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.
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.
Wild 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.
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!!
The 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
A 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.
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.
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.
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).