Nuts for the Winter

The last several days it’s been raining cats and dogs. Movie rain. The wind has been whipping and while it’s still in the 70’s it feels like Fall. We’ve been mostly staying around the house and the space. The only thing we’re missing is a fireplace to make it seem like September.

But the weather didn’t stop us from heading down to Mercat Central. I’ve gone back to strictly adhering to my allergy diet regimen. Jeff thinks that my ‘fudging’ and saying ‘It’s fine, I’ll eat it’ when we’re out with friends or traveling has been causing havoc with my health. I want to say he’s wrong, but I know he’s not.

So we braved the wind and rain and headed down the the Central Market. The building is enough to make you just want to pop in and look up at the ceiling. But its the stalls that will have you lingering. We take everyone who visits Valencia there. And in high season it’s packed with tourists, so we make sure in summer we go very early in the morning to get what we need. It wasn’t a problem today.

The halls were relatively quiet and it allowed us to go up and down the aisles and to inquire at the multitude of cheese mongers if any had Mantequilla de Cabra – Goat butter. I’m not supposed to eat cows milk and back in Seattle it was easy to get goat butter imported from Canada at our local PCC market. But thus far I hadn’t had any luck finding it here.

Over and over I inquired, and over and over I got the head shake and a ‘No‘. Finally, I asked a nice young guy at a lovely counter that seemed to carry everything cheese ‘Necisito mantequilla de cabra.’ And he said ‘Si’. He seemed surprised that I was surprised, and he reached down and took it out of the refrigerator. Then he cut me off large hunk and boxed it up. And the cost is about half of what I used to pay for Canadian goat butter in the US. It tastes like heaven.

Well, now I was feeling cocky! I had found a needle in a haystack and I was ready to go for broke. Since we were near Colon we headed down to El Corte Ingles and the Supermercado in the basement to check on their Hueveos de Pato supply. Duck eggs. This year, they’ve been thin on the ground, even for summer, and we’ve made regular trips to the El Corte’s in the area to check on their restocking each week we’ve been in town. Usually, no luck.

The Rare huevos de pato

So I wasn’t that hopeful. But I will tell you I need to buy a lottery ticket, because today the shelves were bursting with beautiful, glorious, rare Huevos de Pato. They had 8 half dozen packages. I squealed audibly and we looked around to make sure there weren’t any other people who also saw these avian gems and might rush us. Jeff was ready to by them all, but I felt we should leave one box. For that poor person who was going to come after us and find the cupboard bare. I used to do this when a shipment came in to our local store in Seattle. I would buy all but one – it’s a karma thing.

Jeff didn’t bother to ask me what I was going to do with 42 duck eggs until we got home.

‘Even you can’t eat them all before they go bad.’ he reminded me.

But I rubbed my hands together. ‘I have a plan.’ And I did.

I went down to El Chino and bought large ice cube trays. Then I filled those trays with an egg apiece – keeping some back for immediate enjoyment. I needed different sizes because duck eggs aren’t consistent. Some are very large and some are smaller than a chicken egg. They can be other colors too. Then I put 36 duck eggs in their new nests in the freezer. I’ll bag them up in larger freezer bags once they’re frozen. Then I’ll head back to all the El Corte’s in the area – as I have been doing – and see if I can rustle up one more load before winter hits, to ration over the dark and stormy months. Ducks don’t lay eggs in the winter.

So today was an epic day! Weather and all. And who needs to win the lottery when you are fully stocked with goat butter, and you’ve got a freezer full of duck eggs? Certainly not me! I’m hording my eggs for the winter!

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