What Are You Cookin' New Year's Eve?

Everyone is suppposed to be happy on New Year's Eve. We're supposed to be full of high spirits and optimism, ready for a party. I have never felt like that. I tried for years to want to gallavant and be really cheerful, but it didn't work. When I'd watch the ball drop at Times Square on TV (I can't understand why anyone would ever want to be there in person), I just couldn't see what the fuss was all about.

Then, one year I read that Kathryn Crosby (Bing's widow) preferred to stay home with a bowl of Corn Flakes for dinner on New Year's Eve. I suddenly felt as if I had permission to lay low and take it easy instead of fake the revelery.

Now Evan and I have a tradition that suits me just fine: movie, potato chips (good ones), and champagne. The potato chips and champagne combo was actually suggested by Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch. Think about it: salt, crunch, and bubbles--pretty near perfect.

But that's not dinner. For dinner tonight I'm fixing in-the-oven spare ribs. I don't think I've ever made spare ribs before, believe it or not. I've certainly eaten my share, but there is something mysterious about them to me, as if you have to have a dose testerone to understand them. I looked up a recipe in Bittman's How to Cook Everything, which calls for a simple rub of salt, pepper, sugar, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. I added some dried chipotle chili too. You bake them at 300F for a couple of hours, pouring off excess fat every 30 minutes. I think greens will go well with them, so I'll use the broccoli rabe that I got the other day for no good reason. That's going to be dinner. It's bound to be late, but it's New Year's Eve, so what the heck.


SF Mom of One said...

What is broccoli rabe, anyway? I need to get some new greens into my diet.

Deb St-Claire said...

Broccoli Rabe is a bitter green that I first learned about in Laurie Colwin's great book Home Cooking. It's not in the broccoli family at all, but a leafy bunch of greens with little "broccoli like" ends. In New York it's usually distributed by a company called Andy Boy.
I like to drop it in boiling, salted water for about 4 minutes, take it out and give it a quick dash of cold water to keep it from cooking further and to keep it bright green. Then I put some olive oil in the now empty pot and through in a semi-smashed, peeled clove of garlic. When that's nicely heated up, I throw in the Broccoli Rabe for a little bit, tossing it to get the garlic scented olive oil all over it. Yum!