Monday, January 27, 2014

Carmela Soprano's Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad / Chinese New Year Traditions for the Year of the Horse

January 31 is Chinese New Year -
Kung Hei Fat Choy!
It will be the Year of the Horse, so there will be surprises in adventure and romance.

Chinese New Year runs for 15 days, ending on the full moon. 
Homes are cleaned before the beginning of the new year.
So you’ve got a few days to get ready.

And put away all cleaning equipment before New Year's Eve because good fortune may be swept away if you’re tempted to clean on New Year's Day.

Firecrackers are set off on New Year's Eve to welcome in the new.
Flowers are an important part of New Year decorations. 
Red is a key colour for New Year's, as it symbolizes a bright and happy future.

Some traditional dishes are steamed rice pudding, long noodles, and dumplings.
Tangerines and oranges are a sign of luck and wealth.
Many people avoid meat on the first day to bring good luck in the new year. 
Day seven is the birthday of human beings, and long noodles (for longevity) and raw fish (for success) are eaten. 
On the 13th day, people eat rice congee and mustard greens to settle their stomachs.
The 14th day is spent getting ready for the Lantern Festival on the 15th night. 

So, it’s a season that’s just as hectic as an Italian Christmas.
If you’re curious about other traditions, check out 
It’s a post that also has a good chicken recipe.

Speaking of good chicken recipes…
Carmela's recipe Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad is another recipe from Entertaining with the Sopranos that got short shrift in the instructions department.
It’s a nice recipe that uses the boneless, skinless chicken breasts you got on sale.

if you don’t have fresh thyme (or basil) use 1 teaspoon dry.

                        Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad

Serves 4

For the salad:
In a large bowl whisk together
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and dry well
6 Cups mesclun or baby salad greens
Wash and dice
2 ripe medium tomatoes
Have on hand
1/2 Cup black olives, such as Gaeta, pitted and coarsely chopped

For the chicken:
Start with 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Place each breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
Gently pound each chicken breast until it is 1/4 inch thick.
Place the pieces in a bowl and toss with
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or basil)
salt and pepper

Brush a large grill pan or nonstick skillet with oil
Heat the pan over medium-high heat.
Arrange the chicken pieces on the pan.
Cook 5 minutes on one side, 2 minutes on the other.
Check that the chicken is cooked through.
Arrange the chicken on four plates.
Toss the greens, tomatoes and olives with the dressing.
Place the salad on top of the chicken and serve immediately.

For Chinese New Year's I'd serve it hot with spaghetti.
Uncut noodles, symbol of longevity… √
Chicken, symbol of prosperity… √

About the do not use sharp knives on New Year’s Day
Maybe you could cook the chicken and cut it the day before.
As I had said in the post Chicken with Parsley Crumbs, it’s better to be safe.


  1. Thanks for sharing these Chinese New Year's traditions. I'd better go eat some tangerines and oranges :)

  2. Happy New Year, Lynn!
    Enjoy those tangerines and oranges :)


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