Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To Duck the Duck Egg-or not.


Hi, this is Izzy's Mama's best friend who is going to occasionally guest blog for Izzy's Mama while she is recovering from surgery. I can tell you that she really appreciates all of the good thoughts and wishes coming her way. I am told she will need to be on a low fat diet for a month (less than 20 grams of fat a day). So feel free to post some yummy low fat recipes or treat ideas.

The Sunday before Izzy's mama's surgery, I went to her house to help out with some chores because she was not feeling well. When it was lunch time, I offered to make Izzy's lunch. Izzy's Mama actually agreed to this offer so she really must not have been feeling well. We trudged down to the kitchen and Izzy's Mama took out a carton of duck eggs and a stick of butter. She sat down at the kitchen table and said "Have you ever used a cast iron pan? It is very good for you because you get iron in your food." While I have a cast iron pan at home and have used it a few times, I probably never used it correctly and besides I thought to myself I did not want to know my pan was leaching metals into my food. So I just sorted of grunted a response. Izzy's Mama, safely assuming that to be a "No", explained "You must heat the cast iron pan for 3 minutes or else the butter will turn brown." Perish the thought. I went to turn on the vintage stove and when I did not get a flame, Izzy's Mama said, "You need to blow on the burner." What! I need to turn on the gas and then put my face to the burner and blow? Is she crazy? Does she have good insurance? But throwing caution and all my common sense to the wind for I was now in Izzy's Mama's world, I forged ahead anyway, putting my face (with much trepidation) in the vicinity of the burner and blowing and blowing. Nothing. I immediately thought about throwing in the towel at this point and was starting to look around for some peanut butter when Izzy's Mama innocently volunteered "You can also use the igniter thing on top of the fridge". You have to be kidding me. I then successfully lit the burner, put a pat of butter in the cast iron pan and waited to 3 minutes. Then I took a look at those duck eggs.

They were about twice the size of a chicken egg. Izzy's Mama said Izzy likes his eggs "over easy". Okay, I thought. I can do this. I grabbed an egg from the carton and as I was about to smash that egg on the rim of the pan, Izzy's Mama blurted out, "Izzy will not eat that egg if you break the yolk." Thanks for the tip, Izzy's Mama. I gingerly tapped the egg on the rim of the pan. Nothing. I applied more force. Still nothing. I pounded the egg against the rim of the pan (who knew duck eggs shells are harder and thicker than chicken egg shells) until I made a dent in the shell. I kept banging away until I created a little crack and then I wedged my finger in the crack and ripped the egg apart. By some miracle, the yolk did not break. I grabbed a spatula from a container of utensils on the stove and just as I was going to flip the egg, Izzy's Mama cried out "Oh no, that spatula is too thick you need the one in the drain board." I had previously been warned not to over cook the egg because Izzy likes to break the yolk with his bread. I dashed to the drain board, grabbed the spatula and ran back and flipped the egg. Although I have cooked eggs before, I confess that I have never cooked a duck egg and I have never cooked an egg under the watchful and expert eye of Izzy's Mama. I was scared. So I grabbed a pot holder and lugged the cast iron pan over to where Izzy's Mama sat to show her my creation and to ask for her blessing. She decreed "a little longer" and waved me off. With a sigh of relief, I finally put that egg on a plate, took a piece of bread and buttered it with butter from the stick of butter still out on the table. My relief was short lived because Izzy's Mama looked at me woefully and said "That butter is for cooking. We have different butter for eating." At that point I just ignored Izzy's Mama and called Izzy to the table. I am happy to report that the yolk was appropriately runny and Izzy ate the whole thing including the incorrectly buttered bread. Izzy's Mama and I each had a fried duck egg. She likes hers prepared the same way that Izzy does. I like mine well done. I found the duck egg to be oddly sweet but tasty. Izzy's Mama says they are $1.00 an egg at Whole Foods. Thanks a bunch to Izzy's Mama for introducing me to duck eggs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Better Left Unsaid? On Last Suppers And Other Morbid Thoughts


After much hesitation I have decided to share why it is I have not been blogging, given that it somewhat easier for me to write than to tell...

How many of you have joked around about what you would eat if you only had one meal left?

I know I have. During just such conversations I have conjured up deliciously rich meals of grilled lamb chops, potatoes gratin or perfectly roasted duck with crispy potatoes, goat cheese salad with lardons and a creamy chocolate dessert. Yet now, when faced with the strange reality of possibly only having a limited number of meals left before major surgery and not even being that hungry, I don't even know what to ask for.

One thing that came to mind was moose. Not because I have an especial fondness for moose but simply because I have never tasted it . Besides, B. from Wasilla was kind enough to send some to me and I figured I'd better try it while I still had the chance, as B. made it sound like one has lived til one has tried moose

But before I ramble on about moose and last suppers, which are certainly far more amusing then that which I feel compelled to report, I must tell of the ill-fate that has led me to do so. My poor health over the past several months has finally led me down a path upon which I never expected to find myself. The past few weeks have been filled with CT Scans, MRIs, doctor visits and a disturbing diagnosis. The tests have shown a rather large mass on one of my ovaries and there is a strong suspicion I may have ovarian cancer. I am scheduled for surgery this Wednesday and I am terrified to say the least.

I am trying not to worry about how Izzy will be and what he will eat without me (he has never spent a night without me) and instead focus on what I need to do to get well but it isn't easy. I have been preparing Izzy for my surgery little by little. First I told him that there is "something bad in my stomach that needs to come out". Then I mentioned the word "operation" and he wanted to know if it would be like the operation the kitties had, "where they take out their girl parts." Apparently I didn't need to do as much explaining as I thought I would.

As for eating, well I can't do that much of it. A few small meals a day are about all I can take. Moose sliders last night (very lean and tasty, but a bit overcooked, will have to try again) Vietnamese food tonight and not sure what my last meal will be for tomorrow night. The day before the surgery I need to go on a 24 hour clear liquid diet. D. of "real milk" fame and the doyenne of stock-making, was kind enough to stop by today with three types of stock. My friend L., was surprised to read the label on one which said, "Beef Hoof"; the others were beef and chicken/turkey. Those should keep me nourished, along with some tea and apple juice.

Once the surgery is over, I will find out what happens next. Whatever it is , I hope to make it through so that Izzy has his mama for as long as possible.