Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Dinner Party on New Year's Eve

As long as we have been together, Mr. Butter and I have enjoyed celebrating New Year's Eve by hosting a dinner party for different friends. We pour vintage champagne, open good wine, and I make everything with butter and cream. Since we're in the Midwest, we serve beef as the main course (as opposed to cod, or lobster), but I still insist on importing oysters from the New England Coast.
I love honoring the Twelve Days of Christmas (Christmas Day being the 1st), and of course New Year's Eve is always the Seventh Day - Seven Swans a Swimming.  One day I'll have real swans (not really), but for now these little place cards mark the day.
dinner table is set.

Last month our local wine shop, Top 10 Wines , had a fantastic champagne tasting to help us stock up for the holidays.  I'm looking forward to toasting in the New Year with a '95 Les Mesnil Grand Cru.
photo courtesy of @habituallychic

Like I said, we love oysters, and I can't think of a better New Year's Eve pairing than champagne and oysters.  One of our favorite places to order oysters is from Island Creek Oyster, in Duxbury, MA.  They also carry oysters from Welfleet, and a few other towns on the South Shore.  This year we'll serve 1/2 of them raw on the half shell, and the other half using a recipe for BBQ'd oysters with Bourbon Chipotle butter - from my favorite West Coast purveyor, Hog Island Oyster Co.
photo courtesy of Island Creek Oyster

photo courtesy of Hog Island Oyster Co.

BBQ Bourbon Chipotle Butter Oysters

For the main course I'm serving Chateaubriand with Mr Butter's famous Morel Sauce.  Missouri has so many options for good beef, and we've found the very best is Show Me Farms, right here in Columbia. They feed their cattle a proprietary blend of flax seed and other healthy ingredients, increasing the Omega-3 content by over 600%.  The beef is beyond tender and the flavor is out of this world. (This is not an ad, we are just HUGE fans)
this recipe is pretty close to Mr. Butter's, but he keeps a few secrets tucked up his sleeve.
Dessert is the same every year.  It's the most decadent flourless Chocolate-Orange cake with Bourbon, from April Bloomfield'sA Girl and her Pig.  It requires a few more steps than a basic flourless cake, but the results are worth it. Trust me when I say, it tastes even better on New Years Day, with coffee, or more champagne, as evidenced by my photo from 2013.  I've taken the liberty of sharing the recipe for the cake below - just in case you need one more thing to do before tonight's festivities.
New Years Day 2013

I've been cooking for two days, and still have a few more things to knock out before taking a quick yoga class, and then dressing for dinner.  Wishing the very best for all in the New Year, and  #keepeating

Chocolate-Orange Cake with Bourbon
from April Bloomfield's, A Girl and Her Pig

1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4  pound 70% bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup bourbon
2 tsp finely grated orange zest

8 in round cake pan
parchment paper


Place rack in center of oven, and pre-heat to 375 F.

Grease the pan with butter, line with the parchment paper, and then grease the paper again.

Fill a medium pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.  Find a heatproof bowl that'll rest in the pot without touching the water.  Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl and set the bowl on the pot.  Let the chocolate and butter melt slowly, whisking now and then with a flexible silicone spatula and scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure the chocolate doesn't scorch.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high until the mixture has tripled in volume, about 7 minutes.

Combine 1/2 cup water and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves.

Warm the bourbon slightly in s a small pot over low heat. Light a kitchen match, and carefully ignite the bourbon, and stand back. Wait until the flam goes out by itself.  Pour the sugar-water mixture into the bourbon and add the orange zest.

Once the chocolate and butter have completely melted, whisk the bourbon mixture into the bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture into the mixing bowl with the fluffy eggs, beating on medium speed as you do.  Continue beating until the chocolate and eggs are well combined, about 1 minute.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Use both hand to carefully, but firmly knock the bottom of the pan against the counter about 20times.  This forces the air out  and will give the finished cake a dense velvety texture.

Line the bottom of a deep baking dish ( I used a roasting pan) with a kitchen bowl, put the cake pan in the center, and put in in the oven. Carefully pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come just order the lip of the cake pan. Bake the cake just until you can cleanly the the edge of the cake away from the pan, about 40-45 min.  Remove the cake and let it cool completely in the water bath.

Remove the pan from the water, dry the sides and the bottom. Invert the pan over your serving plate.  Peel off the parchment paper and serve.


  1. Fantabulous arrangements! The food is mouth-watering and looks delicious. We are also planning to book one of the event venues Chicago for the New Year’s Eve this time and planning to invite all our relatives and friends. This would be a great idea to have a big party with all the loved ones.

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