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Nina C.

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  1. For the past few years, I've hosted a NYE pre-party. It started because I was feeling torn between spending the evening with folks who wanted to drink and dance the night away, and folks who wanted a quieter or asleep midnight. Instead everyone gathers at my house for dinner before heading out for other plans. This year, I seem to have overextended my guest list. Based on previous years acceptance rates, I'm guessing we'll end up around 30-35 people which is a lot for our apartment. (previous years have been around 20 people.) Thankfully, my group of friends are not at all fancy - they're artists and writers and food-makers, and are happy to sit on the floor or perch throughout the apartment with a plate of food. There are many vegetarians, at least one vegan, and many Jews who won't eat pork or mix meat/dairy. I'm also trying to keep my costs down as much as possible. I did a french menu last year, and southern food and mexican food recently, so I've settled on an Italian menu for this year. This is my current thinking: Antipasto Polenta with Mushrooms OR some sort of baked pasta. The polenta is a la Scott Conant and is incredible, but is probably not the best for eating spread throughout the apartment. Still, I'm having trouble cutting it from the menu since it's so good. I was thinking I'd keep it warm in the crock pot. I'll swap the chix stock for veg. Lentils braised in red wine Lentils are good luck on NYE as they are reminiscent of money and abundance. I'll put out a pot, and keep the rest warm in the oven. Italian Sausages - leaving the lentils vegetarian, but meat eaters can have some meat. Pigs are considered good luck since they root forward, rather than scratching backwards like chickens. Farro salad http://www.marthastewart.com/893274/farro-salad-brussels-sprouts-radicchio-and-ricotta-salata or http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/farro-salad-with-turnips-and-greens or my old standby with dried cherries, rosemary, and hazelnuts. this feels slightly redundant, but I adore farro, it's cheap, can be done in advance, and I don't have to worry about temperature. Baked Spinach from Julia Child - this is French, but it feels like it will go with the rest of the menu. Also, many cultures consider greens good luck on NY because they resemble money. I'd probably make two or three big dishes, and keep the others warm in the oven to replenish as needed. tiramisu chocolate walnut cake OR store-bought panetone grapes Questions: Is this too heavy? Should I do an arugula salad with roasted grapes instead of the baked spinach? If I want to cut one or two things to simplify, which should they be? I usually do a punch - any good recipes that would work with this menu? Any incredible recipes that you think I should serve instead? Thank you for any advice you can give!
  2. Nina C.

    Easter Menus

    Oh no Panaderia! That's terrible. Chicken is a poor substitute for rabbit. You'll have to have a do-over. Since I used this thread for inspiration, I thought I'd post my notes on my first Easter dinner! Deviled Eggs - 2 kinds. The first, horseradish, butter, mayo, mustard, paprika. The second was capered deviled eggs mentioned in the eG deviled eggs thread, and found via Google Books I eye-balled the mayo so it could have been my error, but this was a very wet filling. Still, delicious though. When I make them again, I'll chop the capers and add a few extra to boost their presence. Sardine Tonnato - So easy and incredibly delicious. I served this with matzoh since I had Jewish guests at the table, and it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment. Salad with strawberries and pine nuts Braised artichokes in lemon and olive oil I rushed this to the table and didn't taste it first. A mistake! It needed more salt and more acid to finish. Roasted leg of lamb with potatoes -mmmmm roasted root vegetables creamed spinach the mark bittman way olive rosemary bread carrot cake roulade matzah crack - i think there were something like 8 flavors. I tend to go a little nutty when I make matzah candy. doughnuts (brought by a guest) rainbow cookies (brought by a guest) easter candy, of course
  3. Thanks so much for this peek into your world! I'm really enjoying the blog so far, especially seeing what one does with a passion for pastry and baking when it hasn't been your career. You do such a nice job of showing a relaxed approach to enjoying great food without pretension. I think I would rather have had the foie and the chips separately (although leave on that delicious looking garlic sauce please!) especially in a situation where one lacks a proper table or utensils. What did you think of how the combo worked together?
  4. Jacques Torres' Dessert Circus at Home is (annoyingly) sponsored by Mars company, so there are several recipes in there that incorporate M&Ms, if you are looking for something fancier.
  5. Though I'm normally a sweets person, my pie didn't turn out as perfectly as I'd like. So instead I had leftover brussel sprout hash with big chunks of bacon for breakfast. I had a thought of heating it up, but it was so good cold that I couldn't stop.
  6. Randy - That looks so incredibly amazing that I'm tempted to go make it right now, even with a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers.
  7. This thread has sat in my bookmarks for the past year an a half. I keep saying to myself, I should make marshmallows! Well, I finally did - marshmallow peeps! All the details, and more pictures are on my blog, TheKitchn.com
  8. Ronnie - I and my +1 are a tentative for both Thursday night events (although more likely to attend the Violet Hour than Blackbird.) Thanks! Edited to add that our hosts in Chicago would also like to come to the Violet Hour. So that's Nina C. + 3. Thanks!
  9. I never have, but was just considering it today as I read the latest Bon Appetit. They have instructions, along with a few recipes to make with the corned beef: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/241623
  10. Mickey (my sweetheart) and I are definitely in for the dinner! Now we just have to figure out how to get there/where to stay.
  11. I've long followed the Heartland gathering threads, jealously. The Chicago location has convinced my baseball-loving sweetheart that this is the year to try our best to join in. Can you put me +1 as possible attendees? We have to work out logistics. Thanks so much for all your hard work organizing this! Nina
  12. And you didn't say anything???? I would have politely advised the "gentleman" that removing articles of clothing in a restaurant is extremely inappropriate and to please take himself and his smelly feet to the restroom immediately. Seriously. ← I could have, I should have. My only defense is that it had already been a hard visit, and I was hoping not to draw the attention of other patrons. Fortunately, it didn't last too long.
  13. Not exactly a soup, but close enough - what about cherry dumplings? Like a play on a chicken and dumplings soup.
  14. Dianabanana - I keep trying to decide which is worse - the corn-pad adjusting or the hand on the ass. I think I have to hand it to you. I can't imagine how one would react to their parent's indiscretions. The nail clippers at the table would have me making snide comments of "Thank you, we've really had enough calcium in our food today."
  15. The scene was already set for the visit from hell. For the past week, my dad and his partner have been staying on our pullout couch. My fiance's teeth stayed clenched as we dealt with an oven that broke in the middle of making Christmas dinner, the tension of in-laws bickering, and the passive-aggressive hell that only family can create. The last time they visited, they told us they didn't want to spend a lot of money, so it was casual spots and dinner at home. But this time, my dad has been reading New York magazine, and the Time Out NY dining book, and had more of an eating agenda. The first day, that agenda was lunch at Jean Georges, an afternoon of shopping, drinks at Pegu and dinner at P*ong. Not too shabby. Except at JG when my dad's partner proceeded to regularly leave the table for a cigarette right as the next course should have been served, and then during dessert, his cell phone rang *at top volume* and he answered it *at top volume*. Fortunately, my dad shooed him outside, but I still wanted to dive under the table as other diners shot him looks of death. I thought I had survived the worst, until we were at Pegu Club, where I looked over and realized Dad's partner had removed both his socks and his shoes and was adjusting his corn pads. Need I even add that his feet are the smelliest I have ever encountered? I have never before drunk a Pegu cocktail so quickly. What's the worst your guests have ever subjected you to?
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