Archive for the ‘Family Matters’ Category


In Praise of Duck Fat

Over the past few months I have been reading rave reviews for potatoes fried in duck fat.  You know from previous posts that I am not opposed to using a little animal fat in my cooking.  Not every day but every now and then won’t be what kills me, you know?  I read one small blurb and then went on a google search for information.  After much reading I decided I wanted to give it a whirl.  Let me just say – WOW!

I did these fries right.  I have one small thing I will change next time.  I will cut them thicker.  I had my mandolin set on the wrong size and didnt realize it.

Duck Fat Fries

Enough potatoes for your meal, sliced as you like them, placed in cold water to soak until you are ready to begin.  I filled a heavy sauce pot with enough canola oil to fry the potatoes the first time.  Yeah, this is a “two fryings” recipe.  So heat your oil to 350 and pat dry enough potatoes to fry with them getting plenty of room – if they are touching, they arent cooking.  Fry for 2-3 minutes and remove from oil and drain well.  Pat the excess oil off of them.  Repeat this until all your potatoes have been fried once.  Pour your canola oil into a cast iron skillet (if you dont have one, GET ONE) or other heavy bottom skillet at least 2 inches deep.  To your warm oil add 8 ounces of duck fat ( I will tell you more later on purchasing and storing this lovely fat), heat to 350 again and refry your fries – again just enough of them at the time so they can brown without being crowded.  They will brown quickly – this is an effect of the duck fat, or so I read.  Fry until golden brown – maybe 4-5 minutes, I didnt time them but you know how to make fries…so until they are done!  Immediately remove them to a rack (sprayed with Pam or oiled a bit) that has been placed over paper towels. IMMEDIATELY sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.  I always use Fleur de Sel but Kosher is fine.

We had been marinating chicken breast pieces in Chipotle Tabasco for several hours and while I was doing the fries Husband breaded and fried the chicken.

And for dessert….

Yeah, we have really enjoyed ourselves lately! If your mouths arent watering by now~~ night before we had Chicken Parm (OMG!) ala Husband, last night we had Penne Rustica. and fresh baguettes – oh and Coconut Cream Pie. Tonight we are having Fish Tacos and Hannah’s birthday cake which Rachel is decorating.  Pictures later of course.

Tomorrow is Husband’s last day home.  He will fly out tomorrow evening.  I can’t believe it is that time already.  When he comes back Autumn should be just around the corner…if you think we cook now…just wait!

All photos in this post by Benjamin Dahlem.


Thoughtful Thursday

A new idea for my blog.  Every Thursday I will post something thoughtful, thought-provoking or timely.  Doesnt mean that is all I will post…but it will be my starting point. And I got the delightful idea from a book I just received as a gift: Minutes from the Great Women’s Coffee Club timeliess wisdom from remarkable women by Angela Beasley.  I highly recommend and THANK YOU Nicole!!! For this and the tea and precious little angel.  You are a dear!

Anywho I thought I might share a quote, though or impression on Thursdays. Here is the first go at it.

I had found that motherhood was a profession by itself, just like a school teacher or lecturer.

~ Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African American civil rights advocate and an early women’s rights advocate active in the Woman Suffrage Movement. She was the co-founder of the NAACP, a journalist, lecturer, educator and writer.


School Days, School Days!

They are fast approaching!  We will enter our 21st (I think!) year of homeschooling on September 3rd.  I wish I could say I am ready, but that would be a complete untruth!  But I am working on it. I loved the graphic above.  SOOOO 50’s.  The good old school days.  See I LOVED school.  I loved the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and crayons and paste.  I know you might find this hard to believe but I have had deja vu and that smell come to my nose from absolutely no where!  Such a warm fuzzy feeling.  But my, my how things changed from when I went to school to now.  I wont go into all the reasons we decided to homeschool but I will say it has worked for us.  It is what we do, kinda who we are.  Maybe one day I will feel like sharing all the whys and whatfors.

We are making a little trip today because both of the girls are off work and Husband has been wanting a meat pie from Lasyone’s in Natchitohces.

And we will pick Jess up and then we will all do a bit of antiquing if weather permits. If you click on the sign above you can read all about their famous meat pies.  They are amazing!

There is a fairly nice teacher’s store in Natchitoches as well, and I will pop in there and see what I can find.  I like to keep some workbooks around for days when we need a bit of a break and some “schoolwork lite”.  Or as I like to refer to them Mom’s Mental Health Days.  On thing I will be looking for is a pencil sharpener that sharpens fat pencils.  See, I still LOVE to write with and old fashioned real wood pencil.  And fat or primary ones to boot!  My pencil sharpener is worn completely out and hangs up and wont sharpen the pencils correctly so, that is on my list.  One day I will post some pictures of my vintage school books and supplies.

One more thing: I should have the S’more Cupcake recipe later today!  They were delish!