When I was very young, my parents collaborated with our neighbors to create a full-blown New Years Eve event … a fancy dinner, a live dance combo, the whole ball of wax.
In more recent years (at least when I wasn’t on call at a vet clinic), New Year’s Eve has tended to be a quieter affair: watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV with my wife, toasting on it next year with a glass of homemade eggnog and maybe enjoying a cookie or two leftover from the holiday baking.
But New Year’s Day has become a day to socialize and eat, actually more of an all-day snack than a formal meal. Visiting friends, trying a cheese plate here, a snack there, and finishing with Cheryl’s wonderful almond cookies at Munson’s New Years Day open house (the subject of a food rate column in December 2017) .
Unfortunately, COVID-19 made such large gatherings ill-advised for 2020-21 and now again for 2021-22. But this doesn’t mean eating out when we start the new year … whether it’s just you, an intimate celebration with a spouse or family members, or maybe a visit with a few friends, those New Years resolutions about losing. a few pounds can wait until January 2nd. And you could also try a few new recipes while you’re at it, keeping them to hand for the next big party, whenever it’s needed.
So for this column, I prepared a Christmas dish. Ideally, your dish should have something sweet, something spicy, and something salty, with different textures, a protein or two, a few veggies to make you feel virtuous, and a few nods to New Years culinary traditions to help usher in a happy one. and prosperous 2022.
Food rate: The more varieties, the better when it comes to Christmas cookies
All of today’s recipes have been chosen to minimize time spent in the kitchen during a season when you are often busy elsewhere. Most have components that can be made before the actual day, if not the full plate, so you only have to do a little assembly or add a few finishing touches when it’s party time. And while it’s nice to know that you can make your own puff pastry, puff pastry, crackers, and guacamole, there’s no reason not to go with Tostito’s Scoops, store-bought guacamole, and puff pastry during a busy holiday week.
So here is my menu for this year’s celebration:
Food in the shape of a ring or circle is believed to bring good luck, so our centerpiece is a wheel of brie cheese, baked in the oven, topped with honey and a cranberry-pomegranate sauce and garnished with a sprig of rosemary. (still going strong in my herb garden) and our second recipe: sweet, spicy, and salty pecans. Walnuts can be made several weeks in advance and leftovers make a delicious afternoon snack or a great addition to salads. The bagel rounds would be the perfect accompaniment to the brie, but they weren’t in the store so I served a variety of round cookies instead.
The shrimp chasing their tails also form rings, so our third appetizer is Chile Lime Shrimp Bites. I first made them for friends a few weeks ago for a little girls’ basketball viewing party and experimented with using homemade puff pastry cups and puff pastry as shells, which worked well. But this time I was in a hurry and I served them in the Tostito Scoops that the recipe called for. Add guacamole, shrimp marinated in taco seasoning and sautéed until tender with a dash of fresh lemon juice and a layer of chopped cilantro and you have a great bite. I found the scoops to soften a bit over time so best assembled right before serving.
And since veggies symbolize wealth in the new year (and because you’re unlikely to find a container of four-leaf clovers at your local grocery store), we serve ours atop a bed of arugula, the spicy lettuce that contrasts nicely. with the guacamole. and hot spices.
Christmas recipes:The glitter of pomegranates, dinner at Hogwarts, vegan sauce and more for the Christmas tables
Today’s final appetizer is a triangle of cheesy spinach sauce. The original recipe calls for a festive Christmas tree design rather than triangles, but as one commenter put it, “This recipe is absolutely delicious,” but you should “just cut the thing into squares. It makes more of them, makes them easier to scoop out when you need a quick snack, and you won’t find yourself cursing and crying over a vaguely Christmas tree-shaped lump of dough that won’t cooperate. “When I have time to get fancy, I’ll try Make it according to directions, but when I was making a plateful of food in just a couple of hours, I took her advice.
The sauce – cream cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese with a little lemon zest for sparkle and red pepper flakes to warm up – was delicious on its own. Sandwiched between sheets of soft puff pastry and flaky with a little melted mozzarella, it was perfect. Best of all, you can make these puffs ahead of time and brown them in the oven just before serving.
And to fill in the cracks, a few more gifts for the new year. Grapes: Eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck, one for each month. But make sure they’re all sweet – sweet grapes represent good months, while sour grapes can signal some bumps along the way, and we don’t need any more of those next year. Ham for prosperity, pomegranate arils for renewal and regeneration, and cherry tomatoes completed the dish; I’m not sure if tomatoes have any symbolism, but they are a round vegetable (well, they are actually a fruit) and they help make us feel. virtuous.
Given the COVID spike in December, the Munsons sent out a cancellation notice for their open house again this year, but they also added a date for New Years Day 2023. I hope we can all attend …
Happy New Year to all! May 2022 be good to all of us.
The story continues below the video.
Sweet, spicy and salty pecans
Source: Moore Or Less Cooking
4 1/2 cups walnuts
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of paprika
6 tablespoons of butter
1. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika.
2. Stir in the pecans and melted butter.
3. Pour mixture onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
4. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Notes: If the walnuts are sticky after cooling, it means they are slightly undercooked. Put them back in the oven for a few minutes and let them cool again. Store walnuts in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
Shrimp Bites with Lima and Chile
Source: Barefeet in the Kitchen
12 large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon homemade or store bought taco seasoning
1 tablespoon light flavored olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup homemade or store bought guacamole
12 tablespoons of tostitos
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Additional lime wedges, for serving
1. Place shrimp in small bowl and sprinkle generously with spice mixture. Toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 5 minutes.
2. Heat the olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes. Flip the shrimp, or stir, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the shrimp are opaque and slightly pink. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Squeeze lime over the shrimp.
3. Place a heaping tablespoon of guacamole on each tortilla chip. Top each chip with shrimp and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with additional lemon wedges, if desired.
Cheesy Spinach Dip Triangles
Source: adapted from Lena Abraham, Delish, December 13, 2018
1 block (8 oz.) Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped artichoke hearts
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained and finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated mozzarella
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, Parmesan, sour cream, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes (if using) until combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
2. Unroll both puff pastry sheets on the baking sheet, place one on top of the other. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into squares and then triangles.
3. Remove the top and spread the cream cheese mixture on the lower triangles. Sprinkle with mozzarella and then top with the second triangle.
4. In a small bowl, combine the butter and garlic powder. Brush over the tops of the triangles and bake until golden brown, 30 minutes.
Brie baked with pomegranate and blueberries
Source: Liren Baker, Kitchen Confidante, November 13, 2016
12 ounces fresh blueberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup of pomegranate juice (see notes)
3/4 cup granulated sugar more or less to taste (see notes)
1 cup pomegranate arils
16 ounces brie cheese (two 8-ounce wheels)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup candied or sweet and spicy pecans
Rosemary for garnish (optional)
Biscuits to serve
1. Combine the blueberries, pomegranate juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the blueberries have burst. Adjust the sweetness to taste by adding more sugar, if necessary. Add the pomegranate ears. Transfer to a glass container and cool completely. This can be done a few days in advance.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place brie cheese wheels in oven safe serving plates or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until cheese begins to soften. Top with the honey and cranberry pomegranate sauce and return to the oven for 2-3 more minutes, or until the brie cheese is sticky and smooth.
3. Remove from the oven, cover with candied walnuts and garnish with rosemary, if using. Serve hot with crackers.
Notes: Depending on the pomegranate juice you find, there may be a difference in strength and sweetness; Note that fresh pomegranate juice has a different flavor than pomegranate juice in concentrate. Either will work, just taste and sweeten your sauce with sugar accordingly.