Food + Wine

The Last Meals of 2009

I’m a little off my schedule this week (but aren’t we all?). We had a house guest for 4 days and I have a stupid cold. I had to go to the store today instead of last Sunday, and I also had to take my son with me, (who has an even stupider cold) so I was especially happy that I only spent $80 (saving $90), and got everything I needed, including the fixings for a fancy New Years Eve lunch-picnic and dinner. I just hope my cold goes away before tomorrow, I’d really love to taste this fancy New Years Eve dinner.
NYE Picnic~Rosemary Romano Shortbread; Bacon Wrapped, Romano-Stuffed Dates; Assorted Cheeses and Calabrese with Champagne

On New Years Eve afternoon my husband and I always have a carpet picnic. Our carpet picnics are different every time, but always have generally the same elements: cheese, charcuterie, fresh bread, fruit, and champagne. This time I’m trying something new with the shortbread. I saw someone make something like this on TV the other day and loved the idea, so I changed a couple of things to make it my own. I made the dough yesterday-it’s a basic shortbread recipe with Romano cheese (you could use Parm.) and fresh rosemary added. I’m hoping it will be equally as sweet as it is savory and combine the idea of cheese and crackers into one. Our carpet picnics are the best-we lounge on the living room floor, surrounded by food and drink, talking and laughing (sometimes board-gaming). It’s the best.
NYE Dinner~Rack of Lamb with a Roasted Garlic Jam, Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Currants, and Roasted Beets with a Tangerine Glaze
For New Years Eve we don’t go out to a nice restaurant, we don’t go to a big party, we always cook ourselves a fancy dinner, open a fancy bottle of wine and watch the ball drop together (if I’m able to make it up that late..generally I rest my eyes on the couch and G wakes me up as it’s dropping…) Believe it or not I got an entire rack of lamb today for $15, which is a little less than half of what it usually costs. Fresh spinach was on sale and the beets looked surprisingly yummy so that’s how this meal was born…
Grilled Flat-Iron Steaks, Caramelized Plantains, Tomato-Cilantro Salsa and Rice ‘n’ Beans
Our version of a Brazilian/Cuban steak night…
Honey-Dijon Chicken Breasts, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Plantains, and Roasted Broccoli
I’ll have leftover plantains because I bought way too many today so they’ll be mashed up with some sweet potatoes to serve as a bed for the chicken.
Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder
This is an amazing meal. I’ve made it before and completely forgot about it until today when I picked up a shoulder at the store. We just had barbecue last week so I didn’t want to make that again, so I was looking back through all my notes on pork and found this non-recipe. The idea isn’t my own, it’s an old Italian dish that I read about years ago. You’re literally braising the meat in milk (instead of wine and stock) with herbs (I use bay, rosemary and sage), whole garlic cloves, carrots and onions. The end result isn’t necessarily creamy like you’d imagine, but super tender and rich.
Marinated Seafood Salad with Orzo
I picked up a bag of frozen calamari rings at the store today because it was on sale and I haven’t had squid in forever, (love the stuff). Cooking calamari can be tricky because it can become chewy incredibly fast, so I generally flash-saute it in really hot garlic/lemon/herb-infused olive oil. I’ll combine it with some sauteed shrimp and orzo and toss it all together with lemon juice, more olive oil and some fresh thyme.
Sweet ‘n’ Sour Pineapple Pork over Brown Rice
I’ll use the leftover shredded pork shoulder to make this. I’ll saute pineapple chunks, onions, and sweet bell peppers, then add the pork and pour the sauce over until all is coated. My sweet ‘n’ sour sauce is a cinch to make-combine ketchup, pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar (all to taste) with a little cornstarch and simmer until thickened. The fact that the pork is already so flavorful makes this the ultimate sweet ‘n’ sour pork dish. Sometimes I freeze leftover pork so we can have this another week.
Spaghetti Carbonara
We make our carbonara a little different. Instead of tossing the hot pasta with beaten eggs, we serve a fried egg on top of the bacony pasta and when you cut into the yolk, it oozes and becomes the sauce for the dish. It’s gorgeous.
Chicken Tarragon Meatloaf with Sauteed Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Potatoes
I love making different versions of meatloaf. I think people can get stuck in a rut with the same recipe but you can really flavor meatloaf however you’d like and never get bored eating it. This one will use ground chicken, and be flavored with tarragon and dijon. Then I’ll top it with a caramelized onion jam.
Happy New Year and Happy Eating, Everyone!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    So delighted to see your menu-planning ideas back in time for New Year's! I bought one of those great-deal pork shoulders at HT, too, and decided to make "Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde" (see go with my New Year's Day black-eyed peas and collards. Enjoy your carpet picnic and your new year of Everyday Champagne meals!

  • Leave a Reply