Introducing a New Member to Robot’s Family

After a weekend of beating the shit out of our bodies physically, then heaping on the abuse with complete lack of sleep and a little alcohol, it’s no surprise that Ginny was sick during the beginning and middle of the week (and then of course, I got sick this weekend). I went and bought a whole chicken (40 kuai at the wet market, and the woman helpfully chopped off the head and feet for me) and roasted it. For my first whole roast, it came out beautifully, although I completely forgot to take pictures.

Roasting chickens can sound daunting but it’s surprisingly simple. I soaked it in brine for a few hours (optimally would have let it soak overnight). I made some slits in the skin at the end, and inserted wafer thin slices of lemon and garlic under the skin. Salt and pepper the outside with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss a little salt and pepper on the inside, jam in half an onion, several smashed cloves of garlic, the leafy top part of celery, and the lemon half into the cavity. I didn’t have any twine so I used tin foil to tie the legs together, and poppe din the oven for an hour and a half at about 350 F. Preparation took me ten, fifteen minutes at most. In the mean time, I wanted to make soup. I started by making vegetable stock, and then once the chicken was done and rested, carved it up, and popped the fatty bits, gristle, bones, and some of the meat for the broth. The rest of the meat I shredded up, some for the soup, and some for chicken tacos the day after. I couldn’t help but sample some of the chicken–it turned out really well, juicy, not dry, and during carving I came across the “oysters” of the chicken which made me fondly remember the movie Amelie. I had no choice but to pop those savory little bites into my mouth.

I put most of the stock in the freezer, added chopped up carrot, celery and chicken and some cooked white rice, and then fried up some grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany it. Who doesn’t like comforting childhood foods when they’re sick?

Class with the chefs was the last, since I now have work everyday. I’m sad, but excited to have a (slightly more) real job. They made me a spectacular meal-hongshao rou and tofu with bacon and scapes, and gongbao jiding. Chef wasn’t having any of this–he sat there with his cherubic grin on his face, a round of nan in one hand and a raw jalapeno in the other, taking alternative bites. I look forward to my next night at the Kitchen, now that I won’t be teaching them.

Dina came over and we made stuffed mushrooms: stalks of button mushrooms, celery, onion, bread crumbs, egg, seasonings, and if you have it, ground shrimp, if not meh whatever, and baked for a while, guacamole, pan fried some sweet corn and caramelized onions to go with the roast chicken and made tacos. They were delicious. Ginny, Dina and I were quite happy. So much tasty goodness. Especially lovely, Ginny doesn’t like mushrooms, so more for us!

Roast Chicken Taco Assembly


Stuffed Mushrooms with Parmesan

Beijing was hit by a bit of a sandstorm on Saturday, so practice was canceled, and Sunday morning I succumbed to Ginny’s cold, and after a day of teaching, came back and fell asleep on the couch at an absurdly early hour. Monday was a holiday so after a leisurely afternoon visiting a friend’s rooftop and drinking tea, I decided I wanted a lovely dinner before my first day of work. I marinated duck breasts in a mixture of soy sauce, cooking wine, a splash of red wine, Maggi seasoning, honey, sugar, salt and pepper, for at least 3-6 hours. After making a criss-cross cut on the skin, pan seared them over medium skin side down for 10 minutes, flipped them over, cooked them for 5 minutes, then let them rest for a bit. In the meantime, I started the mushroom risotto. one onion, diced, thrown in the pan with olive oil and some of the duck fat and two cups of arborio rice, sauteed until almost golden, then stirred in water and broth, half a cup by half a cup, stirring constantly, about 5 cups, until the rice was finished. Sauteed finely sliced mushrooms in a little more duck fat and mixed them in with the rice, then mixed in a generous helping of grated parmesan. I popped the duck breasts in the oven at 400 F for fifteen minutes to finish them off, let them rest, then sliced them-the meat was on the more medium side of medium rare, perfectly cooked. For some veggies I roasted some carrots in olive oil as well.

Duck Breasts Resting


Sliced Perfectly Medium Duck Breast


Pan Seared Duck, Mushroom Risotto and Roasted Carrots


Dinner turned out perfect. Everyone loved it (I love it when people are happy to eat my food). We watched a movie and I had a nice evening to relax before my first day of real work.

So far, I really like my internship and I’ve managed to find stuff to keep me quite busy, despite half the office being abroad at the moment. I even usually kind of enjoy teaching, but my productivity was all sorts of thrown off. We got an email last night about an offer the family had been mulling over for a while, and the end result when we went to bed was decide by the end of next week. I got to work–with enough time to grab a coffee and some cookies for an afternoon snack–went to lunch with Dina, was making headway on my latest project and then boom, received the following message “We’re picking up the kitten this afternoon. Will be there when you get home.”

KITTEN. I literally had to restrain myself from squealing like a 13 year old airhead twit, or otherwise embarrass myself. I tried valiantly to get work done, but I was so excited. And I couldn’t even go with the boys to get the little dear, because I had tutoring at the far end of the world tonight. I managed to find a shorter way to get there, but the lesson felt like it lasted forever. Plus, the girl’s little brother, unhappy that I wasn’t paying him any attention, decided the best course of action would be to whip it out and start pissing on the floor. I was aghast, but the family didn’t seem to think it was out of the ordinary. Not even that could put a damper on my mood though, and soon enough I was able to find a cab and run straight home for the tiniest thing in the world. Our kitten has the cutest, saddest little face and is small enough to fit in one of my hands, and is just adorable in so many ways, minus the poop that is everywhere. Vet visit to determine sex and health and age tomorrow. MAO.

Introducing the Saddest Little Addition to the Family

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