Our International New Years Dinner 2012

As most of you regular readers know, Troy and I started a Christmas tradition with my parents 11 years ago. And that tradition is we host an International Dinner for them on Christmas day. Well, I told you guys that we are changing this up a bit. Now we are hosting an International New Years Day Dinner. It just works better for us since the Princess has come into our lives.

Since this was a transitional year for us, we decided to just make appetizers to represent different countries. And, as usual, at the end of the meal we all wrote down 3 different countries and put the slips of paper into a hat. The Princess picked out one of the papers and that is the country we will do next year. And next’s year country is…..NORWAY! Troy and I have so much fun researching out each of the countries and creating a traditional holiday meal. We generally do at least 6 courses for each country. We have done up to 12 courses one year. I also research out that country’s traditional decorations and any other traditions they do during the holiday season. And I try to incorporate the decor into our dining room and even practice some of that country’s traditions.

This year was the first ever totally casual dinner. I always set a pretty table but, since this was a transitional year for us, we went super informal. We ate in the living room and used …GASP… paper napkins and a paper tablecloth! LOL 

So, here is this year’s meal:


It’s A World Of Appetizers
January 1, 2012

Appetizers and hors d'oeuvre are the enticing entrance to a full meal. They pique the appetite without satisfying it and encourage easy conversation among gathered guests.  Appetizers are mini meals that go by different names around the world. Spaniards have tapas, delicious bar food with a deep history. The Italians throw together antipasti platters with elegant simplicity. Hunger pangs in the eastern Mediterranean are calmed with meze and a beverage. Cantonese diners pick out an entire meal from dim sum carts. And the spicy chaat of India are some of the most flavorful snacks in the world.



NewYears International dinner2012 015 Antipasto (plural antipasti), means "before the meal" and is a traditional first course of a formal Italian Meal. The standard antipasto may include: cured meats, olives, roasted  garlic, peppers, mushrooms anchovies, artichoke hearts and various  cheeses. Traditionally an antipasti platter may be topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

Zupa Pieczarkowa

NewYears International dinner2012 030Wild Mushroom soup is a winter staple in Poland.  Made from dried mushrooms, harvested in the summer and preserved at home, this soup is a hearty soup that fills and warms, while still being meatless, so it can be eaten on meatless Fridays.

Mushroom Soup

1/2  lb mixed sliced mushrooms. About 2 C  We used the mix you get in the produce section at Kroger.
2Tb Olive oil
1 16 oz Carton vegetable stock.
Saute mushrooms in olive oil until they are soft and dark, add vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.

If desired you can thicken with flour or corn starch.  We use about a Tablespoon bit of bulk chicken gravy mix as a thickener

This soup was our favorite part of the meal! It was absolutely delish!!

Olivier Salad

NewYears International dinner2012 002The original version of this salad, invented in 1860, by Lucien Olivier, of Moscow, contained Grouse, veal tongue, caviar, crayfish tails, smoked duck, potatoes and cucumbers.  As the dish gained popularity, especially among the less wealthy residents of Russia, the ingredients that were rare, expensive, seasonal, or difficult to prepare were gradually replaced with cheaper and more readily available foods.
Often called Russian Salad, this salad has increasingly become one of the main courses served during the  New Year celebration, often served with Turkey and Champagne.


Boil  3-5 large potatoes, or 8-10 small ones.  Peel and dice in 1” cubes. Allow to cool.
Boil and peel six eggs, slice in half lengthwise Remove and save yolks,
Slice 6-8 small dill pickles, or 3-5 large pickles into ½” slices
Add 1 c frozen peas.
Cook 2 medium chicken breasts and cut in 1” cubes. Allow to cool completely

From the smallest jar of caviar you can find, place a small spoonful into boiled egg halves, approx, one for each person being served. Chop the rest of the eggs into ¾” chunks.

Stir the  remaining caviar, and  eggs, with the chicken, potatoes, pickles, peas together and stir in the following dressing.

Cream the boiled egg yolks above with 1/3 C  mayonaise and 2 T balsamic vinegar.  Add 1 ½ t mint and 1 ½ t Oregano, (or 1T calamint), salt and pepper to taste. Stir into salad.

For our tastes, this salad could have had a bit more zip to the dressing. It tasted rather bland. And of course, the caviar could have been left out.

Breads and Spreads

NewYears International dinner2012 004A tradition in France, is to begin  meals with a tray of assorted breads and spreads, some hot and some cold.
Today’s spreads consist of  cream cheese flavored with various DTL Herbs LTD products, as well as a crab spread, and a creton, or pork spread, both inspired by the Spanish Tapas, which often precede a meal in Spain.

NewYears International dinner2012 005-horzWe used our different herb mixes to create the spreads. One packet of the herb mix to one block of cream cheese.

NewYears International dinner2012 013-tileWe also had a couple of dips.

Crab Dip Recipe:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
8 ounces real crabmeat, flaked
1/4 one lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

My personal take on this was just Okay.

Creton recipe:

12 oz chorizo (cooked and well drained to remove as much grease as possible.)
4 oz ground ham
1 cup milk (I used half & half that was out of date, but not sour yet)
1 onion, chopped ( I used 1 t onion powder instead)
3 cloves chopped garlic (about 1 t)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice

This was a nice somewhat spicier and tangy dip. It added a little zip to the overall meal.


NewYears International dinner2012 029 

From the South Pacific Islands, to the Caribbean Islands, to the Mediterranean Islands, it is not uncommon for fresh fruit to appear as the final course for a meal.
Today’s fruits, accompanied by a light cake, and a trio of dipping sauces are inspired by that practice, and seek to meld that tradition with the Swiss custom of fondue.

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of the fruit dips! We had three different dips, a chocolate, a lemon and a mint. All 3 were created by adding the flavor to sweet canned milk. (Cocoa powder, Lemon Juice and fresh Mint).

NewYears International dinner2012 025-tile It was a fun evening of just nibbling and gabbing. But, I must confess, I am looking forward to next years dinner and going all out again. I missed not doing that this year.

I’m joining:

Open House Thursday

Foodie Friday

Home Sweet Home

Tickled Pink

Weekend Cooking


  1. What a fabulous way to celebrate the New Year! All your food looks yummy. We've been very focused on Chinese New Year lately as a way to honor our daughter's heritage.

  2. OMG Diann....Everything loks absolutely luscious. I feel like printing out a photo of that gorgeous antipasto! It's like a piece of art. Fabulous job! Take care and thanks for sharing. Susan

  3. Everything looks delicious. Enjoyed hearing the history behind each thing too. Looks like the new New Year's tradition was a big hit.

  4. Delicious and very thoughtful of you, Diann, of honoring your family by taking care of all these details and share with them. I'm sure they were touched, besides delighted.
    Well done, Sweet Lady!

  5. What fun! I love this tradition and look forward each year to the new country! Norway sounds like a great deal of fun. My Grandpa on my Mother's side was Norwegian so I'll be taking notes when you post about this! hugs, Linda

  6. Oh, yum. Do I live close enough to come next year?

  7. What a beautiful feast. So fun. I love traditions. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  8. Hi Diann! Thanks for visiting me today!

    I think this is the most divine spread I've ever seen! I loved reading the backstory you shared. LOVELY!


  9. Hi Diann,
    I am now starved too death. This is a spread that is fit for a king. I love the idea and tradition that you and your family celebrate.


  10. Now that is very impressive! I'm inspired to try to do something fun like this at my house.

  11. What a fabulous idea. I've never been much of an advocate of New Year's celebrations, and this sounds really enticing! Thank you for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  12. This is such a neat Idea. I love the way you research the countries. What a wonderful teaching tool for the Princess.
    Blessings, Ginger

  13. Fantastic, and love the looks of the mushroom soup - but no spices added for flavor? That surprised me.

  14. Looks delish! What a neat idea on a way to entertain.

    - The Tablescaper

  15. Wow ... what great traditions ... what a beautiful spread ... and what must it entail when you DO go "all out" ....

    : )

    I'm visiting from Rednesday but commenting on this post. Beautiful blog!


  16. Everything looks amazing! Especially the antipasti! Mmmmmm!

    Rainey @ The Project Table

  17. What a fun tradition! And your food looks delicious!

  18. What a feast! I love that you made it such an international buffet. I think the New Year is a perfect time to embrace our individuality and at the same time, the global tradition of celebrating with food, friends and family.

    Newly following from Foodie Friday. Thanks for sharing your celebration!

  19. Fantastic family tradition. Wow! I love how picked next year's theme already and so have left yourself plenty of time to research and gather recipes and supplies. Fun, fun, fun.

  20. What a wonderful idea! You certainly put a lot of thought and work into this celebration. Great post and I loved the photos.

  21. Very cool! My parents had some good friends who had spent some time in Turkey in the Peace Corps. Every spring they had a huge Turkish meal as a welcome to the season kind of thing. We hate on the floor with the food in these huge Turkish platters they had. This reminds me of all the cool things you can do when celebrating.

  22. What a great idea! That looks like A LOT of food, though.

  23. What a wonderful meal. Love the idea of trying foods from different cultures. Appetizers are the dish I find the most challenging. So many feature cheese which is difficult for lactose intolerence.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)