So with less than eight hours remaining in 2011, it seems a good time to reflect on the events of the year, both the good and the bad. For the bad, we all know the economy is still in stagnation, it was a year of unprecedented natural disasters and Ed and I were fortunate enough to come through 2011 largely unscathed.
And for the good, I had a job change that turned out to be much better than anticipated, we celebrated 10 years of marriage with a fabulous trip to Jamaica and then there was the food, much of which has already been written about here. Since my last appearance on WFIH (embarrassingly not since October), I experienced four separate Thanksgiving celebrations (turkey, turkey, turkey & crab cakes) and my personal favorite eating holiday of the year, Christmas Eve.
While Thanksgiving has a fairly standard menu to follow and New Year’s Eve is often composed of Chinese food and Champagne, I see Christmas Eve as a fabulous time to experiment and this year was no exception, both in terms of ingredients and recipe sources:
- Roasted shallot custard (Amuse-Bouche by Rick Tramonto)
- Creamy Maine lobster broth (The French Laundry by Thomas Kelller)
- Foie gras crusted beef tenderloins (The White Barn Inn Cookbook)
- Duck fat potato galette with caraway & sweet onions (Epicurious)
- Roasted tomatoes with Stilton (Epicurious)
- Banana Mille-Feuille with Gingered Chocolate Sauce (A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert)
By gearing up with groceries from Wegmans and getting a head start on the cooking Friday night, everything ran so smoothly that I was even able to escape from the house to watch the first half of the Giants Jets game before returning to the kitchen to ensure that dinner would hit the table in a timely fashion.
A complete series of photos from this meal can be seen here.
Only a few blips along the way, and even those were minor — most notably, the method of cooking phyllo dough for the dessert resulted in a large blackened, crispy sheet of disaster, so I sliced some pie crust & baked it using a Silpat instead. Much better.
And after stuffing ourselves on Christmas Eve, we then enjoyed what has become our traditional Christmas Day lunch (game hens, green beans & potato pancakes) before finally setting down to a meal of French bread, assorted cheeses and a big pot of Italian sausage and tortellini soup. A fast, simple and deliciously satisfying way to end the holiday.
And now it’s time to take a brief nap before heading out to raise a glass of bubbles (and a forkful of General Gao’s) to the new year and all the things it has in store, including milestone birthdays for Ed and me that we will be celebrating in style with dinner at Alinea at the end of February. That’s sure to be meal (and a blog post) for the record books, but until that heavenly night arrives, I’d like to wish our friends, family & followers the best for a happy, healthy & food-filled 2012.