Recipes for a lucky new year

Published 11:29 am Monday, December 24, 2012

In Asian cultures, long noodles like the soba noodles Merry uses in her dish represent a long life when eaten for the New Year. (So be careful not to break them.)

By Janet Tharpe
American Hometown Media

Well hello there, 2013. I didn’t expect to see you so soon.

The new year is almost here, and there’s no better time to gather and share a few moments of good food and fellowship. We need it. We deserve it.

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Reaching back into days of old, there have been foods seen as particularly well suited for New Year’s noshing, lucky even. There are lucky lentils and spicy sauerkraut, vibrant greens and sweet grapes.

But there is even more good food fortune to go around, and the Kitchen Crew and I at have gathered together a few of our favorites.

One of my favorite food legends tells us to begin your new year with a ring-shaped breakfast. Doughnuts, anyone? While perhaps not on this year’s diet plan, doughnuts are said to represent the year coming full circle. We also feel they represent over-the-top breakfast fabulousness.

Try Peggi Ann Tebben’s family raised doughnut recipe for a shot of circular karma.

“My Mom was the best baker I have ever known,” reminisces Peggi. “Whether it was pies, breads, cakes or, yes, doughnuts.”

Ease your way into the afternoon with a piping hot bowl of Jen Lobb’s Kielbasa Bean Soup. Described as “super easy,” Jen’s soup is not only delicious, but also jam-packed with lucky ingredients.

“My dad got this recipe from a friend years ago, and it’s a staple in my home,” says Jen. “It’s so easy and can be made last minute on the stove or prepped early and cooked on low in a crockpot.”

Made with (lucky) pork sausage and black-eyed peas, this steamy soup boasts some seriously rich flavor. Subtle notes of vinegar float across your palette with each bite, thanks to the briny preparation of the peas. Ladle it up and serve with a nice salad or a warm slice of cornbread.

The pork represents abundance, while the peas’ expansion during cooking is said to impart a growth of good fortune upon those who eat them.

Feeling lucky yet? Save room for Merry Graham’s Cherry Sesame Noodles with Lemon-Hoison Sauce. This tasty, beautiful dish was a contender at the 2012 World Food Championships and has earned a special place in our food-loving hearts.

“I bet ya can’t take just one bite!” laughs Merry. “I have always wanted to try soba [buckwheat] noodles, so I gave it a try with my favorite lemon-hoisin sauce. Oh my, the tangy sweet caramelized lemon-hoisin sauce noodles contrasting with the crunchy roasted broccoli and roasted almonds is alluring.”

And lucky! In Asian cultures, long noodles like the soba noodles Merry uses in her dish represent a long life when eaten for the New Year. (So be careful not to break them.)

“Lemon zest, dried cherries, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds add to this well-balanced noodle dish,” says Merry, proving that all who try this are lucky indeed.

Fortune is a fickle thing, and one man’s fortune may be another’s folly. But without fail, I have seen the wonder that is done when I’ve opened up my heart (and home) to the newness of change.

Try something new. Invite adventure. Then share it with the ones you love. Pretty soon all the food before you will seem lucky.

For the complete recipes, visit