What's for Dinner #17 - 01/2017 - the New Beginnings Edition

OK, to the not-so-wonderful year that was 2016 is now behind us. Raising a glass of appropriate bubbly to surviving, and toasting that 2017 is going to be better.

New Years’ traditions - fireworks to welcome in the new year, dispel evil spirits and bring good luck, smooching a perfect stranger in the middle of a cold Times Square, NYC amidst a million or more of your BFFs. These are a good start. But then there are the food traditions:

In the United States (southern tradition), enjoying pork (pigs “root forward”), black-eyed peas and greens, cornbread, Hoppin’ John, and pot likker soup is supposed to bring good luck.

In Spain, eating 12 grapes, one each at the strike of the clock at midnight, is to bring good luck and happiness.

In Italy and Brazil, eating lentils is to bring wealth and prosperity.

In Japan, slurping long soba noodles without breaking or chewing them will bring long life.

In Greece, a pomegranate is smashed on the floor in front of the door to reveal good fortune and prosperity. The more seeds, the more luck. (I’d recommend just opening up the pom and popping those wonderful arils in your mouth!)

In Poland and Germany, pickled herring are eaten at midnight to ensure a year of bounty and prosperity. (They’re silvery, like coins!)

In Mexico, a coin or a special trinket is baked into a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit. Whoever finds the coin or trinket will be lucky in the new year.

In Sweden and Norway, a single whole almond is cooked into rice pudding. Whoever gets the almond will have great fortune for the coming year.

FOOD - the tradition of sharing, enjoying with friends. It always brings us together around a table, enjoying company, laughter, wonderful tastes, and allowing us to experience a camaraderie of friendship. Here’s to continued good health and friendship.

What are you bringing to the table as the New Year starts?


We rang in 2017 with a recent tradition last night - pizza! We’re in Chicago visiting my parents and siblings so deep dish was the name of the game. Lou Malnati’s, to be specific - one classic sausage, one pepperoni. I think I have convinced everyone that adding pepperoni to the classic sausage is the way to go next time - best of both worlds!

My mother used to do a traditional roast pork and sauerkraut meal on New Years day, but this year we are all traveling. I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of that meal anyway, so no great loss. Tomorrow is DH’s birthday and I’ll make whatever he wants, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be starting a cleanse on January 3! We’ve eaten WAY too well these last couple of weeks!


Fireworks at midnight in the UK is a fairly recent tradition. I can’t really recall them prior to the millenium. I suppose our main tradition is drinking to excess but Britons rarely need an “event” for that.

As for dinner, strips of pork loin are to be fried along with garlic, onion and pear. There’s a quick sauce of perry and cream, reduced down.


My parents, and now my, New Years tradition is to eat tons of assorted cheese, charcuterie, smoked salmon, caviar, and assorted breads. I prefer to have only 2-3 pieces per person of each so everyone can try 20-30 things through the evening. While drinking way, way, too much really good sparkling wines. Something I hadn’t tried before was D’Artagnan’s Duck Rillettes, after the night was over I spread around 4-5 oz. on a baguette, added some Honeycrisp apple slices, a little french cultured butter, and chowed down with great pleasure while finishing off the last few opened bottles of sparkling wines.

Now, this New Years Day, my breakfast is going to be the last few oz. of the duck rillettes, some 3 yr gouda, and Eastern Gaspe smoked salmon, which is very buttery and silky. Yum!


Everything is closed and it’s -6C. All we have to eat today: bread, smoked goose breast, paprika sausage, broth made from bouillon cubes. The parter asks what I plan to eat for dinner when we get home, I say steamed mussels with celery and white wine. How I miss shellfish!

We spent 3 hours soaking in the outdoor thermal bath today. So nice when it’s cold above our shoulders and warm below. Super cheap version of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon!

Can’t wait to get home to eat shellfish and my own food!

Happy new year, all!


2-Alarm Chili (with red beans) has been a decades long New Year’s Day tradition in our house. That’s what’s in process in our kitchen now. I always volunteer to brown the beef with the onions because I almost swoon at the fragrance of that combo. :blush:

We have crusty rolls to dip in the chili, and a fine bottle of Two Buck Chuck, Cab Sav going tableside.

Hope I’ll make it to the Lions / Packers Kick Off tonight.

Happy New Year, all!


Something greasy for tonight to soak up my hangover . Chicken fried steak . I have never made it . I do have a big New York steak in the fridge . I’ll take it off the bone then slice in half lengthwise and pound the crap out of it with my mallet . Then it looks like it’s a basic flour and egg batter . Fry in ci . Big load of mashed potatoes to go along side . Oh, and the gravy .


Black-eyed peas are bubbling in the crock pot for hopping john. Perhaps some corn bread will make an appearance too.

My prime rib for NYE didn’t happen. Had a strange illness with chills and dizziness and stayed in bed most of two days. Just water and then a rather disappointing won-ton soup take-away yesterday when I was replenishing supplies pitched from my cooler being without ice…

So today I am hungry!

Here’s to a happy, healthy & delicious 2017!


My Texas MIL would soak the meat in a beaten egg/milk mix for an hour. Then press the drained meat into seasoned flour* before shaking the excess off and frying.

*AP flour, s/p, onion & garlic powder, cayenne. Being a Depression baby from a large family of poor farmers her CFS was made with cube steak.

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Oh, that’s not good! Hope you’re feeling better and that you get to nosh on that prime rib very soon!

Thank you! I feel great now. Spent 6 hours under the blankets wearing socks, thermals and a cap absolutely freezing. Then pretty much just slept and woke hourly craving massive amounts of water. No idea what it was.

On the plus side, I’m of a “vintage” that I’ve wondered if I would ever feel chilled again. Guess I should hang on to those sweaters after all!


A quick shrimp scampi-ish type meal tonight, and I was able to use up the rest of the Israeli couscous and steamed green beans from New Year’s Eve night. There was wine, and I’ll enjoy the remaining two tarts purchased from WF for dessert.

No picture, as it’s rather boring. But here’s picture of my brunch this morning (the bacon takes care of the pork requirement for New Year’s Day, which also included a prosecco/OJ mimosa…OK,maybe two of them) and two gratuitous pics of attention-seeking gatos…Fat Boy Slim Shady pre-brunch and Mr. Mouth during brunch.


I don’t remember whether I ate last night. Tonight I ate roasted pig.


Made tamales with 2 fillings (chicken green chile and sausage/ground meat) DH sat and helped me form them. I used Rick Bayless recipe and used vegetable shortening not lard. Ive made tamales a few times before and never know beforehand if I think they will be a success. This time was def the best Ive done. Not at all heavy. Tho I would not bother with the sausage ones again, instead Ill try some with poblano and cheese. I get delicious dry masa from Purcell Mountain farm. Happy New Year HOs.


Cotlette de Agneau, Pommes d Terre Gratinée, haricots vertes:


I decided to get out and about today to do some errands, since I’m back to work tomorrow. (Damn. Those 3 days went by awfully fast!)

Chicken breast stuffed with a Fine Herbes and goat cheese mixture, and wrapped with a few strips of prosciutto, pan-seared in olive oil and butter, and then baked. A pan sauce of sauteed garlic and shallots and then 1/4 cup each of chicken stock and white wine reduced on the stove top while the chicken baked in a 375°F. oven.

Sides were roasted baby potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme, and roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Penzey’s Sunny Spain seasoning.

Yeah, there was wine while cooking and during dinner. Girding my loins for the beginning of the year and all the expected insanity. Am I allowed to say “Calgon, take me away!” before it’s actually needed?


Always wise to take a good soak with wine, chocolate and a good book - just in case!

Your dinners inspire. Hoping for more energy to this year to begin to steal a few.


Tonight is beef Stroganoff over egg noodles with roasted carrots, onions and red grapes(thyme, s/p, olive oil) on the side. Perhaps some Brussels sprouts if my energy holds (and the cooler on the deck has kept them chilled).

As an aside, spell check feels “strongman” is preferable to Stroganoff! Maybe he was a deranged weight lifter before steroids? Or a closeted circus performer? The internet seems to conspire to keep his secret life under wraps…Inquiring minds!


You really have to wonder how auto-correct attempts to figure things out. I have to regularly go in and clear auto-correct cache, as I have a tendency to spell “puctures” instead of “pictures” when trying to thumb through on my Samsung Galaxy. And even though I change it Every. Single. Time. it still holds on to “puctures” and now auto-fills with that. :::Sigh:::

I picked up some red grouper today as well as some more tuna. Kenji’s method on 105f tuna was killer for NYE so will be making this again in the next day or two.

Tonight it was the red grouper. Seared off with butter and served with a sweet potato mash. Potatoes roasted in the oven to bring out the sweetness. Then mashed with butter, diced jalapeño and a scraped vanilla bean and finished off in the micro to reheat. A salad of varietal tomatoes, mini cucumbers and romain