First, let the beautifying begin! Nicholas needed a haircut, and The Girlfriend joined in the fun for her very FIRST haircut. I think it’s safe to say they had a good time. When they’re done, the stylist picks up a piece of their hair from the floor and puts it into this “machine” and with a little bit of whizzing and magic, their hair mysteriously turns into a tattoo. Pretty cool!
Tonight’s festivities went off without a hitch, and as planned, were nice and relaxing. The Husband and I have done a Seafood Feast for about 9 years now, forgoing the madness of actually going OUT on New Years’ Eve. It’s a tradition we love, and tonight we got to share it with The Neighbors. Breaking the purity of a seafood-only feast, we added a few other things to the table. Everything was delicious, but light enough that while full, we weren’t overly stuffed. Perfect!
The Neighbor took her regular bartending role, turning out a new drink that was simply yummy, Chocolate Covered Cherries. She made a few different versions of it, tinkering with the measurements each time and forcing me to do the taste testing … I warned her, any more taste testing and dinner wasn’t going to get done! :)
And lest we forget the kiddos, we made nice and healthy Banana Pineapple Smoothies, topped off with adult cocktail trinkets to make them look just as festive as our own drinks.
Banana Pineapple Smoothies
I made some minor modifications to the menu, adding a Tried-and-True, Spinach Cheese Squares. I love these, and have fond memories of my Mom making these for dinner parties growing up. Usually Nicholas will eat a few of them — another great way to sneak some veggies into his little belly without him being the wiser.
The Neighbor also cooked, making a yummy Crab Spread appetizer, and she pulled together a recipe for me, Artichoke Crostini, since the kitchen was getting backed up. The Artichoke Crostini is a recipe I pulled from a recent Everyday Food issue, but was nothing special and won’t be repeated. We also had Shrimp Cocktail, Buffalo Wings, Raw Oysters (love them!), and the requisite Chips and Onion Dip.
Don’t forget to send in your pictures for Weekend Dog Blogging #15. If you have a kitty picture, it goes to Clare at Eat Stuff and your herb pictures go to Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. And on that note, I’m leaving you with my submission for Weekend Cat Blogging: Miss Sugar keeping warm on the kitchen radiator.
Sugar’s Second Favorite Spot in the House
Tune in tomorrow to find out what Mom has planned for our traditional New Years’ Day Dinner. Until then… Happy New Year!
Yield: 4 servings
6 ounces bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Creole or other whole grain mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/4 cup cognac
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus additional for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving
Set a very large saute pan over medium heat and render the bacon in the pan until crispy, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper-lined plate to drain. Add the shallots to the pan and saute, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Raise the heat to medium-high and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Reduce the wine until nearly evaporated, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mustard, cream, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring the pan to a boil. Add the mussels, cognac and parsley to the pan and stir once, cover with a lid, and cook until the mussels just begin to open, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the mussels, and return the bacon to the pan. Serve in a very large, deep bowl, with a thick slice of crusty bread and more parsley for garnish.
20 Town House crackers
2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 oz butter, melted
1 pound sea scallops (cut in half, if large) or 1 pound bay scallops
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350. Crush crackers into fine crumbs. Place crumbs, parsley, oregano, garlic and pepper in a mixing bowl and combine well. Stir in melted butter. Add scallops and cheese and mix well. Spray or butter a 2-quart baking dish or 4 individual ramekins. Fill with scallop mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 15 minutes. Serves 4.