Many countries do strange things on New Years to make sure their following year is a good and prosperous one. Here are some from Sweden:
- A wife has to give her husband something beautiful she has made herself. No stockings, because that meant an unhappy marriage. A man had to give his wife something he made as well.
- What ever happened the first day of the year was a sign for the New Year. If one received money, it was going to be a good year. If you got mad, it was going to be a dreary year. But if one wanted to have good health during the year one was supposed to get up early and eat an apple.
- Fortune telling using lead and tin was very popular when I grew up. The metal was melted and then poured into a bucket of water to set. If the metal was smooth and shiny, you could expect to stay healthy; if it had a rough surface the health outlook wasn’t too good. If the metal was the shape of a cross, that was bad. If it looked like a grown that meant marriage.
New Year’s celebrations in Sweden today aren’t much different from the rest of the world. Most or Sweden celebrate at home or out with a more formal dinner with their friends. There are many things folks make but one very common food item is lobster and shellfish.
However, just like Christmas Eve, there is no getting away from the television. I know, crazy Swedes, we have another show that we watch every year. This time it is not cartoons but, “The countess and the Butler” also called “Dinner for One.” An English sketch about a drunken servant who has to act the part of a number of guests drinking to the health of his countess. Nobody seems to understand quite why this black and white sketch remains such a hit. But it is hilarious, and I love it. I decide to share it will all of you so you can watch it.
What are your new year’s celebrations or traditions?
One of my favorite meats is lamb and for me cooking lamb is a treat. Why not cook lamb for New Years Eve dinner? I know for some lamb sounds intimidating but it does not have to be, it can be really simple.
Rack of Lamb
Yields: 4 people | Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 ½ – 2 lbs rack of lamb
4 strings of fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
First you need to marinate the rack of lamb, to do this make a rub. You can really do any rub you want but this is my favorite for the lamb.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, soy sauce, paprika, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.
There are several ways to cook the lamb my favorite is on the grill but these instructions work both in the grill and oven.
The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is, and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions are for a rack 1 ½ – 2 lbs big. If you have a smaller roast reduce the cooking time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes on 400, and use the lower end of the cooking time given at 300.
Preheat oven or grill to 400°F. Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan or grill. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don’t burn. I usually but down foil if I am doing it on the grill just so the ribs do not get too burnt from the oil drippings.
Roast at 400°F for 7 minutes, then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 7-15 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack) until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven or grill, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2 chops per person.
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