After six months of endless weekends and days melding one into another, we have a 3-day weekend. Of course in my general state of disorientation, I thought Labor Day was last weekend. Is it the last weekend of August or the first weekend of September? So we celebrated last weekend, a week in advance.
Whichever weekend it is or was, it’s the date at which we pack away our white. I know it’s probably unstylish these days to wear white shoes, white belts, or carry white handbags. Whatever … time to put them away for the darkening days of the fall and winter months ahead. Of course, this informal rule is unknown here in the subtropics where we have almost constant bright sunshine!
Labor Day Weekend, like other 3-day weekends is a time for picnics. Our picnic this year was at home – the family is still relatively homebound in semi-isolation. In deference to the picnic theme we had burgers one night. Mine are bison, in this case a 1-1 mix with beef, cooked in the skillet seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt & pepper. No outdoor grill for us.
Our early Labor Day weekend burger dinner was accompanied by a picnic-like potato salad, sautéed mushrooms, and a seasonal avocado salad. I mix onion, celery, hard boiled eggs, and black olives together with a vinaigrette for the potato salad. Very nice casual and easy quasi picnic dinner.
In deference to the holiday, duck, excavated from the depths of our handy chest freezer, was another dinner. Growing up, our mother always had a chest freezer in the garage. What better way to take advantage of meat bargains. Ours was purchased with gifts received when Constant Companion and I were married. It is worth its weight in gold. Sometimes, it’s mystery what’s stashed away in there. Some marked-down Bob’s Red Mill semolina flour for just that recipe that might show up. Several packages of last season’s sliced succulent mangos. And pecans, the small sweet natives like we got used to in Oklahoma.
And so, the duck. One of the Jewish cooking zooms I followed in the early days of our stay in Hotel California feature gribenes made by rendering chicken fat to make that golden treasure, schmaltz. Dial that one up and render your duck fat – that is melting down the skin and fat scraps from the bird. Your end product is some lovely, yummy duck fat for future use and crisply, crunchy pieces of fried skin. Actor Joshua Malina compares gribenes to pork rinds (https://100jewishfoods.tabletmag.com/gribenes/).
The pièce of that meal was also mined from the deep freeze – strawberry soup. This is so simple. I must have had one or two pints of frozen berries. Put them into a saucepan with their juices, some water, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and a cup of a nice dry white wine (the rest to be drunk with dinner!). Bring to a boil, then simmer for about ½ hour. Process til smooth with an immersion blender and chill before serving. This was Daughter’s first fruit soup. She was sold on it.
What other holidays will we celebrate at a distance from our extended families and friends? Let’s do our best the stay healthy so we can continue to celebrate each day.