Dumplings, uncut noodles, lettuce and tea are always served as part of a Chinese New Year's meal, but younger Chinese cooks are revamping traditional recipes. Instead of plain tea, try a green tea angel-food cake made from an egg white, cake flour, salt, lime juice, sugar, concentrated green tea powder, strawberries and whipping cream. Create a crispy lettuce dish from simmered romaine topped with fried garlic and oyster sauce.
Blintzes, traditionally made from a yeast batter, are now made more like crepes. This less traditional kind of blintz is unyeasted, pan-fired and filled with anything from fruits and jams to cheeses and meat. Using whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose can make the crepe richer.
Chef Andrew Selz has worked on a television show, hosted a radio program, authored a cookbook, cooked for President Bill Clinton, and is now executive chef and partner of an Alabama restaurant that focuses on eclectic fusion cuisine and works to create a "dining experience." He was a former student and teacher at The CIA.
Good knives can last almost forever and make cooking easier. Invest in solidly constructed ones made from high-carbon stainless steel with a center of gravity near the handle. The blade should be tapered and extend to the butt of the handle. Essential knives include a serrated slicer, a chef's knife and two paring knives. Remember to keep them sharpened, cleaned and carefully stored.