Before last November I had never celebrated Thanksgiving, but when a couple of American students on our campus started organizing a dinner, I knew I wanted to join. Since we’re in China and Chinese people also don’t do traditional Thanksgiving dinners, the guys thought of something to replace the turkey with; so instead of turkey we had a whole roasted goat, hence Thanksgoating.
The dinner took place at a restaurant that is specialized in Xinjiang (province in the northwest of China) cuisine. First we had some normal Xinjiang dishes – one of my favorite Chinese cuisines by the way – and after that one of the men working at the restaurant got all our attention when he walked in with the goat, roasted in one piece. The goat was first placed at the table, so everyone could gaze at it and take pictures, then it got placed on a different table and was cut it into pieces.
Some people might find it disturbing to roast an animal in one piece and eat it like this, but I actually think it is one of the best ways to do it. So often we get disconnected from our meat, by buying it in pre-cut pieces in the supermarket, that we forget that there has been an animal slaughtered for us to eat it. I would say that it is more respectful towards the animal to eat it like this and seeing where the meat is coming from, than buying it in the supermarket and avoiding to think about its origins.
Anyway, my first Thanksgiving dinner was quite spectacular and a lot of fun (maybe the beer helped a little bit). And even though goat meat turned out not to be my favorite, the flavor is a bit too strong for my taste, it was such an incredibly cool experience.
Note: pictures are not taken by me.
You might have noticed that I’m a bit homesick; to me this means that I’m missing my friends and family, but also my kitchen. Of course I’m still enjoying my time in Beijing, but I can’t help myself longing to get busy in the kitchen. Probably the first thing that I’ll be making is a decent sandwich, like this mozzarella and prosciutto one. But for now I’ll just have to suck it up and give you lucky people with your easy access to crispy loads and various kinds of cheeses and cured meats the recipe (not that there’s a recipe needed to make a simple sandwich).
What do you do when you’re homesick, but you still have 5 more months to go?
You buy a way too expensive (but really good) cookbook and an apple pastry :).
Yesterday was one of the clearest days in weeks, so we went to the Central TV Tower which has one of the best views over Beijing. Looking at the city from that height and seeing all the small buildings that are normally so big was very nice and in a strange way also comforting. Because we got there at the end of the afternoon, we were lucky to first have a clear view in daylight and afterwards we could see the sunset and all the lights getting turned on.
Most of the meat dishes I make are slow-cook recipes, cause if you are able to mess up meat that has been simmering with fragrant spices for hours and hours you should just stay out of the kitchen anyway. When I reorganized my Recipe Index last week I noticed that, except for a high amount of chocolate recipes, I’ve only posted one beef recipe and that one is, of course, a stew. But here’s finally a meat dish that does involve beef and no slow-cooking. This black pepper beef is not spicy, but the black pepper does gives a nice kick to it. It’s really easy to make and really hard to mess up, just make sure that you slice the meat very thinly and that you only stir-fry it for 2-3 minutes in total max.
For the last two months, my daily breakfast and lunch consisted out of the same kind of steamed dumplings – I’m on a varied diet, can you tell? Do I still love them? Yes. Do I think that having about 120 (of the same) dumpling meals in two months is gross? Yes. But no judgement please, it already sucks that I have to take a shower and get dressed before I can get any breakfast, you can’t expect me to walk 15 minutes in the cold as well, right?
The recipe I post today are not the same dumplings, but you might still want to eat them for breakfast and lunch on the same day. Half of them were steamed, half of them were pan-fried. I wasn’t a big fan of the fillings, as they included fennel – which apparently I don’t like – and I prefer a more meatier filling; the more meat, the merrier. The dumplings were delicious nevertheless, but if you want to try a different filling, be my guest and let me know how it worked out.