As we do each year, this New Year’s Eve, my family and I settled in for some fun French movies and some delicious eats! We started the festivities with some delicious homemade miniature latkes--essentially potato pancakes made from shredded potatoes, finely chopped onion, flour and eggs. These were served topped with sour cream, caviar and chopped hard-boiled egg and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. I’d been looking forward to this treat all year.
This time around, our caviar was accompanied by an old favorite—my mother’s mushroom turnovers. Savory mushrooms and herbs nestled in homemade corners of dough, we hadn’t had these in quite some time. Along with that, we had beautiful breaded and seasoned artichoke hearts. What a way to celebrate the end of the year. But, there's more.
Regular readers know of my deep affection for sandwiches. And, boy did we have sandwiches. Whole ciabatta loaves were sliced horizontally in half and filled with lovely meats, assorted imported cheeses, avocado, and a variety of other delicacies.
Sliced into lengths, these sandwiches were pure heaven and, I ate far too many.
The next day, the first of 2014, we adjourned to the dining room to enjoy a roasted pork tenderloin served with a sour cream mustard sauce, and a lovely reduction.
Accompanying this perfect pork were the traditional black-eyed peas and casserole of greens. The black-eyed peas were fresh peas prepared with caramelized shallots and a balsamic vinegar reduction. Freshly-baked biscuits added a rustic and rich touch. And, we all enjoyed the gorgeous saffron risotto which is one of my favorite parts of the celebration.
And, then came dessert.
What better way to ring in the New Year than with a magnificent cheesecake? While some cheesecakes are heavy and dense, this magnificent creation is remarkably light and fluffy. Atop the gloriously delicate crust, the cheesecake is soft and seems infused with air—so much so that it literally melts in your mouth. My mother has been using this recipe since well before I was born and has made it her own. The cheesecake often makes an appearance on New Year’s Day. This year, it was topped with shimmering cherries. However, the cake is excellent with blueberries, strawberries or a lovely chocolate ganache. Decorated with piped whipped cream, it’s as elegant as it is delicious.
I must note, again, that this cake comes at the end of what was a long month of cooking. Between the dozens of cookies (of eleven different varieties), my birthday cake, candy, a cake for Christmas, pies for Thanksgiving, and intricately exquisite meals, I think my mother has had her hand in a mixing bowl for over thirty days. So, not only does this cake make for a beautiful introduction to 2014, it is also a dramatic finale to the art and cuisine of 2013.