Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve Menu Review

How did I do?? Not too badly! I spent the day leisurely making the meal (in my new apron- thanks, Roomie!!). I baked the cake in the morning and then did the Parmesan croutons around noon. I frosted the cake around 1:30pm and then took a break to clean up the kitchen/house and do my hair :) Then, I blanched the green beans so they'd cook faster and vacuumed the house with our brand-new, special pet-hair vacuum. By this time, Matt came home with a twisted ankle from his run- poor guy! Here is a review of our meal:

Parker's Split Pea Soup: This soup was very, very yummy. The recipe says to skim the foam from the top of the soup, but not much acquired through the cooking. It also reminds you to stir frequently so that the veggies won't stick to the bottom- I found this very true in the last 20 minutes of cooking. I pulled the soup off the burner about 5 minutes early, as it was really thickening up. I'll add more chicken stock when I reheat it today.

Parmesan Croutons: There was way too much salt called for in this recipe and not enough Parmesan cheese! I added more cheese as I went but didn't realize how much salt was on them until it was too late. Next time, I will edit the ingredients :) Matt didn't think there was too much salt on the croutons, but I thought it was worse that a potato chip. My throat actually hurt from the salt... Regardless, they are pretty yummy- we each had about 4 in our soup!

Main Course:
Pan Seared Fillet Mignon with a Cabernet Sauce: This was pretty good and pretty easy to make. HOWEVER, the recipe says to put the cab in a hot pan. I did and it was a big, BIG mistake. The wine popped and spatted all over the kitchen. The floor, my clothes, the counter, the stove top, the cabinets, the ceiling, etc were all covered with wine. Next time, I will let the pan cool a bit before adding the wine... think "warm" pan- NOT "hot" pan.

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes: Matt thought these were good, but I thought they were really good. The mustard flavor was pretty subtle so I might add another tablespoon next time. And, the prep was so easy and so was the cooking, which is always nice! After popping these bad boys in the over (I used a mini turkey roasting pan), all I did was stir every 20 minutes. They cooked the perfect amount and I can't wait to finish them today!

String Beans with Shallots: These were just beans to me... I couldn't really taste anything else. I really like green beans, so I'm ok with that. I guess I just expected more. Both Matt and I prefer this green bean recipe (and no, I do not use all of the butter that it calls for because, well, beans are supposed to be healthy):

Coconut Cake: It was amazing!! Seriously- go make this cake!!!! It does make a lot of icing, so there's plenty to cover every last bit of cake. Make sure you put enough frosting between the layers and keep frosting until you're out! I did have one goof making it... I didn't realize that I had an 8" and a 9" cake pan until after the cakes were baked. Oops. But, it's nothing that some creative cutting with a serrated knife can't fix. It's a BIG cake, so I could only eat half of my small slice. I think I'll try the cupcakes, too :)

Overall, I was really happy with our dinner (and thankful that Matt cleaned the wine off of the ceiling while I kept our meal on track)! I did notice that I don't have a cake leveler, so I may have to pick one up with my 50% off coupon from Michael's tomorrow :)

Happy New Year!!

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