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By Sara Moulton The Associated Press

Baked whole fish for Chinese New Year

The Chinese like to feature whole steamed fish on the menu of their New Year’s feasts. Said to signify togetherness, abundance and long life, it’s a dish with symbolism that is as important as taste. Indeed, you’re supposed to leave the bones, head and tail intact, a way to help ensure that the new year will be a winner from beginning to end.

Salmon poached in green salsa and topped with baked chips

The French love to cook fish by poaching it in a flavoured liquid, usually a combination of white wine and water, leeks or onions, and some herbs. It’s a notably lean way to roll because there’s no fat involved. And the finished product is reliably tender because it has been cooked at a low temperature.

Bring stuffed mushrooms into the modern era (and to a party)

When I was a kid and my mom was throwing dinner parties, I noticed that one of her go-to appetizers was stuffed mushrooms. The fungi in the spotlight were plain old white cultivated mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of buttery chopped mushrooms stems, onions, breadcrumbs and a little dried thyme or cheese.

A cheesy, spicy cracker that’s good enough to give as gifts

When I was a kid, my parents sometimes brought home tins of deliriously delicious cheese crackers. I can’t remember the brand I think it was a British import but I do remember that my sister and brother and I would inhale them as soon the tin was opened. All these years later the flavour of those crackers, richly cheesy and spicy, remains burned into my memory.

A cheesy, spicy cracker that’s good enough to give as gifts

When I was a kid, my parents sometimes brought home tins of deliriously delicious cheese crackers. I can’t remember the brand I think it was a British import but I do remember that my sister and brother and I would inhale them as soon the tin was opened. All these years later the flavour of those crackers, richly cheesy and spicy, remains burned into my memory.

KitchenWise: Recipe for fried sweet cheese and almond dumplings

Many of the signature dishes of Hanukkah involve either cheese or frying in oil... Or both! Since I like to have it all, I created these fried sweet cheese and almond dumplings a luscious dessert — featuring both ingredients. Happily, they are easy to make, requiring no special equipment other than a deep fat thermometer.