Each year when January 1 rolls around, we splurge by having champagne and caviar for breakfast. It's our version of eating Hoppin' John, as we feel it brings us luck for the new year.
In addition to the caviar (from Little Pearl, which is stocked at a local market so we don't have to fly it in ourselves, thus saving food miles, and that was voted "Best Domestic Caviar" by Chefs in America, http://www.littlepearl.com/), the finely minced shallots , the homemade blini (an adaptation of a recipe by the Barefoot Contessa from her "Barefoot in Paris" book, recipe shown below), the Bellwether Farms créme fraiche (http://www.bellwetherfarms.com/), we enjoyed our last bottle of champagne by French producer, Pasqual Doquet. Two years ago, we found 8 bottles of his premier crus rosé and fell in love with it. The deep pink/red color, the crisp fresh strawberry fruit, the yeast -- all combine to make this bottle of bubbles one of our all-time favorites.
The bubbles are imported by Robert Kacher Selections in DC. We hope you find it as lovely and as memorable as we do.
May your 2010 be filled with good fortune and great bubbly!
Adapted from the blini recipe by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, from her "Barefoot in Paris" book.
We love this recipe since it doesn't require yeast, yet tastes like it does. The blini also rise well, even at the 7,200 ft. elevation we live at here in Santa Fe.
1/3 cup buckwheat flour (we like the organic one from Bob's Red Mill http://www.bobsredmill.com/)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified
1/4 cup créme fraiche or sour cream
Finely minced shallots and/or chives for garnish
Combine the two flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter, then whisk into the flour mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter in a medium sauté pan and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. (I clean the hot pan with a dry paper towel in between batches.)