Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Recipes: Inspiration for a Romantic Dinner

Happy New Years!

Hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve and ring in the new year with friends and those you love most. As with every good celebration, good food is a must. While this is the last day of the year, I'm looking ahead to 2011 where there will be many more recipes, tips, cooking and... romantic dinners. For a little last minute inspiration, here's what I'm making for a romantic dinner this New Years Eve.

To start the night, I'm making a warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts from Smitten Kitchen. Last year I made these goat cheese mushroom caps.

As an accompaniment, a bottle of bubbly, Veuve du Vernay from France. My friend from Your Restaurant Sucks suggested this wine recently and tonight, I'm trying it out. A sommelier at a local wine shop recommended this one to my friend a couple years ago and he has been drinking it ever since.

And the main course? A timeless dish of mussels steamed in a chipotle cream sauce from Santiago's Cafe Cookbook. This is the best recipe I've ever had for mussels, I promise you'll want to bathe in the sauce. Two years ago, I made this smoked salmon quiche with a crispy potato crust, an Emeril Lagasse favorite.

Chipotle Cream Mussels

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
just under 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup white wine


First off, take one can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and puree in a food processor. This will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge and is great to add to salad dressings, tomato sauce, soups and is used in this recipe.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and continue to simmer on a low heat. Reduce by half, add whipping cream and reduce until thick.

Meanwhile, prepare the mussel pot, add 1/2 cup per serving of the chipotle sauce, a splash or two of white wine, put the lid on and steam the mussels for 5-8 minutes until the mussels have opened up. Pour into a big serving bowl and enjoy.

Any extra sauce can be frozen or will keep up to a week in the fridge.

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