Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…New Year’s menu from Katya!

Although it is almost half a month till New Years,  I find myself thinking about party meals more and more…These precise thoughts make me actually feel like it is New Years time. I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but in Israel, it’s not just that there is no celebration for this holiday (duh), but there is also no snow. And, all those that have fun on this holiday have to be creative so that they won’t forget what it feels like.  I do value all the Israeli holidays of course, but sometimes I just wish they would celebrate New Year’s as well…

I don’t know how about you but the smell of mandarins and Christmas tree  always enters my mind when I recall all those wonderful holidays we’ve had in Russia as a family. I remember each minute of this very much anticipated holiday. My dad would always bring home a Christmas tree (once we even discovered a nest inside it, what a shame), and my mom would always surprise us with mandarins and some tasty meals. It was always a fun process…We would spend a whole evening just decorating our Christmas tree, laughing simultaneously at our cat, who would always play with every tree decoration we had. Some memorable times….

What I try to do is to make it so those memories would come to life. And, the same as my mom, every New Year’s I cook some of my most (at least I like to think so) delightful meals. I like to keep family traditions flowing. I even decorated a Christmas tree already. And bought some mandarins. What is missing is a plan for what kind of food will appear on the table, and maybe some snow…Because the second will not show itself here (although it would be very interesting to see some snow on palms), I will settle for the plan for the party table.

This year I would like to make an accent on the entrees. More entrees and less huge, space-taking in the tummy meals. The verdict for New Year’s is:

1. Round Tomato Slices with garlic, mozarrella cheese and fresh basil covered in good old-fashioned olive oil.

2. Fried round eggplants covered with mayo and garlic.

3. Stuffed mushrooms with cheese and squash. 

4. Traditional Russian potato salad.

5. Let’s say hello to Russian Mimosa salad. 

6. Home made sandwiches with butter and sardines. 

7. Salmon wrap with lettuce and cream. 

8. Whole chicken done in the oven.

9. Fillet Salamon baked with spices. 

9. Potatoes with yellow peppers and onion,  also in the oven.

10. And of course, something for the sweet tooth, something that I haven’t thought about yet. 

Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy New Year!

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Gluhwein

Gluhwein

Imagine this…An evening, cold wind blowing outside. You can feel winter coming…Thunderstorm begins, it is about to rain. But all of this does not matter because you feel incredible warmth inside. Your whole family is sitting around the table, laughing. Everyone feels good. Suddenly you smell a perfect mix of spices…nutmeg, cloves, orange….You forget about the cold, it simply does not matter.

This is how I felt a couple of nights ago, when I had this bright idea to prepare a Gluhwein drink. Do you want to feel the same way? If so, there is nothing complex about the following recipe. I encourage you to try it. You simply won’t regret it, and your family as well.

Ingredients:

Tasty red wine (best when semi-sweet) – 1 liter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a little bit of nutmeg, peel from one orange, an apple, a little bit of cloves, 1 table spoon (only if the wine is semi-sweet, but of course, its only me talking) of honey, 1 cup of water.

The Works:

Pour the water into a pot, put it on the smallest gas ring on the stove. Add all the spices to the water – honey, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. Give the mixture a little time to heat up and fill the water with delicious taste. * By the way the smell in the kitchen will be so nice, it will actually calm you down. Pour in the wine, add sliced apple (small pieces) Heat it up again, using the smallest fire possible, DO NOT LET IT BOIL! * If you are using dry wine, just like I did, it would be nice to add some sugar and mix gradually. (add as much sugar as you like, just taste before you add another spoon of it) Then, pour it into a pitcher (not heat sensitive) and give it a little bit more time. (2-3 minutes)

Actually, it looks even nicer if, when you pour it into a glass, you decorate the glass with a slice of an orange…But of course, it may be just me=)

Enjoy a warm and relaxing evening!