Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bring in the New Year - On a Budget

As the new year approaches, we all like to celebrate in style. But with style, often comes a high price tag. New Year's Eve prix fixe dinners, brunches and all those sorts of things are marked up for the occasion.

Instead, consider a quiet and romantic evening enjoying some appetizers and bubbly with you loved ones.

On the menu:
-Cristalino Cava
-Stuffed dates wrapped in bacon
-Smoked salmon on crispy potato chips, garnished with sour cream and dill

Cost Plus Imports has two varieties of Cristalino (Brut and Extra Dry) at a mere $5.99 per bottle. A longtime favorite of Wine Spectator as far as value, this is a bargain bottle with lots of personality. Check out this amusing review of both the Brut and Extra Dry.:
Cava, Spain

Cristalino Cava Brut is a sparkling wine from Spain, made from the grape varietals Macabeo 50%, Parellada 35% and Xarello 15%. Produced by Jaume Serra, this lovely sparkler offers a fine alternative to Champagne at less than half the price.

Cristalino Cava Brut has a bright green-gold color and shows fine bubbles. It has a pleasant nose of green apples, peaches, toast, flowers, cinnamon and herbs. Crisp and bright, dry with medium-full body, this sparkler offers rich flavors of apples, figs, lemon, roasted almonds and pie crust. It is fruit-forward and balanced, with a clean, lemony finish.

Enjoy Cristalino Cava Brut as an apéritif and with chicken salad, shellfish, paella, filet of sole and fruit desserts.
For appetizers, here is your shopping list:
-Dates (buy the bulk ones at Whole Foods, they're fresher and larger)
-Blue cheese crumbles OR you can stuff them with a whole almond instead
-Smoked Salmon (Trader Joe's has an excellent one in the small black package)
-Lightly salted potato chips
-Sour Cream
-Fresh Dill

-Slice dates in half lengthwise, stuff dates with a bit of blue cheese. If you don't like blue cheese, substitute parmesan or mozarella. You can also just stuff it with an almond for a bit of crunch. Cut bacon in half crosswise. Wrap the date tightly, place seam side down on a broiler pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes and (remember to turn after 20 minutes), watching closely.
-Place pre-sliced smoked salmon on a potato chip top with a bit of sour cream and garnish with fresh dill

VOILA! Happy New Year!