The Party’s Over

The party is over and the New Year 2011 is here.

For some people New Year is no more than a change of a calendar while for some others the New Year symbolizes of a better tomorrow. 

And every new year many people make resolutions to change something they believe are negative or set new goals or to live healthier, to learn new things, to lose weight ……you name it.  

I respect those who make new year resolution but for myself I  agree with a quote (Anonymous) I found in About.com:  A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other.

For me,  the New Year is like the New Year wish of Edith Lovejoy Pierce:

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

And here is the first post of my Blog in 2011…….

I know that the party is over, we have left the old year and entered a new year but for some of us the memories of 2010 are still there in our minds and hearts. And for me, one of my bitter sweet memories of 2010 was our new years eve dinner.

Before New Years Eve (NYE) I have made plan to cook a special dinner for my family. But in life sometimes things don’t go as we planned and this happened to my NYE family dinner. 

On the last week of 2010, I still had to work and took care of lots of thing at the office related to ‘closing the book’.  I did not have enough time to do proper shopping. I only managed to do last minute shopping on my way home from the office on the last day of 2010.  To my disappointment, some important and necessary ingredients needed to cook my NYE dinner were not available at the store where I shopped.

Guess what happened to my NYE dinner: 

My plan was to have cantaloupe in the blanket (prosciutto wrapped canteloupe) for starter, spaghetti aglio e olio with bacon and chili for the main course and caramelized banana split with ice cream for dessert but I ended up with a quite different menu:

For starter, I cooked ‘Angeun Kacang Beureum’ (Spicy Red Kidney Bean Soup), a local dish from West Java instead of cantaloupe in the blanket  since I could not find the canteloupe but found a can of red kidney beans in my kitchen cabinet.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of  red kidney beans (around 400 grams)
  • 200 g beef, cut into cubes
  • 1 liter water
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 big onion, coarsely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried shrimp paste, roasted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar, shaved
  • 2 cm galangal, sliced
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 1 tomato, diced into cubes
  • 1 spring onion, cut into 2 cm
  • 5 bird’s eye chilies

How to make:

  • Cook the beef in 1 liter water until tender 
  • Add in all ingredients except tomato and spring onion and cook over low heat until the red kidney beans softened and the soup is thickened
  • Add spring onions and tomato and cook for a few minutes
  • Remove from heat
  • Place in a bowl and serve immediately.
       

For the main course, instead of cooking Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Bacon and Chili as planned, I ended up buying a RTE (ready-to-eat) Chicken Rotisserie coz I simply did not have the energy to prepare the spaghetti. Fortunately, I could get the recipe of the chicken rotisserie from the store who sold it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • seasoned salt to taste

How to make:

  • Combine all ingredients, except the chicken of course, in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Mix until honey is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
  • Clean and prepare chicken for rotisserie.
  • Baste chicken with sauce and place on rotisserie on preheated grill.
  • Cook for about 45 to 50 minutes at a temperature around 200 degrees Celcius basting occasionally with sauce.
  • When done remove from grill and wrap tightly in foil.
  • Let sit for about 15 minutes, then serve.

The only dish that I prepared inline with my plan was the dessert – Caramelized Banana Split with Ice Cream:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (I used the big banana called ‘pisang tanduk’ or literally is translated ‘horn banana’). According to Wikipedia it’s called Musa African Rhino Horn, a cultivar of genus Musa found in Africa. It produces rhino tusk-shaped edible bananas.

  • 50 gram unsalted butter
  • 30 gram brown sugar or shaved palm sugar

How to make: 

  • Peel the banana
  • Cut the banana  into 2 parts
  • Each part is then cut lengthwise into 2 parts 

 

  • Melt butter in the pan
  • Fry the banana and caramelized with brown sugar

  

  •    Serve with ice cream

 

So that was my NYE dinner menu……and let me close this post by quoting G.K Chesterton: the object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.

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