For a special edition of the weekly peek into my life this week, I'm going to revisit our New Year's Eve dinner party. I gave you a quick overview here, but I know I have some food and wine nerds reading who might be interested in the specifics!
Both my husband and I agree: when hosting a dinner party, what really matters is the friends you bring together and the food and wine you all enjoy. Where we differ is in approach. I like keeping stress low so I usually tackle the bookends of the evening: the hors d'oeuvres (which I keep simple and small so people don't fill up too soon) and dessert (my go-to is a layer cake since it can be made ahead). My husband, on the other hand, likes to maximize his use of esoteric kitchen gadgets and molecular gastronomy ingredients to make restaurant style cuisine. He isn't doing it to impress anyone - it's literally for the love of the game. He'd cook like this every day if he had the time!
We started with bubbly and bites. Specifically, a recipe beloved by my family that we refer to as cheese puffs, but they're totally not - they're parmesan cheese toasts. Whatever you call them, they're completely addictive.
My husband is obsessed with oysters. Actually obsessed. I will not tell you the number he has put down in one sitting because it will gross you out, but let's just say it's WELL north of two dozen. So not a dinner party goes by that he doesn't serve oysters: this version was with lemon vodka granita and jalapenos.
We had requested that no one bring wine because we are trying to reduce our inventory, so people got creative. One couple very generously and luxuriously brought us Russian caviar with creme fraiche and artisan bread, which we slotted in as the second course.
My husband loves to emulate famous chefs, so the next course was Pok Pok style fried shrimp in lettuce cups - spicy salty goodness!
Next, it was pasta time. My husband made really simple cacio e pepe pasta... and then he gilded the lily completely and served each person one small portion with shaved truffle and one with shaved foie gras torchon. I am not making this up. It was even more delicious than it sounds, and just as ridiculous.
The main course was something my husband has been talking about for a long time: turducken a la molecular gastronomy. Instead of stuffing and roasting, he used meat glue to bind the proteins together and then served it with canned cranberry sauce for a funny wink at high/low. (I love canned cranberry sauce to the extent that I have been known to eat it plain as a fully grown adult, so I was delighted.)
For dessert, I made the tiramisu cake from Smitten Kitchen, my go to for absolutely delicious but never overwrought layer cakes. It was indulgent without being too sweet - would definitely make again!
All photos in this post were taken by my good friend, food blogger/wine writer/food and wine educator extraordinaire Nicole Ruiz Hudson. Her Instagram account, @nibblinggypsy, will make you hungry, and if you head over there she has a lot more to say than I ever could about how the wines we picked for this epic dinner worked out. I also like to think that Nikki's approach to food and wine is similar to my take on organizing: consume what you love, whether high or low brow, and don't get stuck in what you think you should be doing.