Is it time to start thinking about New Year’s yet? Since we don’t celebrate Christmas, and Hanukah has been over for almost a month, I have spent most of my time thinking about what to make for New Year’s Eve. I am hoping that many people are in the same boat as I am – so I am going to make your life just a little easier. This year we will be hosting drinks and appetizers (although a friend is bringing some appetizers, which makes my job even easier) – so at least I can focus on only that. Of course there are a million ideas running through my head, but I thought I would share with you some of my favorites in case you are looking for some ideas. My family is obsessed with the year-end-reviews that seem to be everywhere – so here is my version.
These are some of my favorite drinks for this season – and of course you can make any of these non-alcoholic. Some of the recipes have my non-alcoholic versions, but if they don’t and you are stuck – feel free to send me an email:
And last but not least – my absolute favorite drink that I made all year – now, it might not be the perfect seasonal drink, but seriously I can drink this any time of year: Summer Sunset
Now – how about some food to go with those drink? Here are my favorite appetizers:
But don’t forget about these Black Pepper and Cheddar Cheese Straws that the girls and I made at the Pantry this holiday season. This was my first time making crackers, and I have no idea why I have waited so long. These were super easy, and so much fun to make. I think the best part was letting my older daughter make creations with the scraps – she had the whole class making snails – it was pretty funny. If you are looking to impress your friends and family this year – this is definitely one way to do so. They were crunchy, flavorful – and all around delicious.
So, what’s on your menu?
- 12 ½ ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chile flakes, ground
- 1 pound 3 ¼ ounces pastry flour
- 1 cup crème fraiche
- 4 ounces parmesan, finely grated
- 7 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- Egg white for brushing
- Sea salt
In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, salt, black pepper and chili flakes on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Lowered the speed and add the flour. Mix until it is the consistency of course meal. Add the crème fraiche and cheeses, mixing until the dough just comes together. You might need to transfer the dough to a floured surface and give it a few kneads to smooth it out. Roll the dough to be 3/16” thick between sheets of parchment. Place the dough into the fridge to chill until firm, at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough into strips that are ½” wide. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until very lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Black Pepper and Cheddar Cheese Straws