Gung Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year! As we welcome the Year of the Monkey, we wish you a happy, healthy New Year.
Living on Manitoulin Island, I wanted to make sure that Little One is aware of her cultural heritage and that she embraces her roots. Yes, she was born in Canada and is Canadian, but she also has Filipino, Chinese, Caribbean, Scottish, English and even a bit of Irish in her ancestry. It’s really important to me that she is aware of her background and celebrate what makes her different. There was a brief moment in her early years of school where she was upset that she was different. She said friends told her she “eats weird and gross food” and that “Chinese people are weird”. Our solution was to teach her more about her culture so she could share with her peers.
It’s been an annual tradition in our family over the past few years to host a Lunar New Year party on our farm. This year, I had to whittle down the numbers, because I just haven’t had the energy to host many people. Instead of 60+ guests, I said we’d host 30 guests. Hubby did a headcount and counted 50+ guests last night. Still lower than last year!
I prepare several dishes, and everyone brings one potluck dish. Since it’s the Year of the Monkey, my lovely friend, Carole made Monkey Cupcakes! They were a hit with the kids and the adults!
This was the first year we actually had lots of desserts! One of our friends made mini apple pies with wonton wrappers and another guest made three different kinds of mini doughnuts (red velvet, vanilla and pumpkin spice). We also had lots of fruit, a Chinese dessert made with red bean and coconut, and another dessert made with glutinous rice flour and a ginger syrup/soup.
I made wonton soup, chow mein, steamed dumplings, and my beef and broccoli (at Little One’s request). Little One said this is her favourite and she wanted me to post the recipe, because several people at the party asked her for it.
Beef & Broccoli Recipe
- 1 lb beef (round steak, cut into thin slices -1/8 inch thick is best)
- 1 lb broccoli (cut into florets)
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup sherry
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger root, grated (I used my microplane grater)
- vegetable oil for stir-frying.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, sherry, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well.
- Add sliced beef to the oyster sauce mixture and make sure that beef slices are coated with the mixture. Let marinate in oyster sauce mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you want, you can let marinate overnight, but it’s not necessary.
- In a wok or large pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and when they start to sizzle, add broccoli florets and cook until bright green. Don’t overcook. Make sure broccoli is tender crisp. Remove broccoli, ginger and garlic and set aside on a plate.
- Add a bit more oil to the wok for stir-frying the beef. Stir-fry beef in marinade until meat is no longer pink. This should be around 5 minutes.
- Return broccoli, ginger and garlic to wok and cook an additional 3 minutes. OPTIONAL: Toast 2 tbsp sesame seeds and sprinkle over dish. You can also slice up green onions to garnish.
**I usually have to double the recipe because this is always a hit.
The above and below photos were taken by my friend @mom2gmc. I had misplaced my phone, so no tweeting, FB or Instagram all night! Thankfully she snapped some shots of our feast!
Each year, we end the evening outdoors with fireworks and Chinese lanterns. We give each family a paper lantern and they make a wish before releasing their lantern into the night sky.
Last night was rather windy and it was tricky getting the lanterns to fly! We basically had to wait for a lull between gusts of wind and let go!
I have never been able to capture great photos of the Chinese lanterns we release in the night sky on Chinese New Year. This year, the fabulous Peter Baumgarten from Creative Island Photography snapped a few beautiful shots. Check them out on Facebook here.
Another great thing about Chinese New Year?
LEFTOVERS!!! Well, if there are any leftovers! With over 50 people in attendance, there was A LOT of food at our celebration. Little One was lucky that we did have a bit of leftovers and she was able to take them for her school lunch today.
I had some leftover wontons that I hadn’t put in the wonton soup, so this morning, I fried them (I don’t usually fry food, but this was a treat). Little One also got some long noodles for long life and sauteed vegetables, lucky fruit and the last monkey cupcake from the party!
- Planetbox Eco-friendly Stainless Steel Lunchbox
- Lunchbox Love lunchbox notes
- Funkins reusable cloth napkins
** Not a sponsored post, but just our favourite litterless lunch items (since so many people ask me all the time where they can order the lunchbox, napkins and notes! 🙂