|left: duck egg, right: large chicken egg|
So the search was on. Whole Foods, the Anderson's, Raisin Rack, Trader Joe's, and every other specialty or Chinese market I could find--no one had any. So then I reached out to farmers in my area I found on the internet. I then had to send my best friend a text making a vulgar joke about my wide-eyed search for duck on the internet. Several of the farmers' phone numbers were disconnected, websites defunct; a sad reminder that it's a very tough way to make a living. Two got back to me and told me their ducks had also stopped laying. I decided to nip my obsessive-compulsive search in the bud and go about my Thanksgiving prep.
A few days later, I got a reply from a farmer about 45 minutes away. She thought that with the size of her flock and the advanced notice, she could scrape together almost a dozen. This was perfect because I only needed six, but a converted friend was also looking and could use the rest. We set an appointment and I made sure I had $4 in cash. It seemed silly that a dozen of such premium eggs would only cost $4. I wanted to overpay, but didn't want to come off as pretentious either. I just wondered if $4 covered the cost of what these eggs were worth?
Last Tuesday, the first morning of my self-appointed Thanksgiving break, I set out on my errand. I was enjoying a certain weightlessness knowing that I had essentially seen every one of my clients in the past few weeks, or at least communicated with them. Taking time off when you're self-employed is dicey because there is no income. But with organization and communication, it is doable. My cell phone is with me and answered at all times (unless I'm driving or with a client), because I do my scheduling mostly via text. I used to use an automated booking software through a website, but it was prone to occasional glitches. This way, nothing slips through the cracks and my clients are able to get exactly the times they want. Anyway, having communicated with everyone, I knew my phone wouldn't be ringing. I enjoyed the beautiful drive.
The shadows were long and spindly as they only are in November. The sun was just rising as I started. Barbie was in the backseat, excited that our morning drive started with a left turn instead of a right. There was a striking juxtaposition between the eastern and western faces of hills. The sunlight was so exceptionally gold and the darkness on the other side was icy blue on frosty brush. Crossing one river and weaving along the banks of another, catching peek-a-boo vistas between trees, it was all very picturesque. I got lost a few times--being confused by a road called Bells on one side and Wells on the other.
I thought so much about being thankful on this drive. The news from
Ferguson had broken the night before. I thought about the businesses being looted,
the families ruptured, and childishly about the Thanksgivings that were
ruined. I realize how inane that must
sound. Nonetheless, I was grateful for
my picturesque morning. Excited to
collect my duck eggs, turn off the news, turn on hours of Kygo remixes, and
bake and chop, and enjoy my traditional prepwork cocktails.
a few odds and ends from my non-blogging time.
|a "Bon Voyage!" cake I made when my grandpa and love-her-like-a-grandma-but-not-my-grandma were going on a 25 day cruise|
|Martha Stewart's Blueberry Muffins from Entertaining|
|these were for a visiting uncle/Memorial Day/you're pregnant! brunch|
|that black spot is a birthmark. It worried me when I first got Barbie. My vet assured me it was perfectly normal|
|I've said it before, Barbie is a long way from her life in Amish Country|
|I found these ferns and hydrangeas growing in the yard of the rental house in Hilton Head. If anyone knows the type of fern, I would love to know.|
|Last B-A-L-L ( a word one can't say in Barbie's presence) before a big storm|
|A man obsessed. On the left, my Goose Pot. A birthday gift and lifelong souvenir from Le Cookery . Doesn't everyone travel with their Le Creuset?|
So, if you've made it through my drive with me (I didn't intend to write so much about it) and random photo stream, now we can talk about why I love duck eggs. They are huge and gorgeous. They have less white than chicken eggs and double the yolk. Their whites are stronger, however, so they stand up beautifully to baking. They are so creamy and buttery, they add a custard-like quality. Because they have thicker shells, they stay fresh longer. They have more albumen, the protein in egg whites, which makes for fluffier and more substantial pastries. I substitute them 1:1 with chicken eggs. I don't know if this is a by the book conversion, but it has worked for me. If you are making a cheesecake, the effort is especially worth it to track them down. Duck eggs take cheesecake to a whole other place. I always make a croquembouche at Christmas, and I am very much hoping to track down more duck eggs for that. I think they will be wonderful in my Grand Mariner pastry cream.
If you're local, this is the farm where I found my Thanksgiving duck eggs. They were gorgeous!
Have you ever cooked with duck eggs?