A Happy and Blessed New Year to all


We’re stepping cautiously toward the New Year over a blanket of snow and ice that simply refuses to go away in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Plans call for the friends to gather at The Olive Garden in Toms River around 3 p.m. tomorrow for “linner” the word coined by Daisy Martinez as a combination lunch and dinner. Then, some of the friends will head to their homes and others will head to our house for a comfy night by the electric fireplace, a few favorite movies (“The Man Who Came to Dinner” and “The Thin Man) before we flip to, yes, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Considering the reports of still blocked roads and trouble spots, our extra-careful traveling approach is still in effect so we’re not venturing out for any midnight celebrations. For us though, that’s pretty typical on New Year’s Eve. We enjoy burrowing in at home with some good friends to munch on favorite snacks and savor the arrival of the New Year.

We do have a few really favorite snacks including creamed Vita herring for good luck, homemade smoked salmon “pate” and supermarket caviar over dollops of sour cream, dusted with chopped onions and chopped hardboiled eggs and served on melba toast.

Smoked salmon makes an annual appearance at our house on New Year’s Eve and this year, it’s picked up some added zest as a result of one of my favorite gifts: The Junior League Centennial Cookbook. The 1996 cookbook was a present this year from dear friend Hannah Havens who plucked it out of her late mother, Eileen’s memorable cookbook collections and gave it to me for Christmas.

Eileen was a wonderful cook who always seemed to blend joyful goodness into her cooking. Having one of her books to work with is truely marvelous. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Smoked Salmon Pate

Ingredients: 1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon; 2 (8-ounce packages) softened cream cheese; 6 teaspoons minced onion; 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; Tabasco sauce to taste; additional chopped dill and dill sprigs for garnish.

Directions: Chop the smoked salmon. Combine in a bowl with cream cheese, onion, dill, lemon juice and Tabasco, mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon to blend. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To serve, sprinkle with additional chopped dill and garnish with dill sprigs. Spread on crackers.

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