I'm not supposed to make fun. I mean, when you reach a certain age, people stop telling you things like, "If you don't have something nice to say...". But, at times I'm amazed at the stuff I come across on the internet. And, I feel the uncontrollable urge to share.
Take for example, a most uncommon disorder known as anatidaephobia. Latin scholars might be able to dissect this one without help, but since we won't be reviving any dead languages today, I'll spill it: it is the dreaded fear that no matter where you go and what you do, you are being watched. By a duck.
If you want to tab away for a second to check it out, I'll be here when you get back. *Hmmm hmmmmm, dat da dummmmmmmm. Checks the weather. Hmmm mmmm* Back? See, what did I tell you? It's worth at least 15 minutes of poking around on the internet, and then you come across lists of all other kinds of phobias, but it's this one that seems...perplexing.
After a quick look around just to be sure, one can only wonder the immense anxiety one must feel after, say, coming home from a walk in the park, or a trip down the meat aisle at the grocery store. Paranoia is strange enough. But, terror-induced mania from a web-footed waterfowl? What could he be watching for? What could he want?? And why, oh WHY is he staring?! (See, I'm being insensitive.)
It's been hard to avoid some of the obvious, hilarious puns and fake scenarios. I mean, tell me how many times that little bugger has cropped up in your head since you started reading this? See?? You're trying to envision a foreboding stare and bad attitude from a bird that has no eyebrows. At best, his head would bob and weave a little, but threatening? Maybe it's payback time for all that foie gras I've eaten? *Gulp* Good heavens. That's it! Maybe if I leave a little trail of melba toasts and a glass of sauternes, he'll go away.
Now, in what can only be compared to a perverted Poe paragraph, I swear I've begun to hear his heart beat. I'm getting calls from purveyors saying they've got a special on Long Island breast of - DUCK. *gasp* Why is that lady on table #12 picking at her food that way? Why didn't that man on #17 just say he was hungry, but instead said, "peckish"? They're everywhere! Agghghhahhghaghhahgaiiiiiiiiighhghghgh!
*Pant. Pant. Pant.*
Okay- see what a wise ass? In case you catch that little bugger, here's my favorite recipe for confit of duck legs.
Six Duck Legs, fresh
30 garlic cloves
8 cups of rendered duck fat
Kosher salt, about 2 cups
2 cups Light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves, finely crumbled
1/2 tsp fennel seed
4 pieces star anise or clove
*1 branch fresh lemon grass, broken with a mallet
Peel of one orange
*This releases the oils from the lemongrass. Cut it into pieces that will fit in the dish, but not so small that they can't be fished out when you're done. When you smell "lemon Pledge", it's ready for the pot.
Pat dry any moisture on the duck legs. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dried spices, garlic, salt and sugar. Generously massage the mixture into the legs. Place the contents of the bowl in a glass baking dish, pat down and cover with plastic and store for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Rinse the mixture from the legs with cool water, keeping the garlic cloves. Thoroughly pat dry the duck legs and garlic. Put back in the dish with the orange peel and lemongrass. Cover the mixture with the rendered duck fat. Place in a 275 F oven, uncovered. (You may want to put the dish on a baking sheet with sides so it doesn't spill) When the meat of the drumstick has separated to expose the bone (after about 2 1/2 hours), check the thighs to see if they are also tender (and the meat falls apart) and not rubbery.
Remove from fat, pat dry and serve hot or warm. Or, for storage, you can leave the legs in the fat as long as they are covered, in your fridge for up to three months. If you properly jar or can them, they will keep up to six months.
Good luck! I'll be watching...