Happy 2015!

2015.jpgThe New Year is a blank slate, a chance to start over and begin again, and whether that means your diet, your job, or something else, New Year’s Day is the best place to start.

A New Year can mean new luck too, at least if worldwide New Year customs and traditions have anything to do with it. Take Spain for example – it’s customary to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve, one grape for each strike of the clock. Each grape also represents a month in the year, so if, when you’re eating your grapes, the 5th grape is sour, it might mean that May is going to be a bit of a bumpy ride.

Beans are also a symbol for the New Year, and if you eat them you may experience financial rewards. In Italy, a prosperous New Year meal is lentils with sausage eaten just after midnight, but Japan has a group of dishes including one with black beans called osechi-ryori, and they are to be eaten during the first three days of the New Year.

If you’re looking for some good luck recipes to start your New Year off on the right foot, look no further – I’ve got a few great dishes for you to choose from:

Quick Hoppin’ John Souphoppin-john.jpg

Way down south where the kudzu grows, Hoppin’ John Soup is THE thing to eat on New Year’s Day. It’s supposed to bring you a prosperous New Year filled with good luck. I like to make my Hoppin’ John with sausage my parents send me from Saskatchewan, because I think it brings extra good luck to mix the traditional family sausage into the Hoppin’ John. Recipe and photo from Allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

1 pound sage pork sausage
1 (6 ounce) package uncooked long grain
and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet
2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas,
drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with
liquid
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cups water
salt to taste

 

Directions

Crumble sausage into a skillet over medium heat and cook until evenly brown.

In a large pot, mix the cooked sausage, rice mix with seasoning packet, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Season to taste with salt.

Moist and Delicious Cornbreadcornbread.jpg

While you are making your Hoppin’ John, be sure to add a side of corn bread. Corn bread, especially with bits of whole corn mixed in, symbolizes gold. Gold symbolizes wealth and money, so this is one side dish that’s really popular on New Year’s Day down south. Recipe and photo from the Food Network.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl,
mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 
 
 
 
 
Rosca de Reyes
rosca1.jpg

Round or ring shaped cakes are thought to bring good luck to you in the New Year. Depending on where you live, you could bake a round cake like the Greek vasilopita that has a special coin inside. In Mexico, the Rosca de Reyes is a ring shaped holiday cake that’s similar to a fruitcake. Some make it with a special surprise baked in, while others just enjoy it without looking for treasure. Recipe and
photo from inside-mexico.com.
 

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour
1 packet yeast
3/4 cups of sugar
7 eggs
125 grams butter
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
Dash of salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp aniseed
100 grams raisins
1 tsp vanilla
50 grams candied figs
50 grams candied orange
50 grams candied lemon
50 grams candied cherries
50 grams candied citron
1 beaten egg
 

 

Directions

Dissolve the yeast in five tablespoons lukewarm milk.  Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, salt, cinnamon, aniseed, raisins, and vanilla. 

Knead into a ball; grease it with some butter and place near a warm stove until the dough doubles in size. (About 2 1/2 hours)  Meanwhile cut into strips the candied fruit.

Knead, banging it down on the floured tabletop, to make it soft and pliable.  Form the dough into a ring or rosca. 

Place the rosca on a greased baking sheet. Decorate it with the strips of candied fruit. Leave the rosca once more to fluff up again. Brush the rosca with the beaten egg and sprinkle over granulated sugar. 

Bake for 40 minutes at 360° F ( 180°C) in preheated oven.

Just like there is food that brings good luck for the New Year, there are dishes you may not want to serve. Lobster is supposed to bring bad luck because they move backwards, and that could signify you moving backwards. You might not want to eat chicken during the first days of the year either, because they scratch backwards and that may lead to dwelling on the past.

Even if you don’t believe in good luck recipes for the New Year, you should try a few of these good luck recipes, and don’t forget that the New Year is a good time to restock your kitchen shelves too. Take a look at all of the small appliances and kitchen gear on Bestbuy.ca, and check out a few of my favourites:

pretzel-maker.jpg 
Want to make something round or ring shaped for good luck? A pretzel has three rings each, and they taste delicous
cake-keeper.jpg 
Keep your ring shaped cake fresh well into the new year with a cake keeper.
loaf-pan.jpg 
Loaves of cornbread bake up golden brown in a loaf pan