As luck would have it, they took us up on our offer during their last annual fall trip, just a few weeks ago. They also brought their cute little pooch Pepino, who was an absolute joy! (And has me dying for a doggie now!) I gave you a hint about our visitors a few weeks ago when I posted a pic of the little guy:
We started out the first day by picking up my last CSA share. We got a bunch of root vegetables - sweet potatoes, turnips, beets - and we picked some fresh fresh thyme, rosemary and sage. Then we headed home to create. For that first night, I had picked up a duck for us to enjoy. I had never cooked duck - and it turns out Jenn had never cooked a full one either - but we decided to go ahead and wing it. After brainstorming some ideas, we decided to cook the duck like a beer can chicken, believe it or not!
We also cut up those fresh veggies and roasted them in some olive oil and the freshly picked herbs. Despite a brief bout of concern brought on by the smoke alarms (due to the high fat content of duck), the results were phenomenal! It roasted away at 425 for about 2 hours and came out a beautiful mahogany color. When it was done, Roberto was game enough to put on my apron (which I won from one of Jenn's great giveaways on The Foodie Blogroll) and cut it up for us!(Isn't he cute?!)
I thought roasting the duck this way was quite ingenious - and it came out flavorful and moist. We enjoyed a yummy fall meal that night, for sure! Best of all, I'm no longer intimidated by roasting a duck. (Though I have learned that I should open the windows at the start of cooking...)
The next night, Jenn planned a dinner of pork tenderloin, wild rice and carrots for us. All 4 of us helped out with the prep that night. The boys cleaned and cut carrots, I seared the pork (which Jenn had marinated in a delicious apple cider mixture) and Jenn made the wild rice using a risotto method.
We had a great time cooking and chatting with Jenn and Roberto and can't wait to do it again soon. It's still amazing to think about how we randomly met on our respective honeymoons, turned out to have so much in common - and now feel like comfortable old friends. All 4 of us (not just the girls!) can just sit and talk about whatever for hours. Mr. ValleyWriter & I just really enjoy their company. Lucky for us, they're moving back to New England in the spring! Hopefully the next "Queen & me" post will be of us cooking in their new house in Vermont. You'll just have to stay tuned!
For now - please head on over to The Leftover Queen to see her account of our visit!