All posts tagged: New Years Eve

New-Years

10 New Year’s Food Traditions from around the World

Before the confetti and the fireworks glitter through our skies, our global neighbors teach that we must first take a little time to dream. You see, if we imagine our futures as bright and as shiny and as real as the stars above us, we come that much closer to realizing our dreams. It’s called positive thinking. And all around the world, people accomplish this through a brilliant collection of New Year’s food traditions. These food traditions aren’t just another nice meal with a game attached; they’re a way to represent everything we want for ourselves and our loved ones. When we eat symbolic meals, it’s the best kind of positive thinking (hello, happy tummies and hearts). Here are my favorite New Year’s food traditions from around the world, with recipes pulled from our archives. Try one this year to make your very own Global New Year. 1. “RING” in the New Year Rings are a symbol both of continuous love and of “coming full circle.” Any food made in a ring shape is a great choice to celebrate …

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Wassail

The question is not whether I’d sing to an apple tree, but rather where I can find an apple tree to sing to. My Oklahoman neighborhood just doesn’t deliver the crimson fruit. Regardless, I will tipple this wassail with a cheer (wassail literally means “wes hail”, or good cheer)- after all in 2014 I’m learning about celebrations around the world, a suitable follow-up to completing our first adventure: eating one meal for every country in the world. January is all about wassailing. What is wassailing? Wassailing is the Southern English art – yes, art – of cooking up some of last year’s apple crop with cider – sometimes with a flush of orange peel, warm cinnamon stick, flecks of nutmeg, or maybe allspice. To make it… just… Roast some apples. Click on the burner and clank on a pot of cider and spice. In a moment, heat shimmers through the pot and those first bubbles pop the surface. Seconds later, sweet apple and spice billows through the house. The roasted apples are whipped into a froth, then stirred to …

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Senegal’s Black-eyed Pea Salad | Saladu Ñebbe

This New Year, I’m making room for sunlight to lay across the floor. No more discarded shoes to trip over. No more stacks of books or useless tchotchkes. Senegal inspired me. I saw photo after photo of her beautiful waters… vast expanses where sunlight runs free, unhampered by clutter. Less stuff in general, with more of the right stuff – friendship, laughter, love. This is how I want my home and my life to be.  I want to eat fresh and right. I want sunlight in my body. There’s nothing like starting the New Year with Black-eyed Peas in a crisp, cheerful salad, loaded up with all of her favorite friends: tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs. Coincidentally, the mild, tender bean (it’s not really a pea) is a Senegalese staple. You can find salads like this in restaurants along the coastal cities, either dressed simply with fresh lime juice, or coated thickly with a French dressing inspired mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. Some will serve the beans spicy with minced habenero, while others keep it mild. …

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New-Years

10 New Year’s Food Traditions from around the World

Before the confetti and the fireworks of 2013 glitter through our skies, our global neighbors teach that we must first take a little time to dream. You see, if we imagine our futures as bright and as shiny and as real as the stars above us, we come that much closer to realizing our dreams. It’s called positive thinking. And all around the world, people accomplish this through a brilliant collection of New Year’s food traditions. These food traditions aren’t just another nice meal with a game attached; they’re a way to represent everything we want for ourselves and our loved ones. When we eat symbolic meals, it’s the best kind of positive thinking (hello, happy tummies and hearts). Here are my favorite New Year’s food traditions from around the world, with recipes pulled from our archives. Try one this year to make your very own Global New Year. 1. “RING” in the New Year Rings are a symbol both of continuous love and of “coming full circle.” Any food made in a ring shape is a great choice …

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Russian Potato Salad | Olivier Salad

Winter doesn’t just bite in Russia. It eats you alive. In the far east of this great nation, temperatures can actually drop to -95F. In the west, things are nearly so dire – winter might only drop to -22F (!), with occasional warm spurts in past years reaching 50F. 50F isn’t so bad. But the rest? Yikes. By the time New Year’s Eve comes, Russians are ready to break up the monotony with a blast of soul-warming comfort food. Major. Everyone tells me New Year’s Eve in Russia wouldn’t be complete without a scoop of Olivier Salad (and the same goes for weddings, Christmas, and just about any other festive occasion). It’s the “go to.” And by New Year’s Eve, I mean both of them. There’s the classic December 31/January 1 New Year’s Eve. Then, two weeks later is round two, a.k.a. “Old New Year’s Eve” on January 14th, which hails from the Orthodox calendar. P.S. Between the two? Russian Christmas falls on January 6th. Don’t think of it as complicated. Think of it as …

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Dill & Lemon Pepper Gravlax | Gravlaks

I can be so wimpy. Sometimes I need a little push. A little motivation. Like that time I wanted to dive off the tall board at the pool. It was seventh grade and I was so scared my heart was in my ears. Thump, thump, thump. I could hardly see. Even my knees were woozy. I held hands with a friend and, after a thirty-minute long giggle-hesitation, I actually jumped in. Unfortunately, the force of jumping 15 feet did things to my bathing suit I still don’t want to talk about. I never did jump off that board again, although I’ll always be glad I did. Today is much the same. Gravlax, our second Norwegian dish for our Global Table. The very idea of eating made me weak in the knees. (Tip: Invite a Scandinavian friend over to help get you over those giggle-hesitations). Gravlax is cured salmon, a.k.a. raw salmon that sits in a bed of sugar and salt for three days or until firm and ready to eat. The flavor is typically enhanced with …

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Lithuanian Honey Spirits | Krupnikas

The holidays are over. We stuffed our wrapping paper back into the closet and swept the confetti into the trash, right on top of the party hats that say 2012. The cookies and the friendly buffets of family favorites are long since gone, replaced by soulless detoxes and way-too-skinny drinks. I know some of us are even thinking about spring – scanning the frozen ground, vainly hoping to see some stray spot of green, willing a warm gust of air to come our way, instead of a moveable wall of ice. But can we just… pause for a second, in the interest of good planning? Would you be very mad if I asked you to make a few presents for next year? Right… now? Hear me out. They say Lithuania has the largest collection of amber in the world – known as the gold of the baltics – but I uncovered a far more enticing “gold” in their liquor cabinets: Krupnikas, or Honey Spirits. This boozy drink tastes like heaven on fire – a sweet, fragrant blend that …

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Happy-New-Year

Globally inspired New Year’s Drinks for your every mood

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’m moody. Some years I want to stay up all night, partying with all the time zones, the whole world over. Some years I am so tired I can’t even stay up to watch the ball drop on TV.  More often than not, I’m snoring by 10 p.m. The nice thing about cooking the world is learning that there is most definitely a drink for every mood, no matter what time you drink it – no matter if you’re in a crowd or totally (and happily) alone. So, come along, no matter how you feel, or how you celebrate – let’s get moody this New Year’s … with a global drink from the far corners of the world, just right for where you are right now. Mood #1: The Homebody Feeling sick? Tired? Needing to curl up in a comforter and watch the ball drop from your living room? Try Hot Honey Lemon Vodka from Kyrgyzstan. You’ll be cozy as a clam and happy to boot. Plus the warm drink will …

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Black eyed peas in red sauce | Red Red

Serves 4-6 Have you always wanted to dye your hair red, but have never had the courage? Do the next best thing – cozy up to a bowl of west-African “Red Red.” Ginger people look dull in comparison to this electric one pot wonder. The bright red color comes from the addition of shockingly excessive amounts of red palm oil – up to one cup for three cups of beans in some recipes. Traditional recipes include so much oil that a red ring forms around the base of the beans. I’ve been fairly modest with my addition for health reasons and because I find the flavor of red palm oil quite strong. Play around with it – start with 1/8 cup, and add more at the end of cooking until you like the taste. Ingredients: 1/4 cup red palm oil (or more to taste) 1 small onion, chopped 1 poblano, chopped (or your favorite hot pepper) 5 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed 1 tsp curry powder 2 15 oz cans black eyed peas , drained 1 …

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German Tree Cake | Baumtorte / Baumkuchen

This is my favorite cake. All 21 layers of it. It has been since my mitten-wearing years. My mom used this intricately layered almond and chocolate cake as an activity for us kids – something to keep us busy on rainy mornings, when crayons had lost their interest. It is single-handedly responsible for my obsession with almond paste (and it’s sweeter counterpart, marzipan). The original recipe might as well be called “the dance of dirty bowls.” I took a hacksaw to the method, removing five extra bowls. Your baby soft hands will thank you. The best part? No cake goodness was harmed in the streamlining of this recipe. NOTE: You need two days to make this cake because the cake needs to chill in the fridge overnight. Serves 12 Ingredients: All ingredients should be room temperature 1 1/2 cups almond paste, tightly packed (12 oz) 6 Tbsp half & half 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tbsp), softened 1 cup sugar 10 eggs, separated (put the whites in a bowl big enough to whip them up to …

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Drink your way around the world this New Year’s Eve

A little bonus post, in honor of New Year’s Eve… Global Table-style! My party days are long over (unless you count staying up all night with a sick baby). Still, I appreciate a good drink on a special occasion. When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’m in bed long before the ball drops – I don’t even stay up to watch it on TV (I don’t have one). Last year I went to bed at 10pm. I’m aware that I’m developing elderly tendencies a little too soon. I’m aware that I’m incredibly unhip. But my cushy, cozy, amaaaazing bed is just too tempting, especially when my eyelids are drooping. And, for what it’s worth, Mr. Picky agrees. Whether you are a big drinker or not, New Year’s Eve is a great excuse to educate yourself about international customs and try something new. I’ve run across several tasty drinks on my culinary tour of the world; here’s a quick rundown of some beverages you might try this New Year’s Eve (whatever you do… please, please, please, be …

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Pureed Black-eyed Peas

Serves 4 Benin’s Pureed Black-eyed peas are smooth and creamy thanks to peeling the beans. If you do not have the patience for peeling the beans, use a food mill or omit the step all-together. The resulting mash is rich and flavorful, but it looks a lot like mashed potatoes so you might give unsuspecting guests a heads-up. Ingredients: 2 cups dried black-eyed peas salt pepper 1 stick butter Method: 1. Soak beans overnight in cool water. Drain the beans and slip the skins off. For detailed explanation see Technique Thursday: Peeling Beans. 2. Cover beans with about an inch of water and simmer for about 15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering until tender. 4. Drain liquid off and puree. I used an immersion blender. You could use a ricer, food processor, blender, or a large mortar and pestle. 5. Throw in a stick of butter and beat it in with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look like thick mashed potatoes. 12345 Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate …

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