Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Year's Feast

Now that I've been married for six months, I'm on a renewed mission to use our china and crystal.  To be frank, I didn't want to register for any of the fancy dishware, because I thought it would sit in our precious cabinet space, gathering dust. I made my husband promise that we would use it once a month.  This was the third time we used it - so I guess we have a 50% success rate so far. 2014 is the year of crystal! And Kristal. I hope. 


I must say that our dining room table looked gorgeous with all of the fancy place settings, though. 

For New Year's Eve, we hosted our traditional dinner party. I'm up for anything on New Year's Eve, as long as it doesn't require me leaving my house.  This year, we had a five guests for a five course menu. After a whirlwind week of Christmas travel, much of the meal was pieced together the 36 hours before the party, but it turned out amazingly well! (I'm sure the fine china helped up our image).  Here's a recap of our night in photos!

For cocktail hour, we had gougeres and champagne, which is pretty much my favorite food and drink combination on the planet. Gougeres are basically cream puffs with cheese baked into the dough. I probably ate twenty.


With our champagne, we also had some gravlox, which I brought back from New Jersey. It's my dad's specialty and the hit of his holiday parties. Unfortunately, I didn't get to snap a picture of this before everyone gobbled it up. 

The first course was a sweet potato bisque with bacon and spiced pecans. I actually made this soup with some leftover mashed sweet potatoes that I thew in the freezer before we left for the holidays. I pureed them with a little bit of sautéed onion, chicken stock, and a ton of cream - voila! Soup!  We served the first two courses with a Meursault, which is a Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. It was hearty enough to stand up to the creaminess of the soup (and pasta) but still fairly light. 

Sweet Potato Bisque

I think the next course was the universal favorite. House made tagliatelle with prosciutto, peas, and mushrooms in a parmesan cream sauce.It was worth the weirdness of having coat hangers draped with drying noodles hung all over the house when our guests arrived.  Fortunately, they were delayed by an hour, or they would have seen me covered in flour, making a huge mess.

Pasta Course

Nothing beats homemade pasta.  The process is somewhat lengthy, but I find it super relaxing. It makes me feel like an 1800s grandma. I used this seven yolk recipe by Thomas Keller and I would highly recommend. Just be sure that your hands are strong because some aggressive kneading is needed. 



I've got a need to knead.

The next course was lamb chops with a sunchoke puree, roasted asparagus, and a red wine and shallot sauce.  I didn't actually get a picture of the sauced plates but you can use your imagination: it was red. Sugarhusband cooked the lamb to a perfect temperature (if I do say so myself) and made a banging pan sauce to go with it.  We served this with a 2010 Groth Cabernet from California. 


In the French style, we had our salad and cheese course after the entree. This is one of my favorite things about French cuisine. Think about it: in America, we eat cheese before the meal, and end up feeling all bloaty and full by the time the appetizers roll around.  If you wait until after the meal, you eat just the right amount of cheese instead of gorging yourself. 


The salad course was really simple greens with a super tart vinaigrette. It was nice after the heavier lamb dish. We added a little fried goat cheese round, which was basally a super classy mozzarella stick.  

We served Rogue River blue cheese and Fromge D'Affonois.  I actually really dislike the blue cheese - it was way too strong for me. This course paired with a Heitz Port. I first tasted this wine on a trip to California four years ago and I've been waiting for the perfect blue cheese moment to drink it.  It's amazing… if you drink it alone, it tastes like syrupy sweet raisin juice, but with the cheese, it's perfect. It also cut the mustiness of the blue cheese and made it taste much less strong.  


For dessert, I made a simple but delicious chocolate mousse, topped with some whipped cream and a raspberry. These little glasses are the size of shot glasses, so it was the perfect portion after such  big meal. Chocolate mousse (and most custards) are a great dinner party option because you can make them the night before and let them chill out in the fridge. No stress! IMG_1814

I liked the idea of having a really demurely sized dessert, but I was smart enough to make a few extra, because chocolate mousse is off the chain! No judgment to those who had seconds (I myself was eating the leftover pasta straight from the sauté pan). 


With espresso, we served cinnamon hazelnut biscotti and madelines. 


Blurry, but delicious.


And by this point, it was a quarter to midnight! Everyone laughed at me when we sat down to dinner at 8:15 and I set an alarm on my phone so we wouldn't miss the ball drop. I had to drag everyone away from the table for the big countdown. Good friends and good wine really make the time fly by. Here's to a happy and healthy 2014 for all! 

No comments:

Post a Comment