Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Duck Confit or Confit de Canard

Hey, I'm getting all French and Fancy down here on the farm.  A friend of ours is an avid hunter and he gave us some fresh duck meat the other day.  I've only cooked duck a handful of times in my life and that was whole, commercially grown duck.  So...not much experience here.  That's where Pinterest comes in handy.  I searched "duck recipes" and came up with a whole bunch of ways to cook it.  By far, the easiest sounding was duck confit.  I had to look up what it was and how to pronounce it.  First of all, the French pronounciation was "cohn fee" with the accent on the cohn and your best nasal Pepe-le-Pew (and, instead of "duck", it's Canard).  If you aren't French, say "con fee" with the accent on the fee.  If you're a hick, say "con feet".

Basically, confit is a meat slow cooked in it's own fat...lots and lots of fat.  So, really, it's southern cooking at it's finest.  It is also a meat preservation method and supposedly can be kept in the fridge for up to six months.  Yeah, I'm not gonna do that.

Here's a not-boring bit of info about duck confit.  But, I followed this recipe because it was the one I found on Pinterest and super easy.  Since the meat has to be cooked in it's own kind of fat, and ducks generally are not tubs of lard, I had to go in search of duck fat.  It was not the easiest of things to find, but I did find it at Fresh in Tyler, Texas.  Fresh is Brookshire's version of Whole Foods for small towns.  And...it ain't cheap.  That's another reason to use the recipe I decided upon.  Half of the fat was made up of avocado oil, which I buy from Costco and usually have on hand.  Also, almost all of the duck confit recipes I found called for using duck legs.  The duck meat I received had been cut up, put in a zip lock back and frozen, so I didn't know what pieces I had.  After I thawed it, I found that it was all breast meat.  But, I figured I didn't have anything to lose by using breasts instead of legs, so I went for it (and it turned out to be just fine).

Here are the ingredients.  
The recipe called for three pounds of duck legs.  I had four pounds of duck breasts, so I tweaked the seasonings a bit.  I'm pretty sure the amounts don't have to be exact.  Here's what I used:
14 ounces duck fat
2 cups avocado oil
1/3 cup smoked salt
1 tsp. dried thyme (use fresh if you have it)
4 bay leaves, crumbled
Oops, I forgot to put peppercorns in the picture.  Anyway...
1 Tbs. peppercorns, cracked

After this, I followed the recipe I linked to.

I cooked it on low for about eight hours, then took it out of the fat and shredded the meat.  It was fall-apart-tender.

Then I packed what I wasn't going to use for dinner last night into pint jars and then filled them with the oil/fat mixture.  Four pounds of duck meat made four pints of meat and one extra pint of fat/oil, which, I am told, I can use for other things.

The meat was quite salty (next time, I'm going to rinse it better before cooking), but very tasty.  I served it over mashed potatoes, which I didn't season at all because the duck was so flavorful.   Our asparagus is already making pretty good, so I steamed some of that and drizzled the oil over everything.  The oil seasoned everything just right.

After a night in the refrigerator, this is what the meat and fat looked like.  I'm getting at least four meals, maybe more, out of that one recipe, so it was definitely worth making.  And, it was a hit with Husband.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another DIY Ottoman

This is fun.  I made another ottoman out of a coffee table.  I don't have room in my house to keep making ottomans for myself, so it's nice that I can sometimes make them for other people.

I found this retro coffee table at an estate sale.  I just really like the style of leg.

Eight yards of piping, made from a little over half a yard of fabric.

About a yard of fabric.

Sew it all together, add a cushion, staple under the edge of the top, cover the stapled edge with piping, lightly tufted with three covered buttons.  And...


RIP Billy Goat

I feel like this is the end of an era.

Our herd sire, Billy, died this week.  He had been looking peaked for several months.  We took him to the vet once and they couldn't find anything wrong with him, but he continued to decline.  I read that a herd sire's life expectancy was 8-10 years and Billy was 9 years old, so I'm guessing that he just died of old age.

Even though he was thin and limping, he still got out in the field and browsed every day.  Until he didn't.  I noticed one day last week that I hadn't seen him come out of his shed all of the day before and that his companion/son, Gerbera was hanging around the door of the shed most of the day.  So I went to see what was going on.  Billy was back in the corner, laying down with his legs tucked up under him, like goats usually do.  What was not usual was that he didn't get up to greet me.  He couldn't get up, not even with my help.

He didn't seem to be in pain.  He was just weak.  So, I brought him some grain and water and made sure he had hay within reach.  For a couple of days, he happily ate the grain and hay and drank the water.  Then he stopped eating a drinking, then he laid on his side and couldn't lift his head.  Then he passed away.

We were sad.  Billy has been with us since the beginning of our farming days and we bought him as a small buckling.

I apologize for the slight gruesomeness of the picture below, but it tells a story...I think.  During Billy's decline, Gerbera was his constant companion.  He would go out to browse for short periods of time throughout the day, but he spent most of his time either laying or standing by Billy.  Even the donkeys, Kip and Sophie, hung around the shed more often than usual.

On that last morning when Tom went to check on Billy and discovered that he had died during the night, he found Gerbera, Kip, and Sophie all standing vigil.  And, this is how he found Billy.

His companions had covered him like this.  I prefer to believe that they did it out of respect rather than just standing over him eating his hay.

So, Rest In Peace, Wild and Crazy Guy.

Video does not work because, apparently, Blogger doesn't give a flip.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Seat Cushions Update

Just thought I'd post pictures of the finished seat cushions in use.

I think these chairs are from IKEA.