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  • New Years 2016

New Years 2016

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] hope everyone had a Delicious New Year celebration! I was busy cooking. Hard work definitely pays off! The Crew said that the dinner was EXQUISITE!

Finally have a moment to sit and write. It is very interesting to observe as an American now how important the New Year celebration is to my Russian culture and how unimportant it is to many Americans, unless you are young and just looking for any excuse to Partey (Party)! I always had a hunch without doing too much investigative reporting that the Former Soviet Union had something to do with convincing their citizens that a change of calendar was an important event versus Christmas with it’s religious connotations and I was Absolutely Right! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year_tree  The former Soviet Union, removed God and the meaning of Christmas from people, but needed to replace it with something – A New Year Tree was born. Same gift-giving customs and Celebration, just NO God! It is still continues to this day eventhough there is a Freedom to practice religion now, versus how it’s used to be when I was growing up.

Since this is part of my childhood, it brings a warm feeling and we enjoy celebrating New Years as well. As always, I planned not to go overboard and right after “hosting” Christmas and Enjoying few days at Busch Gardens while the weather was perfect. I had only two days to plan and cook. This time, Thanks to my Mother-in-law, who herself was very busy this week with going to the procedures with my father-in-law, was able to bring her two Absolutely Delicious dishes: Salad Olivier and Chicken Liver Pate, that I put into baked Filo cups.

My problem is being extremely detail oriented and not being satisfied until the job is Perfectly done. This takes time, more than I plan for. Each dish must be #1 – Absolutely Delicious, and Look Beautiful to the eye! I’m also very particular to a Good Flow of the table setting, like the Chinese call it – Feng Shui. Don’t know much about it, but definitely look for it in my surroundings. I have seen so many Great tables in different cooking groups and I see so much miss-match, overpowering details, too many colors, unevenness and so on. I see so much effort has been put into setting all up and they look beautiful, but that Natural “Flow” is missing somehow.

One of the tips that I have learned from observing professional table settings is an importance of a Table Runner. Seems so unimportant, but it separates your plates from the serving dishes and draws your eye to the center of the table. It creates this necessary contrast – “This is the place where food is at!”. Like a Runaway where Models walk, if you know what I mean. Sometimes it is difficult to describe in words what you sense. And no too Colorful, Patterned table linens, it takes away from the beauty of the food served and makes your head spin. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I need Calm surroundings.

One thing that always bugs me that I forget or make mistakes during the holidays. Few times I found a “forgotten” dish in the microwave, refrigerator or in oven. Have you ever had this? Last night as I was taking a shower, sorry too much info I know, but this is the time when I’m going over my day, I realized that I forgot one important detail – to put Starts on my Christmas Tree Salads (Three Amigos)! I knew something was missing. I get ideas in my head all the time, but they are “Incomplete”, the details are missing, so I didn’t have enough time to think it through, would look nicer though. Oh, well. Being a perfectionist has it’s rewards and pains.

This was my Menu for the New Year’s. I will try to add some recipes as well.


SMOKED SALMON Deviled Eggs https://www.pinterest.com/pin/574349758708492512/

6 Large Eggs
1/4 cup Whipped Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt
2 oz. Smoked Salmon, minced
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dill paste (or fresh dill)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

How to make Salad Olivier

2 pounds potatoes, boiled, peeled, and finely diced
2 eggs, hard-boiled, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 small dill pickles, finely diced
1 cup canned peas
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

3 Salad Trees: Chicken, Crab and Shrimp

Chicken: used Costco’s canned chicken, celery, green onions, chives, dill, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and olive oil
Crab: canned Real crab meat, celery, green onions, chives, dill, cream cheese, lemon juice, Yum-Yum sauce.
Shrimp: diced shrimp from The Fresh Market, celery, green onions, chives, parsley, cream cheese, lemon juice, Yum-Yum sauce, Wasabi sauce

All encrusted in: crushed pecans, hazelnuts, panco flavored bread crumbs, dill and parsley.

On the bottom marinated Baby Bella mushrooms. Boil mushrooms, drain, add garlic, dill and Apple Cider.

– Creamy Eggplant and Bell Pepper Salad in Filo Cups:

Red onion, Eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, dill, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, olive oil, salt/pepper

– Salad Oliver stack

– Chicken Liver Pate in Filo cups

– Boiled young potatoes with garlic, butter and dill

– Heirloom tomatoes, Anchovies ( Fresh Market), arugula and feta cheese salad.

– Smoked White Fish with red marinated onion. (Couldn’t cut this very delicate fish, did the best I could with it. 🙂

– Garlic knots (Fresh Market) forgot to put on the table for pictures.

Main Dishes:

Shrimp Scampi and Fresh pasta 

Scampi Sauce:
– 3 Tbsp. butter
– 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
– minced garlic cloves
– green pepper
– green onions
– fresh spinach
– tomatoes
– 1 Cup white wine
– 2 Tbsp lemon juice
– 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
– salt/pepper


– The Absolute BEST Chocolate brownie cookies (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.964613663549240.1073742045.753830617960880&type=1)

– Amazing Flour-less Chocolate NEW YEAR Cake (without the cream cheese this time) https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1074311239246148.1073742132.753830617960880&type=3

on top: Dipped in chocolate Ice Cream cones and then into coconut/powdered sugar/hazelnut mix. Cake covered with more coconut flakes, powdered sugar and white chocolate shavings. Delish!!!!

– Baked Filo cups with Creamy Fruit filling:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1021484734528799.1073742096.753830617960880&type=1


– Moscato Wine Cocktail

– Apple/Grape/Orange Punch




3 Responses to New Years 2016
  1. Hi Anna! Finally I got a minute to sit down , to see and read your website! I loved reading your story about New Yer celebration here and back in Former Soviet union! Yes , you are right, New Year is very important to us who came here!
    Very true that when we are cooking a lot for hoilidays, we always forgot some dish to put on the table at the last minute! It Not only happens to you! Sometimes, when the “Ball is Over” and our guests are gone, I ‘d find a dish that i forgot to put on the table, because it was put in the fridge, and pushed in due to make space for other dishes!
    So, maybe in the future, we sit down, give ourseves a breather, and look over the table to see what we forgot! 🙂

    You are right, details are very important. Your holiday table settings are soo joyful and colorful, they bring a holiday spirits to us , and make holiday is more enjoyable!
    Good luck!

    • Glad you found the time, Natasha! I know you are always busy. For Russians New Years is one the same level as Christmas for Americans. I try to make the holidays special for my family, but I do forget things from time to time. God gave me a good computer on my shoulders, but it’s NOT the latest model. I have limited disk space! LOL

      Thank you for your comments my friend!!!

  2. Hi Anna! Finally got a minute to see your website! I loved reading your story about the New Year celebration! Yes, you are right, when you are cooking a lot for holiday , something get forgotten on the way! Its not just you, I often forgot to put the dish on the table, and then after the ” Ball was over” , I found that dish in the fridge pushed in due to other dishes need to be in the fridge! HA HA
    Your table sttings are beautiful and bring the holiday spirit! Details are very important, but sometimes you get soo busy cooking, that you forget something at the last minute!
    So , maybe we need to sit down , give ourselves a breather, and look over to see what we forgot 🙂
    Love your website! video recepes are great, and instructions are very detailed! Pictures of presentations are soo colorful, its brings the joy just to see them, not to mention cooking:)
    Good luck!


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