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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

COOK'S CORNER: A Great Start

I know. It's well past the time to be thinking about New Year's resolutions. I make a point of not making resolutions, as they become just one more reason to feel guilty about skipping step-class and spending the evening with the latest Harper's, wondering what happened to the can of Pringles.

However, as the new millennium dawned, I resolved to be a more thankful person in 2000. There was already so much to be grateful for. Instead of the Apocalypse on Jan. 1, there was merely an Armageddon-esque hangover. Instead of fighting tooth and nail for bottled water, I only had to battle the masses aching to spend their Y2K emergency cash at yet one more January Super Sale of the Century.

Even though January is more than half over, I'm still sticking to my resolution of thankfulness. I appreciate the little things that make life happy ... snowfalls, shoe sales and smoked salmon - so abundant in Moscow.

The most interesting smoked salmon recipe I've come across in a while is the Smoked Salmon Dome. A friend of mine served it at a holiday get-together, and I quickly joined the circle parked around this stylish starter. And as my pal pointed out, it's a great little number to serve at a party because it can be made and stored in the fridge up to two days in advance.

Smoked Salmon Dome

125 g thinly sliced smoked salmon

5 ml butter

125 ml chopped red onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

250 ml white wine

250 g cream cheese

5 ml grated lemon peel

15 ml chopped dill

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (or use 5 ml red pepper flakes)

1 ml each, salt and pepper

fresh dill, capers, sliced lemon or red onion

thinly sliced baguette or crisp crackers

Line a 500-ml round-bottom glass bowl with plastic wrap. Drape enough salmon slices inside the bowl to evenly cover, allowing extra to drape over the sides of bowl. Save two slices of salmon to cover bottom of dome. Coarsely chop remaining salmon. Melt butter in pan and saut? onion and garlic. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until wine is reduced to about 30 ml (5-8 minutes). Stir occasionally.

Cut cream cheese into small cubes and add to reduced wine mixture. Remove from heat and use a fork to work cheese until softened. Stir in lemon peel, dill, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Gently fold in chopped salmon. Spoon into salmon-lined bowl and gently press down. Cover with the salmon slices draped over sides and reserved salmon. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.

Turn dome onto platter. Remove plastic wrap. Gently press down center to slightly flatten rounded dome. Top with dill sprigs or garnish with capers, sliced red onion or lemon slices. Use a sharp knife to cut the dome into thin wedges and serve with bread or crackers. Serves 12.