Certain foods are thought to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year- pork, black-eyed peas, greens, fish, cabbage, and lentils- so we’ve got them all here in one form or another. I would eat anything to make our days lighter and brighter and ward off illness and misfortune. But the truth is this menu is inspired by science as much as superstition –and our desire for health as well as wealth. Rich in nutrients and good for your gut, hopefully, this menu will help clear out some of the extra crap we carry and give us the strength and stamina we need for the new year. And, like always, it’s really just what we want to eat right now.
Mel is fixing a batch of caldo verde, a classic, comforting Portuguese soup with a velvety broth made from simmered onions, potato, and olive oil and thick with cooked greens (which resemble the color of dollar bills.) Our version is vegan, but since caldo verde traditionally also contains sausage, we’re also selling Peads and Barnetts’ Portuguese-style linguica links.
Black-eyed peas aren’t really peas, but this bean is one of the most popular American new year’s traditions. Whatever the lore, their earthiness tastes appropriate since a bean is a seed and, therefore, full of new beginnings. Turn Mel’s slow-cooked black-eyed peas into a meal with a pot of long grain rice (a la hoppin’ johns) and some greens from the box (mo' money.) Or serve it with Peads and Barnetts’ linguica sausage or pork tenderloin, a clean, lean, and easy cut to prepare. (Plus, pork is thought to bring progress since pigs look forward when they root for food.)
Our sous vide salmon is marinated, cooked, and ready to flake and eat as is or freeze for another time. (And silvery fish scales are another symbol of currency.) But this week, I might dust it with some cajun seasoning, flash it in a hot skillet, and serve it blackened alongside the black-eyed peas and greens.
Mel is making marinated beets, roasted and dressed in a citrus vinaigrette, and pickled red cabbage, which we love to have on hand for garnishing bowls or adding crunch to sandwiches.
And we’re getting disks of Cypress Grove’s fresh chèvre and dried beluga lentils (which resemble ancient Roman coins.) I’m envisioning the lentils with sausages or salmon and pickled cabbage or a salad of beluga lentils with Mel’s marinated beets, fresh chèvre, and soft herbs from the box.
To help cure what ails us or stave it off, our friends at Forage are making us an extra-rich batch of chicken bone collagen broth for you to sip as is, freeze for later, or turn into chicken soup with a whole organic chicken and the leeks, carrots, and celery in the box.
The last time we offered Sonoko Sakai’s miso vegetable soup, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a perfect lunch. It couldn’t be easier or cleaner, oddly like soup and salad all in one. Sonoko packs mason jars full of fresh vegetables, yam noodles, and organic miso, and all you need to do is add boiling water and stir. Enjoy it as is, or add spoonfuls of Meiji tofu, handmade locally in small batches with non-GMO soybeans. We are offering their silken and pudding-like supreme tofu and their firm block tofu.
We have our favorite local kefir-style yogurts from Aris Natural Food in Inglewood for something sweet. This strained yogurt is particularly dense and creamy. A mere spoonful of lemon yogurt can finish a meal on a sweet note. And the plain yogurt would be great with some of Proof’s granola, one of Sam’s most missed LA foods.
For something sweeter still, Cake Monkey’s mini banana chocolate loaves are as moist and banana-y as can be, happen to be gluten-free, and can pass for breakfast or dessert.
Whatever the reason, rituals around eating certain foods remind us who we are, where we’re from, and what we hope lies ahead.