While the compiler churned through a vast rebuild (a minor but hilarious bug fix having required a small change in class Hypertext and class Node which means, [pretty much, recompiling the world), a pondered what to cook for dinner.
Thanks to Kevin Kelley's Cool Tools, we have an AeroGarden, which means we have some cilantro that needs pruning and using. And I had a duck breast in the frig. Here's what I did.
- Take the duck, season with more salt and pepper than you think quite right. Sprinkle a spoon of sugar over both halves. Score the skin.
- Squirt a couple of spoons of honey into a small saucepan. Prune the cilantro. Chop the nice leaves and put them in the honey, and set over moderate heat until the honey starts to boil. Keep the scraggly leaves and stems. (Want to use thyme? Go ahead!)
- Heat a skillet, add a very little bit of oil, sautée the breasts skin side down for ten minutes.
- Boil some water in a pot. Add more salt than you think quite right.
- Wash a big russet potato. Trim it into a rough brick shape; leave a little of the corners (skin and all) so you don't waste too much potato. Now, slice into 3/4" rectangles, and then slice those until you have roughly 3/4" cubes.
- Toss the potato into the boiling water for about ten minutes. A little more or less, it won't matter. Drain them in a colander
- Get out the stovestop smoker. A wok or anything that has a rack and a cover will do. In the bottom, put some black tea; I cut open two teabags of English Breakfast. And toss in that handful of cilantro leaves and stems. I also had a little pecan sawdust, but you don't need it.
- When the duck is nicely brown on the skin side, turn it over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Then put it on the rack of the smoker.
- Pour some of that cilantro-infused honey over the duck. Save some for later. Close the smoker. Smoke on the stove for 20 minutes.
- Pour the rendered duck fat into a nonstick pan, and heat it up. Add a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil. When hot, add the potatoes. (I know. Fat? Ick! But this is expensive fat. They sell it for lots of money in fancy stores. It's good for you. We like it.)
- After a few minutes, the potatoes will begin to brown on one side. Shake them or tip them so another side (mostly) is face down. Sprinkle in some salt. Don't obsess; they'll all get cooked eventually. Keep turning the cubes every few minutes.
- Add a very little oil to that pan where you were cooking the duck breasts. Heat. Got some leftover wine -- maybe dessert wine? Or some stock? Deglaze the pan. Nothing like that? Just add 1/4c or so of water. Stir things up. Toss in whatever vegetables come to hand — maybe some asparagus, or spinach, or carrots. Cook for a few minutes.
So, we've got herb-infused, tea-smoked duck, some very nicely fried russet potatoes, cooked in duck fat (the best kind), and some sautéed veggies. Nice for a school night.