By Wendy Monro
At the beginning of the month, I told Claud that I wanted to have a movie countdown to Christmas. I thought it would be so much fun to watch a different Christmas themed movie each night for the whole month of December until Christmas day. I was so excited about this idea. He looked at me like I was nuts and said, "not a chance," with his pompous English accent. It's only pompous when he disagrees with me; otherwise, it's charming. I couldn't believe it. How could he not want to watch tons of Christmas movies? "Bah Humbug!" I said. Daphne then asked, "what does bah humbug mean?" I looked at Claud, "Are you kidding me? She doesn't even know what this means? They have not had a proper Christmas education. We have to watch 'A Christmas Carol' at least" So, a few days later, we watched it.
So many different references have popped up since we watched the movie. Now the kids understand what it means to be a Scrooge or who The Ghost of Christmas Past is or Marley's Ghost and Tiny Tim. Jack said, "oh, is this what the movie 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past' was about?" "Yes!! This is what they were referring to." I am so happy they know about this amazing story. Some day, I hope they will read Charles Dickens' book. Although I didn't get to watch my 25-30 movies, I was able to watch this one classic and share an amazing tale with the kids.
Roasted duck with crunchy kale, roasted potatoes and vegetables.
There is one part in the story where Tiny Tim's mom places a goose on the table and tells the Cratchit family that she hopes one day to have a big turkey for Christmas dinner. This got me thinking about Christmas meals. We always have a prime rib for dinner at my mom's house. My amazing friend, Jules, makes a duck on Christmas Eve, a turkey on Christmas day, and a ham on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). That's a lot of meat. Well, I decided to make a duck to write about here. I made a duck about a year ago and that was my first duck. So, I am no expert at duck cooking. I went to the store to make sure they even had a duck. I didn't remember seeing them. I found the ducks, right next to the geese. I looked at a goose to see how much they cost. The goose was $78. Mrs. Crachit would have been amazed. A goose cost this much? She wanted a turkey, and nowadays you can get a turkey free with a tank of gas. Things have changed.
Well, I went with the $18 duck. I decided a goose at that price is meant for royalty. We are more like the Cratchit family. Duck is a bit pricey; but, I decided to splurge. I wanted to come up with a recipe which was simple and tasty. I asked Claud if he had any good ideas for my newly purchased duck. He said to incorporate bacon. Great idea, I thought. I decided to wrap the duck like a gift in the bacon and just roast it with a bit of salt and pepper. Then, I thought I would serve it with crispy kale.
I have been reading a lot about kale lately. We used to use kale a lot at holiday dinners to dress up the platters. I always thought of it as a garnish. I hadn't considered eating it. However, lately, it is all the rage for its health benefits. Kale is loaded with nutrients and compounds that aid in warding off diseases and ailments. Phytonutrients in kale help the liver to neutralize cancerous substances in the liver. It is also rich in Vitamin C and beta carotene. Normally, kale has a pretty bitter taste, if eaten raw. However, I have come up with this incredible way to eat it where all of the bitterness disappears. All I do is chop it up, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then, I spread it on a cookie sheet and slip it under the broiler for five minutes. It comes out crispy and crunchy and so tasty. It might not be for everyone, Daphne thinks it's gross; but, Claud and I love it. I make it all of the time as a snack.
1 6-pound duck
4 slices of
thick cut bacon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the duck and place it in a roasting dish, breast side up. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Wrap the breast area with the bacon. Place the duck in the oven. Cook for one hour. If it is getting a too browned, place a sheet of foil over it. Cook for another hour. Let the duck rest on a cutting board while you cook the kale and make the sauce. Slice up the duck and pour the sauce on top.
I served the duck with crispy kale, roasted potatoes, garlic, onions, and artichoke hearts. I roasted the vegetables until they were very crispy. It was absolutely delicious. Oh, don't forget the sauce. I removed the duck from the roasting dish. Placed the dish right on the stove top, added chicken stock and red wine. Then, I let this simmer for about five minutes. Thicken the sauce up with a melted butter and flour mixture and you are all set.