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Thursday, January 1, 2009

What is traditional to ring in a New Year?

I don't know if the regular New Year carries any particular kind of tradition in food. Certainly, we can borrow, for example, the celebratory foods of the lunar calendars, be they Chinese or Jewish, but a cursory glance at the solar New Year mostly focuses on drinking rather than eating, champagne for toasting being the focus. In the South of the US, I learned about the tradition of eating black eyed peas and cornbread for the New Year, although the meaning and significance escapes me at the moment.

Here, in the Western Casa McBardo, we rang in the New Year in grand style, preparing a "tapas" style meal in rolling form. As planned, we did small dishes, but also cooked and served them a la minute, as people finished up the prior dish, and kept on drinking. I wish I had the foresight to photograph the different things we prepared, but here's a listing of the different dishes we did:

Greg's home made bacon made its way in several applications. First, we made bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. That was very well received. Then, chicken in fermented black beans and szechuan pepper corns, with silken tofu and roasted Okinawa purple sweet potatoes. Then mushroom "scallops" - seared Korean "king oyster" mushrooms. Then a batch of spanakopita - little pockets of phyllo stuffed wth spinach and feta. Pied de cochon - pig's feet with caramelized onions and fleur de sel. A loaf of pepperoni cheese bread with marinara sauce made it's rounds. Pao de quiejo - South American tapioca cheese breads. Sauteed maitake and hojimeshi mushrooms on bread rounds. A custom take on turon - ripe burro plantains cooked with gula jawa (palm sugar), wrapped in spring roll pastry and baked to make crispy pies. And dessert - sabayon with broiled blackberries.

I'm pretty sure I am missing a course or two in there.

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