It’s been too long since hubby and I are out counting down to the New Years. The biggest New Year countdown event we did was about 7 years ago. We count down to the 2003 at Times Square, NYC. It was fun yet torturous coz it was freaking cold that night. We got into the highly secured Times Square vicinity at about 6-7pm and waited all night for the Countdown Ball to drop and to usher the New Years along with hundred thousands of people from all over walks of life! We’re proud that we did it once and vowed never again to go back! Just imagine holding your pee for hours, in the cold. No public washrooms are available, unless you’re dining at a nearby restaurants!!
For years now…we only celebrate New Years at home. Just us and/or with family and close friends. No NYE dinner at a fancy restaurant where prices are hiked up..….just a fancy home cooked meal at home! =) This year, like many others…it’s another at home celebration with great company, yummy food and bubbly champagne.
We invited Chris over for dinner along with my brother and his gf who are still in town. =). Dinner was easier this time as the oven does most of the work. I baked some mini frozen ham and cheese puffs from Trader Joe’s ($4.99 for 12). These were delicious and saved me time from making some on my own! =)
Don’t get me wrong…I did make my own appetizers too =). Inspired by bacon wrapped scallops and the Japanese Beef Enoki wraps, I came up with Bacon Enoki (Bottom Left) which was easy to make and was quite delicious! Enoki is a kind of long thin mushrooms often used in Asian cuisines. You can get them canned or fresh in bags in most Asian stores. For this dish, fresh Enoki mushrooms were used.
Bruschetta (Bottom Right); chopped tomatoes over toasted French loaf. Bruschetta is an Italian snack now very commonly found in restaurants and is served as an appetizer. There are many variations out there, but the basic idea is chopped tomatoes over toasted (oiled with garlic rub)French loaf slices. I made mine using some quartered grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil leaves, salt and pepper and served it over slices of toasted French loafs. I actually enjoyed eating them, which was unusual since I’m not a big fan of eating raw tomatoes.
I made some Stuffed Mushrooms (Bottom Left) using a recipe I found on www.allrecipes.com and modified it a little. The mushrooms were gigantic, cheesy and were delightful. It was a tad spicy, so I would probably reduce the cayenne pepper next time.
For entree, it was huge stuffed Tiger Prawns (from Costco). I used a recipe I found HERE and again modified it a little and added some crab meat to the mixture. I topped the baked Stuffed Tiger Prawns with some homemade Spicy Mayonnaise and served them with some Garlic Asparagus. YUMS!
And what is a countdown without some bubbly champagne. Sparking wine (Asti Spumante) to be exact since this bottle of bubbly is from Italy and not the region of Chamgpane, France best known for sparking wine that bears its name; Champagne. Chris was generous to bring a huger 1.5L bottle of bubbly over to go with our meal. We had a great time finishing that bottle, plus another 1.5L of Muscato among the 5 of us! Thanks, Chris for the bubbly sparkling wine!!
And when I organize a dinner party, I try to include dessert(s) to complete the meal/party. It was a trio of desserts; 2 of them French origin. I stumbled upon some French Macarons from Trader Joe’s ($4.99 (I think) for 12) and just had to get them!! Especially, since I had 2 failed French Macarons baking attempts. Boo! The French Macarons were delicate, light and delectable. It was my first time eating store bought ones and I’m quite pleased. Now, all I need to do is replicate them at home – successfully!!!!
Raspberry Napoleon (Bottom Right) was the next French origin dessert. It was baked puff pastry, layered with raspberry flavored Cool Whip, topped with a fresh raspberry and a dusting of powdered sugar. This was my first time using Cool Whip. Though, it may not be the healthiest product, Cool Whip is my new best friend. =)
And sticking to something truly Malaysian was a slice of “Pulut Tekan” (Pressed Glutinous Rice) served with Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam). Recipe to make this Malaysian “Kuih” will be posted!
We spent the rest of the night watching movies past midnight….and actually FORGOT to countdown!! It was 12.30am or so, when we actually wished each other “Happy New Year!”. Well, at least we had great company and loved ones by our side. Isn’t that most important of all? =)
Hope your New Years was fun!
PS: What’s your New Year resolution?????