Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Eve Menu and Game Plan

We are having part of our family of choice over for New Year's Eve. I'm going to really do it up big--no holds barred! Here's the menu:

New Year's Eve Dinner
Miniature Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce 
Caviar, Smoked Salmon, and Blini Torte

Caesar Salad
 Field Greens with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnuts, in a Hazelnut Citronette

Rib Roast, Twice-baked Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Flight of Five Cheeses served with Truffle Honey, and Two Breads

Ginger Cookies and Coffee

I love offering choices for the first course and salad. I get to make two,and I also can serve things that I know some of our friends don't or might not like. It also makes them fee extra well cared for and loved! My strategy is to make part of the meal something super easy -- in this case, the main course. I also make as much ahead as possible.

My schedule looks like this:

Tuesday: do the major shopping. Make the cookies, roasted beets, iron the table cloth, and assemble and wash the serving dishes. The main course will be served family style. Unfortunately, I have so little room in my kitchen that most of my serving pieces are in the basement and must be washed before using. The plates I will use are also in the basement but are in lovely cloth zippered cases, and won't need washing. They will, however,need schlepping.

Wednesday: Make the Remoulade Sauce, buy the cheese, set the table.

Thursday: Make the twice baked potatoes, wash the lettuces, make the citronette, make the croutons, buy the flowers and make the arrangement. Make the egg salad for the torte.

Friday Morning: Make the crab cakes, to the point of frying, slice the breads, slice the goat cheese for salad, prepare the Brussels sprouts for the oven

Friday Night: Roast the meat, potatoes, sprouts. Make the blinis. Prepare the cheese plates. Assemble the salads. Fry the crab cakes. Open the wine. And ENJOY!

The plan is that when everyone arrives, the main course is in the oven and everything is done, save for the crab cakes being fried and the tortes being assembled. Those represent about 15minutes of work, tops.

Here are the recipes:

The inspiration for my cheese course is here.

Caviar, Smokes Salmon, and Blini Torte
The original recipe is from Epicurious and can be found here

 Makes 2 servings
Active time: 50 min
Total time: 50 min


For egg salad
1 hard-boiled large egg, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

For blini
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, separated
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided

For filling
1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked salmon at room temperature
2 ounces trout caviar, such as rainbow- trout caviar, or salmon roe


Make egg salad:
Stir together all ingredients and a pinch of salt.

Make blini:
Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and yolk and whisk until smooth. 3Beat egg white with a clean whisk in another bowl until it just holds soft peaks. Fold into batter along with 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some of remaining melted butter, then heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches of 6 or 7, drop 1 level tablespoon batter per pancake into skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over and cook 1 minute more. Brush blini on both sides with some of remaining melted butter, then transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered with foil. Brush skillet with butter between batches.

Fill tortes:
Drape smoked salmon on 6 blini and top with egg salad. Spoon caviar onto 6 more blini, then stack on egg-salad-topped blini.

Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

This recipe is from Wolfgang Puck's site and can be found here. 
Remoulade Sauce
1 tablespoon capers, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 cornichon, minced
1 anchovies (1-2 for 6 servings), minced
1 shallot, minced
Freshly ground white pepper
1 cup good-quality homemade or store-bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crab Cakes
2 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat
2 fresh jalapeño chilies, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), ground to a mealy consistency
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup clarified butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
1. make the Remoulade: In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
2. For the crab cakes, in a saucepan, combine the heavy cream, garlic, rosemary, and paprika. Boil over medium-high heat until the cream reduced to half its original volume. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and red and yellow bell pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, just until glossy but not yet browned. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and leave to cool to room temperature.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, crab, jalapeño, basil, parsley, tarragon, 1 cup of the panko, salt, white pepper, reduced cream, and sautéed vegetables. Carefully mix until well blended.
5. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, each about 3 ounces, shaping them into round, slightly flattened cakes each about 3 inches in diameter by 1/2 inch thick. Spread the remaining panko on a dinner plate and turn the crab cakes in them to coat them generously.
6. In an ovenproof sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Place 6 crab cakes in the pan and pan-fry until their undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. With a spatula, carefully turn the cakes over. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 2 minutes more. Remove the cakes from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining butter and crab cakes. Serve immediately with Remoulade Sauce.

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