My brother says I hit “Jewish
Lotto”. The love of my life is from Hong Kong and he is an outstanding Chinese culinarian. So no more take out for me!
Of course we eat Chinese cuisine frequently but Chinese New Year is an
extravaganza. Every year, Sam and I host a series of Chinese New Year
“banquets” in our home.
Traditionally speaking, the Chinese New Year is a ten daylong celebration when family and friends come together to celebrate the New Year based on the lunar calendar. Each New Year rotates among the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. We just celebrated year 4715 - the year of the Rooster.
Sam and I are obsessed with entertaining during this time of the year. It is our chance to celebrate Sam’s culture with our family and close friends. We host four separate dinner parties, each from different parts of our lives. First, is our immediate family, followed by close friends, then the following weekend, my kids, nieces and nephews come over, and we wrap up the celebrating with relatives from far away.
When guests arrive, they’re invited to remove their shoes, not only because it’s Chinese tradition, but also because anybody who knows him knows that Sam’s slightly neurotic about dirt in the apartment – aka he’s a clean freak. At the entrance to our foyer, is a massive Cherry Blossom arrangement adorned with red envelopes - the red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is a symbol to ward off evil spirits.
You’ve never had Chinese Food like this before! This year, we started off with Peking Duck, and a duo of homemade kale and shiitake mushroom dumplings and pork and golden chive dumplings. We then flawlessly executed our family style dinner consisting of whole roasted Dorado with scallion, cilantro and fried onion, jumbo shrimp with sautéed long beans, lemongrass sauce, braised lobster tail with Chinese celery, curried boneless chicken thighs, vegetarian mapo tofu, aged New York Strip with snow pea leaves and black bean sauce and last but not least, rack of lamb rubbed with Chinese five spice served with yellow chives. And for dessert – homemade banana ice cream with shredded coconut.
I have to brag a little bit on how gracious of a host Sam is. He is always so thoughtful, not only when it comes to preparation of the food and drink, pairing presentation plate ware with the colors of the food, but also remembering our repeat guests’ preferences. He always knows that when Diane is coming over, we have to be ready with Diet Coke! Off the top of his head, he remembers anybody’s preferences – Amy loves the curried chicken and TJ’s favorite is the beef with black bean sauce.
We’re looking forward to 4716 – year of the Dog. Time to start menu planning!