Monday, January 3, 2011

Celebrating the New Year!

Welcome to 2011!  
PS- Check out my new header! What do you think?!?!
(Warning- this will be a long post.  I'm already breaking my resolutions!)

11 is my favorite number so I'm VERY excited what this year has in store.  To celebrate, Dave and I along with our friends Ally and John headed to our friend Stephanie and Mike's brand new Cape House.  I decided I was going to try to make New Years Eve dinner as good as 2010 when Stef, Mike, Dave and I went to Capital Grille (Recap here).  I made Smitten Kitchen's Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Onion and Swiss Chard.  I made most of the meal in my own kitchen and finished everything off on the Cape. 
When we arrived, the table was set for six.
And Shakey was ready to hang out!
We started with Baked Brie with a Cherry Chutney sauce which was awesome!
For the people (ahem Steph) who don't enjoy red meat, I made Maple Salmon from Closet Kitchen.  I marinated the salmon in Maple Syrup and Soy Sauce overnight and then baked it for 15-20 minutes and added salt and pepper.  Easy peasy and tons of flavor.
In addition, I made a wicked flavorable Winter Panzanella, inspired by Smitten Kitchen. I'm sad I don't have a better picture of this, because it was awesome!
Winter Panzanella
Adapted from Michael Chiarello
For the croutons:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
6 cups day-old bread, crust removed, cubed
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 small red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey mustard
4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (1/2-inch dice)
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, then quartered
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves 
1/2 cup Pomegranate seeds
2 cups of bagged romaine lettuce
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook until it foams. Add the garlic and thyme, and immediately add the bread cubes. Toss to coat well. Add most of the grated cheese and stir. Transfer bread to a baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and salt and pepper and gently toss again while still warm to melt the cheese. Bake stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Soak the sliced onion in the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Toss the squash  and brussel sprouts with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, about 15 to minutes. Let cool. Into the reserved red onions and vinegar, whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and mustard. Season with pepper. In a large bowl combine the roasted squash, croutons, and Brussels sprouts. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Add the parsley and lettuce and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve immediately. 

Mmm, I could make variations on this panzanella salad all winter long.  I loved it! And for the main course, Smitten Kitchens Braised Short Ribs!
6 beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each (ask for 3 bone center-cut)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Now go to Smitten's site for the recipe- it's too long to post plus I didn't change too much because it's pretty perfect!
And yep, I forgot to add the horseradish cream.  I made it but forgot to serve it! Oops.  It was just a half cup of creme fraiche, horseradish and salt and pepper. The potato puree was your typical mashed potatoes- 2lbs of Yukons, 1 stick of butter melted, 1 cup of half and half, and lots of salt and pepper. This dish is really impressive and not that hard.  And its sooo amazing!  I never thought I would love short ribs this much!

After dinner it was time to get our drink on. Ally created this amazing Christmas Cookie shot which was made with equal amounts of baileys, kahlua and peppermint schnapps. Then we played several games... A@#hole and later an intense game of Hungry Hippo (best idea EVER by the way! Drunken Hungry Hippo- A-Mazing!)
 Drinking continued until it was midnight! Cheers to 2011!
The next morning, Stephanie made an amazing breakfast spread of French Toast, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and bacon.
And then we went to the beach, walked around and played soccer.  Yep, it was 55 degrees and sunny on January 1st in Massachusetts.  That sounds so wrong!
 In the afternoon a few of us headed to Brewster Inn and Chowder House for some soup! I got the Chowder and Dave got the Shrimp Bisque.  Both hit the spot!
 We relaxed for awhile while John smoked some BBQ Chicken.  The smoker is the coolest thing ever!!! I want one!  John marinated the chicken in BBQ sauce, sprinkled some spices and smoked them for close to an hour and a half. The chicken had sooo much flavor!
For dinner we ate leftover mashies and panzanella, biscuits and BBQ Chicken.
Stephanie also made toasted bread with goat cheese and cherry chutney.  YUM!

Saturday night was spent watching Inception (although I mainly played Angry Birds on my phone instead since I've already seen it- great movie for those who haven't) and Sunday us girls ran 12 miles!
How did you spend your New Years?


  1. The winter panzanella sounds awesome, and those short ribs look incredible! Happy 2011!

  2. Happy New Year! I love your new header! It's so fun :)

    We need to meet this year. We can eat, run, whatever...I'm excited for Hyannis already!

  3. what an awesome New Years! a beach walk on the cape sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. the food looks incredible, as usual!

  4. oh and the header is awesome, duh!

  5. Love your new header! Can't believe you wore flip flops at the beach on January 1, this weather is nuts. All your food looks awesome - lucky friends to have you travel to them AND cook for them! And I love Angry Birds too - so addicting!

  6. LOVE the new header. I got too excited and wanted to comment right away. Ok, off to read the rest of the post :)

  7. Your new-years dinner looks delicious! I'm going to have to try that recipe next time I make short ribs!

    Happy Holidays!

  8. so much great food! i'm tempted by that panzanella, sounds fabulous :) and jealous of your run! great way to enjoy the nice weather!

  9. The header is just fantabulously awesome. I mean seriously that is unreal.

    I am game on that salmon. Sounds so delicious. You always inspire me to re-create recipes to my liking but you provide the inspiration.

  10. The header looks so professional!! Love it! How did you do it?!

    Are you kidding me with the Christmas Cookie shot? Sounds dangerously good!

    All of your dishes look to die and your blog is appropriately titled! :)

  11. I love your header. It's so cute!

    The ribs look fabulous! Well, everything does, but the ribs are calling my name. Happy New Year!

  12. 1). I LOVE your header? How perfect and adorable!!

    2). I LOVE bulldogs - that little guy is wrinkley and adorable.

    3). Happy New Year again - everything looks delicious :)

  13. I LOVE the new header, totally you and adorable! Megan did an awesome job!!!!!!!

    PS I also love the bulldog in your pictures, I want to steal him!!

    Happy new year and I hope I get to see a lot of you in 2011!!

  14. I love the new header! And all of your delicious food. My resolution is to post more...and to try and keep up with REAL food bloggers like you! ;)