Hello there. Long time. Or, as one regular reader said to me “again withe fava beans.” Yes, the favas have hung out on the home page a long time. Things happen, you know? Like, this happened: a little over a year ago, I woke up on a beautiful spring morning and had my usual Saturday morning consultation with my domestic and cooking partner. “shall we go to the market?” — “Yes! it’s spring.” — “What shall we eat tonight?” –“How about grilled duck breasts and asparagus?” — “Yes! It’s spring!” — “Shall we ride bikes?” — “Yes! It’s spring!” So, filled with the joy of the season, we hopped on the bikes and headed toward Kerrytown and to the Saturday market. We had just turned a corner at good speed when my pedal clipped the curb and, seconds later, my bike went over and do did I. One damaged brain, one snapped clavicle, one shattered elbow, one ambulance ride and emergency surgery later, I, well, almost died. And then there were weeks and months of almost dying and recovering from almost dying and in that time, no cooking and certainly no blogging. One of the other victims of my accident was my appetite and for weeks I could not eat without being ill. This, despite friends and family ferrying me food (thank you Shana!) to balance the hospital grub.
Flash forward a year. It’s spring again, and I am whole and intact, (if a bit slower than I used to be) and hopeful. While I was gone, my much loved blogging partners went on living and living well but not blogging (I like to think they just couldn’t do it without me). Our co-conspirator, Anne, moved to a Big City on the East Coast, where we like to think of her cooking with exotic ingredients and enjoying fabulous restauraunt meals. Shana and I had a long confab over drinks a couple of weeks ago and talked about how we both missed the old blog and how it even seemed like some readers missed us. Conclusion: “let’s try again!” So, we will, though it may be a slow road back. I think we’ll remain three for now, although there are only two of us (Anne, we miss you). Who knows, a third may find her way to us,
So, what’s cooking? Well, last Saturday, on a beautiful spring morning, my domestic partner and I decided it was time to celebrate life and explore the meal not eaten, so we headed up to the market (on foot this time!), stocked up on duck breast and some of the season’s first aspargus (oh yeah, and a great bottle of rioja) and came home to cook and shake our fists at mortality.
The accident also took out my left aka dominant aka chopping hand, so there’s a bit of a crimp in my cooking style, but I can still turn out a meal, especially when i can dragoon someone else (see domestic partner, above) to chop onions. I assume most of you could figure out a grilled duck breast and some blanched asparagus, but I did want to pass on a recipe and praise for a mustard mint sauce for the duck because a) I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own b) it is a bright and interesting combination of flavors, c) it was yummy and d) if your garden is anything like mine, the mint has taken on an exaggerated life of its own and must be eaten before overgrowing the house.
This recipe comes by way of the almost-always-helpful-about-meat-Bobby-Flay. It’s recommended as a father’s day dinner. We didn’t wait that long, and although it would be a fine way to spoil a dad, I recommend that you don’t either. Why deprive yourself? While normally, I would add helpful commentary, I’ll paste this in as is because we followed the letter of the instructions and it was both easy and verty tasty:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 duck breasts, extra fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Whisk together the mustard, horseradish, mint and salt and pepper in a small bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature while you cook the duck.
2. Heat grill to medium. Season duck on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a drip pan on top of the coals and fill halfway with water. Place the breasts on the grill, over the pan, skin-side down and grill until golden brown and lots of the fat has rendered, about 8-10 minutes. Flip over and continue grilling until cooked to medium doneness. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes. Cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Drizzle with some of the mustard sauce.
Now go pick some of that mint and enjoy. Much has happened in Ann Arbor food while I’ve been out of circulation, and I have Things to Say. I hope I get to share them with you soon,