we preordered from the same family farm) for Thanksgiving.  We invited a couple that we really like, and it  would be our first evening “entertaining” in our home!  So exciting.

Preparations for What the Duck Dinner (a Saturday) started the previous Tuesday.  It takes 4-5 days for a frozen 5 lb. duck to thaw.  Wait. I need to back up!  How could I forget the need to order THIS?  How could I forget the jubilation when after Kohl’s majorly ducked up my order and sent me a tank top and children’s flip-flops, THIS finally arrived?

Fast forward to What the Duck Day.  I had the menu in my mind for at least two weeks.  I blocked out the whole afternoon.  I had spent some researching how to prepared and cook the duck and found some delicious sounding recipes online, but I decided to do just a plain, old salt/pepper/paprika rub to really enjoy the duck itself.

Andrew prepared the duck for preparation.  Look how happy he is with his task.

I prepared the duck.  Look how happy it is.

I imagine you saw the above food porn shot, and thought, “Wow.  She still sucks at food porn.”  I would agree with you!  But bear with me.  I really do think that my pics will get sexier with practice.

Like this one.  I think this is sort of sexy.  I learned a tip that putting the food against a white background helps.  I think it does.  Fresh rosemary is duckin’ awesome.  I’ll never buy the dried crap again.

So here is what we ate:

Triple-Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Poppers (recipe from Hungry Girl)

Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables (brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips) with Duck

Which photo is best?  I think they all suck.  Think about how much more they would suck if I didn’t have that white plate!

I also made parmesan-herb mashed potatoes, but it’s so hard to keep those duckers hot, I didn’t have time to take a picture.

P.S. We don’t know how to carve a bird, but we sure do know how to eat one.  And it was duckin’ delicious.

See that little boat of gravy on the table?  Yeah, it sucked royally.  Gravy is an art I have not yet mastered.  It fell out of  the boat in one disgusting blob.  Sorry about that, dinner guests.

Would I roast a duck again?  Oh yes.  It was really good, but to be honest, I have only had duck a few times in my life, so I don’t have much of a memory of how it’s supposed to taste.  I think I may have cooked it too long.  It wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t as moist (ugh I hate that word) as it was supposed to be.  A cookbook said to cook the duck 30 min. for every pound, but I also have a meat thermometer so I could watch the temp.  The bird hit the desired temp way sooner than I expected (one hour 15-30 minutes), and I listened to the cookbook instead of the thermometer and let it cook nearly two hours.  Next time, I’ll listen to the thermometer and see what happens.

I made Pecan Pie Bites (also by Hungry Girl) for desert.  I didn’t take photos of them either, much to your displeasure or elation depending of what you think of my food porn.  They were delicious and will make a second appearance at Thanksgiving, as well as the roasted root vegetables, which I’ve made at least a dozen times and love!

So I learned a few lessons about duckin’ around with duck, and I would happily try my luck again.  Everything was really delicious, except for the gravy, and it was so fun to be a hostess in my own home for the first time.  I suppose I can stop using duck as an expletive now.

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