Vail Daily column: Lucky eating for the New Year
Vail, CO Colorado
With the start of a new year, and directly following the decadent holidays, we relish the idea of getting back to our routines and having a “better” next year. Did you know that certain foods, when eaten on New Years Day, are considered to bring luck in the coming 12 months?
Around the world, folklore would have us believe that we can kick off a new year by eating these lucky foods. In Asia, long noodles eaten on New Year’s Day will promote a long life, so long as a noodle is not broken before it reaches the mouth.
Italy serves lentils, which resemble a pile of coins and plump when cooked to signify growing wealth. Nearby, Turkey associates pomegranates with abundance and fertility in the new year. Spaniards traditionally eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve – one for every strike of the clock and every month in the calendar – to assure a sweet year.
The USA, a global melting pot, has adapted two lucky foods. Pork, thought to have roots in Austrian tradition, is believed to be a symbol of progress and future prosperity. Black-eyed peas have long been a New Years Day staple in the American South because the legumes resemble coins. And Southerners know best that pork and legumes are a perfect match.
Whether southern-style comfort food or a charcuterie platter of assorted pork sausages and pates, create your own tradition of good fortune. Then just add friends, favorite family members and football on TV – a pretty lucky way to start the new year.
Pork green chili
4 pork shoulder blade chops
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups chicken broth
4 tomatillos, peeled and roasted
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
1/2 can (2 ounces) diced jalapenos
4 roma tomatoes,seeded and chopped
Pico de gallo
In a crock pot, place pork, onions, garlic, salt and broth. Bring to boil, then simmer at least eight hours or overnight. Remove chops, pull meat from bones and return to pot. Discard remaining bones and fat. Place tomatoes, chiles, tomatillos and jalapenos in a food processor and pulse briefly, allowing the mixture to remain slightly chunky. Add to crock pot and continue to cook about 30 minutes to blend flavors.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts. Serve hot with garnishes.
Split pea soup
1 ham bone
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
6 cups water
1 pound split peas
2 teaspoons tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
Saute carrots, onions and garlic in vegetable oil 10 minutes. Add tarragon, salt and pepper and cook, stirring 2 minutes. Add 6 cups water and bring to boil. Add ham bone, split peas and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook till peas and potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. Turn heat to low. Remove ham bone and when cool enough to handle, pull all meat from the bone and return to pot. Discard bone. Add sherry and finish cooking for 5 minutes more. Makes 2 quarts.
Classic hoppin’ John
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound dry black-eyed peas
1 pound smoked ham hocks
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper, crushed
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups long-grain rice
parsley, chopped, for garnish
In four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add celery, onion, and red pepper; cook 10 minutes until golden. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Rinse peas with running cold water. Add peas, ham hock, chicken broth, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water to celery mixture; turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes or until peas are tender. In another pot combine rice with water (from package directions) and one teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer till rice is tender and all water is absorbed. When peas are tender, remove meat from hocks and discard bones. In large bowl, gently mix pea mixture and rice. Serve hot. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, (larkspurvail.com) at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American Classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale, (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and features a West Coast inspired, market driven menu.
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