Normally, my New Year's Eve celebration consists of a huge party at my friend Lauren's house. It's the one time all the old gang gets together again, reliving old memories and making a few new ones. This year, as we somewhat sadly discovered, not only was the traditional host of the party not going to be here for New Year's, but the majority of us were not going to be around. Time presses ever onward it seems and those who were once thick as thieves are growing apart. Only four of the old gang were in town this year for the celebration and so we had to come up with something else to do. After many rounds of discussion and brainstorming we finally settled on one idea: we'd have a fancy dinner party, which we would cook ourselves, and then get dressed up to dine. Two days ago three of the four of us gathered to plan the menu and it was ambitious! The appetizer course was to be an antipasto salad of marianted olives, roasted red peppers, and a smoked cheese. This would be followed by a curried butternut squash and chicken soup and then we'd cleanse our palette on a carambola (that's starfruit to the laymen) sorbet. The main course would be asparagus parmasean, candied sweet potatoes, hot Italian bread, and Beef Wellington. Dessert would consist of different flavored chocolate truffles (hazelnut, mint, clove, and cherry) and a porto (a 10 year old Scotch for me). And all of it, homemade. Like I said, it was ambitious. We gathered yesterday at 2pm to go shopping and began cooking at 5pm with a goal of eating between 8pm and 9pm. The kitchen hummed and buzzed as we all went about our assigned tasks, consulting recipes and tossing down a beer. As dinner time drew nigh, we did as much clean-up work as we could, then took turns retiring to the changing room where we dressed for the meal. At twenty minutes past 9pm we gathered around the table, I returned thanks, and we sat down to one of the most delicious meals I've ever laid eyes or taste buds on. We pulled it off swimmingly. It was savory, delectable, aromatic, and colorful. By midnight we were all cleaned up and ready for the ball to drop. Tay, Kate, Sarah and I toasted each other with champagne, hugged and kissed to welcome in the new year and congratulated ourselves on a job damn well done. Here's to ya, 2005!
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