Ringing in the New Year, 2013!

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I’ve never particularly enjoyed New Year’s Eve and frankly, I’ve never really had a good one (at least within the past couple of years).

Every New Year’s Eve, trying to make plans and find something exciting to do, a little voice in my head repeats a quote I once heard, “The way you spend New Years is the way you spend the rest of your year.” With that pressure (and the weight of the entire forthcoming year on my shoulders), my plans have never measured up.

(Side note – I took the time to google that little quote this year and it’s from The O.C. Oh, Summer and Marissa, ruining my life since 2003).

Anyway, everything changed this New Years! Gina and I spent our last full day together (before we both return to our respective coasts and lives) with good food, music, entertainment and friendship! Take that bad New Years of the past!

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We made a small feast that included stuffed mushrooms, root vegetable latkes, roasted bone marrow with parsley salad, pasta carbonara and creme brulee! (Plus, sidecars and champagne!).

Our New Years Eve (besides the feasting) included a trip to three grocery stores (where Gina ate her first oyster), the liquor store, and three movies (Think Like a Man (cute), Snow White and the Huntsmen (eh), and Men in Black 3 (great!)), plus all the food!

To start:

Course #1: Root Vegetable Latkes (Gina’s contribution)

A delicious recipe with a good take on traditional potato latkes. We had these with crème fraiche and some applesauce (once again, crème fraiche is God’s gift to earth).

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Course #2: Stuffed Mushrooms

I had found a recipe from New York Times – brief and to the point.

“Trim cremini or Portobello mushrooms and chop stems. Sauté stems in butter or olive oil with chopped prosciutto, onions, chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, parsley, etc.) and coarse fresh bread crumbs. Stuff spoonfuls of the mixture into mushroom caps; roast until tender.” (I did have to consult other recipes for oven temperature and baking times [we chose one of Giada’s]).

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A great appetizer with good flavor!

Course #3: Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad

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Bone marrow is the best and worst thing in the world – so delicious, but pure fat, so there’s that… The parsley salad was a great topping, adding a little salty kick.

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This was Ms. Gina’s first time trying bone marrow and I dare say it was a success!

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Course #4: Pasta Carbonara

For our “main” course, I made us pasta carbonara, using leeks and pancetta with the traditional egg-based sauce. It was perfect after our first three courses, especially after one or two sidecars.

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“I need a shovel” – Gina, while devouring her plate of carbonara.

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Course #5: Crème Brulee

And the final course, crème brulee.

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Last Christmas, Gina bought me a blow torch specifically for this dessert and a year later, we finally used it!

As Julia Child once said, “I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”

I must say, our ramekins were a bit too deep – it was like swimming in bottomless crème brulee (which is not really a bad thing, mind you). Next time, same recipe but smaller, shallower ramekins and we’d be set!

Using the torch on the sugar was highly addictive, by the way… and cracking the crust once cooled, amazing!

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Happy New Year! 

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