Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat

Happy New Year! For those who celebrate the Lunar/Chinese New Year, I think the year of the Rat will be awesome. I sort of celebrate it. I do not really know any of the traditions or any of the things one is supposed to do during this time; maybe pay respects to our elders? Back when I was a kid (and you know your life is on a down turn when you can start using that phrase. le sigh), I would get red envelopes or ‘hong bao’ (Mandarin) and it would be filled with money. And when you are a kid, money was special because it was not counted as taxable income by Uncle Sam. Why use money to build roads and schools and fund a ridiculous war when you can just use it to buy…. candy? I did not have candy last night, but I did have a great New Years Eve Dinner.

Fish is supposed to be a staple dish for New Years feasts because it will bring abundance and togetherness. (I do not actually know that to be true, but it sounds good to me and it is on the interwebs therefore it is true). Basically I went to Chinatown and had no idea what to buy or how to buy a fresh fish therefore I went with the idea of, “not too cheap, not too expensive.” And supposedly you do not want a fish that smells? Or has cloudy eyes? And I saw one woman look at the gills of the fish to determine freshness. So I copied her actions and had no idea what to look for but the gills looked fine so I picked it. As you can tell, I am very scientific and precise.

All I did to the fish was salt it and stuff it with a green onion and some ginger because steaming it sounded like a great idea. It was too bad I lacked an apparatus to steam the fish, therefore it ended up in a pan with hot oil. Still good.

There were also these beef ribs that I had no idea what to do with and it ended up in a different pan with soy sauce, onions, and some chili paste. The thing I learned was not to start a dish an hour before dinner without a clear idea of what to do with it.

Oh and then I sauteed pea shoots because they are the most awesome green leafy vegetables around. Watercress and spinach are good too except the former is long and unwieldy in the pan and the latter always has dirty in it.

Barbara and Jen came over too and brought turnip cake, vegetables, shrimp, and soup. And then my sister made some squid. And there was too much food. And wow, this post really really sucks.

Chinese New Years eve dinner is great when you are with family and friends, and American Idol is on TV. If you want to do it up with tradition, that is how you should do it too. You can substitute American Idol with Project Runway too, if that makes you feel more Chinese.

And in yet another episode of checking in my man card… At some point during dinner, somehow Sex and The City came up. There were four of us at the table, three females and me. My sister asked, “When does the movie come out?” She probably expected one of the other females at the table to answer. Of course neither Barbara nor Jen answered and I blurted out, “May 30th”

It just goes to show that next time when I know the answer to a very unmanly question, just shut up. But in my defense, those posters are EVERYWHERE. Yea that is it, that is my excuse…