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Comfort food and books for comfort for New Year’s eve and day

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Christina Stock Photo Delicious, not only as a hangover cure: Scandinavian/German herring salad with steamed potatoes.

New Year’s best intentions, hangover remedies and books for self-improvement

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

There is one thing that unites the western hemisphere: Party time on New Year’s Eve with New Year’s resolutions.

One really fun way to celebrate a New Year’s dinner in a small group of adults is an invention by a Swiss restaurateur: The fondue.

Originally, a pot with hot oil on a miniature stove — today, it’s mostly electrical — each guest has a long narrow fork or two, some fresh cut beef, shrimp or fish and a selection of sauces, fresh bread and vegetables. While putting one’s speared meat in the pot to have it fry, it is easy to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Of course, a party game was invented around the fondue. Any guest who lost his or her piece in the pot or accidentally “stole” another’s had to down a shot of liquor.

I encountered fondue in a much more healthy way. As soon as I was old enough, at age 15, I enjoyed an early New Year’s party with my friends (without alcohol) and made fondue, but instead of oil, I used broth. If you do a beef fondue, you can easily use any store-bought broth or make your own. The meat actually gets much more flavorful and cooks in the same amount of time.

If you want to be a little more sophisticated, how about doing a fish fondue with shrimp and salmon? Just be careful that the fish and shrimp are fresh. In this case, I recommend making your own broth a week ahead:

Ingredients:

shrimp shells from a pound of shrimp that you can eat a week ahead during another dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2” knob fresh ginger

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

7 cups water

kosher salt

Directions:

Saute the leeks, garlic and ginger with the oil in a deep and large pot on medium heat. After the garlic gets translucent, add the shrimp shells, peppercorns and thyme stems. Saute for 8 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, wine and water. Add another large pinch of salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. Use a skimmer or fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. Strain twice to make sure all solids are removed. Taste for seasoning and add salt. Pour the broth into a sealable container and cool over ice. Cover and place the stock in the freezer until ready to use on the day of the fondue.

Thaw out the broth and put it in the fondue pot. Adjust temperature depending on the fondue pot company’s instruction.

There are so many sauces out on the internet, I am not even posting any recipe. You can make it yourself or use ready-made sauces. Tip: Salat sauces can be delicious for fish and meat fondue and also go well with fresh vegetables.

With the New Year, oftentimes adults — especially those who rarely indulge in fermented drinks — often overestimate how much their body can tolerate. The result is harsh when the sun comes up and the spirits go down with a headache, tummy trouble and feeling 110 years of age.

Well, everybody will say, just don’t drink, or just drink one glass of alcohol and stop. That is the easy solution. But what if you just didn’t listen— or you were really smart and took away the keys of your guests so they would stay overnight at your place to prevent them from driving drunk and starting the New Year with killing somebody?

Be prepared for hangovers. No, there is really no cure, but you can help the person get on his or her legs much faster.

During the party — the night before — make sure that your guests drink lots of water in between the alcohol. The typical headache after drinking too much is your brain “yelling” for water.

Forget the hair-of-the-dog cure the next day. All you do is postpone the hangover by becoming tipsy again. Lots of drinks with electrolytes and water help.

A protein-rich breakfast such as menudo or if you don’t like menudo, scrambled eggs with ham and salt will get rid of any queasy stomach. Or, try my recipe that helped a certain Marine (my husband) more often than he wanted to admit.

It’s a typical German/Scandinavian remedy and the base is a jar of herring in sour creme.

Ingredients:

1 to 2 jars of herring in sour creme

1 cup of apples, chopped

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup of bread and butter pickles, chopped

Directions:

In a large container, combine all ingredients and fold them under. Put into an airtight container and keep refrigerated overnight.

Serve as breakfast or brunch over steamed potatoes or as a topping on fresh bread.

Now to the fun part and — hopefully — painless: New Year’s is made for new goals. It doesn’t matter about losing a pound or two, but to change and becoming healthier, learning something new and expanding one’s horizon — this is a change that keeps on giving.

Have you ever thought about yoga? It’s a great way to achieve calmness in a stressful environment. The book published by Clear Light Books out of Santa Fe is called, “Yoga of Nature” by Thia Luby. The cover shows her in White Sands National Park.

This book takes this concept of yoga a step further to look at each of the four elements in nature — earth, water, fire and air — and see how they relate to specific yoga poses.

Any reader looking for something to scratch off their bucket list? Or trying to make a bucket list? The Rio Grande Publishing House is based in Las Cruces and has a variety of bucket list books out, from “The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List” by Slim Randles out of Albuquerque to “The Complete Space Bucket List” by Loretta Hall — there will be one bucket list that fits.

All books are available at their publishing houses and most also as an ebook at the usual sites.