Chinese New Year 2011 (Chinese Lunar Year 4709)

Eating and cooking in the same space. That’s how we do.

As promised, I bring you the Chinese New Year 2011 post. This year, Shef and I were fortunate to make the trip back to sunny California for some 70 degree weather and feasting with friends at the annual West Coast Chinese New Year family dinner. Check out this old post for the background on this event as well as classic recipes.

As usual, Cheryl and Cam were kind enough to host the event. Unfortunately, it happened to coincide with a bout of stomach flu brought home from science camp by my niece, Maia, for the benefit of her little brother, Dylan, who began suffering its ill consequences right as the party got started.  Poor kid. He’s already so skinny.  So, Cheryl and Cam, being great parents, took turns tending to Dylan who was quarantined in their bedroom as the rest of us ate up a storm. The only stomach pains we were feeling were from overeating.  Speaking of overeaters, for the first time, Sari and Jake (of churrusco fame) and their two kids Yuji and Hana made the trip up from LA to enjoy the festivities.  And enjoy they did as you can see from Sari’s photos which she somehow managed to take in between stuffing her mouth.  Or, she’s really good at multi-tasking.

But to be fair, Sari was not alone in her mouth stuffing. We were all doing our part because there was so much delicious food, some of which you’ll see in the video below. Perhaps I’m not the best multi-tasker because I missed out on a bunch of things, most notably, Erik’s delicious faux eel and tofu (the wonders of dried shiitakes!) and the mountain of delicious desserts.  Big thanks to all the featured cooks and eaters whom I will now list in no particular order: Jake and Sari for bringing your stomachs and prepping skills, PK for being Korean,  Cheryl for your low-cal brussel sprouts  with bacon, Jean for her dumpling expertise, Thu for her PORKalicious egg rolls and Vietnamese expertise, Dave for his ridiculously good banh mi, Shalini for her tender lamb curry, Marissa for her delicate adobo and her mad videography skills, Minh for his dumpling cooking and Vietnamese seal of approval, and Matt for the oh so special boiled chicken.  The Lunar New Year would not be the same without all of you. Gong Hay Fat Choy!

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Shefali’s Baigan Burtha

And we’re back and with a recipe to boot! It has been a while. I know. Right now winter is quickly descending upon us in the northern hemisphere and for those of us who live in areas like NYC that means, winter jackets, hats, gloves and lots of roasted root vegetables, soups and if you’re me, heavy meaty stew type dishes. Well here’s a dish that will take you back to summer with it’s light vibrant flavors and fresh ingredients.  Also, I shot this video a few months ago when it was summer.  All good things taken time.  Isn’t that what they say? So really, it’s not so much a seasonal dish so much as a delicious one. If you can get eggplant, you can make baigan burtha.   This is Shefali’s take on it. By the way, this is also Shef’s you-food debut as a contributing cook – she’s been seen as a contributing eater several times.  So, I hope you enjoy the full video and the recipe.

Shef cooks up burtha

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