I finally started work on the chicken coop using bamboo uprights supported by some handy rebar on three of the corners (the fourth corner will be an existing fence post). Exposed rebar is not something you normally see in the USofA/Canada. Rebar is the metal tension/reinforcement used in concrete work, typically on corners, foundations, roofs, etc., It is very common here in Mexico and Central American that excess rebar is left exposed on corners. On a limited budget, one never knows when the next pot of money will show up that will allow a new room extension or even a second level, so the rebar is left in place just in case. Now, I doubt any permanent structure was intended to be built over this large septic tank but, perhaps from force of habit alone, some rebar remained post construction and I put it to good use. Next come laterals and cross-beams and supports for a zinc roof and the nesting boxes. All in bamboo if my stock holds out.
I started a new group on Facebook called the Chetumal Connection. There are a number of online expat groups for Mexico and Belize but this is, I believe, the only cross-over group that caters cross-borders. There certainly aren't enough expats in Chetumal to keep such a group going but between those who are here and the many in Belize who come to Chetumal for shopping and restaurants, this one seems to have gained acceptance and some traction. Hopefully it will be a good site to share information on all that's available in Chetumal and southern Quintana Roo State. Perhaps we will share reviews of lesser known haunts. We'll see.
Enjoyed some delicious grilled rabbit and pork with good company Saturday afternoon on the waterfront at Sabanitas. Douglas bought a few rabbits from the nearby restaurant owner who raises them and Berdado grilled them to perfection along with a few slices of pork. The friendly reunion was great but I couldn't stay late as I had to run by Bienvenido and Ana's to pick up my ducks for the monthly BBQ. Following a hot cup of coffee and catching up, I left with my haul of three 4-lb ducks and a handful of tangerine's. I also went by the local store to order my rental tables for the next day. Sunday AM delivery of 6 tables and 24 chairs with pickup on Monday for US$6.50. Can't beat that with a stick!
Saturday night I prepared my two sauces/glaze...one Chinese and one Orange. The BBQ sauce could be prepared on the fly the next day (but it'll remain my secret!). It was also the night our good friends Bruce and Colleen returned from their train-riding escapades with Wanda the Lizard in the land of the big PX. They graced us with their presence and we had a late night beer and cheese gab fest. They gifted us a bottle of Bread and Butter Pickle Spice!!! Woohoo!! I'm off to get the cukes now!
Since I didn't want to be fighting duck fat flare ups on the grill I opted for indirect heat grilling using up most of the grill's available real estate. That meant having to cook two of the ducks in the oven. One of those two was set on a stand one would use for the beer can chicken and the other was in a regular roasting pan. Cooking started at 1030AM, the guests started wandering in around noon, and we ate at 3PM just as the last of the guests arrived - perfect timing! Three styles of duck, rice, chunky ratatouille, corn bread, pita bread, green salad, egg salad guacamole, dessert cake...no one left hungry!
We had a great afternoon/evening and many opined that I will have trouble besting this next month. We shall see!
Chinese Duck Glaze/Dipping Sauce
(Use this after rubbing the duck with salt, pepper, and Chinese 5 Spice before cooking/grilling) Slather it one the last hour or so of cooking for a nice thick glaze.
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
4 TBS Rice Wine Vinegar
2 TBS Honey
2 TBS Soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Stir together in pot and allow to simmer. Keep about 1/2 on the side for dipping!
Caramel Orange Glaze/Dipping Sauce
1 1/4 cups (or so) of fresh-squeezed orange juice (I picked the oranges right from the garden yesterday!)
1/2 cup sugar
6 TBS water
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3 cups chicken stock (hey, if you have duck stock, go for it!)
1 TBS orange marmalade
4 tsp cornstarch
4 TBS orange liqueur (e.g., Grand Marnier)
2 tsp grated zest from orange (I then juiced the tangerine and added to the orange juice)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dissolve sugar in water in large pot and cook medium-high until the sugar caramelizes (deep golden brown), gently swirling the pan to ensure even cooking. Careful - it can burn quickly! Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar. Hold your breath, it sizzles! Simmer on low heat stirring constantly until the caramel is completely dissolved.
Stir the orange juice and stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce by half. Whisk in the orange marmalade and zest. Dissolve the cornstarch in the orange liquor and whisk this mixture into the sauce. Cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sliced duck with orange slices if you want to be fancy!