Which fish can perform operations? (or help you celebrate the New Year?)

The sturgeon is definitely good for more than just fish jokes! Namely….Caviar! I must say, it’s not something we have often, but it’s a nice treat. I had the opportunity to shoot a variety of caviar for Wegmans (thank you)…. which you can see here: caviar.  Ranging from $60 for the tin of domestic Hackleback Sturgeon to the $210 for the tin of Caspian Sea Golden Osetra (Sturgeon), caviar can be quite different. I believe the White Sturgeon was $130, and the Siberian Osetra was $170. Quality definitely goes up with the price, along with the size of the roe, and the Russian Caspian Sea Osetra was by far our favorite. It was delicate, buttery, mild, and slightly nutty. We knew it was fish, without it being “fishy” or salty. The Hackleback did have a tiny bit of a salty, fishy taste, was not as mild or buttery, but was still very good. We had all of them on baguette with the traditional accompaniments of creme fraiche and hard boiled egg. Next time I’ll plan to make blinis, as I couldn’t find any at the last minute, but the baguette was a good way to go.

Leave me a comment with your caviar experiences. As most people are very opinionated on caviar, I’d love to hear what you think!

We paired our caviar with ice cold vodka and champagne. As a match to the caviar we both liked the champagne, but I have to say that Sobieski makes a very good vodka. And it’s ridiculously cheap….less than half of most. Maybe it didn’t pair well being a Polish rye vodka, and unlike most Russian vodkas? It is quite bold in flavor, sweet to start with some citrus, and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. But it’s very smooth, and you almost forget it’s 70 proof. We had a vodka tasting party and this finished in the top two or three with most of us, but almost deserved it’s own category. Give it a try and let me know what you think of Sobieski as well!

We plan on trying a few Finger Lakes sparkling wines to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I will post about them next week…I mean next year. Be safe and Happy New Year!

Caviar tins, straight off the ice.

Serve on ice with creme fraiche and hard boiled eggs.

We ate ours on baguette, but you may want to try blinis as well.

Sobieski Vodka, frosted, straight from the freezer. Polish, not Russian to match the caviar, but excellent.

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Warmest holiday wishes to you all. Enjoy the time with family, and don’t forget to leave Santa a treat!

Heather’s cut-out cookies always bring me back to our first date, where we had quite a lengthy discussion about our favorite cookies. She then brought some to a party I hosted a week later and the rest is wonderful history. Leaving them for Santa will certainly help the boys out with their wish list!

I'm sure Santa will be pleased with Heather's Christmas cookies!

An apple a day……brings a smile!

The supply of Honeycrisp apples is starting to dwindle. I’m not happy about that. As one of my favorite types of apple, I look forward to seeing them in the store every fall. The Honeycrisp is a cross between Macoun and Honey Gold apples that some ingenious apple scientist came up with.  I love the crunch and the blend of sweet and tart. Yum! (Makes smile!)

Heather, her mom and her grandmother mix up a wonderful batch of applesauce each fall. We portion it out and store it in the freezer so we can enjoy it year round….or until it runs out! I highly suggest you try it out, as I hear it’s fairly easy.

Grandma Betty’s Applesauce: Peel, core, and quarter one peck of apples. Rinse the apple pieces and put them in a large pot with 3 cups of water and  up to 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it). Add cinnamon to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

We also wanted to try the Honeycrisp apples with a trio of Grafton Village cheddar cheeses. Thinking it would be a fun experiment to pick the best pairing, we set up our cheeseboard and went to town! The one-year aged cheddar was slightly sharp, but smooth. It took the apple in a creamy direction. The two-year aged cheddar was crumbly and a fair amount sharper than the younger cheese. This was our least favorite pairing as it seemed dry in comparison to the first. The maple smoked cheddar was mild, creamy and – true to its name – smoky. It had a honey maple flavor that paired extremely well with the honey in the apple, making for an awesome combination.

Head to the store and grab some Honeycrisp apples while they’re still available! CRUNCH!

Honeycrisp apples. AWESOME...whether in applesauce or just snacking on them.

The trio of Grafton Village cheddar that we tried....Mmmmm.

The cheese trio posing for a close up.