See the short list of ingredients for the “Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts,” from the October 2011 issue of Fine Cooking. This appealed to me: the quality and ease. Indeed, I achieved the crispy skin, the plum tang, and each bite was wonderful.

My cast-iron skillet did the trick for this dish. I rendered the skin fat of my expensive duck breasts for 10 minutes, until the skin was thinner and crispy. I was happy to use St. Dalfour Deluxe Fancy Plum Spread. Chinese five-spice powder is a ground combo of Szechuan pepper, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, and cinnamon, so it’s got that warm, mulled scent.

After rendering my fat, then brushing the sweet coating over the breasts, my duck was already hot enough to be eaten, apparently. But I put it in the 425-degree oven for 7 minutes, until it was medium-rare. It’s temperature did go up to 189 degrees, which was much higher than the 135 degrees that the recipe recommended. But my duck was fine: medium-rare, as I said. This duck was a perfect red-meat indulgence.

I also made the “Bok Choy Stir-Fry with Ginger and Garlic,” from The Perfect Pantry, as the perfect side dish for the duck. Baby bok choy, really, needs no recipe. Basically, you cook these heads until the root ends are soft enough for you. Ginger and soy sauce are natural partners, here. I enjoy every bit of baby bok choy.

PRICES
D’Artagnan Petite Duck Breasts (1.99 lbs.) = $28.16
Baby Bok Choy (4 heads) = $4.43

RECIPES: wow yourself with sweet, rare duck and the basic beauty of bok choy
PREP TIMES:
eat the duck after only 30 minutes of prep and cooking; the bok choy is done when you say it’s done
TASTES:
luscious duck is sweetened and spiced and marvelous, while bok choy shines with its green bite

Next time, I will cook the “Shrimp, Kale and Cannellini Bean Casserole,” from theperfectpantry.com, as well as the “Leek Soup with Dill Oil,” from 101cookbooks.com. Come back to my site soon, to see my meal.