Here's a story about a woman and a man and the full moon:


The Way to a Man's Heart Is His Stomach

She never saw a harvest moon without thinking of him and the duck that flew for them the night of a full moon. From shrimp to duck, the story of a love affair.
When he first told her he loved her, it was while eating shrimp from the Georgia coast. “You're wonderful,” he said. The way to a man's heart is his stomach.
He said he loved her food. She woke up planning what she wanted to feed him for dinner. She became more desperately in love as time went on, even as the relationship began to deteriorate. He was frequently late for dinner and too busy to call. Her grocery menus were frantically made, obsessive lists of things she wanted to cook for him—asparagus, roast duck, chocolate mousse, The way to a man's heart is his stomach.

One night they made plans for dinner out. She would rather have cooked for him—to have exercised her culinary prowess. He wanted control, to be free of her food, and made reservations at a country restaurant an hour's drive away. She decided she had to have her hair done for him so he would tell her again she was beautiful. Her hairdresser was running late and she sat in the beauty shop, trapped and full of foreboding. She arrived home and he was sitting on the doorstep, silently, angrily waiting, his control thwarted.

There was a full harvest moon, their dominant companion as they drove, with the smell of her harshly permanented, now frizzy and ugly, hair filling the car. They squabbled about her being late, at the distance he was choosing to drive rather than eat her cooking. He didn't say she was beautiful. She had to force herself to breathe through the pain in her chest.

They arrived at the allegedly romantic restaurant only to find it nearly closed, wearily patient waiters holding the dinners he had preordered. They sat alone in the empty dining room. When she cut into her duck it was so tough it flew off the plate and slid down his starched white shirt front. Distressed, she still couldn't suppress a grin. He said she had done it on purpose. She hadn't, but might have if she'd have thought of it. He stormed out and waited in the car. Picking her duck off the floor, she told the stunned waiter to bring her the check. Her rage at her love's rejection of all she was rippled through her physically. They had a violent fight in the light of the moon. When her hysterics abated, they drove the long way home in silence, and separated for a long time.

Ten years later, after he had married and divorced another, she wanted him to eat a duck she had cooked herself. She took it on a trip to the mountains. They remembered that night with uneasy laughter, recalling what they might have lost. She had cooked many ducks since then with crisp tender skins. And she always removed the backbone and ribs. One had never shot off her plate again. The way to a man's heart is his stomach.



Boiled Shrimp (p.95) or Marco Polo Shrimp
Roast Duck with Orange Rhubarb Sauce
Duchesse Potatoes
Kay's Zucchini-stuffed Tomatoes or Fiddlehead Ferns
Caesar Salad
Pecan Lacy Wafers with Chocolate Mousse

To serve 2 look for “variation for 2” on individual recipes.
The potatoes, rhubarb sauce, mousse, and cookies may be made several days ahead or even frozen. The shrimp and duck may be cooked earlier in the day and reheated when ready to serve. The tomatoes may be assembled several hours in advance, ready for heating, as may the fiddlehead ferns. The salad may be washed and dried, the dressing made and refrigerated, all ready for tossing. The shrimp may be assembled for last-minute reheating.
If you wish, the menu can also be easily multiplied to serve 4 to 6.

Marco Polo Shrimp
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds large shrimp in the shell

Marco Polo Pesto

3 tablespoons oil
1 to 3 tablespoons hot peppers, seeded and chopped (preferably fresh)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 to 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon dark oriental sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or dry white wine
freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves

Cut each shrimp shell along the back, keeping the shell on. If the vein that runs along the back is full and black, remove by scraping it out with the tip of your knife. Purée the oil, hot peppers, basil, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and lemon juice in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon a little purée under each shrimp shell. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 4 hours.
To broil, place the shrimp on a broiler pan and broil under high heat about 3 minutes per side. To grill, heat up the grill and place the shrimp on a narrow wire rack, then grill until just pink, about 3 minutes per side. Peel, if you like, before serving. Top with fresh basil leaves.

Variation for 2
Use ½ pound shrimp, in the shell; 2 teaspoons oil; ½ to 1 tablespoon hot peppers, seeded and chopped; ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped; 1 clove garlic; ½ tablespoon lemon juice; and ½ teaspoon dark oriental sesame oil. Top with 1 to 2 basil leaves, chopped

Mix the sauce with shelled shrimps and bake, rather than stuffing it under the shells, for 20 minutes at 350°F.

Add ¼ pound butter, the oil, and sesame oil to a frying pan with the sauce, add the shrimp, and heat until the shrimp turn color, then bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Try serving the shrimp on thin pasta or oriental egg noodles lightly coated with sesame oil.

Add 2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions to the sauce.

Tip: This serves 6 to 8 as a starter, 4 to 6 as a main course.
Tip: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped, makes only 4 to 5 tablespoons chopped basil!

Orange Rhubarb Sauce
Makes 2 to 3 cups

1 pound rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch pieces, fresh or frozen
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup sugar
zest of 1 orange, all white removed and shredded

Place the rhubarb in a heavy saucepan, with its juices, along with the orange juice and half the zest. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and there is some thick sauce surrounding the remaining slices. Add the sugar and cook 15 minutes more on low heat, until thick. Be careful not to scorch or let the liquid boil out. Will keep several days in the refrigerator or may be frozen. Garnish with remainder of the orange zest.

Variation for 2:
Use ½ pound rhubarb, ½ cup orange juice, 1/8 cup sugar, and half the zest of an orange when serving duck for 2 people.

Add ½ tablespoon freshly chopped ginger.

Serve cold, with cream, for breakfast.

Add more sugar and you have a sweet sauce.

Tip: Serve with duck, lamb, pork, turkey, and game.

Roast Duck with Orange Rhubarb Sauce
Serves 2

1 (5-pound) duck, defrosted if necessary
zest of 1 orange, with all white removed, shredded finely
1 recipe Orange Rhubarb Sauce (p.263)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the neck, liver, giblets, and so on from inside the duck's cavity; also remove excess fat around the opening inside thigh area. Prick the duck's skin all over, about 1/8 inch deep, to release the fat, taking care not to puncture the duck's breast meat. Place the orange peel inside the duck. Truss or tie together the legs. Place on a rack in a roasting pan with at least 2-inch sides and put the pan in the middle of the hot oven for 1 to 1½ hours. Keep thick hot pads next to the oven, and prepare a work surface that will accommodate the roasting pan and a metal pan or bowl to receive the fat. Periodically remove the duck from the oven, move to the work surface, and use a metal spoon or baster (avoid a rubber or plastic baster; it may melt) to remove the fat. Put the duck back in the oven until it reaches 170°F on an instant meat thermometer inserted in its thigh. Cook the duck ahead of time and cool. Split or cut down either side of the backbone form neck to tail and divide the duck in 2 pieces. Pull out the breast and rib bones. When ready to serve, place the halves under broiler to crisp the skin and warm through. Serve with orange rhubarb sauce. May be served hot or cold.

Substitute grated ginger for the orange zest. Brush with hoisin sauce, fresh chopped ginger, and soy sauce, mixed. Garnish with green onion brushes.

Tip: One duck serves 2 people well, 4 people skimpily. for 6 people, roast 2 or 3 ducks.
Tip: Make a Brown Duck Stock (see p.218) with the giblets and neckbone. Chop up the backbone and breastbone and add to the stock for further flavor.
Tip: The fat can be rendered and used to sauté croutons for Caesar salad.
Tip: Tie legs together to insure even roasting.

Duchesse Potatoes

Serves 8 to 10

7 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup milk, heated to 180°F
5 to 6 tablespoons butter
freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 egg yolks
½ cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten with ½ teaspoon salt

Put the potatoes in a pan with enough cold water to cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer approximately 1 hour until completely tender. Drain. Place the pan over low heat and add the potatoes. Beat over low heat with electric mixer or mash until soft. Beat in the hot milk and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat the egg yolks into the mashed potatoes and add the cheese.
Preheat oven to 400°F. While the potatoes are still warm, spoon them into a pastry bag fitted with the large star tube. Pipe rosettes, figure eights, or tablespoon-sized mounds of potato onto a buttered baking sheet or oven-to-table dish. Brush with the egg glaze. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until browned, or do up to a day ahead, warm in a low oven, then brown quickly under the broiler. Remove from baking sheet.

Variation for 2
Combine 2 medium-cooked, peeled, and quartered potatoes, ¼ cup hot milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan, and ½ an egg yolk. Pipe. Brush with remainder of the yolk beaten with a dash of salt.

Substitute sweet potatoes! Sounds funny, but they are very pretty and very tasty.

Use as a garnish around meat dishes.

Kay's Zucchini-stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped shallots or onions
½ pound zucchini, grated
¼ teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
pinch of ground cloves
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
8 small or 4 large tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the shallots, and sauté until soft. Add the grated zucchini, thyme, parsley, cloves, salt, pepper, and optional pine nuts. Toss for 1 or 2 minutes over medium heat. Remove the tops and insides of the tomatoes, leaving about ½-inch pulp against the skin so the tomatoes will not collapse while baking. Slice a small portion of the bottom of the tomato to level. Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Spoon the zucchini stuffing into the tomatoes. Bake 6 minutes or until done.
To do ahead: Let the tomatoes drain upside down on a rack in the refrigerator. Make and refrigerate the filling. Assemble several hours in advance. Place room-temperature tomatoes in oven 6 minutes before serving.

Variation for 2
Use 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon chopped shallots or onions, 1 small zucchini, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and thyme, dash of ground cloves, salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 teaspoon pine nuts (optional), and 2 small tomatoes.

Use cooked, drained spinach or grated summer squash for the zucchini.

Fiddlehead Ferns
Serves 6 to 8

1 pound ostrich-fern fiddleheads, washed
4 to 5 tablespoons butter or olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Dry ferns. Heat the butter or olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the ferns and toss over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or longer if you desire softer ferns. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté 1 pound button mushrooms, chanterelles, shiitake mushrooms, or morels in butter. Add the cooked ferns and heat all together.

Variation for 2
Use 1/3 pound fiddleheads and 2 teaspoons butter or oil.

Tip: Fiddleheads come frozen as well as fresh. Frozen ones need only be defrosted.

Caesar Salad
Serves 6 to 8

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled
8 anchovies
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire
1 cup oil
1 large head romaine lettuce (1½ pounds)
½ cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated or sliced
2 cups croutons

freshly ground pepper

Crush the garlic and anchovies together in a food processor or blender. Add the mustard and egg yolks, blend, and then add vinegar and Worcestershire. Beat or whisk in the oil. Wash and tear the romaine lettuce.
At the table toss the romaine with the dressing, Parmesan, croutons, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Variation for 2:
Use 1 garlic clove, 1 anchovy, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, dash of Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ head of romaine lettuce, 1 ounce Parmesan, 1/3 cup croutons, salt and pepper.

Southwestern Caesar: Toss croutons in ½ cup melted butter and 2 tablespoons chili powder. Shave the Parmesan off with a peeler in long strips and serve on top.

Tip: 1 large head = 1½ pounds = 8 to 9 cups = 2 small heads

Pecan Lacy Wafers
Makes 50 cookies

4 ounces whole pecans, toasted
2 ounces whole almonds, toasted
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup currants or raisins
peel of 1 orange, grated
¼ cup flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Chop half the nuts finely and leave the other half chopped roughly. Beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugars, beating well. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the currants and orange peel. Sift the flour with the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice onto a piece of waxed paper.
Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Grease well with butter. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto the aluminum foil at least 2 inches apart. Bake each sheet 11 to 13 minutes, until batter is spread and golden at the edges. Move the cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all cookies are baked. If cookies lose crispness, they may be recrisped in oven for about 2 minutes. They freeze well.

Simple Chocolate Mousse
Serves 6

8 ounces semisweet chocolate bits

4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon rum or vanilla flavoring
1½ tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
½ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Melt the chocolate and water together in a small pan or the microwave. Stir int he rum flavoring and butter, then the egg yolks, one by one. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites using a rubber spatula or a metal spoon. When thoroughly mixed, pour into small pots or a glass bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Serve with a rosette of whipped cream piped on top. May be made several days in advance or frozen.

Variation for 2:
Use 4 ounces semisweet bits, 2 tablespoons water, dash of flavoring, 2 teaspoons butter, 2 egg yolks, 2 egg whites. Garnish with ¼ cup whipping cream, whipped. Or make whole recipe, spoon into individual pots, serve 2, and freeze the rest for another time.