Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

   Wow, I can not believe that it's really 2012 already! Where did 2011 go? Well, it doesn't matter anymore, it's gone for good and now we have a new year :). I hope everybody had a great time last night welcoming the New Year in a great company. No matter where you are and how you celebrate it, if you are surrounded by wonderful people it's the best beginning to a new year. Oh, and lets not forget about good food, that's important too! This is exactly how we step into 2012, with a great friends and lots of food (some tastier then others). I decided to experiment a little bit and made a new salad, which I saw on Barefoot Contessa and guess what, it was "not so much"! I should know better and stick to my own recipe rather than following Ina Garten because it sucked. Well, the other option is that I just screwed up her recipe, but since I decided to be more confident as my New Year's resolution, so I stick to my statement that Ina's salad sucks! But lets forget about the salad and start with an appetizer. I made Justin's favorite thing, something that we had on our first "official" date back in the day, and something we love to order in a restaurants: bruschetta! All you need is:

French baguette
3 big tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 tbsp of finely chopped red onion
0.5 cup of chopped fresh basil
0.5 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

   Parboil tomatoes for one minute to remove the skin, remove the seeds (you don't want it to be too watery), chop into small cubes and mix with all other ingredients. That's it... you are done with the tomato part of a bruschetta.

    All is left to do is to slice the baguette into diagonal 0.5 inch slices, brush with a little bit of olive oil and bake at 375F for 5 min. You don't want the dish to get soggy so don't assemble it, just let your guests create their own. It's absolutely delicious!

   It's the perfect way to begin a meal. Crunchy, refreshing, and a little bit garlicky, so make sure your partner has some too!
   As the star of the meal I decided to make a roasted beef. Mostly because I was eager to try out a Christmas gift from my wonderful Mother-in-law: a brand new and shinny Dutch oven (not that shinny anymore after I was done with it!). I still have some practicing to do, but I think that for my first roast I did pretty well (hopefully my guests will agree). The list of ingredients goes as follow:

Chuck roast beef cut (I used 4 lbs for 6 people and have leftovers)
1 chopped onion
4 stalks of celery
2 chopped carrots 
1 chopped apple
1 cup of dried crunberries
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of tomato paste
red wine
beef broth
salt and pepper
rosemary, juniper berries, bay lives
vegetable oil.

   Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven and sear the meat on all sides until brown. It's very important step, which gives most of the flavor to the roast, so make sure you really brown the meat (about 5 min on each side). Take the meat out of the pan and set aside. Using the remaining oil, saute the vegetables, fruit, and herbs for 5 minutes, add tomato paste and cook some more. Deglaze the pan with some wine and return the meat back where it belongs. Add wine and beef stock to the pot to cover about 2/3 of the meat (don't cover it completely).

   Cook everything on the stove top for about 10 minutes and then cover with a lid and pop it in the oven that has been preheated to 300F for about 3 hours. The trick to making the meat tender is to roast it at a very low temperature for a long time. Don't take this 3 hours very strictly, you have to keep checking the meat yourself because time depends on the size and cut of the beef. Mine was pretty tender after 3 hours but some may require more or less time. You should be able to shred the meat with a fork, then you know it's ready. After the roast is done all the veggies are super soft and the liquid is reduced giving you a great sauce for your meat.

   Don't be afraid of the dark color... it's all the red wine magic! I served it with mixed grains sauteed with onion and ginger, and a "famous" cucumber salad, which Ina Garten screwed up. Yes, I'm still sticking to my statement that it was completely her fault, I had nothing to do with the salad being oversatled!
   But let's forget about salty salad (we had plenty of "liquid" to wash it out) the party was a great success. We welcomed the New Year with amazing and fun company, some old and new friends. That sounds to me like a great start to 2012.

Have an amazing year.


  1. The picture of the Bruschetta is mndblowingly well-taken. Very professional. Are you sure you are an amateur photographer?

  2. Thanks! And yes, Im sure I am an amateur, but Im trying my best!