Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Eve Menu

And by "menu", I mean the few small things I was responsible for contributing to a LONG list of NYE foodstuffs.  We did a progressive dinner with some friends who live in the neighborhood and we got to be first.  This means I only have to prepare appetizers and people only stay for an hour before moving on to wreak havoc on someone else's house!!  I spent hours reading through all my cookbooks and favorite blogs until I found the perfect mix of appetizers and drinks.  And then my husband nixed them and said he wanted meatballs and something "stuffed".  Alrighty then!  We also couldn't agree on a specialty drink, so we did a boys' drink and a girls' drink.  And I'm awfully thankful for that, because there's no way I'm drinking something with a main ingredient called "bitters".  Ew.

I'd deem New Year's Eve a success....we had lots of yummy food and delicious drinks and no one embarrassed themselves (too badly).  We ate Papa John's the next day and laid around like slugs and watched too many episodes of Friday Night Lights (love that show!  I know I'm like 3 years late to that party, though).  And today it was back to the reality of leaving the house and getting dressed...we went hiking with the pup (my husband will probably tell you that is wasn't really hiking, but rather just walking.  But I think that if its in a state park and there are uphill parts, its hiking).  And THEN I went to spin class.  I am a fitness warrior of epic proportions.

I'm thinking 2012 is going to be awesome.  How can it not be when you start it off with Pear Sangira, Meatballs with Blackberry Pinot Noir Glaze, Black-Eyed Pea Dip, and Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese?  I mean, really.

Pear Sangria
Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Bonne Femme Cookbook

6 oz pear vodka (Absolut is probably best, but Smirnoff makes one, too)
2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 oz pear nectar (can be found in the Mexican/Latin food section of the grocery store)
3/4 bottle sparkling wine (I used Prosecco)
thinly sliced pear slices, for serving

In a pitcher, combine all ingredients (except pear slices), and chill.  When ready to serve, pour over ice and garnish with pear slice. 

Blackberry Pinot Noir Glazed Meatballs
Source: Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup blackberry preserves (seedless)
2/3 cup Pinot Noir
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper
pinch of salt
1 lb meatballs, cooked (meatball recipe to come)

Heat oil over med-high heat and saute the shallots and garlic in a saute pan.  Add preserves, Pinot Noir, balsamic vinegar, and a few grinds of black pepper.   Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Increase heat to med-high and reduce until the sauce thickly coats the back of a spoon.  Add salt if needed.

Put meatballs in a crock pot set to low and pour the cooked sauce over them. Stir to coat and leave on low until ready to serve.

Arrange meatballs on platter with toothpicks and serve warm.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip
Source: Pioneer Woman

1 can (14-ounce) can black-eyed peas
1/4 whole onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
16 slices jarred jalapenos
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used 1/2 low fat cheddar, 1/2 monteray jack)
3 tablespoons salsa (I used store-bought roasted garlic salsa)
Hot Sauce, to taste (I used 2 tablespoons or so)
Salt And black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain black-eyed peas and partially mash, leaving some whole.

Add all other ingredients, stirring to combine.

Spread into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips!

Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates
Source: Dacor (although this recipe is all over the internet)

20 large dates
block of blue cheese, cut into small pieces (about half the size of your pinkie finger)
10 slices of bacon (uncooked), cut in half
20 toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease sheet tray to prevent sticking.

Using a sharp knife, carefully make a lengthwise slit into each date. Spread each date open slightly and carefully remove the pit. Fill each date with a piece of the blue cheese.

Take one of the dates and wrap it with half a slice of bacon. Insert a toothpick to secure the bacon to the date. Repeat this with the remaining dates and bacon.

Place the wrapped dates onto the prepared sheet pan. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Remove and serve.

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