Friday, December 30, 2011

Lucky Foods for the New Year

Being "Mainers" we have a special love for lobster and enjoy it as often as possible, except for one day; New Years Day.  Did you know that it is actually considered unlucky to eat lobster for New Years?  I guess we can survive only enjoying it 364 days a year.  A lobster crawls backwards, and for the new year the last thing you want to do is move backwards, which is why it is considered an unlucky food for the new year.  Another unlucky food?  Chicken.  Although a chicken moves forward, they scratch backwards, also symbolizing a move in the wrong direction for the new year.

A few lucky foods for the New Year are;

Black-Eyed Peas
Considered lucky since the Civil War, Black-Eyed Peas symbolize prosperity.

Greens, in the form of lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, etc, symbolize money.  Greens should be eaten on New Years eve, meaning luck with money in the upcoming year.

Pigs, unlike lobsters, move forward, constantly sniffing the ground looking for what is ahead of them.  Pigs symbolize moving forward in the upcoming year.

We think any day you get to eat cake is a lucky one, but especially on the new year.  Traditionally, ring-shaped cakes (such as a bundt cake) symbolize wholeness and  completion.  Often, a small trinket or token is baked inside the cake and the person who gets that slice will receive an extra dose of good luck in the upcoming year.

So as you prepare your New Year's menu, be sure to include some of these "Lucky Foods"

Tenderloin of Pork with Beet Greens

Using both pork and greens, this dish will bring you a double dose of luck in 2012!

  • 2 tenderloins of pork (approximately 1-1.25 pounds each)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup Cognac, wine or apple juice
  • 3/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Fig & Ginger Jam or Roasted Garlic Onion Jam
  • 1/2 pound beet greens (approximately 4 cups, tightly packed)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to coat pan)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat pan.  Salt and pepper the tenderloin and then sear 3-4 minutes per side until all sides are browned.  Transfer to an oven-proof dish and add 1/2 cup of the stock.  Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes, until pork is slightly firm to the touch, registering 150 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  3. While pork is baking, return saute pan to medium heat and add Cognac to deglaze pan.  Add remaining 1 cup stock to pan and reduce by half.  Add jam and reduce to sauce consistency.  Transfer sauce to a bowl.
  4. Remove pork from the oven, and pour the pan juices into the sauce.  On medium heat, saute the beet greens until slightly wilted.
  5. Plate greens, top with pork that has been cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and drizzle with sauce.
Caramel Apple Butter Bundt Cake

Enjoy this lucky cake for breakfast or dessert!


Cake Batter:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan
  3. In a small bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients, set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add eggs to butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
  7. Alternately, add dry ingredients and sour cream into the resulting egg mixture, beating until smooth.
  8. Measure 1/2 cup batter and add to filling mixture.
  9. Pour just over 1/2 of the batter into the pan.
  10. Make a 1" trough in the center of the batter all the way around the pan.
  11. Spread filling through.
  12. Cover with remaining cake batter.  Smooth around top, so the filling is completely covered.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wishing you lots of luck in the year to come!

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