New Year’s Eve 2013

Another year done come and gone.

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I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with a few friends. Okay, it was a raucous wine-soaked dinner.

Here are some of the highlights. Now taking reservations for 2014. More

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Prepping for the Big Night

As 2013 winds quietly to a close, I once again find myself busily preparing for a yearly tradition around our house: our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Each New Year’s Eve, we gather with eight or ten friends and I make anywhere from seven to 12 courses, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. It’s my time to let my creativity completely free — I never test anything, and I never make the same thing twice. Usually the dishes are a success, although my friend Jon complained last year of the chewiness and general meaty vulgarity of the Kobe beef tartare “flower blossoms” course. You can’t please everyone.

Last year's Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn't look that bad, right??

Last year’s Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn’t look that bad, right??

So also at this time of year, in the days before the New Year, I am consumed with shopping and sourcing. More

New Year’s Eve Dinner 2012

Another year come and gone. And with it, another of my New Year’s Eve dinners — a tradition that’s been going on for as long as I can remember.

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Each year I push myself a little further, and this may have been the best meal yet. Even the strange inspiration to accent vodka-cured ivory salmon and caviar with a black licorice reduction was delicious. More

The Anatomy of a Meal

It begins with a few sketches. Not physical drawings, but culinary ideas thrown down on paper — or in this case, a Microsoft Word document on the computer.

I’m speaking of my annual New Year’s Eve dinner, in which my wife and I host up to a dozen friends — many of them the same for more than a decade — and present a dinner of anywhere from eight to 12 courses.

Matsutake mushroom duxelles for course #5

Matsutake mushroom duxelles for course #5

The planning begins with a consideration of the time of year, and what sorts of things I have on hand or might be likely to find at the market. For example, I’ve usually just returned from my mother’s house in Sonoma, and often come back with pounds of prime wild mushrooms — as I did this year. More

Happy Birthday to Me

What to get the guy who has everything for his birthday? Something that will not take up space, and that preferably disappears quickly. Why, food and drink, of course!

Pork belly confit with fava beans

“It’s your birthday. We should be throwing a party and cooking for you,” said my friend Nat when I invited him to my very small birthday celebration. One should do exactly as one chooses on their birthday, I reassured him. And for me, that meant not going to a club or out to a fancy restaurant, but surrounding myself with my kids, a few close friends, and some really good food and wine. More

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