Happy New Year, everybody! I hope 2013 brings you nothing but good things!
We're starting the year off with a bang. The family is coming up for some good food, good football, and lots of fun. (We always have fun when we get together, so that last part is a given.)
I thought you might enjoy seeing my quick and dirty table decoration. I can't take credit for it. It was seen as a store display, and I thought it was cute. It's just some inexpensive champagne flutes and some of those curly ribbon stick-on bows. Festive, huh? Only the best for my family. This will be an informal dinner though. Things are just going to be served up on our breakfast bar, and everybody can help themselves.
On the menu today:
Flamecraft Spiral Sliced Ham
Yeah, that's not my ham, but you get the idea. So simple. You just buy it at the grocery store with your $10 off coupon. Bring it home. Put it in the refrigerator. On the big day, take it out of the refrigerator. Put it in a warm oven until it's warmed the way you like it. (It's advisable to take it out of the cardboard box first.) Serve. A simple recipe, to say the least.
Also, Ina Garten's Maple Baked Beans (click on the link for the recipe).
Yeah, those aren't my beans either. This is the image from Ina Garten's recipe. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to steal more images off the internet. Not really. I've made these beans before. They take quite a bit of time, including soaking the beans for 24 hours ahead of time, then simmering them for 50 minutes on the stove top, then baking them low and slow for 6-8 hours. But, man, if you can think ahead enough to get the timing right, baked beans have never tasted so good. Yum. My stomach is growling just thinking about them.
Let's see. What else?
Oh yes, my mother's Seven Layer Salad. It's one of the lasting legacies of my dear mother, gone now for nearly 16 years. She was such a dear person, and I still miss her. She was the one who introduced me to this recipe after attending a family reunion, and it's been a family favorite for at least three generations. There are a lot of different versions of this recipe, but here's the way my mom did it.
Seven Layer Salad
Recipe By: Clarice Nelson
2 cups roughly chopped iceberg lettuce
1 cup diced celery
4 hard-cooked eggs -- chopped
1 medium red onion -- diced
1 package frozen peas (10 oz.) -- thawed
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
4 slices bacon -- fried, drained & crumbled
4 ounces cheddar cheese -- grated
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups mayonnaise
Layer first six ingredients (lettuce through green pepper) in a large
salad bowl. Add sugar to mayonnaise and frost and seal entire top of
dish. Top with grated cheese and crumbled bacon. Cover and refrigerate
for 8-12 hours or overnight.
It's not a recipe if you're trying to cut fat and calories, but this is New Year's Day! You can start your diet tomorrow. And tomorrow, you can start your diet tomorrow. And tomorrow, you can start your diet tomorrow. (This could go on for a long time.)
But that's not all. Also on the menu is my favorite potato salad recipe of all time: Dill Potato Salad.
It's a recipe first published in the June/July 2011 issue of Cook's Country, and if you are a fresh dill lover like I am, then you will love this potato salad.
Dill Potato Salad
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill (divided) -- plus 1/2 cup leaves and stems, chopped coarse
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes -- peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 scallions -- green parts only, sliced thin
Combine vinegar and 1 tablespoon minced dill in bowl and microwave until
steaming, 30-60 seconds. Set at room temperature until cool, 15-20
Meanwhile, place chopped dill inside disposable coffee filter and tie
closed with kitchen twine. Bring potatoes, dill sachet, 1 tablespoon
salt, and enough water to cover by 1 inch to boil in large pot over high
heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are just tender,
about 10 minutes.
Drain potatoes thoroughly, then transfer to large bowl; discard sachet.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons dill vinegar over hot potatoes and gently toss until
evenly coated. Refrigerate until cooled, about 30 minutes, stirring once.
Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, remaining dill vinegar, mustard, 1/2
teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together until smooth. Add dressing
to cooled potatoes. Stir in scallions and remaining 2 tablespoons minced
dill. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors meld, about 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated
for up to 2 days.)
My notes about the recipe: I wrapped the chopped dill leaves and stems in cheesecloth and then placed the sachet inside a tea infuser. Also, I use red potatoes and I leave the skins on. I like the way the green dill looks with the red potato skins. Yukon Gold works just as well, and Yukon Gold is noted for holding its shape a little better after they've been boiled.
And you can't have a New Year's Feast without dessert can you? (See above references to starting your diet tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow. Just imagine you're saying it while standing in a canyon.) We're having Mike's favorite cheesecake: Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.
I blogged about this when I made it last year. You can see my post with the recipe right here. This recipe was published in Bon Appetit in 1989. I was just a babe in arms then (if by babe in arms, you mean a woman married 14 years with two children).
What I didn't tell you in the recipe I posted last year is that there is a non-alcoholic substitution for the Bailey's Irish Cream. If you've avoiding alcohol, you can substitute non-alcoholic Baileys Coffee Creamer, which is available in different flavors.
It's perfect for coffee, desserts, and even "virgin" variations of some cocktails. The chocolate variety tastes slightly like the liqueur, without the subtle hint of whiskey.
So that's it for me for the day. I'm off to enjoy it. But before I go, here's what's happening outside my window as I'm writing this.
Do you see those white flecks in this image? That ain't no digital noise. It's snow. So much for our week of sunshine. Oh yes, and do you see the mountains in the background? No. Neither do I. But that's Oregon for you. Happy New Year!