This past New Year’s Eve, we had (as we often do) a number of friends over for dinner to ring in the new year. I had intended to post the menu, photos, and some recipes long before now, but life has been a bit hectic in our neck of the woods, with multiple projects with looming deadlines on my desk, so I apologize for my sporadic attention to this blog.

The New Year’s Eve plan involved dinner at 8 o’clock for a group of friends, with another two couples joining us for dessert and champagne after attending the Symphony Pops Concert earlier in the evening. We expected six for dinner, but one lost guest–who had never been to our home before, couldn’t find it, and didn’t have the correct phone number–and one sick guest reduced us to a smaller, but still very merry group.

Here’s the menu for the evening:

Caviar, Blinis, and Sour Cream
Roasted Yellow Pepper Consomme with Sundried Tomato Pesto
Seared Foie Gras with Sherry Reduction
Herbed Rack of Lamb
Roasted Baby Beets
Garlic-herb Cauliflower Puree
Field Greens
Epoisses with Currant Walnut Bread
Dessert Sampler, including:
Low-Carb Creme Brulee
Handmade Chocolate Truffles
Drunken Rubies
Mike’s Mom’s Fruit Cake Fingers

…and of course lots of champagne and vino throughout the evening.

While the foie gras was our holiday splurge (and worth every penny) the surprise star of the meal turned out to be the Yellow Pepper Consomme, deemed by our food-knowledgeable guests from France as ‘elegant.’ High praise, indeed, for a very simple soup, so I thought I’d share that one with you.

Yellow Pepper Consomme with Sundried Tomato Puree

Serves 4 to 6

1 jar roasted yellow peppers, drained, rinsed and any seeds removed (about 5 or 6 peppers)
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth with salt and spices*
dash cayenne pepper
Garnish: (1) 3-ounce jar of Bella Terra Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto**

1) To make the consomme, place all ingredients into a blender and puree well. (At this point you may refrigerate the consomme until you’re ready to serve it. A day actually helps the flavor.)
2) Place consomme in a saucepan, over a medium flame, and heat through.
3) At serving, ladle soup into bowls and center a teaspoonful of sun-dried tomato pesto in each bowl.

* if you cannot find broth with salt and spices, simply use low-salt chicken broth and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

** if you’d like to make your own pesto, it’s simplicity itself. In a food processor, place 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, 1/4 cup pitted or sliced black olives, 1 handful fresh basil, 1 clove garlic (crushed), a dash of Tabasco, generous pinch of salt, pinch of pepper and blend. Stream in some good olive oil with the motor running until you’ve got a soft, pesto consistency.

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