Welcome 2011, Year of the Rabbit!

3 Jan

Firstly, Happy New Year!! May the year of the Rabbit bring serenity, fulfillment and happiness!

I’ve unburied myself from the holiday event on-parade, survived the relentless chase of events accompanied by the thump-thump-heart beat of stress and anxiety with every ring of the cash register (or the click of “complete purchase”) and feeling like a sailor trapped between Scylla and Charybdis.  (a la The Police song too)…  Like critters crawling out from the nooks and crannies of a beach at low tide – I scuttled out of my little corner of security to venture back into the daily routine.  Actually, I ventured out, stretching out toe by toe, last night, as I put together my daughter’s lunch for today.  I thought I was ahead of the game as I cooled her steamed beets, placed the silicon cups into the lunch box, and smiled how peaceful this morning was going to be.

UNTIL I REALIZED I COULD NOT FIND, MY DAUGHTER’S LUNCHBOX, THIS MORNING. 

My head spun.  I started hyperventilating.  I recalled putting her cleaned and dried water bottle into the lunch box, zipped it closed, and putting it… WHERE?  I paced through the house.  I opened cabinets, cursing at myself (inwardly) wishing I had actually remembered AND SET IT OUT last night!  I felt like the character in Munch’s The Scream and I almost knelt down on the kitchen floor and flopped about in a moment of childish tantrum.

Then my memory nets snagged a vague recollection.  Amidst the scurrying, bustling, and frenetic hustle-bustle of wedding-birthday-birthday-birthday-birthday-Christmas Eve-Christmas Day-Boxing Day-New Year’s Eve-New Year’s Day chaos, a subliminal roadmap to the lost lunchbox.  I remembered the metallic click of doorknob as I shut it, feeling triumphant I had found a suitable place for… the lunchbox.

I continued climbing on the kitchen chair set aside each high cabinet, and opened and closed the cabinets that I could reach and rifle through.  How in the world could I have lost a bright red lunch box the size of a toolbox?!

Eureka. 

It was hiding in the food pantry, the victim of over-zealous organizing and cleaning – perhaps it was my husband who banishes clutter to the netherworld where one is lucky if we could find anything, or perhaps in my quest to try to prove that I could stomp past both Scylla, Charybdis and whatever other chaotic maelstrom year-end was throwing at me I had an outer body experience, BECOMING my husband for that brief episode of frenzied cleaning.

Today’s lunch is (and due to chaos looking for the box, I neglected a photo… sorry)

Steamed beets, cut into heart shapes

Rolled omelette with chopped broccoli and shirasu (boiled baby sardines)

Sliced cucumbers and grape tomatoes

Osekihan, or steamed glutinous rice with red beans, left over from Japanese New Year osechi

One note – what I DO have, is our first attempt at roast goose.  We ordered this 10 lbs beauty from Makinajian Farm, and I was pleased at the outcome.  I researched, read and stressed over the preparation of goose – and each article, commentary and blog pointed to the importance of draining the fat.  Fortunately, I have a roasting pan with a raised rack, and it worked perfectly. 

I rinsed the goose with water, then dried the surface with a paper towel.  I trimmed the fat from the skin, and wherever visible.  I saved these in a pan, and set aside for cooking other items.  I set the oven to 400 degrees to preheat.  I then salted the outside, and placed two cut onions, two celery stalks and an orange into the goose.  Dried tarragon and rosemary stalks were tucked inside, around and on-top of the goose.  I took a sharp knife and pricked the skin – this was the advice given to me by ALL sources – to drain the FAT!

After the goose browned (and smoked and sputtered – about an hour in the oven), I lowered the temperature to 300 for the next hour, and put an aluminum tent, tightly around the goose.  I religiously checked and poked the goose skin, and had images of dangerously delicious roasted potatoes and vegetables crisped in goose fat dance across my head.

After a total cooking time of 3 hours, I took the goose out, and was satisfied.  The skin was golden, crisp, fragrant, and the smell of roasting goose was dizzying.  Although the goose had to compete with roast lamb and roast pork tenderloin (this will have to be another blog discussion in itself) – it was one of the most delicious roasts I’ve ever eaten.  Darker than turkey, but not as dark as duck – I was sold. 

Now if I can only fight off my husband’s obsession with Turducken for this coming holiday season… (I can’t find one that’s organic, and I like supporting my local farmer!)

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