Sunday, January 1, 2006

New Year's Eve Celebration & Pot Luck Delight

I finally got around to catch up with some of my favorite blogs and when I happened on Melissa, the Cooking Diva of Panama, I noticed that she was inviting bloggers to share their New Year's Eve experiences. Naturally I forgot to take my camera, so I can't share many of the visuals. Fortunately, I took some shots for my upcoming cookbook, so you can at least get a glimpse of a few of the dishes I brought.

Normally, my honey and I spend a quiet evening at home together. In the '80's, when we lived in Montreal and the girls were at home, we used to have an open-house. I'd get a huge smoked turkey and make tons of side dishes to go along. Friends and family would come and go (before or after their "real celebrations"). My daughters used to joke and say it was for losers with no where else to go. They were wrong!!! I loved the camaraderie of those close to me - no pretensions, no fake kisses and hugs to people you've never met before, no crazy crowds, just my favorite people.

Once we moved to Toronto, I found a new joy - a romantic evening for two, with good food, some wine in front of the fireplace - who could ask for more. A secret - we would often end up asleep way before midnight and our daughters would call from wherever they were to wish us happy new year and, inevitably say -"Don't tell me I woke you up!?! It's New Year's Eve!!!")

Last year we started a new tradition with some friends. We do a pot luck and spend the evening with 2 or 3 other couples, eating, laughing and, finally, watching Dick Clark count down the seconds until the big ball drops in Times Square. Half of us wish we were there, while the other half thinks it's insane to stand in the freezing cold from mid afternoon until midnight, jostled by a gazillion strangers. I might do it if I could get a room at one of the Times Square hotels with a room facing in the right direction.

Before I share our pot-luck dinner friends H & N will be the first to tell you they aren't cooks and will buy ready made dishes usually, but I was in charge of appetizers and since I was feeling under the weather (kind of flu-ish), I jumped on H's idea of picking up some frozen cocktail snacks from M&M or President's Choice. When I got off the phone, my honey was incensed....."you're writing a cookbook, you have a food blog, how can you even think of not cooking?!!!!" Now my honey is my best fan and loves my creations, but ordinarily he doesn't hang out in the kitchen. At my sacrilegious suggestion, he even offered to help out. And I am really glad he did. It was so much fun (and he did all the dishes!!).

So here's the menu...
Appetizers (my contribution)
Several dips - humus, baba ganoush (humus with eggplant), cream cheese with dill & smoked salmon, and cream cheese with a lemon artichoke heart pesto I purchased. I did add some chopped marinated artichoke hearts to give it more punch.
Home-made pita chips (my honey did a great job!)

Spicy Shrimps (toned down for my friend H)

Normally I do this as a main course with chorizo sausages and serve it over rice or couscous. This time we just stabbed them with festive toothpicks.

Hoisin Chicken Wings

Main Course
Salad with fresh raspberries and blueberries (N's contribution)
Turkey with stuffing and gravy (H's contribution) and very tasty for a lady who says she can't cook
Roasted root vegetables with balsamic dressing (me)

Chocolate mousse (C) home-made and tasted like a soft chocolate bar - awesome!
Fresh fruit platter (N)
White Chocolate cake (N)

Everybody - Happy 2006 - hope it's all you wish it to be!!!

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1 comment:

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Congratulations on the making of your cookbook! Everything looks delicious...Hugs and Happy New year :)