Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox

Every Chinese New Year, I call my parents to wish them a "Gung Hay Fat Choy" but that's usually the extent of my celebration. This year, I thought I'd try something different and follow a few of the traditions. Leading up to New Year's Day, you're supposed to give your home a thorough cleaning to sweep away last year's bad luck and bring in the good, so guess what I did all day? My hours of scrubbing better translate into loads of luck!

The biggest event on Chinese New Year's Eve is dinner and many symbolic foods are served. I invited my friend Marisa to join me. Typically the meal centers around a whole fish, which symbolizes togetherness and abundance. Chicken should also be presented whole to signify completeness. Noodles should be left uncut to represent long life. Oranges symbolize wealth and good fortune, as China's most plentiful fruit.

My dinner incorporated these traditions but the thought of gutting the fish and cooking the chicken with head, tail and feet attached...ewwww! Traditions are great but hey I'm a modern gal. Instead, I made filet of rockfish with black bean sauce on a bed of bok choy and stir-fried Shanghai noodles with chicken breast and veggies. (I didn't cut the noodles! Hooray for longevity!)

For dessert, we naturally had ice cream (a scoop of the vanilla bean that I made last week) with fresh mango and we drizzled my prized possession from Nicaragua, Flor de Cana rum that's been aged for 12 years, over top. Oh my, it was a delicious combination.

Thanks Marisa for sharing this celebration with me and being my first friend to sample my ice cream. And here's to a happy and prosperous year of the Ox to you all!