In my family, we have a lot of traditions. Many of them are food related. Aebleskiver are a favorite holiday food. Typically we eat it at Christmas time. This year I was able to take my little family back to Arizona and celebrate Christmas with the rest of the extended family. It was a packed 4 days and unfortunately, no Aebleskiver were made. sigh. My 4 year old and I both have food allergies. Mine are wheat, dairy, oats and lettuce. I know, who is allergic to lettuce? That’d be me. I am determined to find foods that I can eat and still enjoy traditions. You do have to have an Aebleskiver pan to make these. But I’ve tried for two years now, and found that you can make substitutions and still have lovely Aebleskiver! Yay me! I’m not sure if my Danish ancestors are turning over in their graves over this one, for making substitutions, or if they would be happy that I am carrying on traditions with my family. I’d like to think the latter. In spite of being allergic to all things yummy, I can still enjoy foods with some little substitutions. Last year, I used Bob’s Red Mill flour mix and rice milk in the typical recipe. I also use grape seed oil to fry them in place of butter. I discovered that as long as you use a stronger flavor, like grape jelly, you can’t really taste a difference. However, I discovered that Bob’s mix was made with garbanzo and fava flour. We were remembering that for a while afterwards. Yikes! This year I used the new Bisquick gluten free baking mix and just followed the recipe for pancakes, using soy milk in place of milk. It does have a bit of a grainy texture, but again, with grape jelly, I wasn’t bothered at all by it. My hubby and son ate a bunch of them. My older son, well he just likes his cereal;) I am glad that there are a lot more options for people with food allergies than years ago. I am still able to celebrate family traditions and pass them onto my kids!
So I told you I made Tamales and Hoppin’ John. But that isn’t quite what happened. I soaked the black eyed peas overnight for the Hoppin’ John. I got up in the morning and sautéed the onions. But the onions kept smelling like dish soap. I called my husband over and he confirmed dish soap. We tasted a small piece of onion and you guessed it, there was a nice dish soap after bite to it. Sigh. While we were away, our house sitters kindly washed our seasoned pan with dish soap. So now I either need to un season it (Can I do that?) Or I get new pans! Quick call to my Mother who knows all. She suggested a boiling of water with baking soda to take out the soap and then re-season. We shall see.
I was so glad that I had planned TWO different menus for the first day of the year! I am also glad that I had a crock pot already started with chicken and no need for any washed pans for the rest of the making of the Tamales. Did you know that a single one is called a “tamal”? That is right. We like to Americanize everything and make words make sense to us. So don’t say I never taught you something;)
On with the Tamale making. I used this tutorial to make the tamales. I liked it because it suggested whipping the shortening first. My altered recipe: for the masa 3/4 c shortening 2 c masa flour(I used MASECA brand, which is why I think my masa is white and not yellow) 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 c chicken broth Beat shortening until fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine masa, baking powder and sald. Add dry mix to the shortening scraping down the sides. Set aside. For the filling I used : rotisserie chicken shredded 8 oz salsa verde 4 oz can green chilies several dashes of Poblano Sauce I put it all in a crock pot to hang out for a few hours until it was perfectly falling apart. I live out in the country and corn husks are not terribly easy to come by. By the time I planned to make Tamales, I decided I did not want to drive 40 minutes each way just to get corn husks. So I used parchment paper. I cut it into sizes I thought would work for what I wanted. How I made them: Put them in a steamer with water and steam for an hour and a half. Unwrap one to see about doneness. I found that leaving them in the parchment paper made freezing a breeze. I can just pop one or two in to the microwave and have a lovely lunch. Spoon some salsa verde, Poblano sauce or green enchilada sauce over top and enjoy! I know we did;)
I love a new year! I love evaluating the past year and deciding what changes I want to make for the next year. I love starting over with a clean slate!
In preparation for the new year, I spent a little while yesterday getting ready for food for the first day of the new year. I picked up 5 rotisserie chickens from the store. Yes that is 5! I usually pick up one or two at the first of the week, take the meat off the bones and freeze them for the upcoming week’s dinners. So I got the brilliant idea to get 5 of those suckers to get ready for the new year. I think that 5 is too many to do at once. There I admit my eyes were bigger than my…hands I guess. My fingers were water logged when I was done, but I did it. I took all the meat off the bones and put the bones and skin and bits and pieces in a pot and made a lot of chicken stock. My favorite trick about rotisserie chicken is to make sure you use every bit of the liquid in the bottom of the container possible. If you let the bird cool off in the fridge, you end up with globs of goo in the bottom of the container, including some fat. I make sure not to waste a single drop of the liquid or fat. It isn’t a lot of fat, the liquid usually jells and I use it all! There is a lot of flavor in that liquid.
I am making our traditional New Years Day meal of Hoppin’ John. Oh how I do love traditions. A tradition with food? Oh my, take me away! If you knew me, you would know that my extra chin(s) are there because of my love of food.
I’ve been making Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day for about 5 years now. I call up Emeril’s recipe on the internet and make whatever tweaks I feel like making that year. I also always make cornbread with it. My favorite cornbread is good ol’ Blue box Jiffy. It is crumbly and messy and yummy. I like to crumble the cornbread in a bowl and then spoon the Hoppin’ John over top of it.
I am using chicken sausage in place of a ham steak this year. One of our special dietary needs mean no ham this year. I’ll tell you how it goes after we eat it sans the ham steak.
The other thing I’m making is Tamales! I am throwing some of the chicken in a crock pot with salsa verde and some sauted onions and peppers to have a nice sauna for a while. I live in the boonies and don’t have access to many specialty items, so in place of corn husks, I’ll be using parchment paper.
I’m off to go to bed for the first time this year. I can’t wait for all the yummy food tomorrow has in store for us! The only thing missing is being able to spend it with my extended family. I’ll have left overs for sure.
Are there traditional foods you serve for New Year’s Day?