This year, the Boy and I celebrated the arrival of 2017 with my Mom’s family in Pennsylvania, and instead of eating out we feasted on an incredible nine-course meal courtesy of my talented Aunt Libby, who did the whole thing without help and without the benefit of a kitchen sink, since her kitchen was currently being renovated. Yep. No sink, nine courses. Although those of you who weren’t present will never be able to track this meal down to relive it in real life, I figured I’d be remiss not to brag about it – I mean, share it – with you.
Note that the menus changed a bit from what was written to actual execution, but who even cares…oh, and shout out to Dad for all the wine pairings! Seriously, why do I even bother with reservations?
Our contribution (really, the Boy’s contribution) to the meal was the signature cocktail before dinner, Chilled Cider Punch. The Boozy Newsie will have more info on that sometime soon, so I’ll leave that to him.
The first course was Vichyssoise with Smoked Oysters, served with red potato crunch and chives. The smooth, creamy potato soup with the rich smoke of the oysters (LOVE smoked oysters, as a side note) was an incredible kick-off to the meal. Wine pairing: Champagne.
Next up – Beet Tartare with Bleu Cheese and Spicy Walnuts over an arugula salad with orange vinaigrette (why is the word vinaigrette SO hard to spell?). Crunchy, creamy, sweet, bitter, spicy…and of course Libby made the walnuts herself. Wine pairing: Gewürztraminer.
The third course was a Libby specialty, at least in my opinion – Fish Quenelles with Sauce Aurora and Swiss Chard. Sauce Aurora is a light tomato cream sauce, which enveloped fluffy, light fish dumplings. Om nom. Wine pairing: Sancerre Rouge.
This was followed by Mixed Baby Greens aux Lardons (with bacon, b***ches!), with a quail egg and sherry vinaigrette. I mean, you put a soft melty egg on it…I’m not arguing. Wine pairing: Marsanne.
The next course, Smoke Salmon Millefeuille (spelling? oh, for God’s sake), might have been my favorite – served with a simple cucumber salad and caviar, it was creamy and salty and luscious. Wine pairing: Chardonnay. (Dad, I do not have the specifics on the pairings beyond varietal, forgive me.)
Seared Scallops with Ginger Turnips and a glorious swipe of wasabi cream came next – wee, perfect scallops with the spicy cream and tender turnips. I have to say, ginger turnips have never crossed my mouth before, and they were truly interesting as well as yummy – lots of complexity there. Wine pairing: Monarchy (I don’t remember what that means).
A Cheese Plate bridged the gap to the meat course – four cheeses with nuts and honey and dried fruit and the most delicious pear. Wine pairing: Rhone.
And for the final savory course – Beef Wellington Deconstructed, accompanied by a marinated kale salad. That mushroom stuff that is in Beef Wellington is just so yum. Add flaky pastry…even full, I’m eating it. All of it. Wine pairing: Cabernet.
And as midnight prepared to strike and 2016 prepared to slip away, we celebrated with Grand Marnier Souffle (another Libby specialty, this time cleverly prepared in a frozen style to enable make-ahead-ness) topped with Creme Anglaise and chocolate sauce. Wine pairing (though I think it actually ended up being our champagne toasts): Floc de Gascogne.
Here’s to a New Year of good eating and much love!