In my last post I put up a photo and asked if you could guess what it is we were doing. We weren’t delving into the occult with Texas voodoo or carcass aromatherapy, it’s not a rabbit, and it’s also not a bird steam bath — although the last guess is the closest. I’ll give you a few more hints:

1. a bird hanging over a pan of water on the stove

2. ladling boiling hot water over the bird to puff the skin

3. air-drying the bird for 24 hours, hanging over the bathtub

4. the finished product: crispy, lacquered, caramel-colored skin

It may also help to know we served it with baby bok choy-mushroom stir fry, moo shu pancakes, homemade plum wine sauce and thinly sliced scallions.

Ta da, Peking duck!

Because it was our chance to celebrate Christmas together before flying home to Wisconsin, we wanted a feast of special magnificence. Per his request we settled on Chinese food; more specifically Peking duck. Good thing he has a degree in engineering, otherwise this recipe prepared in a residential kitchen reeks of difficulty and aggravation! Thankfully it went off without a hitch. An incredible experience with duck [a first for me], made better with the moo shu pancakes, stir fry, homemade plum wine sauce, and a 2007 Kick Butt Cab

But dessert was not to be upstaged. A dish that graced many tables during the late 1930s and ’40s — a ritzy addition to any supper or party.

Julia Child’s chocolate soufflé. It’s a masterpiece. A production [and the chocolate seized], but still a masterpiece. My soufflé dish was a little bit big for the halved recipe, so it looks like it didn’t rise — it rose a ton! So light and yet so very chocolaty.

We did good. Happy first Christmas!