Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Years Eve Romantic Dinner

I hope everyone has their New Years Eve plans made and if you are venturing out, no matter where it may be, I wish you a wonderful evening. For those of us staying in, whether it be to watch Dick Clark's New Years Rockin" Eve or that we just aren't that popular anymore, I have created a sumptuous menu for you and yours. I know The Husband and I haven't gone anywhere in years, that's so eighties (and I mean it's the last time we went out!). So plan on putting the kiddies to bed early tomorrow by eliminating any sugar containing food products as of this minute, search around the house for any candles that were not used up during the last power outage, and get out the champagne glasses (juice glasses also work fine). I have a romantic dinner for two that is a easy as it is elegant. Hence, most of these recipes were adapted from my all time favorite book Entertaining Fast and Fancy by Renny Darling. As with any recipe that I may publish, I probably have tweaked it a little (or a lot) so technically I can call it my own. Leave it to me to never leave anything well enough alone. Hey, that's how great cooks are born. But I do give Renny credit, as her appetizer and soup were big hits the first time I made them, but since I tweaked them I must say...well I'll leave well enough alone. Enjoy.

Campari Cooler

A little something to sip while you prepare the appetizers. Feel free to sip until the ball drops if desired.

1 oz. Campari

1 oz. peach schnapps

2 oz. cranberry juice

2 oz. orange juice

1 t. lime juice

7 Up

Pour the first 5 ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake. Strain into highball glass, add a splash of 7Up. Looks cute with a slice of orange floating in it. But who's looking?

Pork Meatballs with Coconut and Apricot Dipping Sauce

This recipe can serve a lot of people. Make the meatballs in advance and save some for the Rose Bowl.

1 lb ground pork

1 egg

3 T grated onion

1/8 t ground ginger

salt & pepper to taste

1 green onion finely chopped

2 slices of bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry

4 water chestnuts, finely chopped

Coconut flakes

Combine first eight ingredients and mix until thouroughly blended. Shape into 3/4 in. balls, roll in coconut flakes, place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 turning twice for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with:

Apricot Dipping Sauce

1 c apricot jam

4 T brown sugar

2 T vinegar

3 T ketchup

Dash of cayenne pepper

In a saucepan combine all ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with toothpicks and meatballs. Sauce can be stored in fridge for one month. Great as a glaze on chicken, maybe during Rose Bowl. Can you tell I'm having fun with these text colors??

Spinach and Rice Lemon Soup

Hopefully you both like spinach. If not, skip to the next course. You will however have to come up with a vegetable on your own as I am omitting one based on all the lovely vitamins you will get from this soup.

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

4 shallots, finely chopped

2 T butter

4 c chicken broth

2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach

4 T fresh lemon juice

1 c. cooked rice (try the 90 second microwave rice to save time)

salt to taste.

Saute first 4 ingredients in stock pot until onions are soft. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5 more minutes. Serve!

Steak Filets

You probably already know how to grill a steak but I call this the Blonde Method and it does not require grilling at all. I think you will find that this filet is more moist and tender than the leading brand of cat food. Ooooh, that was unappetizing. I'll stop trying to be funny and let you cook.

2 4-6 oz. filets

2 T butter

1 T olive oil

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

Press salt and pepper into all four sides of filets. Heat butter and olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks and brown on all sides. Adjust heat level to insure a nice crispness without burning. Reduce heat to low and cook filets 3 minutes for rare. Turn over and cook opposite side 3 minutes. Results amy vary. I suggest you use a meat thermometer. Inserted in the middle of the filet, it should read 140 F for rare, 160 for medium and 170 for well. Let filets rest about 2-3 minutes before serving to seal in juices.

Optional sauce: Add 2 T butter to juices in pan over medium heat. Before butter starts to brown, add approximately 1 1/2 c good red wine (break into the bottle you are going to serve with this tasty meal). Increase heat and scrape up all particles of meat, stirring constantly. Serve when sauce is reduced to a nice degree of thickness. Looks nice poured on plate with filet on top and a few chopped chives sprinkled over.


This is up to you. I happen to like Chocolate Pudding with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh raspberries on top. The instant pudding is great (or even a Jello Pudding Cup for that matter. My favorite). If you are ambitious, Ina Garten has a great homemade recipe which you can find on the Food Network website.

I hope you can enjoy these recipes, if not tomorrow night, then another time. Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve. As far as New Years Day, I have one last little concoction you can make when you wake up:

Body & Soul Reviver

Guaranteed to soothe the soul when you awaken from the night before. This is considered acceptable morning fare this day only!

1 0z Branca Menthe (found in fine licquor shops)

1 oz cognac

dash of orange bitters

Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into shot glass. Feel better already??!!

My best to all of you. By the way, I think The Husband and I will be ordering pizza.


Janie (aka Blondie)


Debra Hall said...

Hi Blondie,
Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving the kind words ...so glad because your post is great!! Love your recipes, especially going to try cooking the filets tomorrow nite that way with the reduced drippings!Actually I am going to try them all sometime ... like to change it up! I'll be back often:)Happy Happy New Year......

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Hi Janie,

Thanks so much for stopping by! You are so sweet! and no comments ever miss my eyes and ears! I read each and every one and if time allows I love to visit every one who sends one too! So Thank you so much!!!

And oh my goodness! your evening sounds fabulous too! Im heading out to a party tomorrow night, but truly wish I was staying in a cooking your recipes! Those pork meatballs sound amazing!! I am going to try them one night, how delicious!!

I hope you have a fabulous evening and a wonderful and blessed New Year too!

Hugs, Cynthia

FrenchGardenHouse said...


This sounds so delicious! I may try a few (or all!) of these for New Year's Eve. Thanks so much for sharing these with all of us.

Happy New Year!
xo Lidy

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Happy New Year, Janie! Here's wishing you and yours all the best for 2009!

I loved all of your recipes, and that apricot dipping sauce sounds DIVINE! Yum!

One of the great pleasures I've had this year is getting to know other bloggers, and I'm so glad we've met. You are a very special lady. I'm looking forward to blogging with you in 2009 and beyond!

All the best...


Sheila :-)


Wow, What a fabulous meal! Thank you for the nice comments, be back soon!


Decor To Adore said...

The meatballs sound so yummy!