January 7, 2010

What I'm Putting Out - New Year's Eve Dinner

New year, new dedication to my blog. I have been sadly remiss since I started this, and one of my new year's resolutions is to get back to (or should I say start?) posting regularly. So, in the spirit of the new year, this post will address the dinner I and a friend cooked for New Year's Eve.

After seeing Julie and Julia, my friend Courtney and I wanted to cook our own French-inspired, butter- and cream-laden feast. We picked New Year's Eve to give ourselves a few months to practice different dishes and techniques. The practice never happened, but the dinner did. We took most or our recipes out of "How to Cook Everything" except for the dessert recipes, which we found online, and the duck breast marinade, which came from "The Joy of Cooking." Unfortunately, not a single recipe came from any of Julia's cookbooks. Maybe next year.
Here's the menu: appetizers were marinated olives, bread with roasted garlic spread, and broiled figs stuffed with cream cheese, honey and fresh rosemary. Our first course was home-made french onion soup.

The main course was pan-seared duck breast with an arugula blue cheese salad and cream braised potatoes. The potatoes are simmering away in butter and cream in my new red cast iron dutch oven. Oh, the joys of being a food nerd. I love this pot! Dessert was wine and honey poached pears, also simmering away here, and chocolate mousse.

By the end of the cooking day, Seamus, who was pretty patient for a 20 month old kept away from his mama all day, had enough and refused to be anywhere but on my hip. Courtney's wearing her mom's apron from Cracker Barrel. It says Anne Marie.

We only had a few hiccups - the figs were (I thought) too sweet, my husband accidentally threw out the wine honey sauce for the pears that had been reducing to perfection for hours, and the chocolate mousse was maybe just a little too thick and rich. The soup, however, was an unequivocal success. I didn't like the duck, but everyone else did, and the potatoes were amazing, swimming in their chowdery, cream-and-butter broth.

I love cooking - I love trying new recipes, I love chopping and slicing, simmering and frying and arranging on a plate. I like the service involved in cooking for others, and I like the communion you can find around the dinner table. Somtimes I just like cooking for the pure sensory joy of taste. I think this dinner had all of these elements. It was a good way to start the new year.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful night was had by all. No one would have been offended if you had admitted that you didn't like the duck that you cooked. We liked it though, so fear not. Again, thanks for a wonderful night and wonderful dinner.