By Judith Yamada, Kitchen Maven
New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to gather with friends and family and signifies new beginnings and a new journey through time for each of us. New Year’s celebrations in Europe can be traced back to before the spread of Christianity. When large numbers of people converted to Christianity the holiday became associated with Christian beliefs and holiday festivities merged. The Jewish, Hindu, Chinese, Islamic and Coptic cultures do not follow the Gregorian calendar in their New Year observances, and therefore celebrate New Year, at varied times, based on their own calendars.
The expression “Auld Lang Syne” was first recorded around 1660 and written in a language called Scots, which is an ancient form of English, unrecognizable, to English speakers today. The poem was written in 1788 by Robert Burns, and the song traditionally sung as a goodbye to the old year was crafted from a pentatonic Scottish folk melody.
An appreciation of old friends and old times, fresh horizons, and a hopeful outlook toward what might be in the coming year, sum up our motivation for celebration, as the wheel turns to January 1, 2023. Holiday foods hold a prominent place in all celebrations, and New Year’s Eve is definitely a perfect time for tasty make ahead finger foods. Enjoy the recipes, and Happy New Year to all!
And if you’re still looking for a perfect gift for New Year, birthdays, weddings, graduations for any aspiring cook, please checkout “Thrifty Comfort Cooking for Challenging Times” for diverse, eclectic cookery on a budget All author royalties for 100% of retail sales goes directly to the Oregon Food Bank to assist people experiencing food insecurity. Available at Amazon.com: Thrifty Comfort Cooking for Challenging Times: 9780578310763: OR Thrifty Comfort Cooking for Challenging Times; Barnes & Noble.com
Dungeness Crab Dip
Serve a bowl of this zesty dip, on a plate, surrounded with crackers. This recipe makes enough for a party. If you have leftovers, toss in with some hot pasta the following day.
12 ounces light cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 ½ Tablespoons coarse mustard
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¾ cup light sour cream
1½ cups lump Dungeness crabmeat
Beat the softened cheese with a rotary beater or whisk for 2 minutes or until creamy. Add horseradish, 2 Tablespoons parsley, mustard, hot pepper sauce and lemon juice, and beat 1 additional minute. With a flexible spatula, fold in the light sour cream. Carefully fold in crabmeat. Scrape dip into a 3-4 cup serving bowl. Sprinkle top with remaining parsley. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers. Use within two days.
Original: Kitchen Maven
Cheddar Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)
This is a savory version of cream puffs. And the ingredients couldn’t be more basic. Once you get the knack of stirring in those eggs, it comes together like a charm. Try them with soup or salad or alongside a glass of wine or iced tea. We like them reheated the next day, served with a poached egg popped inside. Anyone who likes cheese will love these. And they’re great game day snacks.
½ cup butter
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour OR whole wheat pastry flour
4 large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme OR snipped fresh chives
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Butter a 12 x 15-inch baking sheet (not spray) or line the baking sheet with parchment.
Bring the butter, water and salt, to a boil, in a medium saucepan over high heat.
Remove pan from heat.
Add the flour all at once and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon.
The mixture will form a ball that will pull away from the sides of the pan.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition, until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the dough is no longer slippery.
Stir in the grated cheese, the thyme and a few grinds of pepper.
Place rounded Tablespoons of dough, evenly spaced, on buttered or parchment lined pan, at least one inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 F. and bake for another 15-20 minutes until puffed and lightly golden. Makes about 2 dozen puffs. Leftovers may be crisped up by reheating in a 300 F. oven for 10 minutes.
Adapted from original: Simply Recipes
Jezebel Chevré Tartlets
These are unique and something of an historical recipe. Really easy to make with a cream cheese press in pastry. Adjust the sauce to your own tastes. It’s very zesty, both savory and sweet. Yes, there are three components to this appetizer. But they’re simple to make and are made ahead. Be sure to prepare the sauce at least 24 hours ahead of the party
Jezebel Sauce ingredients:
12 ounces juice packed crushed pineapple, thoroughly drained
9 ounces organic all fruit apricot jam or spread
2 ounces extra hot prepared white horseradish
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cream Cheese Pastry ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup cold cream cheese
1 cup cold unsalted butter
Chevre Filling ingredients :
8 ounces plain Chevre goat cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Jezebel Sauce directions:
Combine drained crushed pineapple, apricot jam, horseradish, dry mustard and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well. Store in refrigerator in clean glass canning jar with lid. Allow Jezebel sauce to age, in refrigerator at least 24 hours before using. Sauce keeps well, refrigerated, for at least 2 weeks and may be served in Jezebel chevre tartlets, with poultry, ham, on sandwiches or poured over softened cream cheese as a spread for crackers.
Cream Cheese Pastry directions:
Pour flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a large food processor, cut cream cheese and butter into 6 chunks each and add to processor bowl. Pulse several times; when ingredients appear mixed, process until dough holds together. Remove dough from bowl, form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes. *When ready to bake tartlets, remove pastry from refrigerator and form into 48 1-inch balls of dough. Press the dough balls into tartlet pans, pressing up sides to form a hollow for filling after baking. Bake in preheated 325-degree F oven on middle rack, 20-25 minutes. Check tartlet shells after 20 minutes. Remove if edges and bottoms are lightly golden (it’s easy to remove a shell to peak at bottoms. If shells aren’t done, return them to oven for five minutes or until golden on edges and bottoms. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and turn upside down on cooling racks until thoroughly cooled.
*If refrigerating dough more than 15 minutes before baking, allow it to soften at room temperature about 15 minutes before baking. Bake within 24 hours.
Chevre Filling directions:
Bring cheese to room temperature (softened). Mash cheeses together and whisk or beat with a large spoon until smooth and well blended. Fill hollows of tartlet shells with cheese mixture, filling hollows completely but level on top. Top the cheese with about ½ teaspoon Jezebel sauce. Garnish tray with fresh, washed and towel dried herbs.