A Valentine’s Day Duck

I have to warn you, what you are about to see is a bit graphic. Afterall, we did our shopping for tonight’s dinner at the Chinese grocery store. As I began the preparations, even I wasn’t prepared for what we found.       



poor little guy


I know, it shouldn’t have been all that shocking and my experiences in cooking school should have prepared me, but I’m a chicken kind of girl and they don’t sell chickens with their heads on where I shop. Thankfully, Brian stepped in and did the deed. I think he even enjoyed it.       


I love that man! Thanks, honey.   (Such a romantic Valentine’s Day.)    

The next part of the preparation was also quite interesting, after marinating the duck for about 5 hours in hoisin sauce, Chinese five spice powder, salt and pepper, we poured boiling water over the duck to puff it up. Then, I  brushed a layer of corn syrup, maltose and vinegar over the duck. (This was quite a challenge as maltose wants to stick to everything with an uber tight grip and wasn’t necessarily “brushable”. I improvised a bit and added more corn syrup.) Next, we hung the duck (as directed) upright with a fan blowing on it for another four hours.       



not something you see everyday

While waiting and drying the duck, I began the preparation for the rest of tonight’s menu:        

Peking Duck
Sautéed Bok Choy with Garlic and Sesame Oil
Pork and Chive Dumplings
Traditional White Rice
Caramel Pecan Cakes with Chinese Five Spice Powder Ice Cream 

Everything turned out magnificently! The dumplings were definitely something I would make again, a mix of pork, Chinese wine, ginger, garlic, chives, cilantro and chili-garlic sauce, rolled into dumpling wrappers and gently boiled for a few minutes. The perfect mix of sweet, a little spice and a bit of comfort.   


what's in a dumpling?



hot duck coming through!


Tallinn's getting very good with chopsticks


I’m not sure I’d be able to finish any dinner without a scrumptuous dessert and so far on our journey we’ve had some pretty amazing desserts. Tonight’s deliciousness was no exception, a succulent caramel pecan cake recipe from Lantern restaurant. Instead of making homemade Chinese five spice powder ice cream, I simply added the spice to vanilla ice cream and it really was divine.      

很好吃 - very good eat


I love that “delicious” in Chinese is actually “very good eat”, that’s exactly what the caramel pecan cake was.      

谢谢 (sheh-sheh; thank you) China for taking us on an amazing journey. We hope to visit you one day. 

Happy Valentine’s Day.


2 responses to “A Valentine’s Day Duck

  1. Holy MOly! I just got the ebbie geebies looking at the duck! You and Brian make a good team!
    Looks like you had a fun night and a fantastic dinner!

  2. PRICELESS! I am so glad you are creating such wonderful memories and learnings for your family. You and your kids will remember this year for ever. so fun.

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