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!
Since starting the BTD about 6 years ago, I have developed an approach towards cooking that makes the most sense for me. I’m going to use this space to cover all the background and ‘basics’. It will also serve as a reference for my future blogs about cooking.
- Most days I don’t have the energy to use more than 30-40 minutes preparing a meal, many days I don’t have the time. But I’m not overly fond of leftovers! That means the vast majority of things I make are simple and/or don’t require a lot of preparation work. The meals I feature that take more effort should be viewed as the exception rather than the rule. Anything that takes more time than that is something that can be left on the stove or in the oven for extended periods without the need for stirring, turning or otherwise needing attention.
- My personalized diet plan, SWAMI, suggests only a single serving of grain daily. Another reason not to spend a lot of time or energy on baked goods, when whole grains used in meals suit my tastes better. From time to time I will make a batch of cookies or a no crust pie. Other baked goods are very infrequent. I do use rice noodles on occasion.
- Ideally all food is grass-fed, wild, free range, organic and fresh. My world is not ideal, so I use canned or frozen food sometimes and buy some produce that is not organic. When a recipe is given, assume that all foods start out fresh and have been made ready for use by washing, trimming, peeling or other normal preparations.
- Most of the things I make don’t require precise measurements. I treat recipes as guidelines that are open to interpretation. Recipes are there to provide ideas first, and methodology if trying ‘something different.’ The ingredient list may be modified and quantities are only a ballpark suggestion.
- In the spirit of the previous bullet, when I say ‘butter’ or ‘olive oil’ that might be what I use, but someone else might use ghee, some other oil or fat, or even eschew added fats for some recipes. It’s all about ideas.
- I have a few ‘tricks’ that come up frequently. One is using a little extra water. For digestive purposes I like my grains softer and more water is how you get there. Another reason is for leaving foods cooking on the stovetop with less need for checking or stirring. Sometimes that makes a dish ‘wetter’ than one might normally want and that gives rise to another trick – tempering in an egg or two near the end of the cooking period. It’s a way to thicken and makes things a bit ‘richer’ at the same time. Like many people I can use an egg or so per day.
- Presentation is a nice touch. For example, when using peppers choose different colors to make a dish more visually appetizing with a minimum of effort. I don’t always manage to do those type things but they are something to keep in mind.
- I tend to use a curry mix at least once a day when cooking. It’s something that I prepare enough of at one time to last a week or two. You’ll have to figure out your own mix. This is what serves as my base, with occasional additions:
2 parts each of coriander, turmeric, fenugreek and ginger
1 part each of cayenne, cinnamon and clove
That’s about it for the time being. This will get amended later as needed.
Reading those words it is easy to form a picture. Someone is getting close to succeeding at something. Some goal, some prize, or some endpoint that is defined well enough to know what has been accomplished.
“My team won the championship!”
“I’m graduating school in three months!”
“My wife lost 30 pounds on SWAMI and is getting close to an ideal weight!”
It is easy enough to understand the accomplishment without having to think about the path to success. Another way to look at the words “Approaching Success” is one that not everyone looks at.
“What does my team have to do to win the championship?”
“What will be the value of graduating school and what can I do with it?”
“My wife has done great on SWAMI, what can I do to encourage her to stay on the program?”
Goals are wonderful things. I started the BTD to lose weight. My goal was achieved and along the way I encountered unanticipated success. For example, my need for blood pressure medication was halved. The diet succeeded in helping my blood pressure like no diet had in the past, even with weight loss. It would have been enough to simply accept the success, but instead I approached the success with a question:
“What else can this diet help me succeed at?”
There are lots of answers. Some are more possible than others. Besides the obvious views of other health issues that might be improved, there are other things that might apply. One example is motivation. If I can succeed at some level with this diet, it might make it easier to succeed at other things as well because I am happier, healthier, and more able to do the things that need to be done to succeed.
Asking what the diet could help me succeed at is just one example of “Approaching Success”. Whether it is something big or something small, it may be worth looking at success from a different viewpoint to get where you want to go. Sometimes I’m not even sure where I want to go. Just knowing that I’m on my way somewhere usually helps.
It turns out that that pizza is not the healthiest food choice I could have ever made. Who would have thought it? But then again, lots of people make poor health decisions when it comes to diet. If they consider their health at all in whatever food decisions they make, or use any informed input in making their choices.
It also turns out that a variety of lifestyle choices, mostly resulting in working too hard for too long or until too late an hour or being exposed to environmental stressors, were doing me more harm than I would have imagined. Not to mention self applied stresses!
Having developed and recognized significant fatigue issues, I looked for something that would help. At around that same time I started the BTD to lose weight, something different from what I had done before. Continuing on my path of discovery, more and more BTD turned out to be an approach to my fatigue issues as well. The health aspects of the diet become the focus rather than weight loss. Eventually when GTD came out I typed as a GT-1 Hunter and later SWAMI confirmed the view, making the fatigue issues somewhat more understandable and treatable as well as more personalized.
Many and sometimes most of my food choices through the years had been something other than what I would now make for myself. Now, not eating most meals out or using convenience foods, the food I cook is satisfying and tastes good. Most of what I do is simple. From time to time I hope to pass along some recipes or cooking concepts that have been helpful to me.
Philosophy towards diet and lifestyle changes, as well as acclimation towards those changes, may get a look from time to time while I continue to make adaptations. Or just something that perks my interest from reading the BTD forums or other non-BTD things that spark a thought or connection for me; and might for you as well.
I’m looking forward to being able to share these things with you, while continuing my personal quest for health and knowledge.