At the end of every year I am struck with the realization that the New Year has arrived ahead of schedule. Or so it seems. I think about the promises I made to myself last New Year’s Eve, such as having all of my Christmas shopping finished by the end of October, making sure my Christmas cards are out by Dec 1st and being more prepared for the New Year’s Eve Soiree. Hmmmm. It is a bit defeating to admit that while I had accomplished the actual tasks described, I certainly missed the deadline by a wide margin.
Even though I did set a few guidelines to steer me on the right course for this last year, I always draw the line at making New Year Resolutions. My follow through in my personal life at times has quite a bit to be desired, so I do my best to throw out anything I know I won’t work at. However, I have done a bit of research and it seems approximately 44% of us do make resolutions. Out of that 44% perhaps 38% of them actually keep their resolutions. So being a bit curious, I asked my friends, family and even a few strangers about their New Year “Guidelines” and to be honest they all seemed to be in sync with each other. The top five are as follows: 1) Spending more time with friends and family 2) Getting fit 3) Lose weight 4) Quite Smoking 5) Enjoy life more. Admirable. I decided to take different route and concentrate on a one week at a time. So, since Saturday is New Years Eve, this week my focus has been purely on the celebration of the New Year and the fabulous soiree that accompanies such a stellar event.
The first item that I begin work on right away are the appetizers. Like any gathering with my friends we each bring a couple of dishes to share with guests and I usually concentrate on the items that are tasty, not too messy and easy to juggle with a cocktail. I am going to include a link to a few of my favorite sites that I use each day for inspiration and I do hope they will become favs of yours as well.
The first thing that drew my eye this year is Martha Stewart’s Twice Cooked Potatoes with Caviar. It is absolutely gorgeous, elegant and full of flavor. It does take some time, but the guests will love you for it!
The second is another cold appetizer from Williams-Sonoma.com I love this site for inspiration both recipes and excellent kitchen gadgetry. I fell in love with their Peppered Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Carmelized Onions. With this one, you can roast up the beef a day or two in advance and put together rather quickly. Definitely a bonus.
Of course after the appetizers are out of the way I concentrate on the fun part of the celebration. The Cocktails. The first one that drew my eye is a Champagne Cocktail. I love the simplicity, elegance and the sheer beauty of the Elite Midnite Millionaire. Pour one ounce Stoli Elite Vodka in to a champagne flute, fill with champagne and drop in a raspberry for that famous toast to ring in 2012.
The Midnite Martini is another that I absolute adore. Combine 3 1/2 ounces vodka or coffee vodka and 1/4 ounce coffee liqueur in to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, stir and pur into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist ~ Delicious!
I am thankful today also that Culinary.net has so graciously allowed me to add one of their amazing Eggnog recipes to my article. If you have not visited this site yet, it is an amazing resource for recipes and articles for special events, holidays, every day cuisine and healthy eating. Eggnog is a favorite of mine all the way through New Year’s Day. It’s festive, comforting and simply delicious.
- 8 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
- 1 cup 80° bourbon
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, yolks and granulated sugar until smooth. Pour into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in milk, gradually, blending well with each addition. Heat slowly over very low heat, stirring steadily, until the mixture reaches 160° to 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon: If you draw your finger across the back of the spoon, the line will remain distinct, and the custard sauce is done.
- Pour the custard through a fine-meshed sieve into large bowl. Stir in vanilla, Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, bourbon and nutmeg. Let mixture cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours, or up to one day.
Makes 16 cups; serves 18 to 20
Thank you Culinary.net! You can also find them on FB.
In closing today I wish you the best that 2012 has to offer and I am leaving you with a some guys who have probably one of the most fun jobs on the face of the planet. The Happy Hour Guys have given us their best of 2011. Enjoy!
You can find me on FB every day for more recipes and cocktails. I would love to connect with you there!