December 31, New Year’s Eve

The big day is finally here.  A meal countless hours in planning and 8 full days in the making; let us hope it was not all in vain.  Although the dinner is tonight I still have a few things I need to accomplish.  Additionally, I’ve added the plating and prep work to the schedule.  When my guests arrive everything will be laid out just where I need it leaving little potential for major errors.

Schedule 9

First up is the pressurized egg yolks, or egg sponge cake as I like to refer to it.  Egg yolks, when cooked in pressure cooker blow up and take on a bread like consistency.  I’m thinking of marketing this to my Paleo friends as cave man bread; though not sure cave men had access to pressure cooking techniques.

Pressurized Egg

A quick cut with the ring mold results in bite size bits that when fried in clarified butter taste like eggs and toast!

Pressurized Egg Cut With Ring Mold

The rest of the day is spent on rather boring tasks like par cooking lobster tails for later finishing in the immersion circulator and reducing meat sauces.  I did spend about an hour fighting with my lobster tails, but in the end I prevailed.

All that remained before the guests arrived was the menu and the table.  The husband takes care of the table and does a lovely job.

New Year's Eve Table

And I handle the menu.

NYC 2012 Menu

And then at 7:00 sharp, the guests arrive, the festivities begin – here’s a recap of the entire dinner with links to all the recipes.

Amuse Bouche:  Carbonated Cranberries with Orange Zest

A light and refreshing way to get the palate going.  This recipe was adapted from Modernist Cuisine and paired well with a Larmandier-Bernier, Champagne Blanc de Blancs.  This is a great starter for any meal as it needs to be done at least 8 hours in advance and requires 5 minutes to finish.

Carbonated Cranberries

First Course:  Variations on Egg: PressurizedDeep FriedBrûléed

These three mini dishes all feature egg yolks as the main ingredient and are a great first course.  The dishes are quite rich so keep the portions small and provide plenty of greenery to break it up.  It was paired with a Jean Latour-Labille et Fils, Meursault Perrières 1er Cru , Burgundy, 2006 to match the creaminess of the dish.

Pressurized, Paremesan Brulee, and Deep Fried
Pressurized, Paremesan Brulee, and Deep Fried

Second Course:  Mushrooms: Gelled Parfait & Cappuccino with Chicken Liver Mousse

Mushrooms are an extremely versatile ingredient and here they are done in a cold three leveled parfait and in a warm liquid made to resemble a cappuccino.   This dish features a healthy dose of Madiera so it needs a wine that won’t mask the mushroom, but can stand up to the alcohol.  An Aufricht, Spätburgunder Isabel, Baden, 2008 worked perfectly.

Mushroom Parfait

Third Course:  Butter Poached Lobster Tail with Fried Marrow, Glazed Vegetables, and Hen of the Woods

What’s New Year’s Eve without a bit of decadence?  These lobster tails cooked sous vide along with a half stick of butter each ensures the perfect cooking temperature and all the flavor and juiciness from the butter.  This dish is very visually appealing given the different colors of the lobster and onions and so hardly requires any work or added greenery.  Another difficult pairing given the strong flavor of the mushrooms, marrow and onions so we chose a Pollak, Cabernet Franc, Virginia, 2010.  The Cab Franc provided just enough structure and body to handle the strong flavors of the accompaniments while not over powering the lobster.

Butter Poached Lobster Tail

Fourth Course:  Prime Sirloin, Potato Pinwheel, Caramelized Carrot Soup, Bordelaise Syrup

Another rich and decadent dish with tons of flavor from the caramelized carrot soup and the prime rib which had been cooked sous vide and garnished with two sauces.  This dish needed a very bold wine so we tried a Clos de Mont Olivet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Papet, Rhone, 2005.

Prime Rib, Potato Pinwheel and Caramelized Carrot Soup

Dessert:  Variations of Apple: Pomme Genoise, Candied Apples, Apple Sorbet, Dried Apple Chips

This dessert takes a significant amount of time and patience to prepare, but it’s definitely worth it; particularly on New Year’s Eve.  Most of the components can be made in advance so with a little planning it can be done.  For our final wine of the evening it had to be something special so we came up with Chateau de Rayne-Vigneau, Sauternes, Bordeaux, 1986 and it was the perfect pairing.  The freshness of the apples gave a nice lightness to the very rich Sauternes.

Candied, Cake, Sorbet, and Chip
Candied, Cake, Sorbet, and Chip

Midnight Toast:  Rosemary and Bay Leaf Truffles & Salted Caramels

When the clock struck 12 we popped open our Crackers to find some home made goodies to cap off the evening.  And for the obligatory toast we had an Iron Horse Brut X NV Sparkling Wine.

Truffles and Caramels hidden in the Crackers
Truffles and Caramels hidden in the Crackers



  1. Natalia says

    This is amazing! Great planning and the food looks delicious. Definitely a labor of love. I am sure you are not missing the frozen pizzas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *