Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year's Feast Featuring Cocktails, Seafood, and Apple and Giada's Linguini with Shrimp and Lemon Oil

"We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential." ~Ellen Goodman

I can't even begin to tell you how much I like that quote because it perfectly sums up the way I feel about the New Year and its many resolutions.

Promises I long ago resolved not to make.

Instead, I choose to look back over the year now past with a sense of pride and happiness over accomplishments both big and small.

Feats of valour like caring about my job and the people who touch my life, being there to listen when friends or family need support, smiling and waving when someone gives me the right of way, or remembering to look people in the eye when I say "Good morning."

In a world of should haves, could haves, and I am not enoughs, we tend to take for granted these little kindnesses, instead equating our worth by things that are far less real.

And then we make resolutions.

To lose weight, make more money, or whatever else we think we need to be doing that year.

But here's the thing - and I believe it with every fibre of my being - the one and only resolution human beings need to make is to learn how to believe in themselves, to love themselves, and to accept who they are.

When you know your own truth and walk in it, your path not only becomes easier, the light you carry provides opportunity for others - and when you impact the lives of others in positive ways, in my eyes, at least, you are a true success.

In the spirit of that, I wanted to celebrate this New Year's Eve in a way that would express quiet gratitude for all the good things in my life and felt compelled to throw a romantic New Year's eve dinner to acknowledge a life and a year well lived by my husband and myself.

The idea was to create .a "moveable feast" that would carry on throughout the evening to end in a midnight supper by the fire.

To start, I decided on an old time classic as our cocktail for the evening: The Cosmopolitan


































This simple and refreshing cocktail is as tasty as it is festive and will be sure to bring a warm glow to the evening's celebrations.

To make:

Add an ounce and half of Absolut Citron vodka, 3/4 of an ounce fresh lime juice, 3/4 of an ounce Triple Sec and a healthy splash or two of cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker.

Add lots of ice, and shake.

Serve immediately.

One or two of these, and Rudolph's not the only one who's going to have his glow on tonight!

But a spectacular libation deserves great food and what could be better than crispy, savoury, finger foods as the first course?

Tempura Prawns with Dipping Sauce

















And Bacon Wrapped Scallops

















I didn't make a lot of everything, just enough so that we could enjoy a few bites with our drinks before moving on to the other courses.

***

For my husband and I, fresh seafood is always on the menu New Year's eve and this year was no different.

In keeping with my moveable feast theme, I set up an old fashioned crab boil in the kitchen featuring Alaskan King crab legs with luscious garlic butter.

Then I popped open a bottle of champagne.

When eating fresh crab or lobster there is nothing quite so delicious as crisp cool bubbly.


































Prepare the crab legs by filling a large pot with water and sea salt and bring to a boil.

Add the crab legs and boil 7-10 minutes.

Serve with plenty of hot garlic butter for dipping!

Normally I would serve crusty french bread with this, but because tonight's dinner was in courses I didn't want to fill up too much.

Having a little bit of everything over a prolonged period of time is a really wonderful way to enjoy a festive occasion.

***

The only way for an evening like this to be a success is have a willing partner with a sense of fun.

Luckily, I have one.

And he didn't mind one bit when I set a table by the fire for the next part of our evening: a romantic dinner for two by the fire - another holiday tradition in our house.

As is listening to the music of our youth like AC/DC, The Smiths, and ZZ Top. As an aside, we had Back in Black on during the crab boil and butter may or may not have been splattered during Hells Bells.


































But after much laughter, vicarious butter splattering, and nostalgia from the 80's, it was time to get going on the main course: Giada's Linguini with Shrimp and Lemon Oil.


















This recipe is a no fail - always so good!

***

I have spent many a new year's eve in a state of forced gaiety - trying to turn the evening into something it could probably never be and have learned over the years that the best of times always happen when you least expect them.

With that in mind, I have to say, this new year came as a surprise.

I knew the dinner would be good and the atmosphere appealing, but what I didn't anticipate was that something "more" would creep into my dinner party and infuse it with a special kind of magic.

Around which a warm glow would remain long after the last drop of baileys and butter crumbs of eclair were licked off delighted fingers...


































And that's the blog!

Happy New Year and the best of 2011 to all!

xoxo



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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18 comments:

  1. Looks like you did the new year proud! I am with you, it is not about resolutions, it is about being the best you can be. There might be changes along the way (and usually are) but the best person every day is a great goal. Happy New Year to you!

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  2. Excellent! I want to do this so bad, I just need to find the perfect man worthy of it now. :)

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  3. Oh I so wish I could have come to your party, it looks like it was lovely! Nicely done and I agree, should totally have seafood for New Year's.

    Thank you for your kind words and support, it really helped. I mean REALLY helped. Hugs...

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  4. You are so right aboyt being our best. My thought was to be "REAL", authentic. No more pretending. However, I am already having my doubts about being able to do it..... YOur FEAST was just that. YOu are the best, most caring person. I so admire you!!!!!! Happy 2011! XOXO

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  5. LYNDS,

    WOW!

    WHAT A WONDERFUL LIFE U HAVE ALL THE WAY AROUND!

    U REALLY KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT AND MAKE PERFECT USE OF EVERY GIFT AND TALENT THAT GOD SENT U TO THIS EARTH WITH.

    WHAT I WOULD NOT GIVE 4 A CLONE OF U WHO PLAYED 4 "MY" TEAM!

    PART OF ME WANTS TO B SO ENVIOUS, BUT ALL I CAN TRULY B IS SO VERY HAPPY 4 BOTH U AND YER LIL FAMILY, AND JUST BEING BLESSED ENUFF TO SHARE A VERY SPECIAL CONNECTION WITH U AS FRIENDS!

    U R SO AWESOME!

    THE VERY BEST OD 2011 TO U AND YERS!

    TOWANDA!

    P.S.

    THE FOOD LOOKS TO DIE 4 AND THE CHOICE OF MUSIC COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE PERFECT!

    MARTHA WHO?

    A+ 4 U ON ALL COUNTS, MY FRIEND!!

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  6. Beautiful food, beautiful decorations, I love everything. And very true, people do need to love themselves. I always say that people need to be kind, and that is all. My husband and I are two different religions, but we both have the same idea for our daughter when she grows up, we just want her to be a kind person. And really, the way to be a kind person is to love yourself.

    And I LOVE ZZ Top! I'm often dancing to them in the kitchen while cooking. :)

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  7. Wow Lyndsay! Will you come over and plan a special romantic dinner for me and my hubby? What a fabulous New Year's evening you had. Thanks for sharing. I'm trying to be the best I can be and be a good example to my children. I think it's always important to be kind to everybody you encounter no matter how they treat you. It's contagious. You definitely have a very kind sole and I look forward to reading your personal insights. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  8. I like the way you think daaaahling, your post was very inspiring, and the food... simply lovely. What a fabulous way to ring in the new year.
    Wishing you a magical 2011.
    *kisses* HH

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  9. I can't tell you all how much I enjoy your comments!

    I do these crazy little things with my husband and its fun to know you enjoy reading about them.

    Meanwhile, I'm about the enjoy some left over chicken and potatoes as we speak...

    xoxoxo

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  10. Oh wow. Where to start. First I love what you said about the New Year and starting fresh and believing in yourself. That hit home for me. Then you give me this amazing food to look at. I am in heaven! Love seafood. My teens would love these recipes. Have a wonderful New Year. It is nice to meet you!
    Sherry

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  11. mmmm...I'm so hungry! Thank you so much for stopping over at MommaHenscoop!

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  12. Wishing you a great blogging new year.

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  13. Oh my that menus sounds delicious. I love crab legs, but I dip in lemon butter. I started eating crabs as a child when we would go to the pier and catch our own and them my parents would cook them. yum yum Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  14. Sounds like a delicious way to kick off a new year! Giada's linguine w/ shrimp and lemon oil...that is some I really want to try!

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  15. A delicious start to the new year.

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  16. Mmm, it all looks so wonderful! What a magical evening.

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  17. What a wonderful feast, Lyndsay - what a great way to kick off the year! Love the look of those crab legs (can't get anything like those here) and really keen to try that linguini with shrimp recipe :-)
    Sue xo

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  18. It sounds like the perfect way to start the new year. The entire meal is stunning. ;-)

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