This post is for my friend, Jeff, who complains I don’t post on my blog enough.
Adam and I hosted a small New Years Eve dinner party. Small because the food was expensive and we can only comfortably sit ten people indoors for dinner. We worked really hard on the 30th to get as much done as we could to make the 31st relatively stress free. So I’ll share what I made, the recipes I used, and what I did ahead of time.
The hors d'oeuvres spread included crostini, cheese, nuts, and olives.
On the left, we have Crostini with Ricotta, Honey, and Lemon Zest and on the right, Pear, Walnut, and Ricotta Crostini. I toasted all of the crostini the night before so that just before guests arrived all I had to do was slather on the ricotta, and toss on the other toppings.
Not much to the cheese plate, we just set out the blocks with a few chunks cut off with a knife on a cutting board. We served a 10 year cheddar, a Mango Stilton (I know! It was really good though), a havarti from Wisconsin, and a Gruyere. We set out cranberries, almonds, and pistachios, a variety of olives, and melba toast.
This sparkling gin punch was a huge hit. In fact we had to make another batch midway through the night! We first tried it at Andrew and Meg’s holiday party last year and we were amazed at the Grapefruit flavor considering there is no grapefruit in it. We don’t have a punch bowl so we improvised with a gravy ladle and a big stainless bowl. We froze ice blocks using old yogurt containers for molds. Our local grocery store sells fresh squeezed juice so Adam ran out of the morning of the party to pick it up so we didn’t have to squeeze 20 oranges. He made the grenadine the night before (equal parts sugar and fresh pomegranate juice) as well.
The Roasted Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Vinaigrette was delicious. I kept the blue cheese and pomegranate seeds separate in case people didn’t like them. I roasted the pears and made the vinaigrette the night before. I also removed the seeds of two pomegranates the morning of. We didn’t need them all for the salad so the leftovers were used as cocktail garnish. To serve all I had to do was toss the greens, pears, and dressing together.
My famous Rosemary Rolls are based off Pioneer Woman’s. Instead of using frozen rolls, I make them from scratch using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day master recipe (which I made the night before). They take a few hours to rise so I buttered the pan and formed the rolls 2 hours before guests arrived and then stuffed them in the microwave to rise until the prime rib came out of the oven and they could go in.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots. The day before I cleaned and chopped the sprouts and shallots and sealed them in the fridge. They roast in 10-15 minutes while the prime rib rests.
I started getting lazy about ‘plating’ my sides at this point so the Sous Vide Glazed Carrots were served out of the pan I glazed them in. These were totally made in advance, I threw them in the Sous Vide Supreme to reheat them and just before we ate they went into a pan to reduce the glaze a bit.
Like I said.. I was getting lazy. I made the mashed potatoes the night before and scooped them into a ziplock. I threw the whole damn bag into the Sous Vide Supreme 2 hours before dinner at 155 to rewarm them keeping the microwave free as a place to let the rolls rise and the oven free for everything else that needed to be in there. It worked out great and as tacky as that plastic bag serving ‘dish’ looks, it sure made putting the leftovers away easy!
We went to the butchers and requested two USDA Certified Prime Rib Eye Roasts cut from the chuck side. They were the crown jewel of the meal.
We followed Kenji’s recipe for Perfect Prime Rib with Red Wine Jus and I’d say it came out pretty perfect. Edge-to-edge beautifully medium rare and super juicy. The Red Wine Jus is not pictured. We salted the roasts the night before and left them uncovered on a rack in the fridge to help build the crust and let the seasoning penetrate more deeply. The roasts went in the oven about 6-7 hours before we were ready to eat it. I let it rest for a little over an hour (the middle still read 123 degrees on the Thermapen) while I dealt with everything else that needed to go in the oven and we ate our salad. The oven was cranked up to 550 and the roasts went back in on a clean pan to sear the crust.
Here is my dinner plate with an oxtail I fished out of the jus.
I forgot to get a picture of the dessert until after it was half eaten. I made Mascarpone Ice Cream with Berry Compote following Daniel Humm’s ice cream recipe but modified to cook the custard Sous Vide (which basically means whisk all the ingredients together, put them in a ziplock bag, and cook at 183 for 30 minutes). I made the custard the night before and spun it the morning of after it was nice and chilled.
We kept the drinks pretty simple. A few bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the Prime Rib. A case of Cava, a box of sugar cubes, and an assortment of bitters so people could make their own Champagne Cocktails. The help yourself Gin Punch and beer cooler meant Adam didn’t have to mix up a single drink. Actually when a few people requested an Old Fashioned, Adam offered to teach all the boys how to make one instead!
How did you enjoy New Years Eve?