Tuesday, November 16, 2010

gnat's duck experiment (a photographic journey)


inexplicably, palm trees have appeared in front of the water tower. i know, they aren't native to california either but really?

as far as real fall foliage goes, it's starting to look a lot like this:

scattered reds, oranges, yellows, and greens, a whole lot of bare branches.

it's almost the end of the quarter and i'm coming up on the due dates for several papers and assignments, so naturally i've been procrastinating via all manners of food preparation. peanut butter truffles:

and of course the duck. next weekend i am participating in the assembly and preparation of a turducken, and in the interest of not going into it with no experience i did a duck deboning practice run.

first i procured bess the duck from the dominick's off the fullerton stop on the red line. (i made sure they wrapped her in several waterproof layers before i put her in my purse.)

after taking a day to let her defrost, work up my nerves, and watch several episodes of nip/tuck to get into the mood, i prepped my surgical field.

no good photographic online source for how to debone a duck really exists, so i combined the advice of several sources (including a very surgical account of the chicken deboning process written by cheex, which gave such such instructions as "make a long, bone deep incision rostral to caudal midline along the spine"). still, i was slightly befuddled as to where i should begin.

it took way longer than it should have (maybe because i kept pausing to snack/take photos of my progress/check facebook) but i managed to separate bess from her bones.

i fried her briefly in my trusty cast iron skillet to remove some of the excess fat (with the intention of using it for other delicious applications).

as i attempted to drain the fat off, however, i lost control of the situation and pitched bess onto the newly cleaned and sterilized counter.

i set her aside for awhile because frankly i was a little tired of her (two hours of deboning will do that) and focused on a duck stock made from the bones and some duck fat french fries to munch on.

unfortunately i was overeager and snatched one straight from the pan, dripping hot duck fat down my shirt and giving myself a duck fat blister (which is, two days later, decidedly more disgusting looking albeit less painful than shown below).

worth it.

i stuffed bess with a goat cheese/apricot/soyrizo (sue me, trader joe's didn't have the real stuff) mixture and (shoddily) trussed her, and into the oven she went.

she looked delicious upon emerging, but by that point i had been eating for several hours and the last thing i wanted to do was eat a duck.

upon deciding i didn't really want to eat her in trussed stuffed roast duck form, i threw her into the dutch oven with some oranges so that today we could have...

duck tacos. yeah, they look like regular ordinary tacos but they're NOT.

happy taco tuesday!


  1. AH! I want to hop a flight to Chicago immediately and devour the rest of Bess. And then see your pretty face. But first? DUCK TACOS.

  2. yay! i'm glad i get my own label! Duck tacos look really good gnat!