Happy (Belated) New Year & a Traditional NY Recipe

1:43 PM

www.lifewiththepea.com - new year's day
I hope everyone had a very Happy New Year! As for me, things have been pretty mellow the first four days of the new year. After our nights of Christmas celebrations and the three of us constantly battling illness thanks to the 72 degree weather post solstice, we all just needed a break and some R&R time.

We never do anything spectacular for New Years Eve. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I actually decided to venture out into the city for NYE. It is just too crazy and full of people who cannot hold their liquor. Instead, ever since Terry & I have been together, we have opted for a simple night in with sushi and champagne followed by a binge marathon of something witty. This year we celebrated with The Thin Man followed by one of our favorite shows, Futurama. Since we are a pretty low key family, it's a great way to ring in the New Year. Plus it doesn't cost a fortune and we can sit in our pajamas all night.


www.lifewiththepea.com - new year's day

Watching Hegeman String Band and trying to find my brother marching!

Our New Year's day tradition, however, had to change a bit this year. With the threat of violence surrounding the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade and the police and Department of Homeland Security doing their absolute best to try to ruin it for the city with their 1984-like tactics (thanks to credible threats and protesters doing their best to be on the ten o'clock news), we decided, much to my chagrin, to just sit this year out. Although we rarely head to the actual parade, visiting 2nd Street has always been a tradition since I was a young kid. I always had (and still have) family who are marchers and musicians in the show. The crowds, colors, and smell of cheap beer are just as much a part of my family's heritage as the countries we came from. Unfortunately, this year, I had to miss the good times.

www.lifewiththepea.com - new year's day
Super filling traditional German dinner of pork, kraut, biscuits, and spatezle with onions, peppers, and cabbage.

We did, however, fulfill our other New Year's tradition with our homage to our part-German heritage - pork and sauerkraut! Every year, we break out the slow cooker, fill it up with some pork, beer, and lots of sauerkraut, season it, and let it simmer for the day while we watch the parades on TV. Apparently, it is considered lucky to enjoy pork on this day as the pig is considered a lucky animal by the Germans (and Irish as well) and this tradition carried over to America with the settling of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch). As far as the kraut? Sauerkraut required fermentation. After the large cabbage harvest of the fall, the perfect veggie with pork is just ready to be eaten at the holiday season, and, too, is said to bring blessings to those at the table.

www.lifewiththepea.com - new year's day
Cooking the Spaetzle in some butter with onions, peppers and cabbage.

After enjoying dinner at one of our friend's house one NYD, we added another special addition to our meal: Spaetzle. Spaetzle is a cross between a German noodle and a dumpling. They are a poor man's meal made from basic ingredients and is common all throughout Europe with different variations appearing all throughout. You can find a more proper recipe HERE, but mine is much simpler:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup liquid or enough to make a pancake batter consistency
  • salt, pepper, and white pepper to taste
After your batter is ready, bring a pot of water to a boil. Some people like to use a colander to make a noodle-style shape, but I find it a lot easier to just scoop a little on a spoon and let it roll right off into the boiling water. Once the dough is floating on top of the water, scoop it out with a slotted spoon. Some people enjoy it just like this, but I like to fry mine up in a skillet afterwards with some butter, onions, peppers, and a little bit of cabbage. It adds a great flavor - and more veggies! - to your otherwise 100% carbo-loaded side dish.

www.lifewiththepea.com - new year's day
Dinner is served...

Some years, when I feel up to it, I like to bake some chocolate mini bundt cakes drizzles in powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, but this years was just so tiring...plus I already needed to burn off the 100,000 I consumed during the Christmas week. Instead, I chose to sip wine all day and try to enjoy spending New Year's day indoors and what better way to do that than with food and family!

Frohes neues Jahr! 

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