It’s here!!! For those of you who enjoyed reading about my elaborate Thanksgiving menu, I hope you enjoy this follow-up performance on one of my other favorite cooking days of the year. If you’re staying in and looking for something yummy to cook up, here’s my menu for some inspiration. And if you don’t have the patience or desire to make any of these ideas, just do what my friend Courtney did and send me a message asking for some ideas. I’m happy to oblige!
MY NEW YEAR’S EVE MENU
Chicken Liver Pâté with Cornichons and Homemade Bread Toast Points
This recipe requires a day in advance to prepare and let the pâté set. I’m using Ina Garten’s recipe from her new cookbook Make It Ahead. It was pretty simple and it looks cute in mini ramekins. I’ll pair it with some of the bread I made earlier this week and some cornichons.
Charred Octopus with Oregano and Lemon
I wasn’t originally planning to make this but I saw some baby octopus on sale at Whole Foods and decided to sneak it in as a first course. Cooking octopus is simple (especially if you buy it in the grocery store already cleaned!) I just marinate it in some olive oil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes for a couple of hours in the fridge and then heat up a cast-iron skillet on high for about 10 minutes until the pan is very hot and then I drop them in the pan to sear up. Once done, add them to a bowl with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil and season, as needed, with salt.
Classic Caesar Salad
I like this recipe from Bon Appetit for Caesar dressing, though I usually play with the ratios a bit once it’s mixed. Instead of romaine lettuce, I like using dino kale (the long, dark variety) because I typically grow that in my garden. If you’re not an anchovy fan and the idea of handling them turns you off, use anchovy paste instead. You can’t skip the ingredient because it packs so much flavor into the dressing. Not sure what else you’ll use it for? I also use anchovy paste in a creamy lemon dressing for kale salads. The best part of this Caesar recipe are the crusty torn breadcrumbs. You have to make them yourself! I’ll be using some of the 40% overnight whole wheat bread I made earlier this week (more on my bread-baking adventures to follow in a blog post soon!)
Mini Beef Wellingtons
There are a lot of recipes out there for beef wellington and many of them are a bit challening. My recipe isn’t hard and that’s because I make a fancier version of a Rachel Ray recipe (can you believe it?) and it offers a few shortcuts. For the mousse pâté, I could use some of the chicken liver that I’ve made but instead I always use Alexian truffle mousse. This is a mousse you can buy and plop on a plate and serve to guests. It’s THAT good. I also use Dufour pastry in the recipe and for the duxelles I use crimini because I think they taste best. These little wellingtons are great because they are already portioned out and you can decorate each one with a little extra pastry at the end.
I rarely make desserts but on New Year’s Eve I crave something sweet later in the evening, especially since we’re waiting up until midnight. This year I wanted to have a dessert that would pair well with some 15-year-old port so I decided to go the chocolate route. I’m making another recipe from Ina Garten that’s featured in a few of her cookbooks as well as online. We’ll see how it turns out. If nothing else, I’ll have some delicious port to enjoy regardless!