Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wasn't it just New Year's Eve?

I'm not sure if I have a single New Year's resolution that I haven't broken. Let's, shot...exercise, avoided...blogging once a week, oops!

I keep coming up with topics and meals I want to write about, but I know I can't do anything until I write about our New Year's Eve dinner.

For the last 6 years, my family has hosted an all night party. It started as 8 adults ( 2 of them pregnant), 2 little girls who wouldn't go to sleep and a baby and has grown to 8 adults, 5 girls, 4 boys and a babysitter. There are the 3 core families who come every year and a 4th family I call the Defense Against The Dark Arts position since it is a revolving position that adds something new to the party each year.

We begin by feeding the kids and then banishing them to the basement with a sitter. After, the adults start eating, drinking and cooking non stop until the clock strikes 12.

After the fourth or fifth year, we realized we should have been keeping a journal of what we ate and drank. We'll just have to start with NYE 2007 and go from there.

First: The food

Just about everything is home made. We all love to cook (and eat) and spend the entire year gathering recipes we want to serve at New Years.


I brought the cheese tray (I am very very sorry that I did not write down which cheeses I purchased, however, they were all obtained at Whole Foods in case you are looking to create a lovely cheese tray of your own).
I also made my super easy and yet totally delicious Stuffed Dates wrapped with Bacon. This year I got the girls to help me stuff the dates before hand. It's so easy, a pre-school er can do it!
The family S made a tuna tapenade, olive tapenade, guacamole, tomatoes stuffed with guacamole, ceviche, bruschetta with Gorgonzola and pear and Grapes encrusted with blue cheese and pistachios (from a recipe they found in a Costco flier). The grapes were outstanding, however they took hours to prepare and we will probably not see them again. The family F brought some spanikopita, which were not home made. However, this was their first year joining us, so we made an exception and devoured them anyway.

Tomatoes stuffed with Guacamole

Grapes encrusted with Blue Cheese and Pistachios

Soup and Salad

For a change, the family Z made a lobster bisque for a first course. Another idea that sounds great but takes so much effort. There was pre-cooking the soup, pre-cooking the lobster, shelling the lobster, re-heating the soup and then serving it to the crowd that had been eating appetizers for 2 1/2 hours. While the creaminess of the soup and the divine taste of perfectly cooked lobster was well received, it was hard to appreciate it on a full stomach. (We have this problem every year!).

Lobster Bisque

Next was a Caesar salad tossed by the family F. A nice refresher before the main course.

Main Course

Mr C (my DH) spends a week or two before New Year's researching recipes on the Net. Usually he has something in mind, based on a good meal eaten during the year at a great restaurant in Chicago. Last year it was prime rib roast. Another year it was pistachio crusted rack of lamb. This year he chose to make beef tenderloin with a roasted shallot sauce accompanied by Parmesan and morel risotto (with a little truffle oil mixed in for good luck :). My next favorite meal is New Year's Day when we eat the leftovers! There was also broccoli with balsamic vinaigrette.


This year was a chocolate cake and a huge basket of chocolates that I had received as a holiday gift. I am so happy that I had 18 people help me eat them. Otherwise I would still be nibbling on raspberry bon-bons while avoiding the treadmill.

Next: Drink

We have learned over the years to use wine glass tags since it is hard to keep track of whose is which glass over the course of 6 hours. This year, I wrote down what each bottle was but I am not sure which order we drank them in. The last two are the only ones that we didn't knock off.

Bodega Norton Reserve from Argentina
Malbec 2004

Gloria Ferrer from Sonoma County
Sonoma Brut Sparkling Wine

La Crema from Sonoma Coast
Pinot Noir 2006

Mansfield from Napa Valley
Merlot 2004

Jacquesson France
Cuvee n 731 Champagne Brut 2003 Harvest

Gascon Argentina
Malbec 2006

Chateau St Jean from Kenwood, CA
Merlot 2002

Las Brisas Spain (still in my fridge!)
Blanc 2006

Acacia from Napa Valley (finished the next weekend)
Pinot Noir 2005

That sums up New Year's Eve. If you would like any of the recipes listed above, please post a comment and I will oblige.