I have a terrible track record for making New Year’s Eve plans, and this year was no different. Adam and I had a couple of party options, but I really didn’t like the idea of driving to Annapolis or DC, so in the end we decided to just stay home. Of course, since we didn’t actually make that decision until about 4PM on December 31st, there was a flurry of last minute planning. I tasked Adam with looking through recipes while I was at work, to get an idea of what he might want to cook.
I should have known that was a bad plan.
Apparently my cookbook shelf was too overwhelming for him, and he was nowhere near making a decision by the time I got home around 5. Luckily, he had managed to find something that appealed to him: ‘mushrooms on toast with Manchego cheese.’ It happened to be in the ‘tapas’ section of The Illustrated Quick Cook (another winter solstice present from my parents).Tapas! Great- it’s quick, it’s easy, and the quantities won’t be too ridiculous. Now we just had to pick out a couple more recipes…
We settled on a spinach dish, a shrimp dish, and some roasted potatoes. Unfortunately, by the time we got our act together The Common Market was closed, so our shrimp selection was going to be limited to what they had a Giant. Sigh. Add to the schedule: endure chiding from my father about eating South American shrimp.
Back at the apartment we had our work cut out for us. Adam was on mushroom toast duty so I started with the potatoes, since they would take the longest to cook. Washed, cut into wedges, then into the oven (after a generous drizzle of olive oil and a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, dried rosemary and thyme).
Peeling the shrimp was probably the most time-consuming task. I was doing that the entire time Adam was chopping/seasoning/cooking the mushrooms. I was following another Quick Cook recipe, this one calling for cooking the shrimp in olive oil, sherry, sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Yum!
While the shrimp cooked, I prepared the final Quick Cook portion of the meal. ‘Spinach, pine nuts, and raisins’ required a quick toasting of the raisins and pine nuts in olive oil, followed by the addition of a few tablespoons of sherry, then adding spinach and paprika (I used cayenne) until wilted. Easy.
That’s when I finally let Adam put the ‘mushrooms on toast’ in the oven for a quick bake so the cheese (we substituted parmesan for Manchego) could get melty and delicious.
Somehow, our timing worked out perfectly. Everything arrived on the table hot and delicious, and we weren’t thoroughly aggravated with each other from working together in our rather tiny kitchen (although that might have more to do with the vodka-orange juice-lemon/lime-seltzer concoctions we were drinking at the time).
Regardless of the last minute-y-ness of it all, the result was delicious.
Happy New Year indeed!
*A note on the pictures- We made this dinner on Dec. 31st. I decided to start this blog on Jan 1st. Sorry for the lack of cooking-in-progress shots!*