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A Chinese New Year Celebration

Tue, January 22, 2019

The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is a long-standing Chinese tradition centered around welcoming a new year of good fortune with family and friends. Chinese New Year falls on February 5 - why not host your own celebration? No need to set up fireworks! Just gather loved ones for a night of lively conversation and culinary delights. Read on for entertaining tips and delicious recipes.


It all starts with a little ambiance.  Set the celebratory mood with votive candles and red lanterns, which symbolize good fortune and are hung during Chinese New Year to attract good luck in the coming year.


These authentic red lanterns were brought back from one of Laura’s many, many trips to China. You can find something similar here, here, or here


Preparing a meal for friends and family and welcoming people to your home is considered the ultimate compliment in Chinese culture. 


“I travel to China often, and I always return inspired by their designs and culture. The Chinese animal zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years with each year being represented by an animal and its related characteristics and alleged attributes. I keep a list of the Chinese animal zodiac signs in the top drawer of my dining room buffet. It makes for lively conversation whenever I’m entertaining to pull the chart out and discover where guests fall.” – Laura Johnson, Founding Artist & CEO


You can get a complimentary Chinese Zodiac brochure, much like Laura’s own, with your purchase of any pieces from our Multicultural Series: Chinese Zodiac line.


Don’t know where to start with the menu? Here are a couple of easy-to-follow recipes for a jumping off point.


Sweet Chili Noodle Salad

Noodle Salad:

3.75 oz uncooked rice noodles

1 carrot, peeled & thinly sliced into sticks lengthwise

1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced into sticks lengthwise

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in half lengthwise if they are large leaves

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews, coarsely chopped

2 limes, cut into wedges


2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

How To:

Cover rice noodles with boiling water in a medium bowl and let stand 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles under cool water. Place noodles in a serving bowl; top with carrots, cucumbers, onions, cilantro, and mint. In a small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together. When ready to serve, drizzle salad with half the dressing and toss gently. Use the remaining dressing as needed. Sprinkle salad with peanuts and garnish with lime wedges. Note: Not everyone likes spicy food, so place a small dish of sweet chili sauce on the table in case someone wants more heat.


Steamed Pork Dumplings


1 pound ground pork

1 (5 ounce) can water chestnuts, strained & finely chopped

3/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 (16 ounce) package wonton wrappers

Ginger Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled & grated

1/2 teaspoon sugar

How To: 

Mix together all dumpling ingredients, except wonton wrappers. Fill the center of each wrapper with 1 heaping teaspoon of meat filling. Dip a small brush (or your finger) in water and wet edges of wonton wrapper. Fold over to create a triangle and pinch edges together so that the filling cannot escape. Place bamboo steamer in a large sauce pan. Fill the bottom with water, just below first layer of the steamer so the dumplings do not get wet. Place dumplings 1-inch apart and steam until filling is cooked, about 20 minutes. Serve with Ginger Dipping Sauce. Note: If you do not have a bamboo steamer, a metal steamer basket can be used in its place. To prevent dumplings from sticking, spray metal steamer basket thoroughly with baking spray.




Ginger Dipping Sauce: In a small bowl, mix all dipping sauce ingredients well. Drizzle sauce over each dumpling. Serve and enjoy!


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