Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year's Eve Extravaganva

We were planning on going to a restaurant for New Year's Eve, but couldn't find a restaurant. Lauren wanted to go to the English Hedgegrow Bistro, but when she called for reservations, they were sold out. At first I was interested in a place called Silver Creek, but I opted out when I found out the porter house steak was $70 (most other dishes were $50, and I only really wanted the steak). So being foodies, we decided to cook our own meals and spend the money on ingredients instead. It was a good excuse to go crazy at the grocery store....something that we don't do often. Lauren kept asking me if it was alright for her to buy stuff like soda and chips, because she was afraid we would go over budget. Sometimes I think she worries too much, but then again I worry to little.

Mike's Menu

First Course-Jalapeno Poppers and Thai Chicken Eggrolls (store bought)
These were appetizers that always looked good to me in the frozen foods section, but I would never buy them. Now I don't have to wonder anymore. The eggrolls were pretty bad. There were only 4 eggrolls in the pack,which really disappointed me at first, since it cost $3 (on sale from $5) But once I tasted one I was kind of happy there were so few. Here's my guess on what their recipe is.....Add salt, chicken, something gummy, curry powder, and carrot to blender, and blend into indiscriminate mush. Wrap in wonton wrapper, and fry. Put nice picture on box, and overprice it so people think it tastes good. The jalapeno poppers were okay, but then again, they were $1.50, and there were a lot of them. Lauren's toasted ravioli is also in the picture.

Second Course - Brown sugar glazed bacon wrapped shrimp and asparagus
Definitely my favorite thing of the night. I fried the bacon until it was almost crispy and still pliable (because I don't like soggy bacon), then wrapped the shrimp and asparagus. I doused it with brown sugar, and then fried it in the same pan. (bacon fat mmmmm.....) A nice crust of brown sugar formed, and it was awesome. Next time I think I'll add some maple syrup. Lauren even liked it, but she didn't eat a whole lot of bacon.

Third Course
Surf and Turf Pan-seared Ribeye Steak with garlic butter, Broiled Lobster Tail, and Roasted Red Pepper Red Potato Salad
This was my high-end course, but pretty simple in preparation. I seared the steak in a really hot pan....it would have been better grilled over an open fire, but I didn't want to freeze. It still came out pretty good. It's hard to mess up a steak. The lobster was broiled with garlic and butter. There was a weird texture to it. I think because it was frozen, but it was also good. I was on a lobster kick (not that I ate it a lot, but just that I wanted to eat it) for a while, but I think this cured me. The potato salad was a Bobby Flay recipe with a roasted red pepper and smoked paprika sauce. I really liked it, because you roast the potatoes, so they're crispy in the salad. However, the next day it really didn't taste very good.

Fourth Course
No desert here...I was way to full.

Lauren's Menu
First Course- Warm prosciutto and goat cheese crostinis
Good french bread with goat cheese and prosciutto on it. What's not to like? I ended up eatin most of these since Lauren wanted to make them, but not really eat them. (not a complaint....more like a perk)

Second Course - Toasted Ravioli (store bought) with homemade marinara sauce
These are shown in a picture above. Lauren really liked them, which was good, because I didn't particularly like them. To each his own I guess.
Third Course - Decadent Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Fusion Spanakopita (a twist on greek spanakopita-delicate philo dough filled with goat cheese, spinach, and prosciutto)
The spinach and artichoke dip was creamy and warm. Lauren made a lot, which was good, because it was breakfast for the next few days. I liked Spanikopita, but thought it could have used more cheese. Lauren didn't like it because she thought there was too much cheese. Hence, another perk....I finished this off :) You couldn't really taste the proscuitto, but it was still tasty.
Fourth Course - Mushroom medley with papperdelle pasta
crimini, porcini, morel, oyster, and shitake mushrooms in a light garlic, white wine and cream sauce
Lauren was excited about using this kind of pasta for weeks. We acctually went to the store that sells it earlier in the month, but she didn't want to get it because it was too expensive ($5). Since we were doing our challenge, Lauren splurged for the pasta, and it was a good deciscion. I'm a big fan of this noodle, and Lauren likes it too. The sauce was rich, but not too heavy. Very good.

Fifth Course
Back to the Classics
IBC Cream Soda and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches-Store-bought
Lauren made great choices here. Turned out I managed to have enough room to try her deserts. It was great. Happy New Year to us.

(Both our meals cost under $50 each, Mike's serves 1-1.5 people; Lauren's could serve 3-4 people. There were also a lot of leftover ingredients) It was a really fun event to go crazy and just get whatever we wanted, and it was cheaper than going out.


Lori said...

Great idea for your New Year's Eve. Sounds like it was a lot of fun trying all those foods!

chou said...

Way better than going out! The shrimp wrapped in bacon sounds fabulously divine. We got to try some of the bacon chocolate everyone raves about. Interesting, but I'd rather have shrimp!!!

Lisa said...

Shrimp and bacon; what a pairing. Mmm. Sounds like a good time trying stuff. Even if some of the products didn't live up to expectations, it's fun to try.

Lisa said...

Hi again, sorry to do this in a comment, but I don't see an e-mail address for you; will you write to me at webrina AT gmail DOT com? I have a question for you. Thanks!

genkitummy said...

Whoa, I didn't realize that I forgot to comment on this post. I guess it's because Mike posted this one.
Lori-Yeah, it was fun making all those foods. It was kind of like an all-day food marathon.
Chou-I think you'd enjoy the bacon-wrapped shrimp. Maybe I can convince Mike to make it for you when you're back in Champaign. (in May???)
Lisa-Yup, the shrimp and bacon wa quite delish. And thanks for the email. :)

Diana said...

What fun! I've been experimenting lately with prosciutto and goat cheese. Great combination. I'll have to try out the shrimp, that sounds really good.

genkitummy said...

Diana-prosciutto and goat cheese is a great combination! i'll be checking out your blog to see what you've been cooking up!