Monday, January 30, 2012

True Confessions

Yes, it's time to fess up.  A few weird things known only by a few of my closest friends.  Maybe not even them.

#1.  Last night I made baked beans with hot dogs and bacon.  I make this probably once a month or so.  Usually whenever we have some leftover baked beans from getting barbecue from our local 'cue shop, The Commissary, I make this.  But I've also been known to open some cans of baked beans and take it from there.

I add a bunch of stuff to the beans (whether they are from The Commissary or the pantry).  Onions, peppers, ketchup, mustard, molasses, barbecue sauce, chipotle raspberry sauce, brown sugar, anything and everything.  Plunk those dogs on top, cover (or wrap) with slices of mostly cooked bacon, sprinkle more brown sugar on top and stick in the 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or so.  A casserole of salty sweet bubbly goodness.  This was my favorite dinner when I was little.  The addition of blueberry muffins on the side made this a special birthday dinner when I was growing up.  A kid's dream dinner.  But my youngest is now 14.  And the funny thing is, my kids have never really liked it.  And can you get more politically incorrect than liking hot dogs AND bacon?

#2.  Last summer when our neighbors across the street got ready to move to Pennsylvania and had to clean out their freezer to sell it, they offered us all of the venison and duck that was filling their freezer.  Well, I had to say yes to free food!  So now I have venison and duck in my freezer.  Where they have been since July.  I have no idea how to cook venison and duck.  I can't tell what cuts they are until they are thawed.  They aren't labeled (except with the names and addresses of the various hunters who gave this bounty to our neighbor, who was a pastor).  It's all too overwhelming.  The few attempts I have made to deal with this have ended in failure.  I have found that you cannot simply use any old duck recipe to cook WILD duck.  But yet I can't get rid of this stuff.  Instead, as I dive into the freezer in search of chicken, ground beef, frozen malabar spinach, blueberries, green beans, etc., the ducks sit in the way, occasionally falling out in front of me, but always reproaching my failure to embrace this opportunity.  Well, I have the 2 remaining whole ducks out and in the stock pot as I speak, with "wild duck gumbo" on the menu for tonight.  Which will hopefully be better than my last attempt at the ducks, wherein I attempted to roast them and found out NEVER EVER roast a wild duck.

trusty red stock pot

ducks in the stock pot
cooked ducks to wrestle the meat off of

the duck meat

beginnings of wild duck gumbo
Forgot to take a picture of the finished gumbo.  It was pretty good.  I added the duck stock back in to the roux, onions, peppers, celery and smoked sausage you see - the stock and ducks had been cooked with garlic, onion, celery, pepper, thyme, worcester sauce,and salt.  Also added in some sliced okra from the freezer, as well as the duck meat.  Served it in bowls with a big scoop of brown basmati rice in the center.  It was actually pretty good for dinner, and we'll have some for lunch tomorrow and some for the freezer.

#3.  Also freezer related.  But I will spare you pictures.  I do believe a family's deepest darkest secrets may be discerned from the contents of their freezer (or at least insight into things one has difficulty with processing -- both physically and conceptually).  I have a placenta in the freezer.  When we had our now 14 year old at home, with good friends and midwife in attendance, I knew the house we were in was not our "forever" house and that we would likely move.  Which we did within six months.  So rather than plant the placenta in the garden, we kept it in the freezer to await planting in our dream acreage.  Which of course we never got.  We moved from one suburban subdivision to our current one -- and our yard was extremely dreary when we first moved here.  It just didn't seem right to plant the placenta in a garden that I didn't intend to have the rest of my days, so in the freezer it stayed.  And here it is 14 years later.  With no particular plans or prospects to move (although I still hope to end up near a beach at some point).  And I've kind of lost interest in the placenta (it seemed so IMPORTANT 14 years ago!), but it doesn't seem right or respectful to chunk it in the garbage.  What to do what to do.

I know I'm not the only one with a placenta in the freezer, because the same neighbors who gave us the duck in their freezer also accidentally gave us the wife's placenta from her home birth a few years earlier.  I returned it to them.  I sure don't need two placentas in my freezer.

And that's it for this edition of "True Confessions".

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