This weeks inspiration is all about RED.
Bold. Daring. Sexy. Passionate. Loud. Strong. RED!
Its February and that means Valentines Day is just around the corner. Everything is coming up RED, including my cheeks from the freezing rain and wind in Brooklyn. So you are sitting all smug in your chair saying “well duh, of course your theme is RED this week Heather. Every food blogger in this country is going to be throwing their heart-felt, romantic recipes at us for the next two weeks”. Am I right? You are so clever and absolutely, totally….
I chose RED for this week because on February 3rd Chinese New Year begins. Now you are feeling smug again and saying “so what, big deal…I am not chinese (well maybe you are), or I don’t live in China, what does that have to do with me?”
The answer is Nothing. Unless you are me, or countless others who do business in China. I am already seeing RED because for the next three weeks not one email will be returned, not one product will get made, not one shipment will leave a factory and not one care will be had about that in China! I will however receive dozens of flash happy emails of exploding fireworks and dragons and chinese symbols wishing me a very happy New Year. Yay.
So…if you can’t be ’em…join em! We are going to celebrate the Lunar New Year and our own inner Chinese animal. It’s the Year of the Rabbit. Yum. I love rabbit. Roasted, Braised, Grilled…oh sorry I forgot myself for a second. Yes, year of the rabbit – Xin Mao. What is your chinese horoscope animal? I am a water Rat. Hey, I didn’t pick it ok.
So why do we always associate China with Red? Of course the color is on their flag but it goes beyond that right? Here’s the schtick – RED, the symbol of Fire, also signifies Good Fortune (Luck) and Joy (Happiness). Luck and Happiness. Sounds good to me. There is actually a tradition of monetary gift giving in Red Envelopes; and you just thought it was a cute mail order catalog. You might also have heard of the RED EGG. Eggs are the symbol of renewal of life (like in a New Year) and are colored RED for good luck. No, we are not going to dye a bunch of red eggs for the menu this week I promise.
So there ya have it. Since we have all this time on our hands, we might as well throw our own Chinese New Year Dinner Party!
First Course; Ancho rubbed & grilled Beef, Red Leaf Lettuce Wraps
(chilis, lemongrass and green mango salad & a spicy roasted peanut sauce)
Second Course; Szechuan Noodles with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Roasted Red Peppers tossed in Harissa
Third Course; Sichuan Spicy Shrimp on a Mandarin Pancake
Fourth Course; Crispy Duck Breast with a Mole Sauce
Roasted Bok Choy, Eggplant & Garlic Heads
Fifth Course; Homemade Fortune Cookies, of Course! with Jasmine Tea
Happy Chinese New Year!