Experience the Enchantment of New York during the Holidays
Holiday season memories always take me back to New York. There is no place as magical as New York City during the season. The lights, decorations, window displays—everything spells enchantment. It is an ideal destination for your girls weekend.
The holidays also remind me of hearty delicious dinners such as Roasted Duck with all the trimmings. Me? I can eat duck year ‘round—but especially at Christmas. Here’s a scrumpdillyicious recipe one of your more chef-y friends can make for you all. While the duck is roasting, apéritifs with MyGirlfriendship™ crew are in order as we listen to and sing along with our favorite Christmas carols in front of a cheery fire.
Ingredients for 6 | Multiply by degree of hunger, divide by number of girlfriends!
3 hours, 20 minutes
1If you purchased a frozen duck, defrost it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once the duck is completely defrosted, take it out 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it to room temperature.
2The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350 F. These 3 hours are divided into four distinctive time chunks:
- 6 pound whole Pekin duck
- 5 garlic cloves. chopped
- 1 lemon small or medium, chopped
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
- 1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
Prepare the duck for baking. Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck's skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release, especially in very fatty parts. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin there is thin (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.
Put 5 chopped garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity. The duck will have flapping skin on both ends—fold that skin inwards, to hold the garlic and lemon inside. Tie up the duck legs with butcher's twine.
Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack (roasting pan should have a rack to lift the duck out and allow the fat to drip from it). Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350 F.
Flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down (roast the other side) for 40 minutes, at 350 F.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. (You now have roasted the duck for 1 hour + 40 minutes). Carefully remove the duck from the pan and place on a platter. Make sure the lemons and garlic from the cavity do not fall out. Keep the skin on both ends of the duck folded.
Prepare the roasting pan for the glaze by carefully pouring off all the duck fat juices from the into a large heat-proof bowl or container.
Move the duck from the platter back to the rack in the roasting pan (the pan will have no fat juices now). Put it breast side up.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush all of the duck with the balsamic mixture (especially the scored duck breast) and cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350 F, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.
In a separate small bowl, combine 1/4 cup honey and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from the previous step. Brush the breast side of the duck with this honey-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with honey balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn't char too much)
After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let duck stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity (being careful not to get burned). Carve the duck and serve!
- Raclette, NYC | is a casual, local neighborhood restaurant in the heart of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Raclette, (a word derived from the French verb racler, meaning, “to scrape”) has been a tradition in Europe for hundreds of years. A traditional meal comprising Alpine cheese melted on the wheel and then scraped onto accompaniments such as potatoes, other vegetables, and meats, it has been a favorite of the inhabitants of the Valais and Haute-Savoie of France and Switzerland. Raclette brings this tradition to life in the East Village of Manhattan with authentic Raclette de Valais and Raclette de Savoie cheese melted on wheels and scraped table side directly onto customers’ plates.
My first raclette dinner was at Le Pomme d’Amour in Le Puy France. I had been um...stuck babysitting toddlers while my friends went to a conference so, in payment, two of them treated me to this amazing experience. I fell in love with the cheese, the process, the atmosphere.
- Cucina Woodstock | Visiting the Catskills for the holidays? There is nothing more iconic in upstate New York history than Woodstock—that rockin’, historic event that was held 50 years ago. Exploring music history in the beautiful snowy Catskills is the go-to place, and Cucina Woodstock is a must for a dinner with girlfriends.
Cucina, opened by Chef Gianni Scappin and Lois Freedman in 2006, is situated in a restored and rambling farmhouse in historic Woodstock, NY. Cucina radiates a warm atmosphere in a country chic setting with modern touches.
The Italian menu is based on seasonal and local ingredients. Dine with your girlfriends at the 24-seat communal table or more privately in a dining room. On warm days, bask in the sunlight on the large wraparound porch or settle in by the fireplace on winter nights.