Chef Jamie Gwen highlights foods believed to bring good fortune, luck and love in the New Year from cultures around the world.


Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Thyme

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 ounces Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add thyme sprigs, garlic, black-eyed peas and broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, skimming any foam from surface, until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes.

To serve, drizzle beans with olive oil and top with thyme leaves.

Pomegranate-Glazed Meatballs

  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds ground dark meat turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the glaze:
    • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 cup Melissa’s Produce pomegranate arils
    • Lavash, lettuce and fresh basil, for serving

To make the meatballs, place all of the ingredients, except for the ground turkey and egg, in a food processor and pulse until you have a grainy paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the turkey and egg. Lightly knead with your hands for a few minutes (do not over-mix). Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Oil a large baking dish. Remove the turkey mixture from the fridge and shape into walnut-sized meatballs (about 1-1/2 tablespoons each). Place the meatballs in the baking dish and brush well with oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until bottoms of the meatballs are lightly golden.

Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the glaze.

Spoon the glaze over the meatballs and bake for another 5 minutes.

Long Life Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms and Scallions

  • 12 ounces fresh Lo Mein noodles
  • 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Boil the noodles for 4 minutes to keep them firm and chewy. Drain and set aside.

Dissolve the sugar in 1 tablespoon of hot water and add the regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. Stir until combined.

Heat a wok until just smoking and spread 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil around the perimeter. Add the mushrooms and the scallions and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the remaining oil and the noodles and stir fry everything for one minute. Add the sauce mixture and stir-fry everything together for 3 minutes, or until hot throughout. Mix gently so you don’t break up the noodles – remember, you want to have long noodles to give longevity and prosperity to the dish!

Lean & Clean New Year Lentil Salad

  • 4 cups Melissa’s Produce Steamed Lentils
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 celery stalks , diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and whisk well to combine. Add the cooked lentils along with the chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Add the raisins and sliced almonds and chill the salad in the fridge for 1 hour, to meld the flavors.

Lucky Orange Cake

  • One 18.25 ounce package yellow cake mix
  • One 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • For the glaze:
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a large Bundt pan.

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, orange juice concentrate, oil and orange zest In the bowl of your electric mixer. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine the butter, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

While the cake is still warm (leave the cake in the pan), poke holes in the cake using a skewer. Pour the glaze mixture over the cake. Let the cake cool completely before unmolding. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Chocolate Grapes

  • 1 pound cold firm seedless grapes, stems removed
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Wash and dry the grapes well and place them in a bow. Refrigerate until cold.

Line a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

Add the chocolate to the grapes stirring well with a spatula, to coat all of them evenly.

When the chocolate begins to set, using a small strainer, sprinkle the cocoa powder over the surface and gently toss the grapes to coat. Spread on the prepared baking sheet.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, or for up to 1 day.

This segment aired on KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News on Dec. 31, 2022.