December 31, 2011

resolutions and a winter cocktail

Guess what? One of my new year's resolutions has to do with this blog. I have neglected it. I set it aside in favor of this blog, momentarily, and now we've neglected that blog, too. When will this madness stop? Well, it stops today. On this eve of 2012, I am renewing my commitment to this place called Little Bird Bake Shop and will be posting at least once a week. I don't even know if anyone still reads this, but whatever, it shall be done.

As I mentioned, it's New Years Eve. I have never liked going out on NYE (doesn't that abbreviation make it seem so official?) because it never lives up to expectations. It never has for me, anyway. This year, I'm headed to my brothers house for dinner which sounds perfectly lovely to me. You see, when you're almost 30, you lose that desire to do whatever it takes for a wild night out on the town. Zero desire. I'm not saying I never want a wild night out on the town, but just not on NYE.

My contributions to dinner tonight consist of two appetizers, a dessert, and some boozy drinks. For appetizer ideas, I consulted my dear friend Ina Garten. She's not really my friend, but I wish she was. I want to cook with her in her giant, gorgeous kitchen in the Hamptons and pretend like she's my long lost aunt.

After perusing her "How Easy Is That?" cookbook, I decided on roasted figs wrapped in prosciutto (it IS New Year's after all) and herbed ricotta on toasted sourdough bread. 

Unfortunately, figs are out of season so we'll have to settle for dried ones. I'll let you know how they turn out. This appetizer couldn't be easier. You wrap figs in prosciutto, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, and you're done. Shazzam! Fancy time.

This herbed ricotta mixture is going on top of toasty slices of sourdough bread in a few hours. It's very fragrant, with dill, chives, green onions, and I added in a little fresh garlic. You can get the recipe here.

For dessert, another friend, Andres, is bringing flourless chocolate cake so I made honey lavender ice cream to serve alongside. Now, this isn't the first time I've written about this ice cream. It's that good. It has also become one of my favorite things to make because people love it so much. Can you blame them?

And finally, because it's New Years, I'm making some fun boozy drinks. I've always been a devoted wine drinker, but lately I've been enjoying this whole artisinal cocktail thing that is happening now. One of my favorite things is St. Germain, which is a lovely french liqueur that tastes of elderflower (think similar to lavender). Go on, add some to a glass of champagne. I'm also making the "before & after cocktail" that I found in the January issue of InStyle Magazine because it sounds all nice and toasty for a December evening.

Happy new year to all and to all a good night!

winter cocktail
adapted from InStyle Magazine, January 2012
2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Campari (or Aperol, as the original recipe suggests)
1/2 oz. Madeira

Mix together, serve over ice.