Smoked Duck Breast and Pretty Blue Flute Fountains

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Country Girl City Living has been teasing us with the scent of "the most delicious chicken paprikash known to man", which started me reminiscing about our stay in Budapest and my lovely "Blue Fountain Flutes".

We were in Budapest just after the 'wall' came down.  Actually we needed a visa to get in but, 4 days later, when we left it was no longer necessary.  We did, however, have to buy currency (I think about 200 dollars worth) upon entering the country with no possibility of changing it back when leaving: spend it or lose it!

BlueflutesOn our first day, walking around town, we passed a shop selling beautiful hand-cut, jewel-colored, crystal goblets, decanters and bowls.  I drooled at all the gorgeous pieces in the window and finally got the courage to go in. 

The store was practically empty, all of the merchandise appeared to be on display in the window or in one glass encased shelf.  There were no other customers in the shop but there were 5 store clerks, all leaning up against a long counter.  Women of indeterminate age, they were dressed alike in straight, black skirts, white cotton blouses and sturdy black shoes with white anklets.

They stared. 

I looked through the glass at the goblets.

This went on for a bit (at which point mon mari went wandering off).  I finally walked over to the friendliest (not) looking woman and mimed that I would like to look at the merchandise.

She heaved a big sigh, gave a long-suffering look to her colleagues and a glare to me, went behind the counter and grabbed a set of keys. We went back to the cabinet and I pointed at the glasses I wanted to look at.  She unlocked the cabinet, took out one red wine glass, re-locked the cabinet, handed the glass to me and walked back to her spot at the counter. 

By this time I wanted to look at a different glass.  I walked back to the counter, to the same woman, and mimed that I wanted so see a different glass.

She heaved a big sigh, gave a long-suffering look to her colleagues and a glare to me, and stomped back to the cabinet.  She unlocked the cabinet and took the red wine glass away from me.  I tried to explain that I actually wanted to look at the two together but she wasn't having any of that!  She put the red glass back, selected a blue one, re-locked the cabinet, handed the glass to me and walked back to her spot at the counter.

Damn, but wouldn't you just know….now I wanted to see a green bowl.  Back to the same counter, same woman, same mime routine. 

She did the same look, the same glare, the same stomping back to the cabinet.  Unlock, put one piece back, get one piece out, re-lock, return.

We repeated the procedure so I could admire the gold water goblet.

I was really starting to get dirty looks from the other clerks.  I was still the only customer in the shop.
I was starting to get a little nervous so I made my choice.

Back at the counter once again, I mimed that I wanted to buy 4 blue champaign flutes.  She assumed I wanted 4 of the gold water glasses in my hand.  After much arm waving, pointing, locking and unlocking of the cabinet she understood, I thought.  Apparently I wasn't to get the glasses in the cabinet, though,  because she took off through a door in the back.  About 30 minutes later she was back with a box taped shut.

I wanted to look in the box.  She didn't want me to.  I mimed that I wasn't going to pay until I looked in the box.  She mimed that she really didn't give a rat's ass if I bought them or not but she wasn't opening the box.  I tried another tactic.  She glared harder.  Mon mari finally wandered back in the shop.  When I explained the problem, he just took the box and opened it.  Inside were the 4 blue champaign flutes I wanted.  She put her hands on her hips, tapped her foot and glared some more.  I paid.

Capitalism hadn't exactly gotten a toehold in the prior 24 hours…Not only was the customer never right, if said customer was allowed to buy anything at all, said customer should just take it and be grateful!

Three weeks later, back home in the Midwest, mon mari popped the cork on some bubbly and poured it into my cherished flutes. 

That's when I discovered that they were gorgeous blue fountains.

The artist doing the engraving had cut just a wee bit too deep in places. 

Champaign was squirting out of the sides of the glasses.


What's with the duck?

Earlier this fall there was a sale on duck breasts.  They came in packages of three and one breast was a bit small for a main course.  Mon mari came up with the idea of smoking it.  Best idea he's had in years…. years and years… It was a really good idea.

We did nothing to it but score the fat, put it on the smoker and ignore it for 2 hours.   We took the fat off before slicing.  It was perfectly done, smoky and wonderful.  It needed nothing. 

DuckbreastplateNever one for leaving well-enough alone…..

Stuffed Mushrooms Caps

8 large button or cremini mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 carton soft goat cheese 
2 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
2 – 3 slices bacon
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Clean mushrooms, removing stems.  Sauté bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove and crumble.  Pour off all but 1 tsp of fat.  Add olive oil to skillet and return to heat.  Add mushroom caps and sauté until light brown, 5 minutes, turning once.  Remove and place on a baking sheet.  Put goat cheese, yogurt and garlic powder into a bowl and stir to combine.  Add bacon bits and mix.  Spoon into the mushrooms caps, mounding slightly.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 12 – 15 minutes, until they are light brown. 

We had wonderful duck and goose and Budapest!  Some of the menus even had English translations…sort of:  "Duck with rancid fat" was a big hit…

Bon Weekend!


29 thoughts on “Smoked Duck Breast and Pretty Blue Flute Fountains”

  1. Katie, Katie, I’m so excited. I love your story about the flute fountains! Do you want to keep them as fountains? Because if you don’t, I might have an answer. Couple of years ago, not in Budapest but in Dallas – much neater in Budapest with stomping sales ladies, I bought a beautiful deeply cut glass wine decanter. Original price was $200, I paid $15 because the cuts were too deep in 3 spots! I dotted the spots with some clear glass glue and now use the decanter often!
    Wish I could try your duck, the smoking sounds perfect.

  2. What a great story! We were in Budapest about 1 1/2yrs ago and I saw an absolutely lovely set of champagne flutes that I am still pining over today. But they wanted almost 45€ for 4 flutes, so there was no way I could justify the price…

  3. What a great story, but so sad about the flutes. I hope you can patch them up as Wendy suggested.
    That smoked duck looks mouthwatering!

  4. Wendy, but the ARE pretty!
    Tanna, that’s GREAT! I’ll get mon mari to get right on that… How fun! Maybe we can use them…. The smoking was soooo easy! And they’ve been fountains long enough – they can graduate – fulfill their destiny….
    Sam, I will admit – these were pretty cheap – but, then so was everything else at that time. Not any more!
    Jeni, we’ll try the patch! The duck was good..we’ll do again!

  5. Katie, I loved the story of your flutes. They are beautiful to look at, and perhaps that should be their only purpose. Your duck breasts look amazing, I can’t find duck breasts here and I am so envious!

  6. Love the smoked duck breasts. I really love your Budapest story. It seems that you have quite a few very well written stories under your belt and I’m sure many more that haven’t yet been written. Is there a book here?

  7. Katie – I’m chiming in with the others – LOVED the story of your flutes! And what a great thing that there’s actually a patch for them – they are beautiful! Certainly worth a try…
    As for the duck breasts – wow! I don’t have a smoker. Tant pis! I would adore these, I’m sure! (And also love your recipe for stuffed mushrooms!)

  8. Uh, thanks, Peter… We even saved a nibble for the next day – barely…
    Pam, they go along witht the foie gras… they’re wonderful and I love it when I can get them on sale… Yes, decorative flutes!
    Christine, how do they say “from your lips….! Thank you, you are sweet to say it!
    Toni, I did a post ages ago on how to make a smoked from a cardboard box..hahaha I gave mon mari the patching task!
    Mansi, I know, I know, but my peaches were all done 2 months ago! It’s the wrong season…let me see what I have.. I’m thinking….
    Kalyn, I bought the red ones as a wedding gift – never did here how they were… Hmmm!

  9. Okay, I’m almost laughing too hard to finish reading this post! What a disappointment, after all of that, to end up with leaking flutes — but it is a great story. Oh well, at least you have this wonderful smoked duck!

  10. Katie–you are too kind! I’m glad you liked the paprikash story and cannot wait to hear about your version very soon. As for the Budapest experience…ours was also very interesting, albeit much more recent. Not the most inviting people, and I even shared some choice Hungarian with them 😉 Go figure.

  11. Katie, love how the duck sounds… divine! Large mushrooms are also easy to find (and affordable) in here, I know what I will make tonight 😀
    Now finally know this type of glass art is from Hungarian, used to admire them! Know nothing about this country, except from the movie Music Box… and your blog 🙂

  12. Thanks, Aminah, happy to be of service….
    Lydia, When the champaign came squirting out I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry…I laughed!
    Lindsay, it’s the only country I’ve visited where I leaned NONE of the language – not even ‘Where’s the loo?’
    Gattina, I’ve always loved their crystal – now as something decorative. Spain has great mushrooms – the old folks used to line the road out of Andorra, selling the days find. I loved it!

  13. Oh dear! What a great story about your fountains… oh I mean champagne flutes. Also, smoked duck breast, yummo! What was your method to smoke the duck breast? Of course, I would have kept the layer of duck fat on there, so I could “chew the fat”.

  14. Katie, I loved your story and I know you want to use the fountain glasses. Hope you can find a way to get them repaired!
    The duck looks awesome! We have been in a duck mood here also. We had them last week, but I never thought about smoking them. We are going to try this!

  15. I was in a shop the other day, at a long counter waiting to be served and the assistant was miffed that I was somehow standing in the wrong spot! No sign or anything, I was supposed to know. Great to see you can fix your fountains.

  16. Looks like a delicious dish. I haven’t had duck in the longest time, so that looks really rich right about now.
    And that salesperson sounds like a real piece of work…fortunately, I can’t say I’ve shared in that experience.

  17. Lannae, we just put it in the smoker, naked, and let it smoke for 2 hours, slowly, low heat. Easy peasy!
    Amanda, I think she found the fix! The duck was wonderful!
    Deb, I love it when we can find the duck on sale – it ranges from cheap to very expensive, depending on the time of year…something to do with the foie gras, I’m sure – same ducks
    Neil, one can’t be too careful! I’ve been totally ignored for not standing in the right spot… very important stuff!
    Mike, early Soviet block mentality is a hard nut to crack…I’ve run into it more than once.

  18. Somehow I pictured you laughing when your flutes turned into fountains.
    You’d think where I live, which is the second largest state in duck production in the U.S., and where you can’t drive by a body of water that isn’t crowded with wild ones, that I’d be able to find duck SOMEwhere. Nope. It’s even tough to find in my network of organic farmers. Sometimes I think I should just go hunting with my car…

  19. Trace, our duck breasts come from the ducks raised for foie gras… they have to do something with the rest! The legs go into confit.
    Maggie, they really are a pretty color…I shine them regularly hahaha

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