Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year's Eve

With so much talk about New Year's resolution on this site, and New Year's dessert, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what did actually did to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. 

If you know us at all, you won't be surprised to learn that our plans fit our normal mold for "special evenings". While we considered going out, Ed's work is keeping him out of town many nights in January, so we wanted to have a special date night just for us. 

Our menu was pretty similar to menus past (why mess with a delicious and easy, but still special feeling, plan?)

We started our evening around 6:30 (enforcing a no working from this point on cut-off, which we seem to need sometimes, so we don't fall into bad habits). I put the laptop in the hall closet, just in case, and put on some nice Frank Sinata (pandora station), and got our first course ready. 

We love our simple, italian inspired appetizers. The only slight deviation from the norm was that we got half baked bread from Trader Joe's, which we finished baking right before we ate, so that we had very fresh tasting, warm bread, and extra treat. I also got more fig butter, which I also used with our main course, which was delicious on both the bread and the apples. We had some parmesean left over from another meal, so that was an easy addition. I'm not sure when Ed and I started having this as our go-to appetizer, but I'm so glad we did. It never disappoints. 

Of course, we couldn't resist opening a bottle of sparkling rose to add to the festiveness of the evening. Ed and I even dressed up a bit to add to the specialness of the evening. While we ate, we enjoyed playing our newest board game. 

Dinner was also a variation on our norm. For some reason, we've gotten into the habit of lamb for special holidays, which is funny since we rarely get it when we go out to eat. I think it's because we almost never eat it anytime else, it's not too expensive (about $12 a lb for this cut) and is very delicious. 

I was supposed to make a red currant sauce, but couldn't find them, so I just threw some good stuff in a pan and reduced it. The sauce had lots of fig butter, with some port, balsamic, and a little garlic chili paste (yes, this is normally for Chinese food, but it adds just the right kick of spiciness to the sauce). For being a total guess, the sauce was right on, tasting fabulous on the lamb. 

The lamb itself I cook in the best way yet. Up to this point, every time we've made this lamb, we've cooked it on the stove, served it up, and then found it raw in the middle and had to put it back on to cook longer. This time, we just seared it for a few minutes on the stove, but then put it in the broiler for another 5 minutes a side. It was probably a fraction more cooked than I prefer (I like meat pretty rare), but it was perfect for Ed. 

We served it up with simple sides of garlic and lemon green beans, and mint and pistachio cous cous. 

After a leisurely and delcious dinner, we watched an old Alfred Hitchcock movie: The Lady Vanishes. 

Without really meaning to, we ended up staying up past midnight, ringing in the new year happy and relaxed, and ready for 2012. 

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