That Time Chinese New Year Attacked Bambi

Oh vacation. After a week of supreme laziness, I will truly miss being able to not set an alarm clock. I slept in every day, gone running a few times, cooked a lot, watched a lot of movies and read a few books. Fantastic.

Although this week has been defined by our staying inside and being hermits, we did get out a few times. Monday, some friends made a reservation for Atmosphere, where the prices match their elevation. Enjoyed a couple very lovely cocktails though, notably a lemongrass infused gin gimlet and a Moscow mule. The view of the city, clear of pollution, was spectacular, especially as we could see fireworks set off all over.

Sawyer came back from the states with what I can only assume is a six month supply of quinoa. We made two meals with it this week.

Quinoa with Sausage and Bell Pepper
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup ground pork (or crumbled Italian sausage)
Fennel seeds, Italian herbs, salt, fresh ground pepper,
Splash of cooking wine
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 large shallot, minced

I brought the stock to boil, then added the quinoa, covered and let it absorb all the wate,r about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I mixed the cooking wine, herbs and spices into the ground pork and browned it in a saute pan. Once cooked, I added the celery and shallot, and once that was softened, the green pepper. once the quinoa was cooked, I tossed that together, with a little olive oil, lemon juice, butter and honey as a dressing. On the side, we had halved raw radishes smeared with my homemade ricotta and a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper on top.

The other recipe I liked more.
Quinoa and Chicken Salad
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 cup arugula
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 a pumelo, peeled and broken into fragments

I marinated the chicken with salt, pepper, a dash of cooking wine and some Maggi seasoning, then cooked in a saute pan with just a small bit of oil. Boiled the cubes of sweet potato until a fork pierced it easily. Tossed the chicken, quinoa, pumelo and arugula altogether with a dressing Sawyer made of dijon mustard, live oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and honey.

Delicious AND Healthy

In the middle of the week, we motivated enough to stir outside and check out one of the many temple fairs, known as miao hui that go on during chunjie. We found a temple that I didn’t even know existed right on my way to work. Dongyue temple, smaller than most, which I’m glad, because it was plenty crowded, and Ditan Park, our second choice, would probably have been overwhelming. We bought some overpriced lamb chuanr which would have tasted fine if the middle still weren’t frozen (pre-emptive immodium? perhaps). Sawyer tried his luck at the pellet-rifle balloon popping game (I abstained, didn’t want to make him look bad. Last time I played that game, the only ones who matched my score were a Marine and an Army officer. Whoopsie.) It was quite festive and bright with performances, music, dancing. Also, freezing. While beautifully sunny and not windy, it was still frigid out there.

Dongyue Temple Fair entrance

Sawyer tries his luck shooting balloons

Friday night we met up with Ginny, Bambi and Dina for dinner. We had called Xian Lao Man in advance to find out if they were open. Someone answered the phone, so Sawyer assumed that meant they were open for business. We got to the branch in Gulou, the lights were on, people were inside, and the door was open, but when we went inside we were shooed away and told they were closed.

We walked down Gulou and eventually down Nanluo Guxiang in search of a restaurant that was actually open. Halfway down Nanluoguxiang, suddenly everyone started scattering backwards and this big guy started setting off the largest, loudest fireworks right in the middle of the street. We must have been 30, 40 yards away but somehow some shrapnel managed to hit Bambi right in the face, cutting his lip rather badly. Bleeding and quite livid, he almost started a fight, yelling at the guy for being an idiot. On one hand, it is the culture here, this is their holiday, the holiday where people set off explosives in the middle of the street and no one cares. On the other hand, it was stupid of the guy to set off such a large explosive in a crowded area such as Nanluo which is always packed with people, even during the holidays, and to be a dick about it. We managed to pull Bambi away from starting a brawl, and found a nice Yunan restaurant on an alley north of Gulou. Dinner was pleasant and extremely tasty, notably braised chicken with mint and a dish of assorted braised mushrooms. We ate quite a bit before heading to a friend’s house to play that silly dance-in-front-of-a-screen game that’s quite scary because it knows exactly what you’re doing and we are living in the future and the Singularity is approaching.


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