Dec 30, 2010

A Few Ideas to Ring in the New Year!

Here are just a few ideas that you might want to add to your New Year's Eve menu. Since Caitlin was down from Oregon, we were able to work on this blog together in the same location which was great (that's why the last couple of posts have looked a little different). We also received a great drink suggestion from Janelle Bucklin, called the "Gingertini" - we varied it ever so slightly and are sharing it with you too. Thank you Janelle! Happy New Year everyone!!! We hope to bring you even more exciting and delicious things in 2011 -we really appreciate all of you who have been following our blog over these last couple of months as it continues to evolve.

The Moska

Caitlin & Monica: Ok, we just came up with the name, not to be confused with mosca (which is Spanish for "fly"). If you are looking for something other than a bubbly drink or wondering what you are going to do with that bottle of Moscato you received over the holidays, this might be a good option for you. The addition of vodka and freshly squeezed lemon juice helps cut the sweetness of the Moscato perfectly.  Cheers!

Ingredient List
4 oz. Moscato
1 oz. Vodka (we prefer Kettle One)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedge or twist

Combine vodka, Moscato, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into chilled glasses, garnish with lemon wedge or twist.  Enjoy!

The Gingertini

Caitlin & Monica: As we mentioned before, this recipe was given to us courtesy of Janelle Bucklin. We changed the recipe a tad, instead of adding Goldschläger we decided to add Brandy. Either idea would be fabulous. If you want that extra spicy kick - go for the Goldschläger!

Ingredient List
1 oz Brandy 
4 oz Ginger Ale
Cinnamon Sugar for the rim

Wet rim of martini glass with apple slice (which you can use to garnish, if you like).  Roll to coat rim in cinnamon-sugar.  In a cocktail shaker, combine brandy and ginger ale.  Strain and pour into a martini glass.  Drink up!

Artichoke Dip

Caitlin & Monica: This is super easy and super tasty.  The tanginess from the canned artichokes sets off the creaminess of the mayo and parmesan cheese in a perfect way.  It is easy to whip up and stick in the oven while you prepare your other nibbles and cocktails.  When you take it out of the oven it is bubbly and golden to perfection.  You can choose to serve this dip with crackers of your choice, sliced baguette or Cuban bread (which is a personal favorite), or pita chips/tortilla chips (homemade are best, but good quality store bought chips work too).  

Ingredient List
2 cans of artichokes, roughly chopped
3/4 cup low-fat or regular mayo
3/4 cup grated parmesan (more for sprinkling on top to golden)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and combine well.  Place in a baking dish, we used an oval dish. Sprinkle parmesan on top.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until the dip is golden and bubbling.  

Remove, and let cool for a few minutes. It is best to serve warm,however, it tastes great at room temperature too.  

Chocolate Lollipops

Caitlin & Monica: These lollipops were inspired by Ina Garten's (aka: The Barefoot Contessa's) 2010 holiday special "Barefoot in London."  She made white chocolate lollipops with dried cherries & salted cashews for a Christmas lunch she was hosting.  Since New Year's Eve is usually about small bites, we thought that these would be perfect to serve and guests could easily walk around with their dessert on a stick.  We took her basic idea and incorporated our personal touch. The great thing about these pops is that you can personalize them with your own toppings and if you dare, you can infuse the chocolate.  Have fun!

Ingredient List
1 lb. chocolate (white, milk, dark), finely chopped  - we chose milk chocolate
dried cherries
pistachio pieces
small pretzels
crushed pepppermint (something to do with the candy canes lying around)
lollipop sticks, about 20

Place a sheet of wax paper on 2 sheet pans/baking sheets.

Place 12 oz of the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl and  microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula, return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir again. Continue this until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately stir in the remaining 4 oz of chocolate, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. 
Using a tablespoon, pour the melted chocolate in rounds onto the wax paper and place lollipop sticks in the middle of each chocolate round, giving the stick a little twist. Work fast, because some chocolate hardens quickly. 
Sprinkle the tops of the lollipops evenly with the toppings you choose.  We made three variations:  dried cherries & salted pistachios; pretzel; and crushed peppermint.  If you find that your chocolate isn't setting quickly enough, place chocolate lollipops in fridge until set. 
You can wrap these up in individual small cello bags or you can place them standing in a short vase on your table.  They look festive and taste great!
For the Gingertini you can use 1 oz of Goldschläger, which was originally suggested.  If you opt for the Goldschläger you could add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer or just for looks.

For more creaminess, you can add cream cheese to the Artichoke Dip (about 4 oz).

If opting to use crushed peppermint on your Chocolate Lollipops you can infuse the chocolate (after it is melted) with some peppermint extract.

New Year's Eve is about festive fun (forgive us, we had to include Enrique Iglesias' huge hit from 2010 - it's a tad cheesy, but rather catchy).  Here are a few song suggestions to add to your playlist:
1)  Fight for Your Right - Beastie Boys
2)  I Wanna Be Sedated - Ramones
3)  Wanna Be Starting Something - Michael Jackson
4)  I Like It - Enrique Iglesias 
5)  Auld Lang Syne - Aretha Franklin & Billy Preston 

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