Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Cooking Food

Duck with Lavender Honey

It’s a (relatively) chilly December day, bright and sunny with just a bit of bite in the air — the So-Cal way of announcing winter. Though I don’t miss the long, cold winters in the east and midwest, in a place that gets nearly year-round summer, chill is a a bit of a novelty. It’s also the perfect weather for duck.

Crispy-skinned, savory and fatty, o how I love thee duck. What do I make for Thanksgiving? Duck. Christmas? Duck. Easter? You guessed it. Duck is the new black, people!

What I love about this recipe is that it requires very little hands-on time, which leaves more time for fun things like tabletop decor.

Don’t judge my wrinkled tablecloth. It’s too big and unwieldy to iron properly. I just dim the lights and serve wine which seems to take care of most of the wrinkles. And most other things in life, come to think of it.

I’ve been making this duck for about 13 years and I never tire of it. Hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

DUCK WITH LAVENDER HONEY adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Savoring France


  • 4 tsp fresh lavender blossoms or 2 tsp dried blossoms
  • 4 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 duck, about 5.5 lb
  • 4 TBSP lavender, acacia or other strong-flavored honey
  • 3 TBSP red wine

The day before:  Mix the spices and herbs together in a small bowl. Remove the giblets from the duck cavity, rinse the duck and pat it dry. Using a sharp knife, cut crisscrosses through the fat — but not into the meat — of the breast. Rub the duck inside and out with the herb mixture. Discard the neck. Let marinate overnight, or at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roast for 2 hours. Remove form the oven and pour off all but 1 TBSP of the collected fat from the pan (I reserve the fat and make french fries with it, but that is admittedly over the top!). Spread the duck breast with 2 TBSP of honey and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Baste with pan juices, and roast another 10 minutes. Remove duck again and spread with the remaining 2 TBSP honey, and sprinkle with half the lavender blossoms. Roast for 10 minutes longer, then baste again with pan juices. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove form the oven.

Move the duck to a platter, cover the it loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

Put the roasting pan over medium heat and add the remaining lavender blossoms and the red wine. Deglaze the pan, stirring with a wodden spoon to remove any browned bits from the pan bottom. Cook until well blended and slightly reduced, 3-4 minutes. Keep warm.

Carve the duck, place on a platter, drizzle with sauce and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.





Cooking Food

Garlic Tortilla Flatbread

November is upon us and that means bad food photo lighting for those of us who do our cooking in the evening and don’t have much in the way of lighting equipment (Exhibit 1, above). It’s also the month of Thanksgiving, and this past year I’ve tried to focus more on giving thanks as much as possible — it’s healthy, which in my book means it’s just like exercising and thus gives you free license to eat more. So in the spirit of the month of gratitude, and of mitigating the depressive impact of poorly lit food photos, let me give thanks:

…for my Sunday spent by ocean, and the Instagram app that enabled me to capture it:

…for mussels, which I can see only smothered in meuniere sauce:

…for starfish big

…and small

…and for hermit-crab gatherers who poke sea anemones in the tidepools.

I’m also really thankful for tortillas, because I can just buy them, and because we often make thin-crust pizzas using them as a base. I’m thankful for the tortillas that Trader Joe’s makes. They’re so good.

I’m thankful for our friend Simon, who was the best man at our wedding and who’s visiting from England, who had the idea to make garlic bread with tortillas.

I’m thankful that this recipe is so easy, but outrageously delicious. And low-fat, if you factor in all the thanksgiving I’ve been practicing.

Spread about 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the tortilla, pizza-style. Add two cloves of minced garlic and some dried herbs, like oregano or herbes de provence.

Then, because we’ve been so grateful, add a dollop of butter for good measure:

Bake on a heated pizza stone for 5-6 minutes, til the crust is crispy and brown and the cheese begins to bubble. Cut into slices, eat immediately, give thanks (in my case, to my husband who made these), and repeat!



  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano or herbes de provence
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1 tortilla
Heat oven with pizza stone in it to 450 degrees. Spread garlic and mozzarella evenly over tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch crust on the outer rim. Sprinkle oregano or herbs on top, and add a dollop of butter.
Bake for 5-6 minutes until crust begins to brown and cheese has melted.
Makes 1 tortilla flatbread (if you’re like us, you’ll want six!).