Happy 2016 everyone!
How was New Year’s Eve? What did you do? Me? I spent it with friends.
Jeff and I decided a long time ago to not go out on New Year’s Eve, aka “amateur night”. So our plan was to have a great dinner at home and ring in the New Year ourselves. And then, one day a friend asked what we were doing. And I said, “come over.” And then another, and another. And so now for a few years running, our friends don’t even ask what we’re doing. They ask, what are you making us for New Year’s Eve and we LOVE it. It’s a “thing” now. The New Year’s Eve crew.
So this year, we had some old friends and some new friends and even one from overseas. Italy in fact, my favorite place.
So I planned to put together an awesome charcuterie plate, make some holiday cocktails and to make a roast pork shoulder with porchetta flavorings.
I went to my local salumeria, Tête Charcuterie and they put together an amazing meat and cheese platter for me. We had salami and proscuitto and finochionna and sopprasata. And pickles and mustards with cheddar and blue cheese and brie oh my!
But then my friend who lives in Rome, brought her boyfriend, who is a true Italian. Well he brought salami from the motherland, that his uncle made. How great is that? One had finer little lardos of fat in it and the other was made from liver and they were both divine! Total salumi overload. Add the wine.
In the meantime, I had a Slagel Farms pork shoulder in the oven which I slathered the night before with generous doses of fennel fronds, sage and rosemary, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and olive oil. Like this:
And like this:
And it turned out like this!
Amaze balls yeah? Well, it took FOREVAAAHH to slow roast this pork shoulder. It was so slow that we ended up popping champagne and ringing in the New Year first and then we sat down to eat! I am not sure what this says about how the year will go, but it turned out all right.
Yeah, so when the pork finally came out of the oven “to cool”, 3 very (im)patient Greeks and one Italian hovered over it picking off pieces of crackling, melt in your mouth fat and tender pull apart meat and gnawed on the bones that just fell off. There was a solid 15 minute primal frenzy on this pork from our Mediterranean tribe. When we finally came up for air, I made salad and looked for everyone else.
A little side note here. When people tell me they have food preferences or dietary restrictions, I totally understand and I’m happy to accommodate. After all, I prefer to keep gluten free. I get it. Our new guests were a couple that were friends of Jeff’s. And I was told, and I quote “she doesn’t eat red meat.”
No problem. What I didn’t realize is that meant no meat AT ALL!!! That’s where things got very…My Big Fat Greek Wedding. “You don’t eat no meat? I’ll make lamb.” Or in my case pork, with a side of salami, and prosciutto and country pâté! Isn’t pork the other white meat? Sweet Jesus, what she must think of me. Here honey, have another cocktail. I’m so embarrassed.
Oh! And the best part, her boyfriend who I have known for over 20 years suddenly didn’t eat meat either. Since when??? Since that night, in solidarity. Ah, love.
I asked Jeff about this whole no meat situation as he was just as surprised. Apparently, when his friend told him that his girlfriend didn’t eat red meat it was while they were eating a sausage pizza!!!
Yes, so they ate the bitter greens salad I made. Probably bitterly. Argh! Epic fail on my part.
Finally, it was time to cut the Vasilopita and see who gets the lucky coin. Now if you read this post here, you know all about the power of the coin and why everyone wants it. And let me tell you, Jeff wants it. He can feel the energy of the coin. He was anxious and we carefully and slowly cut and handed out the pieces in the correct order and then, the winner was…drumroll please:
Our new Italian friend! Sorry Jeff, there’s always next year!
Anyway, we all had a good time. And laughs. And we all learned some valuable lessons that we will all carry into the New Year:
1. Patience is a virtue (especially when cooking large hunks of meat and looking for magic coins.)
2. When a small crisis occurs, have a sense of humor…and serve alcohol (just kidding, not really. Okay, yes, I’m kidding.)
3. When something seems to be taking longer than expected, don’t worry. Have faith that in the end it will always turn out perfectly ok. (And then relish it with primal ferocity…LOL)
Have a great New Year everyone!
Next week I will have a special new series for you…stay tuned.
See those cocktails up there? You can find that recipe here.