Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Recipes From Around the World

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

We've covered black-eyed peas as a Southern tradition in the U.S., but Catherine, The Herb Lady dropped me a line to suggest that if you don't want to use a ham hock you can used a smoked turkey wing or leg instead to flavor the peas. You can also use a piece of ham from a boneless ham. The ends are great to freeze and save for this. Actually, any "smoked" meat will add flavor. Vegetarians can leave out the meat all-together and add some extra herbs for flavor.

There are many neat traditions around the world for New Years. One, that is observed in Cuba, Spain, and many other countries is the practice of eating one grape each time the clock chimes at midnight. 12 grapes for the 12 chimes---

I have a non-pork version of a black-eyed pea dish, that is also a healthy side dish! Greens are also considered a good luck dish!

Black-Eyed Peas and Kale

1 1/2 kale or other greens
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
Pinch of dried red pepper or ground black if preferred
2 cups canned, rinsed black-eyed peas
1 Tbsp. wine or herb vinegar

Remove the tough stems from the greens. Chop the leaves into one-inch pieces. Place about two inches of water in a large pot and heat to boiling. Add the kale, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, combine the oil and garlic. Cook the garlic over low heat, stirring, about two minutes. Add the peas and pepper, stirring, about three minutes. Add the kale and stir -then add the vinegar. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6.

In many Italian homes, lentils are eaten just after midnight on New Year's Eve. This custom is suppose to bring money to the person throughout the rest of the year.

Italian Lentils

1 lb. dry lentils
2 carrots, peeled, divided
2 stalks celery, divided
1 large sweet onion, chopped, divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2-3 leaves fresh sage or 1/4 tsp. dried
1/4 cup tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
salt to taste

Wash the lentils and sort. I don't soak them overnight but some people do. I place them on the stove with water to cover, and bring to a boil, then allow them to sit for one hour. Rinse and drain. Put the lentils in a large pan and add a whole carrot, one celery stalk, 1/3 of the onion and salt to taste. Add water to cover all. Bring to a boil and the reduce to a low heat; cover and allow them simmer for about 2 - 3 hours. Check occasionally to see if they are done. Add more water if they start to look dry at any point. About a 30 minutes before they are done, heat a pan with the butter and oil. Add remaining carrot, celery and onion, finely chopped. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes; then add the tomato sauce and two fresh sage leaves. Simmer for about ten minutes. Add them to the lentils and cook together for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

We have a large Dutch population here in Michigan, so I had heard of Olie Bollen after living here for 20 years. They are small round doughnuts or "fat balls" that vary with the cook. Sometimes raisins, currents or other dried fruit are added. These are served on New Year's Eve.

Olie Bollen

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk, warmed
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 pound raisins, soaked overnight
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the water and allow to stand in warm place for 30 minutes. Combine eggs, milk, corn syrup, raisins and yeast mixture in large bowl. Sift flour and salt into mixture and mix well for a few minutes. It should be firm enough to fall from the spoon in a ball shape. Either add more water or flour depending on dough. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Drop by tablespoonful into hot, preheated grease. (Same temp. as for French Fries)Fry until browned.

More New Year's traditions from around the world on OFL:

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