Eat this for a Beautiful New Year!


We’re entering a new decade WHAT?!?!?! I swear that it wasn’t so long ago that everyone was freaking out about Y2K and the disaster that was to ensue from computers not used to having so many zeros to deal with… which of course obviously didn’t happen.  It seems that the older I get the faster time goes … anyone else noticing this phenomenon?  This NYE imma take a chill pill and surround myself with some amazing friends and food … apparently the older I get the more mellow I get … kinda like a fine wine :P .  Chit – chatting about New Years traditions with my friends I found out that everything from grapes to greens and black eyed peas bring luck and prosperity for the New Year.  Below you will find recipes that have black eyed peas, greens, lentils all good luck foods!  This year we come into a new decade on a full moon … a truly auspicious ocassion!  Wishing you all a beautiful New Years Eve and a prosperous New Year!

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It seems like with most things many of these New Years Day traditions are focused on (cue the O’Jays) money money money money money … money! In the south (of America) black eyed peas and greens are a staple.  The black eyed peas symbolize prosperity and the greens … well we all know green is for them dolla bills yo. :P This combination seems to have a long history together.  In the Talmud, which dates back to 500 CE (1500 years ago), it is said that black eyed peas should be eaten with beets or spinach, dates and gourd on New Years day.  Black Eyed Peas are thought to bring prosperity because they swell so much while cooking.  The American association with these lil peas and good luck dates back to the Civil War when a town in Virgina lay under siege and was lucky enough to find the black eyed beauties for food. On the Comida Page you can find recipes for Bharazi (Black Eyed Peas and Coconut Curry), Acaraje (Brazilian Black Eyed Pea Fritters) and cause we all know you want that money there is a Wilted Spinach Salad for you to chow down on!

Across the Atlantic the Japanese take a different approach to New Years cuisine.  For them long life and good luck are the things to hope for in the New Year.  Soba noodles are the traditional food eaten on this day and if you eat a whole noodle without breaking it you are supposed to be blessed with a long and fruitful year. Check out this page for an authentic and delish Soba noodle soup.

Because I’m a food nerd I talk about it with all my friends.  I heard about the black eyed peas from Jay, the greens from Talib and my friend Moe told me about grapes.  Apparently in Spain at the stroke of midnight folks eat 12 grapes, one for each month.  If you get a sour grape watch out … that month is sure to be trying.  And since Spain colonized much of the Americas this tradition is found prevalent in those countries as well.

Brazil however likes to be independent.  In the land of fun and sun lentils are an auspicious New Years food.  The lentils resemble coins and money so check out the recipe for Arroz con Coco y Lentajes on the Comida page to call forth a money filled new year.  And in Israel Pomegranates are said to bring forth lots of abundance because of their many seeds.  For a great salad recipe with pomegranates in it head on over to Mama Nes’s blog!

BEWARE there are some foods to stay away from on New Years day! Chicken is supposed to bring bad luck because they scratch at food backwards … symbolizing movement in the wrong directions … so for all those el Pollo Loco Fans out there … take a day off.  And no fancy Lobster dinners either … or Sizzler for that matter … Lobsters swim backwards and also represent movement in the wrong direction … Save your schnazzy lobster date for valentines folks :P

Weather it be money, prosperity, abundance or a long life you are looking for have a beautiful New Year and eat up!

<——- For More Information ——->

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods

http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/7-lucky-new-years-foods/article115154-6.html#slide

http://www.foodtimeline.org/newyear.html

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Bharazi & Mandazi (Black Eyed Pea Curry)

A gang of Barazi!

Bharazi – Another black eyed pea dish for a prosperous life this recipe comes to you live and direct from my mum.  Its a traditional Indian dish that comes from Nairobi … mixing the best of India and Africa all in your mouth :P .  It’s usually eaten with Mandazi (the recipe is included) but if you like to keep it simple like me … just add rice!

(Note:  my scanner died resulting in plain old type format :( )

Bharazi:

1 can black eyed peas drained
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1/2 small tomato finaly chopped

1 tblsp oil
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/2 tblsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
dash tumeric, salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Fry onions in oil until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook while stirring for 2 min. Add garlic.
Add all remaining ingredients except cilanto, and bring to gentle boil while stirring occassionally. Reduce heat and simmer
for 15 min. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Add little hot water if needed.

Mandazi – regular recipe

4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup margarine – melted and cooled
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp cardamom seeds fresh ground
2 packets instant yeast
1/2 can coconut milk
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c lukewarm water. Add pinch sugar and flour and allow to sit for 15 min
Mix all dry ingredients. Add margarine. Add yeast mixture and bid dough with coconut milk.
roll dough into ball, spray with Pam and leave in a covered ball in a wam place overnight
Divide dough into 4 balls. Roll out into a crcle to a  1/4 inch thickness. Cut into  6-8 wedges.
Deep fry on medium to low heat until puffed and golden brown on both sides
Instant recipe:
3 c flour
1 c sugar
2 1/2 tblsp oil
3/4 to 1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp fresh ground cardamom seeds
Oil for frying
Mix all dry ingredients
Add oil and coconut milk and bind dough
Allow to sit in a warm place for half hour
Divide into 7 equal portions
Roll each portion to 6 inch circle. Let circle rest for 1 min and then cur into quarters
Fill wok 3/4 full with oil
Deep fry on medium heat until golden brown

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Acaraje (Brazilian Falafel)

Acaraje  - This Brazilian take on falafel uses black eyed peas which symbolize prosperity.

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Arroz con Coco y Lentejas

Arroz con Coco y Lentaje- Call some moolah to yourself with this dish from Colombia.  The lentils symbolize coins so me thinks the more you use the more u get?!?!?!

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The Truth Behind Thanksgiving

So I was born on thanksgiving day … my mom always tells me of crisp cool air and cloudless sky’s that ushered in my birth.   My cousin was born a week before me and another family friend the day before me which meant that Thanksgiving meals in my family were always about celebrating us …   The whole pilgrims and Indians story …  not so much … thanksgiving was always about me me me!!  This year I decided to take some time and learn about the real story of thanksgiving … and it made me wanna puke!! I was born on this day, the day that honors the killing of hundreds of Native American peoples … really?!?!?  In order to restore balance to this day I wanted to shed light on the real thanksgiving … below you will find some facts about the real history of thanksgiving … or “thankstaking” as some of my friends say.  You will also find some veggie and vegan holiday recipes to soothe the soul. Give thanks family, for the beauty that surrounds us, those that have fought for us in the past and the future that we are creating.

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That happy image of pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a table to share a lovely meal on Thanksgiving … its a FAKE!  The Thanksgiving we celebrate on the last Thursday of November was actually just a random date chosen by Abe Lincoln in 1863.  So where did this idea of Thanksgiving come from?!?! The first “Thanksgiving”  meal in 1621 was no fairy tale story, in actuality the Pilgrims who had a miserable crop that year invited an Indian named Massaosit to their meal.  Massaosit followed the Indian tradition of equal sharing and invited many tribe members.  Much of the food brought to that meal was provided by the Indians as they had much more of a bountiful harvest that year.  This first meal was in essence the beginning of the end.  In 1637 members of the Pequot tribe gathered to celebrate the Green Corn Festival.  700 men women and children came together to celebrate and as they were sleeping in the hours just before the sun rose the English Pilgrims surrounded and massacred all of them, shooting and beating those that confronted them and burning the rest.  The next day the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony declared a day of “Thanksgiving” and celebrated the killing of the Pequot Indians.  Pilgrims fed of the momentum of their victory and continued to slaughter Indian men, women and children.  A second “Thanksgiving Feast” was had after another massacre of the Pequot Indians in Stamford, Connecticut.   As history has it there were more and more Indian killings and more and more “Thanksgiving” festivals eventually culminating in the Nationwide “Thanksgiving Day” that we still celebrate.  Looks can be deceiving and words even more so, while “Thanksgiving Day” is currently a day in which we gather as families to consume massive amounts of food and watch football it was originally a day in which English colonizers celebrated the killing and eradication of Indigenous Peoples.  Take a moment to remember the real reason behind this day, remember those that were here before.  Honor the loved ones we are surrounded by and fight for a better tomorrow. 

<——- For More Information ——->

http://www.danielnpaul.com/TheRealThanksgiving.html

http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

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Cranberry Port and Cream Cheese Crostini –

I struggle with being banished to the kitchen every time i throw a dinner party, thats why I love the hands on aspect to this dish! Keep it DIY and let the guests help themselves, allowing you to be the best host you can be!

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Honey & Ginger Roasted Root Veggies –

This dish looks as good as it tastes but beware of the beets…they make a bloody mess! Peeling them can be tricky…I found that the best way was to take a paring knife and just cut off the skins.

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