New Year’s Dinner for Two

New Year’s Dinner for Two

This is the first year my husband and I are in NYC together for New Years. Typically we spend it with his family in Puerto Rico; it’s always a big crowd, lots of food, music and dancing. But this year, it’s just the two of us, home in the City, slushing through the snow remaining from the “Day After Christmas Blizzard”.  We are taking advantage of the opportunity to have a romantic dinner for two. Here’s what I’m making:

  • Sauteed Asparagus
  • Lemon Fettuccine
  • Grill-Pan Lobster Tails with Garlic & Butter
  • Chocolate Lava Cake

Asparagus

I’ll make this first and I can either keep it warm while preparing the rest of the meal or serve it room temp – I think asparagus is tasty either way.

Wash and trim away fibrous ends of asparagus. If the only stalks available are really thick, I slim them down with a vegetable peeler. Blanche 1/2 lb. stalks in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes until they are a bright shade of green. Have a bowl of ice water ready and immediately dunk the asparagus in the ice water to stop the cooking. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and sautee 2 minutes with 2 TBS butter in a saute pan. Add the asparagus and saute 3 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, salt and remove from heat until ready to serve.

Lemon Fettuccine

Makes 4-6 servings, so we’ll have leftovers.

  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (1-2 shallots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 TBS freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 TBS milk
  • 1 3/4 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
  • 1 whole lemon, zested
  • 2 TBS freshly chopped chives

Directions

Fresh pasta should be kept refrigerated until ready to cook. Bring a large pan full of salted water to a boil and add   fettuccine. Bring to a second boil and gently stir for 2-3 minutes until pasta is al dente. Drain and keep warm.

In a skillet, saute shallots and garlic in butter, stirring constantly until tender, not brown. Stir in sour cream, cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, milk, lemon-pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and pour over pasta. Toss gently, adding chopped chives and remaining Parmesan. Serve warm.

Lobster

I decided against getting live lobsters. Although you can always make stock from the leftover shells, there wouldn’t be enough to make it from just two lobsters. Plus, there’s a lot of waste when you buy the whole lobster and frankly, I’ve never been thrilled with killing them (this could be an entire blog post – later). So I just bought two 1/2 lb. tails, which is the best part anyway. I want to do something new (for me) and try grilling the tails. Because you can’t grill in your apartment (darn!) I’m going to try two methods to see what works better.

First Lobster – I’ll keep the tail in the shell, make a lengthwise slit in the meat and top with 2-3 TBS clairified butter and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Loosely wrap the whole thing in a big piece of aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 mins until meat is opaque.

Second Lobster – This time, I’ll remove the meat from the tail and give it a butterfly cut down the center  so that the tail will now lay flat, like a book. Brush it with clarified butter that was seasoned with fresh garlic and garlic salt. Once my George Foreman Grill is heated up, plop in the tail, close the cover and cook 2 minutes until opaque.

Chocolate Lava Cake – (after visiting Yellowstone National Park this year, we call it “CalderaCake)

Makes 6-7. I made this in advance and then will pop it in the oven after dinner for our  dessert.

  • 7 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use Ghiradelli 60% cacao)
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter each six (6-ounce) ramekins and dust with coco powder, shaking out any excess. Place 3/4 of the chopped chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler, and melt them over simmering water.

Using a mixer,  beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick, about 8 minutes (be sure to do it this long!). Reduce speed and add flour. Add the melted chocolate mixture and continue beating until glossy, about another 5 minutes. (Really! Set a timer if necessary, or it won’t turn out right.)

Fill each ramekin half way and sprinkle in the remaining chopped chocolate – making a little pile in the middle of each one. Top with the rest of the batter.

Bake until just set around the edges, but the center still jiggles. About 10-12 minutes. DO NOT overcook. Cool just a few minutes and unmold each cake onto a plate. Naturally, the less it cooks, the more gooey and yummy it is in the center. Serve it with ice cream, whipped cream or fresh berries on the side.

Well, that’s the plan. There’s only a few days of 2016 left, so I’d betting get cooking or our dinner won’t be ready until 2017! I wish for you what I wish for myself this New Year’s Eve – more laughter, more cookies and more time to do the things that are REALLY important. A very Healthy and Happy 2017!!

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