While bedridden with the flu, I've spent the last few days thinking about what I want the new year to bring and I thought I would share a few of my resolutions with you (if only to have it in writing and be accountable for them a year from now).
1) Take more risks. I feel like my 20s are years where it's okay to take risks.
2) Find the work that I can't not do. I know there is something out there that will allow me to go to bed feeling like I have made an impact on the world; I just have to find it. This year will be a year of self-examination and discovery for me.
3) Be grateful/accept things as they are. I am blessed with so much, but I tend to dwell on what could be better more than what is already good. There's a really good post on zenhabits (one of my favorite blogs) by Leo Babauta about how happiness lies in recognizing what you already have. I am going to strive to do that more in the new year.
Taking the time to write down your resolutions and sharing them with others will help to make sure you stick to them. I would encourage you to email your resolutions to your friends or family. When this time next year rolls around, you will have something to reference as a benchmark to see how far you have come.
I don't have a good transition from resolutions into the recipe, but my brother and I roasted this marvelous duck with a pomegranate red wine glaze for our holiday party. It was fantastically tender and succulent. We got the duck from the Redding Terminal Market in Philadelphia. It was so hectic before Christmas that I forgot to get the name of the farm. Although, they did tell us the duck was from Lancaster and antibiotic/hormone free.
*Warning: this recipe requires 2-3 days advanced preparation
1 whole duck or duckling
2 cups Red Wine
2 cups POM (or any brand of 100% Pomegranate Juice)
4 tbsp honey
1) Butterfly the duck. I could explain this in words, but Alton Brown does such a good job of it here (fast foward to 21 mins).
2) Make two shallow incisions along each breast. Place your knife parallel to the bird and pull down. Alton also explains this step in the link above.
3) Place the bird on top of a broiling pan and place another pan with paper towels underneath that one to collect all of the moisture that comes out of the duck during the dry aging process.
4) Now you want to salt the bird before you dry age it. Be generous with the salt, use a tablespoon per pound of duck and salt all over. This will help to remove the extra moisture during the dry aging process.
5) It's time to dry age the duck. Place it in the refrigerator uncovered (on the bottom shelf to avoid cross contamination) for 3-4 days. The duck will become discolored over the next few days, but that's what we want - to get that crispy skin and get all of the moisture out of the duck. We were only able to leave it in there for 2 days, and felt it would have been even better to leave it in for more.
Now it's time to make the glaze/sauce.
1) Pour the red wine and the pomegranate juice into a shallow pan. The more surface area that you have for the water to evaporate the faster it will reduce.
2) Once it gets heated, add in the honey. You can adjust the honey to taste.
3) Bring to a boil and then let it simmer until it reduces. You will know that it has reduced if you can pull a spoon through the reduction and see the bottom of the pan.
To cook the duck:
1) Take the duck out from the refrigerator and bring to room temp. Hopefullly it is nice and dried out by this point. Brush off any excess salt that may be on top.
2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3) Put the bird in for 30 minutes.
4) After 30 minutes, turn it 180 degrees and let it roast for another 30 minutes.
5) Take the bird out. You can take the temperature now. Don't be alarmed if the temperature is higher than 165. Dry aged ducks tend to cook at a higher temperature. Turn your oven up to 450 degrees.
6) Put on a thin coating of the glaze on the duck. The glaze is quite powerful and you don't want to overwhelm the flavor of the duck, so keep the coating pretty light.
7) Put the duck in for another 10 minutes.
8) Carve the bird and dig in!