Is breaking your traditions a good thing or a bad? Does it show adaptation and a willingness to embrace change or do we miss it like a part of us that has been broken off?
For most of the last 10 years on New Years Eve my husband and I have reveled in our hotel picnics and sleepovers with a view. It was always our little end of the year getaway (usually only 20 minutes drive to a nice hotel in our own city of Frankfurt – yes we have tried all those worth staying at and having any type of skyline view), we would cook up and buy delicacies for our hotel room picnic the day before: such as lobster salad, spicy Asian beef and glass noodle salad, pâtés, cheeses, tiny cornichons, crunchy baguette and the perfect wine and champagne. Pretty linen, plates and cutlery yes all the trimmings were added to the food in our special picnic bag cooler that looks just like a travel bag. (sneaky I know!)
Arriving at the hotel on New Year’s Eve afternoon we would go to the spa to have a sauna, swim and relax, then a nice nap and MTV’s greatest hits on TV.
We’d later set up our picnic on the windowsill looking out onto the festively decorated city. Sitting on our comforters on the floor we would simply enjoy the delicious food and each other’s company while waiting for the awesome fireworks in the stillness, comfort and luxury of a warm hotel room far from the noisy boisterous crowds below. Blissful!!
But this year since our move back into the City, we have our own apartment with a view and don’t need to spend the money for a luxury hotel room. This also means we have more time in our own 4-walls to cook and serve warm food! A new option not available with hotel picnicking.
While contemplating the fireworks and the Frankfurt skyline we reflected on the waning year 2012 that for us was one filled with trials and tribulations and suddenly we smiled. We appreciated what we had and decided to be more content with that and to not always be searching for the next thrill. Let’s call it our New Year’s resolution and the beginning of a new tradition? Who knows!
But now, enough reflection, let’s talk about food!!
So here is what we cooked for 2 to celebrate the arrival of the New Year 2013. The recipes are farther below.
We did have leftovers for the next day, which therefore makes this a good menu for 4 persons.
All of the courses are also perfect for other special occasions. Enjoy – we did!
1) Trio of 12 French Oysters:
St. Vaast – L’Harmonie – a very fresh oyster with very little oyster taste and an easy “sucker”
Omaha Beach – L’Extase – a very intensive tasting oyster – but no fishy taste – perfect
Cancale – Le Charme – a lovely “fishy” oyster – not salty but with a good fish aftertaste
2) Baked Stuffed Mushrooms – filled with fresh soft herb cheese, finely chopped mortadella and pistachio mustard.
3) Crab-filled Pici Pasta Dough Ravioli with Tarragon Al Limone Sauce
4) Individual Pavlovas with Jellied Cherry Sauce
We served a very tasty Muscadet Sevre et Maine from Chateau de la Jousseliniere 2011 – (a jewel at only 6,50€ a bottle) with the oysters and mushrooms and a velvety 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Evocelles” from Gerard Quivy which we brought back from Burgundy and will be even more delicious in 2 years – with the ravioli.
Fresh brewed espresso accompanied the Pavlova dessert.
You can find all my adapted recipes below with their originals links where relevant.
Baked Stuffed Mushrooms with Fresh Herb Cheese, Mortadella and Pistachio Mustard
- 18 fresh medium-sized brown mushrroms
- ½ package about 80 grams/3 oz of herbed fresh cream cheese such as Boursin or Bressot
- 1 slice of Italian Mortadella – finely chopped by hand
- 1 ½ tsp of pistachio mustard – I get mine from the Senf Galerie in Frankfurt
- ground pepper
Mix the filling ingredients together well with a spoon.
Clean the mushrooms from outside with a damp paper towel and remove the stems, use them for something else or discard. Carefully scrape out the mushroom caps with an espresso spoon if stem parts remain, if necessary.
Place the caps on a pizza baking tray that has holes (this allows the juice of the mushrooms to drip down making them less wet – make sure to put foil on the tray below) or on a baking sheet covered in baking paper.
Fill the caps using an espresso spoon making little peeks with the filling.
Bake for 16 minutes at 180° C / 325° F – then without opening the door bake, turn off the oven and let the mushroom sit for another 10 or 15 minutes – serve immediately.
Crab-filled Ravioli with Pici Pasta Dough
These crab ravioli can also be made with wonton wrappers from the freezer. We prefer making pici pasta dough according to my friend Giulia Scarpaleggia from Jul’s Kitchen’s recipe as it is a specialty from Tuscany and the dough is perfect for all “noodles” dishes. We use the dough for pasta, ravioli and it makes great lasagne too!
Ravioli Pici Pasta dough
½ portion of pici pasta dough (recipe for full portion here)
We usually separate the dough into 2 balls while kneading. This means that 1 ball or ½ the dough makes roughly 24 ravioli which equals 48 x a 6 cm/2.3 in disk cut-out. The other half of the pasta dough is used to make pasta with.
Crab filling for ravioli
- 200 grams / 7 oz of crab craw meat (approx 10 cooked claws and arms)
- 2 sprigs of fresh chopped dill
- 1 TBSP freshly-grated ginger
- 1 TBSP freshly-grated horseradish or 1 tsp prepared
- 1 stalk of chopped lemongrass – only soft parts
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 spring onion finely chopped
- ½ clove of garlic finely chopped – germ removed
- salt & ground pepper
- 1-2 pinches of ground chili flakes
- 1 tsp of ginger oil
- juice of ½ lime
- 2 kaffir lime leaves crumbled (optional)
Make the filling:
Combine the crab filling ingredients and let marinate in a cold place for 1-2 hours or overnight.
Filling the ravioli:
Roll out the ½ portion of pici pasta dough thinly (like wonton wrapper or ravioli thickness) cut out rounds for tops and bottoms, working 20 for 10 ravioli at a time and rerolling when necessary. Cover the dough with a clean dishcloth in between is it is too dray.
Fill a small bowl with tap water, have a cake fork and a tray laid out with a floured dish cloth at the ready.
Place 2 rounds on a clean board or plate, dip your finger in the water and run it around the edges of the dough circles, this will stick the disks together to seal them before crimping. Now use a small espresso teaspoon to heap some filling (try to let the filling drip some of its liquid off or drain the filling if it is too wet) in the middle of one disk. Place the unfilled disk on top the wet sides to one another. Press the edges to seal and use the fork to crimp the edges together all around the disks. This will seal them and make a nice pattern. Lay the finished ravioli on the floured dish towel. Continue in the same way until all ravioli are filled.
Use immediately or covered with a second floured dish towel and keep in a very cool place until using – these will keep 1 day if they are kept dark and very cold.
To cook the ravioli:
Bring a big pot of water to a boil – add salt – now slip in the ravioli no more than 12 at a time. Let the ravioli boil for about 3-4 minutes just until they rise to the top of the water. Remove the pot from heat and put the lid on and let the ravioli steep for 5 minutes max. If possible served immediately in deep bowls or plates with the sauce and cook the next 12 and serve.
Or place the ravioli in the sauce to stay more while you make the second batch.
Al Limone Sauce with Tarragon and optionally with seaweed
Al Limone Sauce – is definitely my favorite pasta sauce. This variation with tarragon is excellent also for fish dishes such as filet of sole. You can also add chopped seaweed to it for a tasty and crunchy contrast to the pasta or with crab or other seafood ravioli.
- 70 grams/5TBSP/ 5 oz butter
- 200 ml/ 6.7 fl oz cream
- 1 organic lemon – washed and juiced
- zest from ½ lemon
- other ½ lemon cut into pieces after juicing
- 1 whole peeled garlic clove
- salt & pepper
- chopped tarragon removed from 4 sprigs
optional: 70 grams / 2.5 oz fresh green seaweed / kelp / wakame – roughly cut into medium-sized pieces
Make the sauce:
Melt the butter over medium-heat in a saucepan. When half melted add the lemon peel pieces and the garlic clove, Stir until all butter is melted.
Add the cream and stir until well combined. Simmer for 4-5 minutes but do not boil.
Add salt and ground pepper.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice and zest stirring continually. Return to heat and bring back to a simmer.
Turn off heat and add chopped tarragon and seaweed if using.
Add the pasta and serve with crusty bread to wipe up the delicious lemon sauce!
Individual Pavlovas with Jellied Cherry Sauce
To make the individual Pavlovas I used this recipe from Get the Good Stuff and served them with my Jellied Cherry Sauce.
Jellied Cherry Sauce
- 1 kilo of washed and pitted fresh cherries I had frozen during cherry season.
- 250 grams / 1 1/4 cups of jamming sugar (2:1)
- 1 tsp of Agar-Agar
- scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tsp of organic orange zest
- 1 TBSP of Cointreau or Demi-Sec
Stir everything together. Let sit covered for 10 minutes.
Bring slowly to a boil, boil and stir for 3 minutes.
Turn off cover and cool until serving.
Guten Apettit with yumandmore!