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A new year, a new wine

A new year, a new wine

How many of you managed a dry January? I managed 10 days, then one of my wines winked at me from the fridge and begged me to open her… Hopefully you had more self-restraint than me, and you’ll be cracking open a bottle over the weekend to celebrate. But rather than reach for your usual tipple, why not mark a new year with a new wine? Something from off the beaten track, something that stands up against the ‘big boys.’ Not sure where to start? There are oodles of undiscovered gems out there, and we’ve picked out a few suggestions to get you started…

Q: I always order Sauvignon Blanc. What should I branch out to?

We’re all inclined to stick to what we know, and what many of us know and love is a zingy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – it’s the go-to wine of choice for many of us.

But there IS life beyond Sauvignon… and there are some lesser-known alternatives that are similar in style to the ever-ubiquitous Savvy B (and they are equally delicious).

Take Verdejo for example.

Verdejo is a Spanish white grape that has the same grassy, citrus notes as Sauvignon Blanc does. Franck Massard’s medal-winning Herbis Verdejo is super-refreshing, crisp and has a zingy finish that’ll keep your tongue tingling for hours on end. It’s lip-spankingly delicious!

Q: I love Malbec, but it’s not always available or affordable at restaurants, what’s a similar alternative to try?

A: Malbec, with its huge flavour, full body and smoky finish is a massive favourite of food-lovers. It’s incredibly good with a succulent hunk of char-grilled steak.

There are a number of big, inky, ripe beauties that make a purse-friendly alternative to Malbec. Shiraz has the same body and dark fruit that you find in a Malbec – and it pairs seriously well with a juicy steak.

Try Carmen Stevens A Little Heaven Shiraz for example. It’s made from super-premium grapes that would normally go into wine 3 times the price. It’s big, brooding and seriously powerful, with a decadent streak of yummy oak. Sheer indulgence.

Q: I find white wine refreshing in the summer, but what’s a good white wine to have in the winter?

Just because the weather’s on the chilly side doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking white wines. Winter is the perfect time to try a richer white that evokes the same comforting feeling as a tummy-warming red.

Viognier, for example, is a gorgeous, silky and fruity white with plenty of body for the winter months.

Ben’s Viognier is possibly the richest white wine you’ll ever taste. It’s packed to the rafters with delicious apricot and lemon fruit, all whirled around in a creamy mix, finished off with a delicious zing.

Q: What should I serve at a dinner party that’s not going to break the bank?

The house is spotless, you’ve laid the table and cooked a feast that would make Jamie proud. All you need now is some show-stopping wines, guaranteed to draw a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from your dinner party guests.

Here are a couple of impressive, yet budget-friendly dinner party wines. These unusual little gems are much higher in quality than their modest price tag suggests.

Try Dominic Hentall Primitivo IGT Puglia 2012 (£8.49) and Moerbei White Gold Chardonnay/ Semillon 2012 (£8.99)

Primitivo is a grape from the heel of Italy. It’s very smooth but with lots of lovely red and black fruit flavours.

White Gold is a seriously delicious Semillon/Chardonnay blend. It’s very classy and is sure to impress guests.

The 8 Best Sparkling Wine Cocktails to Drink on New Year’s Eve

For most wine enthusiasts, the word “bubbly” conjures up thoughts of Champagne and Prosecco. While you can never go wrong with sparkling wine in your cocktail (there are a few such gems on this list), there are myriad ways to add fizz to your cocktail.

From gin and vermouth, to espresso and apple cider, we’re ramping up New Year’s Eve with these whimsical and winter-inspired concoctions. Strap on your party hats and check out eight of VinePair’s best bubbly cocktails to drink on New Year’s Eve.

The Winter Mist Recipe

You might need to add a few unique ingredients to your bar cart to make this cocktail, but you won’t be disappointed with the result. This highly aromatic spritz, which uses both tonic water and Cava for fizz, has a touch of spice weaving through the cassis flavors of dark berries. Finish it off with a slice of orange to boost the citrus aromatics from the bitters.

Everything You Can Order Online To Stock Your Home Bar For The Long Haul

The French Quarter Fizz Recipe

Elegant yet fluffy, this cocktail reminds us of the playfulness of jumping into a fresh snowbank. The pillowy and foamy dome comes from shaken egg white, while yellow chartreuse brings soft, herbal notes to the palate. The fizz is delivered by club soda to allow the authentic aromas and flavors of the chartreuse to shine.

The Second Summer Recipe

Between the red cranberry juice and the green rosemary garnish, it doesn’t get more wintry than this libation. Juniper berries and cloves round out the cozy essence, signifying that sparkling cocktails deserve a footing in every season.

The Wintry Night Recipe

Make sure to use extra brut (completely dry) sparkling wine for this bubbly cocktail, as the sweetness comes from sweet vermouth and cinnamon simple syrup. The red fruit flavors in a rosé sparkling wine will add to the complexity, while the splash of orange bitters brings a comforting sense of balance on the finish.

The Spiked Coffee Tonic Recipe

Need a little jolt of caffeine to help get you to midnight? This is the bubbly cocktail for you. The simplicity of this recipe will make you wonder why it’s not in your regular cocktail arsenal. Combine espresso, gin, and tonic water with homemade brown sugar syrup for a drink that’s elevated and uncomplicated.

The Apple Cider 75 Recipe

Move over pumpkin spice, apple cider is in the spotlight for this winter-inspired recipe. A riff on the traditional French 75, which uses Champagne, this recipe uses sparkling apple cider for fizz, which also brings just enough sweetness to balance both the lemon juice and herbal notes in the gin. Garnish with thinly sliced apples to embellish the apple theme.

The ‘Sec’ Back Your Clock-Tail Recipe

Relishing in “thyme” is what makes this bubbly cocktail appropriate for New Year’s Eve. As you wait for the clock to strike midnight, mix Vouvray sec, gin, a touch of lemon juice, and a thyme-infused simple syrup. The result is refreshing and distinguished.

The Cranberry Moscow Mule Recipe

The bubbly part of this recipe comes from ginger beer, which adds the perfect amount of spice alongside neutral-flavored vodka and lime juice. A touch of sweetness comes from an easy-to-make cranberry simple syrup. Use fresh or frozen cranberries to heighten the wintry cranberry flavor.

A new year, a new wine - Recipes

As part of our New Year. New You. resolution, we’re sharing some of our favorite recipes that are not only healthy, but also very satisfying. And here at the Wine Sisterhood, we believe that even healthy recipes must be tasty!

Join us in our New Year. New You. adventure and try one of our tried-and-true Sassy Soup recipes listed below. Have a yummy and healthy soup recipe you love to make? Share it with us in a comment at the end of this post!

Don’t forget that we have these handy recipe cards to jot down any of these recipes.

Harira from Natalie Wassum

Harira is a fragrant Moroccan stew with a tomato and lentil base. I’ve been making this recipe from Cooking Light since college. Though it’s delicious year round, I always make it when the weather first begins to change in the fall.

Lamb is the star of this hearty Harira. Two varieties are often paired with lamb: Merlot and Pinot Noir. Our Middle Sister Forever Cool Merlot or Tenacious Red Night Rider Merlot would be great with this sassy soup. If you’re a Pinot Noir lover, try Middle Sister Goodie Two Shoes Pinot Noir.

Thai Butternut Squash Curry with Dungeness Crab from Mary Ann Vangrin

This is a light and delicious soup which can be prepared vegetarian if desired.

This time of year, Dungeness crab is in season on the West Coast. Feel free to substitute your favorite local crab, salmon, shrimp or even sautéed shiitake mushrooms.

Butternut squash can be notoriously difficult to peel but happily many grocery stores now stock peeled and prepared squash chunks making this part of the preparation a snap.

Bonus for those of us avoiding gluten: this recipe is gluten-free!

Wine Pairing: Anything with Asian flavors, especially when there’s seafood involved, pairs beautifully with lighter, even slightly sweet white wines with no oak. I love Middle Sister Drama Queen Pinot Grigio or Wine Sisterhood Pinot Grigio with this soup.

  • 5 cups butternut squash chunks
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (look for “lite” if desired)
  • 3 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (if unavailable, use 2 tsp. grated lime zest)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (plus more as needed. Use Thai Kitchen brand for vegetarian version. This brand contains no shrimp paste. )
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (omit for vegetarian version)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • juice of one lime

Combine all of the curry ingredients except the lime juice in a 3 quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Let curry slightly cool and transfer in batches to a blender. Blend well. Pass the curry through a fine meshed strainer to make silky smooth. Return to a clean saucepan and add lime juice. Taste and add additional red curry paste for a spicier curry. Adjust seasoning with the addition of more salt, as needed. Keep hot until ready to serve.

Divide Dungeness crabmeat between 6 warm soup bowls. Ladle curry over crab, garnish with a sprinkling of scallion and serve.

Serves 6. Calories per serving 265 (with regular unsweetened coconut milk), 190 (with “lite” unsweetened coconut milk)

Vegetarian Chili from Chelsea Duran

Years ago, I decided to go “almost-vegetarian” and drastically cut down the amount of meat in my diet. I happily discovered how fabulous the vegetarian world can be! I think it can be a challenge to make a vegetarian diet work for a former meat-eater, but that’s also the fun part. I’ve modified this recipe for vegetarian chili over the years and can usually pull it together without even looking at the ingredient list. Feel free to swap out different kinds of beans and omit the veggie burger crumbles if that isn’t your thing, or substitute your favorite protein instead.

Although many vegetable-based dishes are more typically paired with a light, fruity, crisp white wine, given the season, the chill outside and the bold personality of this chili, we’re going in the opposite direction. Try a fruit-forward, moderate alcohol Zinfandel like our Gold Medal winning Deep Purple Zinfandel from Lodi, California.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 2 T. dried oregano
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalepeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans green chiles, drained
  • 2 (12 oz.) packages veggie burger crumbles
  • 3 (28 oz.) cans whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 C. fresh cooked corn kernels or 1 can whole kernel corn, drained

Head olive oil in large pot, stir in onion, bay leaves, cumin, oregano and salt Add celery, peppers, garlic and green chiles. When veggies are heated through, add burger crumbles and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix in tomatoes, season with chili powder and pepper. Stir in beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer 45 minutes to one hour. Stir in corn, cook 5 minutes before serving.

Hot Gazpacho from Aliza Sherman

Cold temps call for hot foods and this warm winter version of a traditionally cold summer soup will help heat you up from the inside out!

We’re loving the idea of a hot Gazpacho—genius for cool weather months. Since this version has Latin flavors and flair, Middle Sister Wild One Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina sounds like a heavenly match.

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into large chunks or zucchini
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can of organic kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups low sodium tomato or vegetable juice, or vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder, or to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Grind carrot, parsnip, pepper, cucumber, and garlic in a food processor or blender until ground but not puréed. Place in a stockpot.

2. Purée onion until smooth, and add to the vegetables in the stockpot.

3. Put kidney beans in the food processor and grind them for about 30 seconds—long enough to give them a fine texture but not long enough to purée. Transfer ground beans to the stockpot.

4. Add the juice from the tomatoes to the stockpot. Purée tomatoes in the processor and add to the stockpot. Stir to combine. Add the juice or stock, cumin and chile powder, and warm over a medium flame. Taste for seasonings, and adjust if necessary by adding salt and pepper. Keep warm over a low flame until ready to serve.

5. Right before serving, add lime juice and stir, and garnish each serving with cilantro leaves.

Beef & Barley Soup from Angeles

Beef and barley soup is always a hit in our home. I drop Kale in just before I serve it, and I use twice as many mushrooms. I use fresh stock whenever possible – I make it with the bone of the meat I use for the soup. And every bowl gets topped with 3-4 slices of fresh jalapeño. Yum!

A beef-based soup points in the direction of a red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or a red blend. We recommend Wine Sisterhood Courageous Cabernet Sauvignon, Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red (50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) or PromisQous Red which is Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah. These wines are all medium to full-bodied matching the texture of this comforting soup.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef chuck (get bone-in, cut the meat away, and make stock with the bone, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 celery stock, 1/2 onion, 1 carrot)
  • 1 T. grapeseed oil (or your fav oil)
  • 1 C. barley (I use pearled)
  • 2 C. Kale – fresh, rough-chopped
  • 2 C. chopped onion
  • 1 C. diced carrots
  • 1-2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1-2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 C. beef stock (or 2 beef & 2 any combo of chicken/veggie stock)
  • 2 C. water
  • 1/4 C. red wine (I use Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red)
  • Oregano or Parsley to taste (dried – approx 1/2 t. of your choice fresh – just rough chop & add approx. 3-4 T.)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper

Sear meat on high heat in 1 T. grapeseed oil, drop pan/dutch oven to medium-low, add salt & pepper, continue until fully cooked. Add medium-size pinch of chosen herb to meat, give it a quick stir over the heat. Pour wine over meat, use to loosen the drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Set meat aside & turn heat back up to med-high. Add carrots, onions, celery to drippings in the pot & cook til tender (approx 4-6 mins). Add mushrooms & garlic, cook 3 minutes.

Add herbs (parsley or oregano) – if dried, crush between palm & finger to “awaken” herb – & cook additional minute.

Add beef stock & water, bring to a boil. Add meat & barley.

Cover, reduce heat, simmer for 1 hour.

About 5-10 minutes before serving, drop kale into the water and stir gently. Top each bowl with fresh jalapeño, bean sprouts, or fresh slices of ginger for a little kick. Serve with crusty bread.

2. Rose Berry Bliss

If you find Sangria too complicated and are looking for a simpler yet sophisticated taste, this cocktail is for you! This cocktail highlights the fruity feature of rose wine with blueberry and ice-cold lemonade. It can be an excellent cocktail alternative for your New Year’s Eve. Moreover, it’s very easy to prepare!


  • 1 bottle of rose wine
  • 1 cup of blueberry
  • 350-400 ml pink lemonade (you can also get it ready-made, I will explain the recipe below *)
  • 200 ml lemon soda

*Dissolve ¼ glass of sugar in 2 glasses of water, add 1/4 glass of lemon juice to form base lemonade. Blend 4-5 strawberries and strain, add strawberry juice to your lemonade. Ready! (You don’t have to use all of your lemonade.

Wine, blueberries, pink lemonade, soda are added into a jug, all mixed. If you have time, I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Serve with ice!

5 Cocktail Recipes for New Year’s Eve

We are more than ready to ring in 2021! Celebrate the new year with this fruit and bubbly cocktail!


  • 1 ounce berry-flavored vodka (WC recommends: Cold River Blueberry Flavored Vodka, $29.99/750ml)
  • 1 1/2 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 3 1/2 ounces Champagne (WC recommends: Dibon Cava Brut Reserve NV, $12.99/750ml)
  • Garnish: skewered raspberries
  • Add the vodka and cranberry juice to a chilled Champagne flute.
  • Top with Champagne and garnish with raspberries on a long skewer.

Image: / Tim Nusog

2. Maxwell

Staying very low-key with your significant other this New Year’s Eve? Try this refreshing cocktail recipe made to serve 2 people.


  • 1 1/2 ounces cucumber vodka (WC recommends: Western Son Cucumber Vodka, $17.99/750ml)
  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce cucumber juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 ounce agave nectar
  • 187 mL brut Champagne or other sparkling wine (about 1 split-size bottle) (WC recommends: Villa Olmi Prosecco, $10.99/750ml)
  • Add all ingredients except Champagne into a large shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
  • Double-strain, dividing between two flutes.
  • Top each flute with Champagne and chill the rest of the bottle in an ice bucket.
  • While drinking, top with more Champagne as desired.

Image: / Tim Nusog

3. Blood Orange Champagne Mule

Perfect for many occasions, this recipe’s exciting new take on the traditional mule is delicious.


  • Juice of 1/2 a medium blood orange
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 ounce vodka (WC recommends: Ravo Vodka, $13.99/750ml (Special Price))
  • 8 leaves mint
  • 2 ounces chilled ginger beer
  • Chilled champagne for topping (WC recommends: Roederer Estate Brut, $21.99/750ml)
  • In a glass, combine the blood orange juice, lime juice and vodka.
  • Add the ginger beer and top with the champagne.
  • Garnish with blood orange slices and fresh mint.


4. Champagne Punch Bellini

An easy way to enjoy a classic champagne punch on New Year’s Eve without the punch bowl! Plus, they’re just so, so good.


  • Champagne or Prosecco (WC recommends: Val Fonda Prosecco, $11.99/750ml, 2 for $20.00 Holiday Special)
  • Raspberry Sorbet or Sherbet
  • Raspberries for garnish
  • Just pour a glass of champagne or prosecco.
  • Add a tablespoon scoop of raspberry sorbet or sherbet.
  • Garnish with raspberries. Serve.

Image: Crazy for Crust

5. French 75

Super refreshing and not just for Sunday brunch, this classic French 75 recipe is sure to be a hit while you ring in the new year!

1. Cranberry Mimosa

Ingredients: 1 small bottle Pomegranate, juice, 1 cup pomegranate seeds, 6 rosemary sprigs, 2 bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle Bubbly

Step 1: Fill each flute halfway with the bubbly.

Step 2: Add a touch of pomegranate juice to each glass until desired color is achieved.

Step 3: Gently drop in pomegranate seeds for decor. Garnish each glass with a sprig of rosemary.

Chateau Ste Michelle Bubbly Aluminum Bottles, $12/2 Pack, Shop Here

All-Star New Year's Recipes

Find out how to keep the party going into the new year with easy recipes and cheery cocktails. Find more recipe ideas on Food Network.

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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip

Champagne Jelly Flutes

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Shrimp

New Year's Resolution Cookies

No matter whether you are throwing a fancy black-tie affair or a small family dinner, these cookies (with two surprises inside!) will surely be a hit.

Fried Olives

Shrimp Cocktail

This 5-star shrimp cocktail is about to become your go-to recipe it's easy and crowd-pleasing, and you can whip up the cocktail sauce in minutes.

Jump Straight to a Recipe

Cantonese-Style Braised Whole Fish

Prosperity Toss Salad

Long Life Noodles with Chicken and Mushrooms

Sichuan Chaoshou Dumplings

Courtesy Larry Ng Wai Kwok, executive chef, China Tang, Las Vegas

For a simple way to observe Chinese New Year this February, serve seafood. , the Chinese word for fish, is “a homonym for ‘abundance year after year,’” says Larry Ng Wai Kwok, executive chef of China Tang restaurant, inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “Having yú for Chinese New Year dinner symbolizes wealth, health and a harmonious family.” He recommends stir-fried bok choy as a side dish, as its green color signifies wealth.

  • 2–3 pound whole white fish, like branzino, porgy or snapper, cleaned
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • ¾ cup fish stock
  • ¼ pound slab bacon, halved
  • 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and thin-sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, thin-sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons premium light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

Rinse fish and pat dry. Use sharp knife to make three shallow, diagonal cuts on each side of fish. Rub with salt, and rest for 10 minutes.

In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm ⅛-inch vegetable oil until shimmering. Add fish, and cook until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes per side. Adjust heat, if necessary, to avoid burning.

Add fish stock, bacon, ginger and garlic. Cover pan, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes more. Remove fish and transfer to serving platter.

Add scallions, oyster sauce and light soy sauce to pan. Raise heat to high, and cook until liquid thickens and reduces by half. Remove bacon and reserve for another use. Whisk in dark soy sauce. Spoon sauce over fish. Serves 4.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2014 Pinot Blanc (Alsace). “This wine delivers notes of fresh and baked apples followed by a soft, rounded mouthfeel,” says Bruno Bonnet, wine director for MGM Grand Las Vegas. “When paired with the braised fish, its citric acidity mingles with the ginger spice in the sauce. A crisp, clean, mouthwatering finish completes the interaction with this gorgeous fish.”

Courtesy Maneet Chauhan, executive chef, Tànsuǒ, Nashville, TN

Also known as Yee Sang or Yu Shang, this Cantonese-style salad represents wealth and prosperity for the coming year. The higher you toss, the better your fortune! A mandoline makes quick work of julienning the vegetables. However, as taro is very tough, buy a slightly larger piece of taro root than you need, so you have a “handle” while slicing.

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 ounces wonton wrappers (half of a 12-ounce package), sliced ½” thick
  • 8 ounces taro root, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small pomelo or large grapefruit
  • 1¾ ounces package cellophane noodles
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 4 ounces daikon radish, peeled and julienned
  • ¼ cup minced green onion
  • ½ cup mixed greens, roughly torn
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces cooked abalone, julienned (optional)
  • Ginger Soy Dressing (recipe below)

Add oil to a high sided sauté pan to a depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches between 350-375˚F. Add won ton strips and cook until golden and crispy, about 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add taro and fry until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Cut pomelo into supremes by peeling the peel and pith away with a knife, then cutting between membranes to release segments. Set aside half the supremes, and reserve the rest for another use.

Cover cellophane noodles with boiling water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well, and set aside.

In a wide shallow bowl, arrange won ton strips, taro, pomelo, noodles, carrot, daikon, green onion, and mixed greens next to each other, without mixing. Sprinkle sesame seeds and peanuts over. When ready to serve, pour just enough dressing to coat ingredients, and let every guest participate in tossing the salad with chopsticks. Serves 4.

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup olive oil

Add soy sauce, ginger, carrot, salt, sugar, and ¼ cup water to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender with honey and add oil gradually in a steady stream while blending. Blend until smooth and adjust salt or sugar to taste. Cool to room temperature before using.

Château de la Noblesse 2017 Rosé (Bandol). Tim Quinn, Tansuo general manager and beverage director, says, “This is a beautiful, dry yet juicy, rosé that stands up to the complex and layered flavors of the salad without overwhelming it.

Courtesy Joe Ng, executive chef, RedFarm, New York City

E-fu noodles, also called yi mein, are long Cantonese egg noodles that symbolize longevity. They’re a must for Chinese New Year celebrations. This recipe highlights the technique of “velveting,” common in Chinese stir-fries. It creates a silky coating on the meat that also helps seal in its juices.

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 6 ounces boneless chicken breast, sliced into strips ¼” thick and 2” long
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1½ ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 8 ounces e-fu noodles (also called yi mein)
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup minced scallion
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and vegetable oil, as needed

Stir together egg white, wine, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon wine, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Cover shiitakes and porcinis with 4 cups boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and slice the shiitakes into thin strips. Stir together 1⅔ cups reserved mushroom liquid, soy, oyster sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon wine, and ¾ teaspoon salt, until sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside liquid and mushrooms separately.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 90 seconds they should be completely wilted but still chewy. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon to a strainer (leave noodle water on stovetop so it continues boiling) and rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside. In the same boiling water, add chicken and cook, stirring gently to separate pieces, for about a minute, or just until the pieces are no longer pink in the middle. Drain and set aside.

Heat a wok or very large sauté pan over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, then the reserved mushrooms, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, so everything sizzles but doesn’t brown. Add the mushroom liquid and boil until it reduces by about half this should only take 1-2 minutes. Add noodles and cook, stirring gently to coat with sauce, until noodles are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid, 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt, sugar, and/or soy, if necessary. Add chicken and butter, stir for about 20 seconds, then add scallion, cilantro, and sesame oil and stir just until butter is fully melted. Serves 4.

Planet Oregon 2017 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). “This earthy wine from Soter Vineyards has notes of dark cherry and black pepper that complement the flavors of the noodles without being overbearing,” says RedFarm Beverage Director Shawn Chen. “It also has a slight acidity that refreshes the palate.”

Tucson has a strong Chinese community dating back to the mid-1800s, with an exceptionally diverse Chinese culinary scene for a city its size. Noodleholics specializes in noodles from the southern Chinese city of Guilin, but also has staples from other regions. These chaoshou are Sichuan pork dumplings with a chili oil sauce. When eaten for Chinese New year, dumplings represent wealth for the coming year.

  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 1 package square wonton wrappers
  • Dumpling Sauce (recipe below)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

Using clean hands, combine pork, egg, ginger, sesame oil, wine, soy, and white pepper until uniform. Refrigerate until ready to use. To assemble dumplings, have a small bowl of water next to the dumpling wrappers. Form dumplings by putting a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square. Moisten two edges with water and fold to make a triangle, pressing out any air and pressing edges together to seal. Wet one edge of the base of the triangle, and fold the other edge over it, pressing to seal. This will make the traditional “hat” shape. As you assemble dumplings, put them on a plate or tray and cover loosely, so they don’t dry out. (Dumplings can also be frozen on parchment paper and stored in plastic freezer bags for up to 3 months. To cook, just boil directly from the freezer.)

To cook dumplings, bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil. Working in batches, add dumplings and cook for about 3 minutes, until they float and are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and divide among serving bowls. Stir dumpling sauce and drizzle over dumplings. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Makes about 30 dumplings.

  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine soy and sugar until sugar dissolves. Stir in chili oil, sesame oil, and garlic. Set aside until ready to serve.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Dry Riesling (Columbia Valley (WA)). Riesling that is ripe, yet dry, with notes of apple compliment spicy ginger flavors. Vibrant acidity washes away any oily residue from tasty dumpling sauce and balances savory flavors renewing the palate.

Mozzarella alla Caprese

This is a classic appetizer from the region of Campnia, and it can be enjoyed all year round. It is a dish that is often associated with Italy by many people, and it is super quick and easy to whip up, so what better dish to include in your New Year’s Eve spread?

Ingredients (to feed 6)

9 slices of ripe tomatoes
fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil

Place the mozzarella and tomatoes on a serving dish, alternating them with each other. Chop some fresh basil and sprinkle basil, olive oil, oregano and salt over the top, and then serve at room temperature!

Wine Me Dine Me: It’s your lucky New Year’s Day

It&rsquos been a long time since I&rsquove been out on New Year&rsquos Eve so I&rsquom not going to miss not being able to attend a big party to toast the new year at midnight. Heck, where I am, we&rsquore not even permitted to be out after 8 p.m. or buy booze after 6 p.m.

I suspect many of you will be staying home as well, avoiding those crowds and the dangers of the road. That doesn&rsquot mean you can&rsquot make it special and for me, that means great food and drink on New Year&rsquos Eve, but also traditional dishes that represent luck both on the Eve and the Day.

If you&rsquore celebrating at home by yourself, do make sure you at least Zoom or Facetime with friends and family for an hour or so. It certainly did lift my spirits on Christmas Eve and Day to open gifts virtually with my daughter, cousins, aunt and parents.

Cooking traditional foods helps me feel connected, too. Even if they are not part of my own traditions, it makes me feel like I&rsquom honoring the holiday and looking forward to the year ahead and many dishes have symbolic nods to what may happen in the upcoming year. I&rsquom not superstitious but, well, just in case.

One of those dishes is black-eyed peas which I always make for New Year&rsquos Day. They are linked to luck in many cultures including African-American and Egyptian, and luck is something we can all use now more than ever. Greens with your black-eyed peas are also lucky.

Pork dishes are also associated with luck and progress and January 1 is the day I always make Transylvanian Guylas (goulash), a Hungarian pork dish with sauerkraut and the little dumplings they call nokedli. I learned to make the recipe below when I worked as a waitress at a Hungarian restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ. In Germany, pork and sauerkraut are eaten for luck, too, because cabbage symbolizes money and long life.

0In Mexico, 12 grapes are eaten as quickly as possible at midnight, each one promising luck for a month. Pomegranates symbolize both fertility and abundance in many Mediterranean countries.

Of course, all of this is great with a chilled glass of Champagne or a Champagne cocktail like a mimosa. I also have a tasty recipe for sparkling wine and vodka marinated grapes if you indulge.

Here, I&rsquove included that recipe along with my annual black-eyed peas and greens recipe and the Transylvanian Guylas and below that, some ideas for those who don&rsquot imbibe or who are starting their Dry January.

My current black-eyed peas recipe has a Caribbean flair with coconut milk and a killer habanero pepper paste. Serve with rice and greens.

Stewed black-eyed peas

1 1/2 c. cooked black-eyed peas

1/2 habanero pepper or 1 t. Pepper paste

Heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until just browned. Add the powdered spices (ginger, cardamom, pepper, mustard) and stir.

Add carrots, bell pepper, sweet potatoes and stir. Add the peas, habanero pepper or hot pepper paste and cilantro. Cover with water (enough to make a stew) and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

Transylvanian Guylas (Goulash)

Serve with buttered wide noodles or spaetzle, called nokedli in Hungarian.

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder in cubes

Wash the sauerkraut under cold running water then soak in cold water for 20 minutes to reduce its sourness. Strain well, pressing out all the water.

Melt the butter in a large casserole dish and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and cook a minute longer.

Stir in the paprika, then pour in 1/2 cup of broth and bring to boil. Add the pork cubes. Cover the pork with sauerkraut and toss in the caraway seeds.

Combine the tomato puree and the rest of the broth in a bowl, then pour over the sauerkraut and pork. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat as much as you can. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Add a bit of stock or water if it starts to get too dry.

When pork is tender, place sour cream in a small bowl and add the flour. Combine with a whisk. Stir the mixture into the casserole very slowly, a bit at a time. Simmer for another 10 minutes and then season to taste. Top each serving with more sour cream.

Champagne Grapes

I say &ldquoChampagne,&rdquo but any sparkling wine or even non-alcoholic sparkling beverage will do. You can also change up the sugar and use colored sugar.

Place grapes in a large bowl and pour the sparkling wine and vodka or gin over all. Place in fridge and soak for one hour.

Drain and pat dry, then place on a baking sheet and sprinkle the sugar on top. Shimmy the pan back and forth to coat the grapes in sugar.

Non-alcoholic alternatives

I always recommend Seedlip Spirits for making classic cocktails with no booze at all (, and this year, I&rsquove discovered some other booze-free spirits makers. Many of them you can buy online or at your local gourmet, spirits store or supermarket.

My latest favorite is Ceders from Sweden, an &ldquoalt-gin&rdquo made with classic botanicals but also some from South Africa. They have four versions, each with a different flavor profile. I like the Blush Rose with juniper and hibiscus or the Classic which includes fynbos from South Africa.(

Lyre&rsquos is a company I like a lot, too. They have a dry London spirit which is an alt-gin but also an American Malt, a spirit that has been &ldquoimpossibly crafted to capture the essence of a gently mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt with flavors that are distinct and contemporary. Lyre's spirits don't just mimic, they have their own distinction as a premium, non-alcoholic beverage.&rdquo Their Absinthe is great, too. (

Ritual has a zero proof tequila spirit which makes a great margarita as well as whiskey and gin alternative. (

For beer, try Athletic Brewing Company in Connecticut. They even have a Dry January Survival Kit which includes a sixer each of their Wild IPA, Upside Down Golden Ale, All Our Stout, Cerveza Atletica and Free Wave Hazy IPA with a beer glass.

New Beginnings

Crump notes in his book that in almost every culture, New Year's is not just the turning of the calendar it is a metaphysical restart, a chance to be a better person, an opportunity for greater happiness, and a chance to be metaphorically reborn.

The famed British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot left an eclectic catalog of poems and plays--he wrote the book upon which the famous Broadway show "Cats" was based--but his most famous poem, "The Waste Land," deals in part with prophecy. Many of his other works, such as "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," talk about the yearning for a better present and future.

Charles Lamb, an English writer and essayist, and Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, both eloquently expressed the same thought: The new year is a time for rebirth, an opportunity to leave the past behind and start anew. Scott, in just a few words, adds a satirical twist, implying that every year since the beginning of time, humans have believed, perhaps erroneously, that the new year would be completely different and better than the last.

Watch the video: Die Weinexperten: Das Einpflanzen einer neuen Wein-Rebe Teil 13 (January 2022).