January 1, 2012

New Year’s Eve Dinner

My friend Julie is an amazing amateur cook. She’s got a fabulous kitchen in the basement of her 1880’s era townhouse in one of Baltimore’s most elegant neighbourhoods, Bolton Hill.NYE_0100 So when she and her husband Mike, invited me to join them for a New Year’s Eve dinner with some college friends, how could I say no!

Especially after I learned that the main course was going to be Beef Wellington! If you don’t know, Beef Wellington is basically rare roast beef tenderloin, topped with sautéed mushrooms and pâté, encased in flaky puff pastry and baked until golden brown. OMG!

We started with puff pastry cheese straws, which has been a staple in my cocktail repertoire for ages.IMG_0090 They’re pretty simple to make and everyone LOVES them!NYE_0092And they go really well with champagne!

Then Mike started to assemble the Beef Wellington. First the pâté NYE_0097and then a layer of duxelles, which is a mushroom mixture, are placed over the beef tenderloin. Then the piece is covered with a layer of puff pastry, and I can’t recommend enough buying this pre-made. Paint with an egg wash and then chill for a half an hour. Et voila!NYE_0111

When you cut slices, you see the croute or puff pastry which has risen, the duxelles and pâté layers and then the tenderloin. NYE_0117Amazingly, Mike also made a sauce with a base of oxtails which cooked for hours. We also had sautéed spinach, mashed potatoes and home-made apple sauce.

For dessert, Julie whipped up a gorgeous chocolate-coffee mousse, NYE_0144

with hand-whipped crème on top. It was fabulous! Really!

This dinner with good friends was the perfect way to end one year and begin a new one!


  1. wow, what a kitchen. the meal looks lovely. happy new year.

  2. That meal looks sublime! Was this a dressy dinner party? The food definitely looks black tie.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Holy Lord that looks so delicious! I am almost full just observing!
    Happy New Year to you! It was great meeting you this year.. I look forward to lots more inspiration in the coming year!

  4. Sounds lovely! Happy New Year.

  5. Is it too late to talk about a perfect punch for a party? I have been fascinated with punch bowls --it just says festive --- favorite punch recipes any one?? favorite punch bowl designs?? favorite ice ring mold concoctions/recipes??

  6. Oh, yum--and now I'm really hungry with no Beef Wellington in sight. HAPPY NEW YEAR. Mary

  7. Happy New Year! a perfect retro dinner! cue in the Mad Men theme...I think I could easily devour that whole batch of cheese straws!

  8. Oh Meg, I'm drooling! We had an early, simple dinner and were sound asleep by 10 PM... hmm, maybe I shouldn't admit that!
    Anyway, all the best for 2012!


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