Last night, one of my good friends and I co-hosted a New Year’s Eve dinner at his loft in Brooklyn. Since our friends all seemed to want a low key New Year’s, this seemed like a perfect solution: ten of us hanging out for a few hours, eating a lot of good food, anticipating midnight.
For this meal, I was lucky enough to be chosen to host one of the 24 New Year’s Eve dinners featured on Foodbuzz this month. Not only do I have the honor of being a part of this great group of fellow food bloggers, but I also received a stipend to cover the costs of the meal
Since my co-host is from Washington State and I am from Virginia, we decided on a bi-coastal theme: each course (well, for the most part) would have one element from the Pacific Northwest and one from the South. We tired to keep it healthy: most of the ingredients were organic (and many of them local), little refined sugar was used, and we tried to use whole wheat flour, etc. For those dishes noted with an asterisk, recipes will be posted in the next few days.
We transformed his loft in Brooklyn, part of which usually houses an art gallery, into a dining room for the evening.
As guests arrived, they munched on spicy polenta crackers with local cheeses and cheese gougeres straight from the oven. Our resident bartender also whipped up two specialty cocktails: a hibiscus-agave-tequila cooler and almond milk with rum and date honey.
Our four-course dinner was tricky to coordinate, as we were working in a small kitchen. Nevertheless, we managed to get everything on the table close to our anticipated time.
The first course was pair of steak and salmon tartares, each served on a multigrain crostini. The steak tartare was made with bulgar wheat and chili pepper, which gave it a nice kick.
The second course consisted of mussels steamed in a beer and chorizo broth, served alongside yellow grits and collard greens. This was served with homemade yeast bread. We saved the broth from the collard greens for several of our later dishes, the pilaf and the peach reduction sauce, since it was filled with nutrients from the greens.
The third, and largest, course was wild Pacific salmon in a bourbon glaze paired with pork tenderloin with a peach reduction. They were served with black eyed peas*, brown and wild rice pilaf*, and cornbread. Black eyed peas are traditionally eaten in the South in New Year’s Day for good luck and prosperity in the new year.
After a long and much-needed break, we served a small dessert: chocolate pecan pie tartlets with a whole wheat crust* and profiteroles topped with a berry reduction.
At midnight, of course, we celebrated with a New Year’s toast… and then began the long clean up process!
It was a great group of people and we had a fun time. Over the next few days, I’ll post recipes for some of the dishes we made–if you see one you’re particularly interested in, but there isn’t a recipe, e-mail me and I’ll send it (or at least an approximation of what improvised at the time) to you.