Growing up, New Year's Eve was the night I used to look forward to, more than any other night of the year. To me, it always meant two things: one, I got to stay up really, really late; and two, it was always, always fun, no matter what.
And the funny thing is, I spent most of them at home. No expensive prix fix dinners, no fancy parties. None of that.
As a kid, I remember doing the same thing every year: our parents would go out to a fancy party and stay out all night. I would sleep over my cousin's house and spend the night playing and watching the New Year's comedy show special on TV (sort of like SNL, Spanish style). And then, at midnight, "Las Doce Campanadas".
"Las doce campanadas" is a Spanish tradition where we eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12 at the turn of the year. One grape for each bell sound. And instead of watching the ball drop in Time's Square, in Spain we watch a big clock in Madrid's "Puerta del Sol".
Everyone (and I mean everyone) follows this tradition. Every single TV station does a live broadcast, so people can eat the grapes at the same time. It's so much fun. And the best part of all, trying not to laugh while eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds and watching everyone else do the same.
I miss that so much.
I still remember the first New Year's eve I spent here in the US. I was visiting Vicky and we were invited to a wedding. We tried to recreate "Las Doce Campanadas" with blueberries instead of grapes and the ball dropping instead of the bell sounds. I remember people looking at us wondering what the heck we were doing. And some even joined us!
Now, every time we host a New Year's eve party, we try to share the tradition with our friends. I still don't think they "get it" all the way, but it's always makes us laugh. And that's what really matters, isn't it?
Happy 2013 everyone!
- Prep time: 25 minutes
- Cook time: 30 minutes
- Ingredients (makes 24 cups):
To make the wonton cups:
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 24 round wonton wrappers
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Brush both sides of each wonton wrapper with extra virgin olive oil. Carefully place them in a mini muffin tin pan, pressing gently in the center to form a cup
- Bake at 375F for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown (check often to make sure they don't burn). Set aside to cool
To make the tofu:
- 1-16oz pack extra firm tofu, diced*
- 2 tbs veg oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1tsp fresh grated ginger
- ¼ tsp powdered ginger
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
*Tip: For a firmer consistency, freeze tofu after buying it. Thaw and squeeze as much water out of it as possible before using
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine diced tofu with oil, soy sauce, ginger and spices. Toss well
- Transfer tofu to baking sheet and bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool
To make the green papaya salad:
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded green papaya* (peeled and seeded)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 4 tbsp Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut Spread
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 6 dashes vegan worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts (or honey roasted, if you're not vegan) for garnish
- 2 tbs black sesame seeds for garnish
*Note: You can find green papaya at Asian Markets and some specialty stores
- In a large bowl, combine shredded carrots, shredded green papaya and chopped cilantro
- To prepare the dressing, whisk together coconut-peanut spread, rice vinegar, soy sauce, vegan worcestershire sauce, chili sauce and orange juice until well combined. Pour over salad, mix ell and refrigerate until ready to use
- Assemble the cups right before serving: fill each cup with papaya salad, add a piece of tofu, and garnish with roasted peanuts and black sesame seeds