Christmas 2017

by Olga Schafranek |

I dream about hosting Christmas one year. So far there has always been a reasonable excuse why we can't do it (much to my husband's relief). For a while it was that our house was too small for the enormous extended family, then we visited my family in California, same house is still too small, then we moved to Moscow, then we got a bigger house but we had a second baby, then we moved to Moscow again. 

Someday I will get there. Some day my house will be twinkly and the sounds of Christmas music will float across the room and people will be drinking mulled wine and all the kids will be screaming as they open their gifts from Santa. For my husband's family, Santa (or Ded Moroz) makes a jolly appearance to hand out presents which are earned by reciting poems or singing songs.

So for now we come rolling into Christmas jetlagged or scraping together 'good enough' decorations and we go to someone else's house. Which is also really nice. The whole no set up or clean up thing has its benefits.

If you happen to be hosting a sit down Christmas dinner, I found this great ("vintage", as in, from the 90s) recipe for the first course. Chilled herbed cream rolled up in smoked salmon atop green salad and garnished with caviar. It makes a wonderful start to a festive and special meal. Any of our caviar will make this dish shine, but I would recommend Estate, Reserve or Select. 

Wherever you are spending Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate), I hope you are happy, full of joy, and surrounded by love and warmth. 

Na Zdarovye!


Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Caviar (serves 4)
Bon Appetit, February 1996 (


1/4 cup chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons Tsar Nicoulai Estate, Reserve or Select Caviar (approximately 1 ounce)
4 6x5-inch thin slices smoked salmon (about 6 ounces)
5 cups (packed) mixed baby greens
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1. Beat cream, 1 tablespoon chives and horseradish in medium bowl to stiff peaks. Fold in 2 tablespoons caviar. Season to taste with pepper. Place salmon slices on work surface. Spread 2 tablespoons caviar mixture down center of each, leaving 1/2-inch border on short sides. Fold short sides in, then roll up smoked salmon, starting at 1 long side. Place seam side down on plate. Wrap salmon bundles in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

2. Place greens and remaining 2 tablespoons chives in large bowl. Whisk oil and lime juice in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over greens and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with salmon bundle. Top with remaining 4 teaspoons caviar and serve.