Kitchen Shrink: Fabulous February Foods and Events
Although February is the shortest month of the year (even during a leap year with bonus days), it is packed with exciting events celebrating sports, romance and cultural festivals. It is no coincidence that they all adopt long-standing customs and foods rich in traditions and rituals (sugars and fats as well). So let’s start these celebrations because we have barely 28 days to rejoice.
February roars with “the year of the tiger” as the designated zodiac sign for the Chinese Spring Festival. This Lunar New Year has an extremely powerful charge of Yang energy to meet the challenges ahead. The Years of the Tiger are symbolic of adventure and major change, so let’s harness the energy of this apex predator to slay the pandemic beast and restore health and prosperity for 2022. Traditional Chinese New Year delicacies include shrimp sweet and spicy (or how about a tiger prawn) for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters for all good things to come true, a whole fish to symbolize unity, or a whole chicken for prosperity , and uncut noodles usually served for longevity. So noodle with a chilled buckwheat noodle salad or a lo mein stir-fry with chicken, seafood and a load of veggies ranging from pea pods and mung sprouts to red peppers and broccoli florets for a twist. color and an antioxidant punch.
Tigers to Bengals and Rams – Super Bowl LVI kicks off this year in the City of Angels at the brand new SoFi Stadium with hometown LA Rams taking on the Cincinnati Bengals. Football fare is usually a range of spicy, sweet, greasy, and greasy junk food. The average fan will indiscriminately swallow over 1,200 empty calories on Super Bowl Sunday. Rest assured, the health and cholesterol-conscious fans among us can still indulge without feeling deprived by replacing the bloated, high-fat potato and corn chips with vegetable chips (root taro, sweet potato, beet and kale), or hearty, mineral-rich, grain-based crisps (quinoa, chia seeds, amaranth and flax seeds) served with raw vegetables, including a Technicolor rainbow carrot sky, snow peas, cauliflower florets and radish buds.
Fat mayonnaise and dairy-based dips are prohibited. Instead, try full-fat guacamole, Greek yogurt, and an assortment of salsas and hummus. Beef chili can be lightened up with lean ground turkey or chicken breast, or a vegetarian combination of several beans. Burgers go paleo with butter lettuce or kale wraps, while fried, fire-extinguisher chicken wings can be easily replaced by grilled chicken skewers with hot sauces. For authentic regional flavors, try Cincinnati’s famous cinnamon chili over spaghetti and also serve up tiger prawn appetizers for these Bengals, while Los Angeles fans can indulge in a medley of multicultural delights, including sweet potato tacos, French dip sandwiches, rice paper imperial rolls and chili cheese dogs. Game on!
Now, from football to football, Valentine’s Day falls right on Monday after Super Bowl Sunday. Due to the proximity of these two events, a smart culinary strategy this year would involve a vigorous but light meal. Cook up a heart-healthy feast with plenty of wild (and local, if possible) treasures from the sea, like a steaming bowl of tomato-based cioppino swimming with scallops, mussels, clams and chunks of fish, or grilled halibut, black and white bass, Mexican white shrimp, black cod or California lobster topped with a bourbon butter sauce with roasted seasonal ratatouille or mashed parsnips.
Or try this intoxicating and versatile seafood “martini” that can be enjoyed with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, friends on Super Bowl Sunday, or family to toast the Lunar New Year. . .Health to all!
All Purpose Seafood “Martini”
-10 ounces of lobster tail meat, crabmeat, or diver’s scallops, cooked and chopped
-6 giant prawns, cooked and peeled, the remaining tails
-1 cup of vegetable cocktail juice
-1/3 cup tomato juice
-1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
-1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
-1 tablespoon of chopped shallots
-2 tablespoons Persian cucumber, minced
-12 green olives stuffed with chilli, halved
-1 teaspoon of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
-1 Roma tomato, chopped
-1/4 cup vermouth or white wine
-Lemon twists, sprigs of Italian parsley or jumbo green olives, for garnish
In a medium glass bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients. Add the lobster, crab or scallops to the sauce and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Divide the mixture evenly into 2 cocktail glasses. Add 3 jumbo shrimp to the rim of each glass and garnish with lemon zest, sprigs of parsley or jumbo green olives.
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