Virginia Willis Blog

New Year’s Eve Appetizers: Blini with Caviar

hors d'oeuvres on

New Year’s Eve Appetizers

There’s a seemingly nonstop flurry of activity between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. I also have a birthday squished between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  This means there is a whole lot of celebrating in a short period of time and by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around I am pretty much done with it.

More than anything, I want than to stay at home and have a quiet supper on New Year’s Eve. No packed parties, no festive gatherings, no dressing up, or cleaning up. All I desire is a quiet evening at home. We have our own party to celebrate the incoming of the New Year in front of a toasty, roaring fire. 

Blini not Bling

Quiet doesn’t mean not acknowledging the significance of a new year and a new beginning. We’re going to ring in the new year tonight with a Roast Leg of Lamb cooked on the hearth and a smattering of New Year’s Eve Appetizers including Blini with Caviar and Smoked Salmon. It’s just a little bit fancy — I said I was tired of all the parties, but it is New Year’s Eve, after all! Let’s celebrate! There’s all sorts of caviar, including little pots that cost as much as a car payment. I simply suggest buying what you can afford, but keep in mind “a dab will do ya.”

And, if you want a few more ideas for appetizers – and many quite a bit more simple, please check out this piece in the Tampa Bay Times by Janet  Keeler, “Food Writers offer their favorite New Year’s Eve Appetizers.” 

This has been a great year and I am very much looking forward to a fantastic year in 2015. The reviews of Lighten Up, Y’all are starting to come in and they are very promising. Southern Living said, “With Lighten Up, Y’all Willis reminds us why she’s one of the most creative cooks in the South.” That put a big smile on my face. Click here to read a bit more and get a sneak peak at a couple of the recipes. I am thankful with each and every breath. This book is very close to my heart. I am thrilled about the possibilities and I am truly, truly excited about future opportunities.

Here’s to you and yours for a happy, healthy, and safe 2015.

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

blini on

Dorie’s Buckwheat Blinis
Makes about 3 dozen

I’ve used this recipe for blini by Dorie Greenspan’s for years and ages. I’ll tell you the truth — these photos are of store-bought blini I picked up at the grocery store in Paris. (Yes, because in Paris you can actually pick up a couple dozen blini in the prepared foods section of their version of Safeway.) The blini in the recipe are just a bit darker, so don’t worry that you’ve made a mistake.

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Melted butter or canola oil

caviar, for serving
smoked salmon, for serving
crème fraîche, for serving
dill or chervil, for garnish

Combine the flours, sugar, and yeast. Set aside. Place milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and thermometer registers 110°F (if mixture gets too hot, remove it from the heat and cool it until the temperature lowers to 110°F).

Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. (I often use my microwave — not to cook or heat the dough, just as a holding place.)

Using a whisk, stir the batter. (This will cause it to deflate.) Whisk in the eggs.

Heat the oven to 200°F. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter or canola oil. (But, seriously, what the hell? Use butter. It’s New Year’s Eve.)

Working in batches, pour about 1 tablespoon batter for each blini onto griddle, spacing several inches apart. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, turn the blinis; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Tent with foil and place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining blinis.

The blinis can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Brush blinis lightly with melted butter and rewarm on baking sheet in 350°F oven for about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with caviar, smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and dill or chervil.

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Copyright © 2014 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

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