Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Year of the Tiger! Warren and I were privileged to be Yuan's guests today on the first day of the Chinese New Year. She cooked up a feast, in the spirit of the traditional festive 15-day holiday.

Yuan tells us that in China celebrations begin with gatherings on New Year's Eve, when family and friends come together to eat, drink, and set off fireworks to scare away the evil spirits of the past so that good fortune can enter anew. Her best memories of the holidays involve the family get-togethers, when her mother, father, and sister would work together, while talking and laughing, to make dishes like dumplings. Her worst memories of the Chinese New Year? The massive crowds and traffic jams that make our Thanksgiving travel crunch look like a cakewalk.

Yuan spirited up a menu including:
 • Eight (Plus) Treasure Soup with fresh tofu, fried tofu, fish balls, shrimp balls, enoki mushrooms, white beach mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, fresh Chinese mountain yam, and bamboo shoot • Stir-fried lotus root with green onion, ginger, and chili pepper
 • Fluffy red-tinged rice made from a variety of different kinds of rice grains mixed together
 • An exotic mixture of peanuts and small dried fish—surprisingly, the salty fish complemented the peanuts perfectly
 • A dessert of purple yam biscuits (for the recipe, see the January 18 blog entry) and sticky sweet rice and taro cakes, somewhat reminiscent of Japanese mochi.

It was an auspicious and delicious start to the chapter that lies ahead.

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