Happy 2017, my friends! My year started off inauspiciously with my phone suddenly not working, so I have to send it to LG to see if it’s salvageable. (At least my old Razr smartphone is functional so I’m not completely without a phone right now. Here’s hoping it can hang on until August when my upgrade is finally available.) The weather hasn’t helped much in that it’s been dreary and rainy for the past few days, and while I know we need the rain, it doesn’t help with the whole getting back in the swing of things all that much.
Complaints aside, I can at least report that our NYE party went very well. Though the turnout was a little smaller than Michael’s fete in August, we still had about 25 people come through and I was finally able to meet some more of our neighbors, which was a nice bonus. (In the realm of how small this world is, our downstairs neighbor is friends with my best friend’s Princeton roommate, and all of them were in my apartment at one point.) I learned a lot from our August party, and basically spent Thursday and Friday deep in prep mode, while Saturday was a little more relaxed because I didn’t have as much to do. Probably one of the biggest successes of the night was while we didn’t run out of food, we also didn’t let much of it go to waste because we could freeze things. Case in point: we made a big batch of empanadas and froze them so if we needed them they could be baked in a pinch, but instead we had a few a couple days later and the rest are bagged and tagged in the chill chest.
The rest of the dishes we made were largely ones I made before, because we all know that trying to freestyle for a big party is a bad, bad idea. The cured salmon rolls with honey-soy sauce and cream cheese were a huge hit, as were Gruyere-mustard palmiers that I’ll get to writing about one of these days, as well as roasted grape and goat cheese crostini and the shrimp with chorizo, garlic, and white wine. I made hummus to go with crudites, and Michael made some pork shoulder barbecue for sandwiches to alleviate any significant hunger pangs. This didn’t go quite as quickly as it did in August, but I felt like our other appetizers were more of a hit this time around and many sandwiches were still consumed. The cava bar was another great addition, and expect me to wax rhapsodic about kirs and kir Royales soon, as they might become my new favorite wintertime drink to pretend it’s not wintertime.
The big change this time around, however, was that I actually baked. Back in October my mother-in-law gave me a copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook for my birthday, and while I’m normally not a big fan of baking, the recipes contained therein looked too good not to try. Plus, I knew that I could reference friends like Shannon at A Periodic Table since she had cooked through the book years ago, so I took a chance and made their corn cookies and their confetti cookies. Both were well-received but of course I still had leftovers to contend with, so my office mates were presented with a bunch of big cookies at my desk on an otherwise dreary first day back to the grind.
With the holidays behind us I have to say I’m looking forward to slowing down a little bit. I have a stack of new cookbooks that need to be reviewed and recipes flagged, and I’ll be happy to get back to a more stable workout routine on the weekends again. (I haven’t squatted in two weeks, so I have a feeling this Saturday is going to hurt.) On a brighter note, we’re only 68 days away from Daylight Savings Time, so at least we have that to look forward to!