Happy New Year! This is my favorite night of the year! For 25 years I’ve been hosting a party on this special night. Originally it was a marathon champagne tasting party where everyone brought a bottle and we did a blind tasting through the night waiting for midnight to arrive. For their own good and ours, our children went to have a sleepover at their babysitter’s house. When Y2K rolled around we started inviting the kids to the party and for several years they joined in the fun each year until they got busy with their own lives and their own celebrations. And for the past few years, I’ve created a feast for friends. We find it easier somehow to make it to midnight if we keep eating and laughing and toasting around the table. For the place cards this year I’m using bottles of the homemade vanilla extract I made for the women, and then made matching bottles of homemade Kahlua for the men. The Kahlua is simple to make, and even thought it hasn’t had the chance to steep for a month yet as directed, it tastes great already.
Tonight’s dinner is A Celebration of the Pig, a meal featuring pork in every course as a tribute to the pig I got from my organic farm this year. I’ll share some recipes and photos next week, but for now, here’s the menu:
Baby spinach tossed with thinly sliced red onions, hard cooked eggs, and lardons of bacon and dressed with warm sherry vinaigrette
Countess Luciana’s Farfalle
Bowtie pasta tossed in a creamy sauce of roasted yellow peppers and Gorgonzola cheese topped with crispy bacon and chives
Fresh uncured pork ham roasted with rosemary, on a bed of buttermilk smashed garlic red potatoes, topped with pan gravy and cracklins
Organic carrots roasted with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with fresh parsley
“Bacon and Eggs”
Vanilla custard ice cream with bacon covered in chocolate and almonds
Happy New Year to everyone – may the coming year bring you peace, prosperity, good health and happiness!
Yields about 5 cups
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee
3 cups vodka
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vanilla beans (1 for each bottle)
Heat water and sugars together until dissolved, then stir in coffee and let cool completely. Add vodka and skim off any foam from the top of the liquid, then pour into clean bottles. Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and add to each bottle. Let steep for 30 days, then remove vanilla bean and enjoy.