Take Out at Home – A New Year’s Eve Feast

Proud Chefs

I’ve had a lot of time to sleep this past week, and it shows in how I feel.  I woke up to another gorgeous, sunny and cold day, fed the bunnies, greeted the ducks, who responded with quacks and by pooping on the porch- I really wish they would just say hello from the lawn – and sat down with coffee and a Green Monster Smoothie before I kicked off today’s activities.  Which involves both stacking firewood, and a lot of cooking.

This year, the kids voted again to be home, and for it to be just the four of us.  Their Dad has standing New Year’s Eve plans, and since I don’t care about ball drops or parties all that much, nor do I ever manage to stay awake until Midnight, staying in felt like a great decision.

Like most people, we have always gotten Chinese take out on NYE, but this year we are trying something a little different – we’re making our Asian feast.  Asian food is something I cook a lot of, and we have made most of the items on the list before.   While I expect to do most of the cooking, this is an all-in family affair for us.  Of necessity, planning started a few days earlier, and I started chopping and prepping early in the day.

Here’s our menu:

Beef satay  – a new recipe for us
Paleo scallion pancakes 
Dumplings – while I do often make them from scratch, I can buy equally good ones at HMart, our local Asian grocery store.  So I did.  I’ll post my recipe in a future blog entry.
General Tso’s Chicken
White Rice
Radish Kimchi
Seaweed Salad

Those last twoitems were bought prepared at HMart as well, but Kimchi is on my list of things to learn to make.  Radish Kimchi is typically not spicy, and even the kids really enjoy it.  I like the spicy cabbage version, but we don’t consume enough of it to justify me making any just yet.  Eli once made me Kimchi Pancakes, and while we have plenty on this menu, I need to find a way to work those in again soon.

The symbolism behind our dinner is one of prosperity, celebrating the dawn of another year with a feast full of choices about what to put on our plates. Prosperity means something different to everyone, but for me, it’s not just a monetary thing – it means that we have opportunities to do and  be the things we value most.  Since my belief around what I put into my body, and who and what I surround myself with, has a direct outcome on my well-being, a feast that has both healthy and rich choices is the right balance for luck and good outcomes into the new year.

If Asian food for dinner isn’t your bag, consider trying a menu from Haphazard Homemaker’s 13 Lucky Foods blog post, a nifty collection of traditions from around the world.

This morning, I started with the marinade for the Satay.  The only recipe modification I made is that I used ginger garlic paste instead of dicing ginger and garlic – it’s my little cheat, and it smells soooooo good.

 

I had forgotten to thaw the chicken, so I decided to take an hour off from cooking and enjoy being alone in the house for a bit.  I puttered around a little, did some laundry, and then got back to the kitchen.  Next up was the Paleo Scallion Pancakes.  One thing you will notice if you eat a lot of paleo is the different kinds of flours involved.  This recipe is made with Cassava and Arrowroot flours, and was my first time using either.  I found that I couldn’t roll these quite as thin as regular flour scallion pancakes, and I needed a bit more boiling water to make a good dough (probably 1/3 cup extra) than the recipe, but otherwise it went just like the instructions.

Serve both the scallion pancakes with this dipping sauce.  The great thing about this is that the leftover sauce becomes stir fry sauce:

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine (mirin)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger + 2 cloves garlic minced, or 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
3/4 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix, let stand for 30 minutes, and serve

While I waited for the chicken to thaw enough to cut – I could have thawed it quicker, but I was in no hurry today, New Year’s Eve cooking should be the antithesis of stressful kitchen time, and today definitely fit the bill I prepped the rice cooker and started rolling the pancakes.  Then the kiddos took over, and became master scallion pancake rollers.

The scallion pancakes were amazing.  The chicken was a little salty – I would cut down the soy sauce next time, and same for the satay, but everything was completely delicious.

Happy New Year from our home to yours.