Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve Dinner Menu

First of all, let me wish all Domestic Agenda readers a very happy New Year! I hope to bring you more good recipes and tales of culinary adventures in 2009!

Last night it was decided that I would cook an impromptu New Year's Eve dinner for some of my favorite eaters. I relished the chance to share some of my favorite recipes of the year and open a few bottles of wine we had been saving for a special occasion. And the end of 2008 seemed special enough.

I've decided to split these posts up for easier reading and reference.

The only new recipe was for these spicy peanuts I whipped up to snack on with our Champagne which was Perrier Jouet Brut and a 2001 J. Schram.

Chile Peanuts

Gourmet May 2008

Yield: Makes 4 cups
Active Time: 10 min Total Time: 1 hr

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika (not hot)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (about 17 oz)

Preheat oven to 250°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together lime juice, oil, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne. Stir in peanuts to coat evenly.

Spread peanuts in a large shallow baking pan and bake until coating is dry and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Peanuts keep in an airtight container 3 weeks. If peanuts lose their crispness, reheat in a 250°F oven 15 to 20 minutes, then cool.

Arugula Salad with Dates and Feta

This salad is simple and endlessly adaptable. Substitute any sweet/tart fruit for the dates, crumbled goat cheese for the feta, and and grapefruit or lime (or a combination) for the lemon.

Serves 8

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 pound baby arugula (8 cups)
3 ounces crumbled feta (1/2 cup)

Halve dates lengthwise and cut into small chunks.

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined well.

Toss together arugula, feta, and dates in a large bowl, then toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.

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