Lucky Lentil Cakes with Good Fortune Sauce
Recipe Redux – December, 2013: Good Luck Foods
I admit it – of all the holidays, New Years is one of my all-time favorites. What’s not to love about everyone getting all dressed up in their finest, sipping champagne and even working a kiss or two into the evening’s schedule! What a great festivity!
With each new year comes a new beginning, and in any situation having luck on your side is always a good thing. Honestly, I have never thought about lucky foods until hearing about this month’s Recipe Redux theme challenge, and it was a lot of fun researching to come up with my own Good Luck Foods themed dinner.
Many components of my recipes here were chosen for their good luck. The lentils and cakes represent money and good fortune. Lentils have been served as far back as Roman times for their good luck. Including sauteed greens in your New Year’s menu further strengthens your monetary good fortune, so make sure to include them. I used baby kale here sauteed with minced garlic and olive oil, but any green could work.
I recommend serving the lentil cakes and grape sauce with a white fish like cod, as it’s presence makes your meal extra super lucky. Fish scales symbolize coins. Fish travel in schools, which symbolize prosperity, and swim only forwards, never backwards, which symbolizes progress. Based on this, I would guess there is no luckier food than fish! If you want to keep the meal vegetarian you could substitute grilled tofu for the cod. To prepare the cod, salt & pepper 4 4-ounce portions of cod (one per guest), heat a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the seasoned cod. Cook the cod to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Some cultures eat twelve grapes at midnight for good luck, symbolizing the 12 months of the upcoming year. For this dinner menu I instead used twelve grape slices as garnish (6 red and 6 green), which also remind me of large, festive holiday confetti on the plate.
Even though the cake recipe instructions are presented here first, do start cooking the sauce before the cakes because the sauce does takes longer to cook. You can even cook the sauce a day before (without butter), and then reheat and stir in the butter during your special night.
May this dish bring you and your guests lots of luck in the upcoming year.
Happy Healthy New Year!
for the Lucky Lentil Cakes
2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 medium Shallot, minced
1 1/4 cup Mushrooms, Baby Bella, stems removed, minced
1 1/4 cup Beluga lentils, cooked
1 medium Egg, whole
1 medium Egg white
1/4 cup Parsley, flat-leaf, minced
2 teaspoons Thyme leaf, fresh, minced
1/4 teaspoon Sea salt
pinch Black pepper, fresh ground
for the Good Fortune Sauce
1 cup Grapes, Red
1 cup Grapes, Green
1/2 cup Vegetable or Fish stock
1/2 tablespoon Hot pepper jelly
1 teaspoon Tamari, gluten-free, low-sodium
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Butter, unsalted
for the Lucky Lentil Cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the olive oil to a heated pan on medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute a couple minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute one more minute.
Transfer the sauteed veggies to a medium mixing bowl along with all the other cake ingredients and mix well to combine. With a large scoop, ladle 1/4 of the mixture and pour carefully onto a sheet pan covered in parchment paper, forming a round cake. Repeat process with the remaining lentil mixture, making 4 cakes.
Bake cakes for 20 minutes. Serve hot. (Serving size: 1 cake)
for the Good Fortune Grapes Sauce:
In a blender add all the ingredients except the butter and grape slice garnish. Blend on high for two minutes, until the grape skins are completely broken down. Pour mixture into a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until it is fully melted into the sauce. Serve hot, along with 12 grape slices on each dinner plate. (Serving size: 2 tablespoons of sauce)
Serve each Lucky Lentil Cake with one 4-ounce piece pan-seared Cod (or grilled Tofu patties instead for vegetarian), sauteed greens, 2 tablespoons of Good Fortune Grapes Sauce, and 6 slices each of red and green grapes. (Note: you will have a bunch of leftover sauce if serving only four guests)