Archives for: January 2012
Everybody has to make hard choices from time to time.
Choices are funny things. We can turn routine choices into difficult choices by looking at them too deeply. We can make a farce of difficult choices by not looking at them deeply enough. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are making a choice or that a choice needs to be made.
I recall from my youth an episode at a restaurant when the family went out to eat one evening. That particular night the meal I wanted came with a choice of soup or salad. For some reason I was not expecting to have that choice, so when the waitress spoke what I heard was “Would you like a Super Salad?”
I was baffled. Looking around to get a clue all I saw were expectant faces. Faces waiting for me to make a decision! The conversation continued something like this:
Me: “What’s that?”
Waitress: “The meal comes with a Super Salad.”
Me: “Okay. I’ll have that.”
Waitress: “What do you want?”
Family Member: “She wants to know if you want a soup or a salad.”
Me: “What kind of soup is it?”
At first I didn’t know I had a choice. It can be disadvantageous not knowing when one has options. In this case it didn’t make much of a difference. After hearing the varieties of soup available I chose to have a salad. With the retrospect of a lifetime of experience I can see other levels of complexity such as possibly substituting tomato wedges, or some other side dish that the restaurant may have had available. Maybe just saying “No soup or salad, thank you!” should have been considered.
All our lives we are offered choices. The normal course of events is to be steered in our decisions. We are often not offered competitive choices. If a competitive choice is offered, often it is in the form of an unattractive comparison. The one thing that can be counted upon is that you usually won’t know all your options without looking for them.
We do it to ourselves, too. Most of our decisions are self-directed. It starts with the routine every morning that is rarely, if ever, varied. That’s a series of decisions. How often do you think about changing a routine? As an example, I find that if I don’t change my routines then I never have enough time. It’s hard to accommodate new things if space is not made for them. Often it is a matter of being a little more efficient.
Not changing or not introducing new things is also a choice. Deciding not to explore other options is a choice. Choices can’t be avoided. Right now, I’m choosing the best way to attack my fatigue issues from an allopathic perspective. New health insurance is making more options affordable. More tests. More chances to view the issue from a more informed basis and thereby make better choices in treatment of any form.
It’s time to make a Super Salad for dinner. I have those several nights a week now. It is nice to have the option.
Various online dictionaries show the use of “ducky” as an adverb to mean fine, excellent or wonderful. With a couple of long weekends and more time to rest, I’ve been a bit duckier recently.
There are some things that are better saved for opportune times. Long holiday weekends are good for making some foods that require a bit more time or effort, or result in leftovers that are better enjoyed sooner than later. For me, roasts fall into that category and New Year’s Eve and Day seemed an excellent time to enjoy some roast duck as the bill of fare. It works out well to enjoy duck a few times a year as something special but not a flight of fancy. While not difficult to make it does require some time and maybe a bit of patience. The end result is enough meat for 6-8 servings.
For stuffing the bird I made a small batch of basmati rice, ½ cup dry, plus ½ large onion, ½ each green and red bell pepper, 2-3 cloves garlic, a stick of celery, some cilantro and parsley, and seasoned with curry mix, sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. In truth, lots of things will work out, feel free to wing it. While the stuffing was cooking the bird was rinsed, prepped and racked. The oven was preheated while the bird was stuffed and tied, then the whole thing went in the oven for a couple hours. The evening meal only required putting some asparagus in the oven when the duck was nearly done, and throwing together a salad. The duck is a bit easier to carve after it has cooled and except for what is used that night, I wait until the next day to pull the rest of the meat off the carcass. The neck, spine, tail and rib meats suits me for ‘anytime’ snacks rather than trying to pick out the meat for use in a dish. The drippings get poured off and saved as well. It’s a bit naughty, but I like to use a spoonful of the fat to flavor some other dishes over the next several days.
Lunch the next day was pulled duck with collards, onion and garlic. The vegetables were braised in a bit of duck fat until soft, followed by adding the duck and allowing the mix to finish steaming through for a couple hours with just a bit of extra water added. I find the long cooking time helps me digest the collards more easily. This kind of dish is pretty simple, it just flew together.
Some other ideas I have done in the past include using the pulled meat with broccoli and a cheese sauce, also known as "cheese and quackers." Or Cold Duck Time,a jazzy number of sliced breast with mashed rutabaga and a salad. Hope you enjoyed this blog, thanks for ducking in!