The Transformed Wife / Duck Breasts with Apples and Maple Cider Sauce

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This week’s recipe: Duck Breasts with Apples and Maple Cider Sauce

Lori Alexander is an evangelical woman whose whole shtick is that wives ought to be submissive because the Bible tells us so. She posts neatly written, badly spelled notes on her Facebook page, castigating women who want to do controversial feminist things like go to college, work as doctors, work as real estate agents, work outside the home at all, watch This Is Us, divorce their emotionally abusive alcoholic husbands, remarry after divorce, choose who to vote for, cut their hair, follow their dreams, decide when they want to go out to dinner, or generally express any kind of opinion contrary to what her husband thinks. And that was only for the month of September! Instead of going to college, she recommends that young women can “babysit, nanny, teach music, voice, or ballet lessons, tudor [sic], photography, cooking school, dog grooming, become an NTP and teach people how to get healthier, housecleaning, helping the elderly, volunteer work, garden, serving at church, work at bakery, sell crafts, [and] take online herbal classes.” Too bad Alexander was never tudored on the importance of parallel construction, but you get the idea.

I could quote her lunatic blog and Facebook posts all day, but it’s shooting loaves and fishes in a barrel. Better to meet her on her own terms and debate her ideas there, I think. I have to admit that my knowledge of the New Testament is shamefully scanty, but at least judging from the Old Testament, I don’t know what the Gehenna she’s talking about. Here are some examples of submissive wives of the Bible:

-Abraham, the father of monotheism, had two sons: Isaac, by his wife Sarah, and Ishmael, by his slave Hagar. When Isaac and Ishmael began to fight, Sarah demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away. Abraham understandably didn’t want to send his own son into the desert to die, but God explicitly told him, “Listen to whatever Sarah tells you.” (Incidentally, Alexander claimed that there was not a single verse in the Bible directly instructing a man to submit to his wife. Booyah, I suppose.)

-Isaac and his wife Rebecca also had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau was Isaac’s favorite and, as the oldest, the rightful recipient of his father’s blessing and inheritance. But Rebecca favored Jacob and helped him trick Isaac into delivering the blessing and inheritance to him. Because Rebecca had the foresight to go over her husband’s head, Jacob became the father of the Jewish people, to the extent that we are still known by his other name, Israel.

-In an (admittedly very confusing) incident, God comes to kill Moses, and his wife Zipporah saves his life by hastily circumcising their son. Moses had neglected to carry out this crucially important ritual, thereby incurring God’s anger, and disaster was averted only Zipporah’s through quick thinking to remedy her husband’s bad decision.

There are also women who defied their fathers—Rachel and Leah stealing Laban’s idols, Miriam denouncing Amram for refusing to sleep with his wife, Pharoah’s daughter disobeying his decree to save Moses’ life. And the litany of un-submissive women who are nevertheless held up as heroines doesn’t end there. There’s Tamar, a widow who dressed up as a prostitute, slept with her father-in-law, and was rewarded by giving birth to a son who was the ancestor of King David and the Messiah. Judith, Yael, and Rachav used their sexuality to accomplish what an army couldn’t. Deborah led the people in a war and ushered in 40 years of peace.

The Bible also teaches us that husbands are not necessarily righteous and wise and deserving of deference simply by virtue of being men. This seems like an obvious lesson, though apparently not to the likes of Lori Alexander. Sometimes there is no love in marriage, as in the case of Leah, whose husband loved her sister and continued to neglect her no matter how many sons she bore. Sometimes a husband is stupid and abusive, as in the case of Esther, whose husband’s actions were ruled by lust and greed. Sometimes a woman has no agency in her relationships, as in the case of Batsheva, whose second husband purposefully killed off her first one so he could have her. And whether in the realm of marriage or otherwise, even some of the great heroes of the Bible such as Jacob, Moses, and King David made bad decisions with tremendous negative consequences.

Men can be stupid, prideful, misguided, hypocritical. They can be driven by lust or anger, bigotry or self-aggrandizement, materialism or jealousy. So can women, of course, but it’s crazy to pretend that men are born with bigger brains, better hearts, and more discerning temperaments when both the Bible and history have shown that that’s not true. But apparently, the old Phyllis Schlafly game of “everyone should listen to this woman explain why women aren’t worth listening to” can be pursued endlessly, in new permutations, for fun and profit.

I would hope that most men want their spouse to be a true partner. I would hope that they want a relationship built on mutual respect instead of one person dominating and the other being a doormat. Guess I’ll never be a transformed wife!

So anyway, here’s some duck. Duck! Isn’t it amazing? It’s so tender and juicy, its fat makes everything taste better, and if you use it in the Name Game song (you know, the one with “bananafana”) as a child, it allows you to say the F word! It’s pretty hard to get your hands on kosher duck even in New York City but I snagged some from the amazing Grow and Behold. Mark loves duck so I made this for him because I am a submissive (future) wife who lives only to please her (future) husband. Hahahahaha jk. But yeah, it’s a really good recipe, give it a try.

Duck Breasts with Apples and Maple Cider Sauce

 

From The Community Table

Ingredients

  • 4 boned duck breasts, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons pure dark maple syrup (Grade B)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 cloves
  • One 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot, cornstarch, or potato starch
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 inch slices, and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

At least 30 minutes before cooking, remove the breasts from the refrigerator. Remove any excess fat and score the skin lightly with a very sharp knife. Season with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until it has begun to give off its aroma, about 3 minutes. Add the cider, wine, maple syrup, lemon juice, cloves, and cinnamon. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately to low and simmer gently until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the arrowroot and stock and whisk to blend. Whisk the mixture into the sauce and continue simmering until the sauce is clear and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 6 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl and keep the remaining sauce warm until serving.

Add the mustard, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the sauce in bowl and combine. Brush this mixture on the breasts.

Lightly oil a grill pan or a large heavy skillet. Warm the pan over medium-low heat and add the apple slices in a single layer. Grill, turning once gently, until the slices are lightly browned. With a spatula, carefully transfer the slices to a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat under the pan to medium-high. Sear the duck breasts, skin side down, until the skin is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes, making sure not to cook all the way through. Turn the breasts and continue to cook to medium rare, 2 to 3 minutes (the breasts will be springy to the touch). Before you remove the duck from the grill, brown its edges, about 30 seconds each. Transfer the breasts on a rack to drain any fat and allow them to rest for five minutes before serving with the grilled apples.

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