Between Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, and Mardi Gras, I've definitely had my fill of holidays over the past couple days! First off, happy New Year to all those on the lunar calendar and a special shout-out to all the other Tiger zodiacs out there!
As kids, we definitely used to make a bigger deal out of Chinese New Year, doing a lot more of the traditional activities a family does and getting our little red money envelopes at the end of the evening. However, we still honor the most important part of the day though: getting together as a family to celebrate over a big meal. We had a wonderful dinner with all of the many extensions of my Chinese family that live in the area, now uniting four generations under one roof! Though I didn't have most of the meal because it wasn't raw (I made a big salad for the veggie eaters), I still loved to share in the experience of the big traditional Chinese hot pot (which is actually your perfectly balanced meal of proteins, starches, veggies, and mushrooms when you think about it). Communal food just makes for the best food, and I did crack on a couple pieces of boiled taro and broccoli though because they are just so tasty!
The hot pot is actually a great meal to have for New Year because it's made up of a lot of little dishes, and the large number of dishes (usually 8 or 9) eaten on Chinese New Year symbolizing prosperity and longevity. It also includes noodles which are also stereotypically eaten to symbolize longevity.
We finished off the meal with nian gao (literally 'year cake') and a chinese red bean rice cake (basically a cake made of glutinous rice flour with a layer of sweet red bean paste in the middle... this used to be one of my specialities!) and oranges (to symbolize wholeness).
Holidays aside, the raw oatmeal raisin cookie recipe I promised is still not posted, I know. I wasn't 100% happy with the measurements I took off of my most recent batch so I'm going to tweak with those just a bit and get back to you when I have a no-fail recipe that has actually been measured. They were awfully pretty and really tasty though, but not right enough for me to share just yet! This is what happens when you just cook by feel... it's hard to get something written down to share with others. You can't exactly write up a cookbook that says 'do what feels right!' Though I'd be awfully tempted to try and publish one.
Also, I attempted another one of Alissa Cohen's recipes for dinner tonight: her carrot pecan burger on a raw bun with jicama fries. It was pretty tasty and sure looked authentic! Not my absolute favourite like her pizza or eggplant parmesan recipes, but still an awesome attempt at a burger! The bun even got soft like those white burger buns when you fill them up with too much ketchup and mustard. I had mine with romaine lettuce, and a couple slices of tomato and cucumber.
Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and as I've maintained my whole life thanks to the French Catholic half of my upbringing, I intend on making a big deal out of it, crêpes and all! But more on that tomorrow...
Workout of the day: Legs and Abs when you're a little short on time