Home » Food » New Year – First Dinner

New Year – First Dinner

I was going to entitle this “Breaking in the New Kitchen” but that would be technically wrong as I did host the Christmas breakfast with my family… My sister might disagree with who should have been first for last night’s feast but hey, things don’t always they way we plan, yanno?

Anyhoo, this evening was planned after we learned of our friend’s death on December 18th (post still not finished but will follow shortly). We suddenly felt the need to see each other; the funeral home not counting.

I swear I am the queen of start and not finish. 🙄 So, before I lose the feeling of last night, here I go. I started on Friday. Lucky for me, I was “liberated” from a job I loathe on Thursday, giving me all day Friday to cook (if that was how I chose to use my time).

I started things off by making the parsley-celery oil for the soup as well as the parsnip chips, inspired by my chef friend Janet, of The Simmering Chef’s recipe. Click here to get it. I was determined to use chicken thighs (skin on, bone in) that I had in my freezer so The Google was brought into service. I found Ina Garten’s Chicken Marbella. I got all the ingredients together and placed them in a bag to marinate all afternoon and overnight. If I hadn’t had my date night that included watching the oh-so-horrible-please-don’t-waste-your-time movie “The Poison Rose” (surprising cast: John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Famke Janssen, Brendan Fraser), I might have actually made my soup AND my cake but no…

No matter! I was up and at ’em really early so, first things first, I baked the cake. I am so mad at myself as I had been making Soeur Angèle’s version of the Sachertore for eons (though it had been ages since I last made it) and could not find my copy of the recipe. I was positive I had kept that page, but no. Sigh. So onto The Google (again) I went. No luck. Her recipe is not to be found. So I keep my search up until I found one that sorta-kinda resembled what I remember of it by Lidia Bastianich, but made a few modifications.

As the cake baked, it was onto the Parsnip soup.

The “Mise”

As the soup simmered, I went out to shovel the walkway – not that there was much, but still, I took my time. Time to purée the soup and set it aside for warming up later.

I then went on to make my cheese bowls (Raclette and Grana Padano) that would hold my mesclun salad with Raspberry-Honey Vinaigrette. Every time I make these, I am amazed at the quantity of fat I need to wipe out of the frying pan!

Cake cooled and iced it was time to do a quick sweep and mop of the floors and take my shower.

Good grief! Who was this broad who was so organized that her hair would not still be dripping wet when her guests arrived? I didn’t recognize her! She even set the table and shucked the oysters and made mignonette!

Just before Giselle and Dany, then Julie and Michael arrived, I put the chicken into the oven. An hour to cook, fifteen minutes to rest and Bob’s your uncle. The tour of the remodel was given and, as we are wont to do, stood around the island. We noshed on oysters and drank bubbles while catching up. (And, just so you know, it’s not because I still have not received my sofa that we had to. Plus, I did bring up the stools that will be getting their own makeover soon!)

There is nothing I love more than cooking for people I love. We ate, we laughed, we sang an early happy birthday for Dany (two weeks early) and then, because I had changed the Spotify from 70’s acoustic to French crooners, we ended up doing a sort of karaoke with one of Aznavour’s songs – which, as I wrote about when he passed away, is completely IMPOSSIBLE to sing along to (hell, you can’t even read the lyrics fast enough!)

The meal:

Fun times. I’ve never had all the lights on in the house at once. Bloody hell it was bright. (Note to self… use the damn dimmers!)

P.S. I started this post, officially yesterday morning (as it’s close to 1 am now) whilst enjoying my raisin bread toast (courtesy of Giselle) followed by one of her delicious almond cookies (and she claims she’s not a baker!) I pressed publish before I realised I forgot to add these!

155 thoughts on “New Year – First Dinner

  1. Wow! When you entertain you do it in style! I’m a bit green around the edges with envy for your magnificent kitchen!

    Wishing you many get-togethers like this so you can strut your stuff. You are definitely in your element in the kitchen.

    Well done….and with style!


    • I do tend to go all out 😉. My kitchen was so bad before I had to hold back – I don’t like to hold back .. it was torture! I went from a professional amazing kitchen in my old house to a dud that hindered me to this.

      I am definitely happiest when strutting my stuff!

      I thank you, Ginger. I so appreciate it!


  2. Dear Dale,

    It all looks delicious. Both the food and the company. Glad you got to do what you love. Hopefully a job you love will come along soon. You deserve some nachas as we say in Yiddish. 😉

    Shalom and lotsa companionable hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,

      I have to say I was rather pleased with it all as nothing makes me happier. I shall look a tad harder this time. You are lovely to say that! 😁

      Shalom and Lotsa love and good food and friendship!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. YUM! I love Ina Garten, her recipes and her style and her smile. I saved the link to the recipe. I love the photos of the food and the friends. It looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ina has come to my rescue more than once! (Lidia Bastianich on occasion, too). It’s such an easy and tasty dish, you won’t regret it.
      I am so happy when I’m in the middle of food prep to entertain, knowing loved ones are coming to share…
      Thanks so much for not only dropping by, but taking the time to comment. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yay! I may JUST take you on it one of those days (you’re pretty safe from me during the winter, though, you people of the North like it a bit colder than what I enjoy … 😉 But summer? Hmmm… 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

          • It is dreary out my windah’ – rain and icy rain and more rain and a damp grayish wet air just above the freeze but keeps the brrr … I can only imagine what you Northerners put up with. And … yes … I SO dream of summer.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It was here, too but the sun has decided to start peeping through the clouds calling me to come out and play. Which then reminded me I need to get some waterproofing spray for an old jacket I adore and my boots that are waterproof no more!

            The sun sparkling off the icicles is particularly beautiful even though I know icicles are not a good sign regarding one’s roof…

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful, Dale.
    A delicious description with snow removal, showering, and un-wet hair, to boot.
    It sounds like a masterful time. I had to chuckle at the “liberated” from a job I loathe” part. You really do seem to be liberated and know how to show a wonderful time. I tip my hat to the mistress of description. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry about what I’m going to say, but I’m drooling all over this page and I’m vegan too!
    I would love to fly over for a meal from your hands… well, that is if you could compromise the stuff… even if you couldn’t, I’d still enjoy the look and the scent, not to mention the hospitality! Right, I’m off! Make dinner! 😂🤣😂🤣😂
    You are amazing, dear CNL!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was SO GOOD, though I’m very sorry about your friend. I told my husband this weekend that we’re getting to that age where we know more and more people who are ill or dying.

    You can cook for me ANYTIME! YUM!!!! I was recently introduced to parsnips being roasted. Best stuff ever! I’ll have to look up (I google all the time too) parsnip chips. I can’t do oysters, but that salad and the rest looks amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so very glad you enjoyed, Dawn. Unfortunately, I know far too many who died far too soon. He’s one of the “oldest” who was two days shy of his 60th birthday. I can name eight people without hesitation who died from the age of 42-59. Awful.

      And I would love to! I adore cooking for friends and family. How about cooked oysters? 😉 Roasted anything is so much better.


  7. Thunder, I’m exhausted from everything you did. However, all looks gorgeous and what a meal!
    I like cooking for those I love, but there’s not many around. So, I cook for Norm.
    He shovels, takes care of the basement (uch), and gives me money. YAY!!!

    Does this mean your home renos are 100% done…except the couch?
    Are you happy with the transformation?

    The only construction that took longer than your home is the street construction going on around me. I hear that industrial jack hammer as I type.

    February will mark 3 years. there’s nothing like those speedy unionized Canadian construction crews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nah… I worked at a very leisurely pace, I assure you! Hey, at least you have Norm to cook for. I miss having that one person around (who does all that ucky stuff, too).

      My home renos are 99% done. I get my new sofa, coffee table and end table on Wednesday. Wait. There is a wall to be repainted because my contractor dropped a railing piece against it. He fixed it but no… Not acceptable. And there are missing two single bars for the railing. The two windows got changed and they put the frames around it but they should be painted. I think there is supposed to be a strip of silicone to go around the counters and windows but other than that? FINITO! And yes, I am extremely happy with it. My friends were gobsmacked when they saw it.

      I still cannot get over that crazy street construction you have had to endure. THREE years? That’s completely insane and unacceptable.


      Liked by 1 person

  8. Q

    Now if ever there was a Food Network post to be had on WordPress, this just became that post! With apps to savory yums to decadence on a platter in the form of a Happy Bon Day! You have performed the magic and I’m sure you will continue the food posts? Por favor? Because they are muy delicioso!

    More! Mas! Always mas!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Eliza. I do pull out all the stops. It’s something that gives me so much joy (and just so you know, I don’t expect others to do the same – which some have worried about).
      I wish you were closer, I’d definitely invite you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just so you know, I am salivating. It is not a good look. But that food looks wonderful! And yes, I hope you give us a tour because what I can see of your place looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I dunno about the not a good look thing 😉 Glad to have teased your taste buds virtually! I shall have to. I was hesitant. Maybe once my sofa arrives, tomorrow 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you, kind lady! The Sachertorte was just a tad overcooked (getting used to this oven!) so was a little dry but still palatable. 😉 I was so very happy to finally be able to have people over and cook for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Phew! And here’s the reason I don’t cook…apart from only my daughter & myself to cook for. So much prepping. So many processes! No, let me keep mine simple. Though it does sound delicious. Not sure about fried cheese? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci! On a fait une couple de soirées d’huîtres avec des amis.
      Suis super contente avec la maison.
      Yeah… Marc était un de ces bons gars… maudite marde. 2 jours avant son 60e anniversaire et oui, le 18… Décembre…

      Liked by 1 person

        • Merci. Oui. Trois ans de combat contre le cancer du colon.
          Décembre – à compter du 18, surtout est quelque chose. Fête à Mick et mon beu-père (aussi décédé en mai 2020), décès de Marc le 18, fête de ma chum le 18, fête de Marc 20, décès de ma grand-mère et de Mick le 21, décès de ma chum Brenda le 25…
          Life, you know… We move forward, we cherish memories but we live.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No worry about calendars. Il vaut mieux oublier les dates. Je déjeunais avec ma fille cadette Vendredi. Elle a perdu son fiancé de six ans 4 mois avant leur marriage… Un accident épouvantable. Une tragédie, et je pèse mes mots. Elle me disait, en parlant du dernier noël, qu’elle avait toujours du mal avec les “festivités” de fin d’année. Je la comprends…
            Donc, personnellement je préfère laisser les dates de côté… 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Bah!
            Oh que c’est triste. Il me semble que tu m’en as parlé. Ça fait combien de temps?
            Un jour elle va pouvoir s’amuser lors des festivités. Je le fais.
            Dates, schmates…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ça va faire 6 ans en Mai. je la trouve mieux cette année. Mais elle n’a pas lâché. je ne suis pas sûr qu’elle “lâche” jamais. Mais elle a beaucoup d’amis très très bien. Elle fait plein de choses. Super successful in her work. She’ll be all right.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Elle est de 84. C’est jeune, mais même s’ils ont eu 6 ans de bonheur, ils avaient toute la vie devant eux. Et ben non. C’est surtout ça qui est triste. Et c’était aussi un garçon extraordinaire. Elle aura du mal à en trouver un autre du même calibre…
            Yes, she will be all right. But it will take time.
            La mort est sans pitié comme tu le sais.
            Un parallèle: ma mère est morte il y a longtemps, presque 20 ans, après une belle vie. Mais mon autre fille m’a dit l’autre jour qu’elle pensait de temps en temps à sa grand-mère en se disant que ç’aurait été bien qu’elle connaisse ses enfants, mes petits-enfants… 😀 Je pense pareil. Ça aurait été amusant. Mais, les choses ne marchent pas comme ça.
            Donc, on avance. Tous. A petits pas…
            Bon week-end. (C’est bientôt…) Biz

            Liked by 1 person

          • J’étais seulement curieuse – il n’y a pas d’âge pour un deuil profond. Ça fait déjà 8 ans que Mick est décéé et je sais que je n’en trouverai jamais un autre comme lui – et ne voudrais même pas essayer (c’est pas santé ça!) Trouver quelqu’un qui me fait rire, qui n’est pas cheap, qui est ouvert aux expériences, aime recevoir…
            Les “Ça aurait été…” ne servent à rien. J’essaie de ne pas tomber dans ces pensées (même si ça arrive de temps à autre).
            Bon weekend à toi aussi (close enough!) Biz


          • On est bien d’accord. 6 ans, 8 ans, c’est pareil. Et l’âge importe peu. C’est juste “l’unicité” de celui ou celle qui est parti… cette combinaison unique…
            Je dis toujours en Espagnol: “los hubieras no existen”. Hubiera veut dire: “Ça aurait été”. Ça n’existe ni ne serd à rien.
            Bon Dimanche. Biz.

            Liked by 1 person

          • -27! Parbleu! Je viens de voir qu’à New York il fait -13 et je trouvais ça “frais”… MDR. Du coup le froid de chez vous tous descend jusqu’ici. Il faisait 4C à mexico hier au petit matin… (Je sais on est des poules mouillées)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oui… ostie! Pffft pour New York. Suis toute excité que demain on annonce 0…
            Et sérieux… les régions, dites chaudes… c’est normal qu’on “capote” lorssqu’il fait 4C…

            Liked by 1 person

          • De fait la température a remonté un peu ici. Ce qui se passe c’est qu’on n’est pas équipé ici pour le froid. La plupart des. maisons n’ont même pas de chauffage. J’ai fait mettre des radiateurs à la maison. Mais on ne les utilise que pendant les deux mois d'”hiver”, car ça coûte la peau des f… (Comme disait ma très chère mère!)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oui, je comprend… Je vois des images au Texas avec leur verglas. Ce n’est pas drôle du tout.
            Haha! On utilise la même expression. Je peux imaginer comment ça coûte cher!

            Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.