9 Courses to Ring in 2009!

New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday of the year - perhaps it's the anticipation of having that clean slate, fresh start feeling on the first of each year or perhaps it's just the great feeling I get hosting my good friends for an evening of friendship, food, and wine. I started a tradition a few years ago doing a multi-course wine paired dinner to ring in the New Year, and this year I continued the theme with 9 courses!

Here's my recipe for how you pull something like that off. It starts with a beautiful table setting. I set my dining room table and then used a rental table next to it so that all 16 guests would feel like they were dining together.
This year I faced the realization that I'm a cook, not a florist, so had the floral centerpieces done for me and then bought extra greenery which I used on the table with some limes and grapes.
When I do a big dinner I like the guests to know what they are eating and what's coming next so I always do a menu card at each place.
I put the card under the napkin and this year instead of napkin rings I used glass picture frame ornaments as place cards and napkin rings which the guests then could take home.
The next important step in prepping for a party like this is to put out all of your dishes, organized and ready to serve. I had some help serving (this is key if you intend to dine with your guests) and this made it much easier for them to plate and serve each course.

Guests arrived around 8pm and we got right to it. Here are the courses along with the wines that we paired with them. (Sorry for some of the blur in the photos - my assistants were great to snap photos but I neglected to explain the camera settings to them!)
Tuna Tartare with Lemon and Capers in Cucumber Cups
Adriano Adami Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Vigneto Giardino 2005
Polenta Crusted Shrimp with Lemon Mayonnaise
Zenato Lugana San Benedetto 2007
Cream of Carrot Soup with Minted Pea Crostini
Palazzone Orvieto Classico Superiore Terre Vineate 2006
Arugula, Roasted Beets, and Caramelized Pecans with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Riccardo Falchini Vernaccia di San Gimignano Vigna a Solatio 2007
Halibut Poached in Olive Oil with Roasted Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
Rocca della Macie Chianti Classico Famiglia Zingarelli 2006
Tomato Water Sorbet (Intermezzo Course)
Chicken Saltimbocca on a bed of Garlic Braised Kale
Luigi Righetti Valpolicella Classico Superiore Campolieti 2006

Grilled Herbed Lamb Chops with Herb Vinaigrette served over Creamy Chickpea Puree
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001
Gorgonzola Dolce Crostini and Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1998
My flash was turned off for this final shot at midnight, but I think there are probably other reasons why the picture is blurry! Here's to health, happiness, prosperity, friendship, love and peace in 2009 - Happy New Year!

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