Chinese New Year Approaches…

I love holidays and celebrations that last more than one day.  Sure there’s the holiday season that everyone talks about regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I feel like it’s a lot of prep for one main event/day.  Chinese New Year lasts about 2 weeks.  And there are different festivals and ritutals throughout.   So if you’re not ready, the first night, no worries there’s lots more to days to cook, decorate, celebrate etc.  I also like to get a jump on activities so I can share them here and also incorporate things into my kids’ schools.

So my first Chinese New Year event this year was a dim sum lunch for a friend’s baby shower.  When I arrived a few weeks ago I had bought the baby a super soft stuffed rabbit with a chime inside.  Little did I know when I bought it 2011 was going to be the year of the rabbit.  Score 1 for me.  “How appropriate!”

Second lucky Chinese New Year event…February 3rd (first day of new year celebration) I got my son’s hair cut.  Later I found out this was very lucky for Chinese New Year.  Hooray, score 2.  More accidental luck.

So what could I do for the next good luck thing.  I thought Long Life Noodles would be appropriate.  This also made a great meatless Monday meal.  For something difference and to give a boost of protein I added some sizzling tofu (see below).  

Long Life Noodles

( from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry.  Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods for Kids of All Ages)

Fireworks, lantern festivals, dragon dances, parades, and lots of food are all part of this special occasion. Both symbolic and delicious, noodles make a great food for sharing during Chinese New Year. There are many options for noodles that could work besides rice noodles; try Chinese egg noodles, udon, or soba for a variation. The peanut butter lends a bit of sweetness your child will enjoy.

Makes 8 to 10 (1-cup) servings

8 ounces rice noodles

2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup julienned organic carrot (1 large)

1 cup julienned organic red bell pepper (1 large or 4 mini)

¼ cup chopped scallions (about 3)

2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari

1 tablespoon peanut butter

½ cup organic vegetable broth

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

optional – sizzling tofu

16 oz. organic tofu 

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

            Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute. Add the carrot and bell pepper and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender but not soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

            Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, scallions, tamari, peanut butter, broth, and lime juice and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and heat until hot, stirring to combine with vegetables and sauce.

For sizzling tofu:

Cut tofu into 2 inch cubes.  After each cut be sure to press out liquid with a clean kitchen towel.  Marinate in light soy sauce or desired sauce such as gyoza or hoison for 1 hour.

Transfer tofu to hot non-stick skillet and cook until each side is browned.  Total time about 5 minutes.  Serve over noodles.