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New Year's Feast

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I quit going to New Year's Eve parties 20 years ago. I was never much of a party-goer, but I finally decided that I just didn't want to be out on the roads that night - it was too dangerous however sober I might be. But I have an abiding affection for holidays and celebrations so I began a tradition of my own to acknowledge the new year: a New Year's Feast.

I'd invite a few friends over for dinner on New Year's day, prepare a fancy meal, and we'd have a couple of glasses of champagne (sparkling wine) without worrying about other drivers or traffic checks by the police.

Gougeres: Savory Puffs

Gougeres with Prosciutto
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Gougeres are bite-size savory puff pastries generally made with cheese. They're a perfect before dinner treat and seriously good with champagne. Best of all, these can be frozen and reheated.

Horseradish Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Perhaps the most perfectly elegant meal for two, rack of lamb usually has six ribs (three each) guarding that most tender of any cut of meat, the tenderloin. If you're serving more than two, figure a six-rib rack for each couple. This recipe provides a surprise with the horseradish. Just mildly spicy, but enough to titillate the tongue and excite the imagination.

Potatoes Savoyarde: A Classic Gratin

Potatoes Savoyarde
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Potatoes Savoyarde is a classical French dish - a gratin - perfect with any meat prepared almost any way. I've served it beside Beef Daube, Smoked Salmon, and Chicken Saltimbocca. Whatever you serve it with it's delicious - although you may want to vary the herb to more closely complement the main dish or other sides dishes.

Brussels Sprouts Vinaigrette: Loved by Brussels Sprout Haters

Braised Brussels Sprouts
Kevin D Weeks
Brussels sprouts are terribly misunderstood, mainly because they're often terribly overcooked. But this recipe has won over more sprout-haters than any recipe I've ever served. In fact, I served these at a dinner party and one guest who bragged he'd only eaten one brussels sprout in his entire life ate half a dozen.

Blood Orange Pots de Creme: An Elegant Make-Ahead Dessert

Blood Orange Pots de Creme
Kevin D Weeks
Pots de Crème are deliciously rich and decadent desserts. This version, based on blood oranges, has a beautiful Valentine's Day pink hue. If you can't find blood oranges, you can use regular oranges, but it's not so perfectly colored and lacks a certain twist in flavor the blood oranges provide. Either way, Pots de Crème make are a great party dessert because they’re made in advance and served in the pots they're made in.

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