Monday, January 31, 2011

Recipe: Happy Lunar New Year: Gong Xi Fa Choi!

marla matt metropolitan L.I.C soup
Double Happiness Bowls
Growing up in Myanmar, we celebrated Chú Xī, commonly known as Lunar New Year. Along with my parents, brother and sister, I would go to the night market and shop for the New Years decorations and sweets. My parents bought new outfits for all of us, and I would help my mom to stuff the red envelopes to give away, while she prepared feasts for the start of the New Year.

This year, I thought I'd ask my friend Grace Young, author of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge (the James Beard’s award winning author) what she and her family cook for the New Year.

According to her:
The New Year’s Eve dinner is the most important meal of the two week New Year’s celebration and of the entire year. Today many people choose to go to a restaurant because it’s more convenient but my family always gathered for dinner at home. Every family’s meal is slightly different while still being designed around meaning-laden foods.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Travel: Nicaragua: Trip to the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes

The past few weeks was just the right time to be in Central America; Nicaragua, although only the size of Colorado, has 28 volcanoes, 14 of which are active. One of the treasured destinations in Nicaragua is the Ometepe Islands where the famous twin volcanoes are located: Vulcan Concepcion and Maderas.

The weather is perfect for hiking and enjoying the peaceful scenery of the lakes and craters and of course discovering the authentic local cuisine.

Nicaragua is rich with tropical birds, howler monkeys, high pitched cicadas, pin sized frogs, and countless marvelous native species.

Papusa with cornmeal, pepper, onion with braised meat
One of the typical traditional dish of the country is papusa; a banana leaf wrapping, generally stuffed with pork or chicken with cornmeal, sliced onion and pepper,wonderfully comforting even in this snowy cold weather here in New York. 

 San Jorge Ferry Port, to Ometepe Island

Juicy Fresh Star Fruits dropped in front of our cabins