The Christmas decorations have come down and been stowed in their box until next year. I kept some of the strings of lights up because I love the way that they glow. At least until the end of winter, they make me feel a little warmer on dark nights.
Around the house we (well, mostly Grady) have been attempting to refinish the walls in our kitchen. For whatever reason, perhaps because these walls are likely 100 years old, the plaster has some crazy ridges and grooves in it, which make for a rather unappealing surface to look at. Inspired by Apartment Therapy, we're doing what we can to fix the 'bones' of our home. Soon we'll be on to painting ... if I can ever pick out a color!
I've also been doing some cooking. And last night was a first for both of us: duck.
We've eaten duck before but neither of us had cooked one. I must say I was a little proud of myself for successfully cutting it up into pieces and cooking it rather well, although we could have used more guidance on seasoning.
Duck is on the menu because we're working on diversifying the types of meat that we eat - up next, organ meat. The great thing about duck is that you can use every last scrap of it in the kitchen and I was guided in my work by this book I just picked up at the library - Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen. Why have I never heard of this woman?! This book is amazing and has lots of pretty pictures and practical descriptions. It tells you how to cook but also how to forage, how to keep chickens, how to culture dairy products and much more, all the while telling stories of life on a homestead in Ireland. It's a beautiful thing.
So today, hopefully, I will be taking what we didn't eat last night and rendering the fat, making 'cracklings' out of the skin, and cooking up a broth using the carcass on which there is enough extra meat to make lunch out of, oh and maybe I will figure out something special for the liver ... we'll see.
I think it's important to use the whole animal as often as possible, not just because it's economical but because that animal died so we could eat and I'd like to honor that by making as much use out of its life as possible instead of just taking what I want and leaving the rest. Thankfully, there is something delicious to be made out of every part!