tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal

10Jan/110

Welcome to 2011!

Hi J - Happy New Year!

We only made a few things for the New Years Eve meal. Really! How is that for restraint to start the year?! Gravlax, cheese straws, Wicked Shrimp with polenta, spiced pecan and apple salad, roasted brussels sprouts and new potatoes, split pea soup, and we added pasty & pulla to the menu when the brother in law and family announced they will visit.

For the gravlax, I used my usual recipe for sugar + salt + pepper  + coriander with vodka. I marinated the red onion in vinegar and sugar. G was so sweet and got my favorite Essential Bakery Seeded Baguette. Mmm.

The cheese straws were from the last Bon Appetite issue and the Wicked Shrimp recipe is from El Gaucho's. All made simpler by boxed pastry sheets and peeled shrimp. I paired the shrimp with a soft polenta. I was surprised how quickly the polenta set up. I would have preferred a softer texture.

I picked a wintery spiced pecan and apple salad from Chow. G likes the honey mustard dressing so much he requested it again for dinner. That was a first.

And to stay warm in our cold little house, I made a double batch of split pea soup, using your leftover ham hock and ham from Christmas. Added herbs and slow cooked for a few hours for the pureed consistency I like. I adore the color of split pea soup. I know. Very odd.

Pulla and pasty I added to the menu when I found out [the Finnish!]  brother in law's family will be joining us.  I tried pulla at the Parents-in-law many years ago. I thought it was dried and didn't like it so much. Since then, I tried making it a few times - too dense, too light in flavor, etc. The recipe from Manolo's food blog you shared has one less cup of flour. I added two tablespoons (instead of teaspoons of cardamon) and I was happy with the result this time. I should have known better that to suggest pasty, a contested food topic around G's family. I made a savory lard & butter crust from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. He marinated the meat and assembled the pies. I thought the texture was ok, even after being handled and rolled out by G. He is very critical about the taste of meat in general, and he did not like how this batch turned out. I am not a pasty aficionado so I will decline to comment!

We served food buffet style on the kitchen island and we all cramped into our little table!

Nye dinner at e+g's
Nom nom

After all the banter, G wanted to introduce his brother to the Bean Game. Their family game is Rook, and they have never varied. Another first! They liked it so much we went to the game store the next day to grab a copy.

Introducing people to the bean game
Happy New Year Bean!

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