Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve dinner and some blog neglect

Happy New Year!

I've neglected this blog horribly - no posting for months! My goal for 2011 is to be better about sharing recipes, cooking attempts (and some failures) and restaurant adventures.

So to kick that's what Steve and I attempted on New Year's Eve.

Instead of going out to a fancy schmancy restaurant like we have in the past (minibar and Oval Room were the last two), we figured we'd try our hand at cooking dinner ourselves. Steve got a little excited and wanted to do four courses, but I forgot to pick up cheese for the cheese course. Considered that a sign to dial it down a notch.

First course: seared foie gras with a red wine balsamic reduction.

 The reduction was pretty easy...a bit of red wine, a bit of balsamic vinegar. We found a recipe that called for molasses as well, but we decided not to use it. While the liquids were reducing, we (ahem...Steve) seared the foie gras slices on a dry hot skillet for 50 seconds (or so) on each side. Drizzled the reduction over the slices and served with a couple slices of a baguette. It was fantastic - rich, velvety smooth and intensely flavorful.

Course two: filet mignon, mashed fingerling potatoes and green beans.

The filets were pretty easy to prepare - sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each side and then broil.

For the fingerlings, I quartered and boiled, and mashed them as you would with any other potato. Steve really wanted to try something new with the potatoes (after watching Chuck's Day Off on the Cooking Channel), so after mashing the potatoes, he transferred them to a medium saucepan and added a bit of chicken broth, butter and a touch of sour cream. He whisked it all together over low heat.

Those potatoes were life changing. Insanely delicious. I will never make mashed potatoes without chicken broth again. Best mashed potatoes ever. EVER.

Green beans can be fairly, um, standard fare, but we decided to spruce them up with a bit of a white wine, garlic and shallot. I sauteed the garlic and shallot in the white wine with a bit of butter for a couple minutes, and then added the beans. One of my biggest pet peeves is overcooked food (which is why I didn't like a lot of vegetables for a long time), but these beans turned out crunchy and perfect.

Course three would have been cheese...but at this point I was so full of rich food that I was secretly thanking the gods that I had forgotten cheese.

Course four: chocolate souffle with anglaise.

This was a bold move for me - for special dinners or events, I usually don't pick something I've never made before or have about a 99.9% chance of botching. But after a stellar chocolate souffle at DC Coast, I figured it was time to give it a try!

By some miracle, the souffle turned out perfectly. The anglaise turned out pretty well too - but there was way too much of it. I only used about half of it, and it still pooled at the bottom of the souffle. I'd use MUCH less next time.

I got some crackers to break open at midnight, but we ended up going through all eight of them. Quite a mess this morning...

Happy New Year!


  1. Everything looked fabulous! The food, the table, and, of course, you two as well.

  2. Damn Carrie - look at you! Nice! We try to cook a multi-course meal at home for Valentine's (it's my anti-celebration of my least favorite holiday), and you have me inspired to try French this year. Where did you buy your foie gras?

  3. Thank you!! The foie gras was SO easy...we got ours at Arrowine (right off Lee Highway). Since it was New Year's, I preordered ours, but if you call, they should be able to make sure they have it for you. (Also - try Cassatt's, the New Zealand cafe in the same area as Arrowine. YUM.)

    I definitely have a soft spot for French it! Totally romantic :)

  4. I heart Arrowine. I usually stick to the bottles (as I'm trying to get in and out quickly without the stroller breaking something), but great thought for goodies.