Sunday, January 2

happy 2011!

I didn't stay awake until midnight on New Year's Eve, but thanks to Midtown Tucson's general affection for fireworks, yelling, and shooting off of guns to express their happiness, I was awake at midnight and so felt somewhat a part of the festivities and not quite as lame as I otherwise might have felt if I woke up and realized I'd missed everything.  My dog was certainly a part of it - barking and racing around the yard like a crazy, racing, barking machine in response to the Guatemala-style fireworks that went off as 2010 finally ticked over to 2011 in the American Southwest.

But our New Year's Day festivities more than made up for my chronic inability to remain on my feet past 10:30 pm.  In fact, I was going to post yesterday, but we hosted a small brunch that was much more successful than we anticipated and wound up going from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.  That's twelve hours of brunch!
Twelve-hour brunch!

Mandia came by bravely after her big night out, and our neighbors Kim and Chris lugged over their waffle maker and introduced us to their New Year's Waffle tradition. (You don't have to eat your waffle on New Year's Day, but you have to eat it sometime during that year.  As traditions go, this one is pretty non-constrictive.)  We also had mimosas, Bloody Marys (recipe below), sweet potato hashbrowns, roasted vegetables, and brown bread with raisins. 

Later that afternoon, more neighbors came by  - Sara, Glen, and Baby Samuel - and we opened some beers and mixed up some prickly pear drinks with Kim's Handmade Artisanal Club Soda.  (Kim has a machine that can make club soda out of your tap water!  It's like you're God!) Artisanal was the word for a few hours yesterday afternoon: the prickly pear juice came from tunas I juiced this past summer, we used lemon juice from our actual lemons, and we used Handstuffed Safeway Olives with Homegrown Jalapeno Bits for garnish (see picture below). 
Prickly Pear Martini with Artisanal* Stuffed Olives.

*Kim and I removed the pimentos and re-stuffed the olives with
chopped jalapenos from the backyard jalapeno plant which is recently deceased
because I accidentally let it freeze the other night.
I'm a terrible mother to my plants.
 Finally, much later, we got into the leftover vegetable soup (au pistou!) we had in the fridge because by 9:00, we needed actual food or people were going to start dropping like flies.  Some people (me) actually did that anyway.  It was a lovely way to ring in the new year - a full day of eating, drinking, talking, and cooing over babies.
Baby Samuel*
(* Handmade by Sara and Glen only a couple weeks ago.  Artisanal!)

Happy 2011 Fresh Tomato Bloody Marys
(Altered slightly from recipe in Gourmet July 2009)

Juice without horseradish, Tabasco, or lemon can be made a day ahead and chilled. Makes 8 drinks. 

3 lbs ripe tomatoes
3 celery ribs
1 cup parsley
1/2 Tablespoon sea salt
1.5 Tablespoon bottled horseradish
1.5 teaspoon Tabasco
1.5 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Additional sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, for rimming glasses
Lemon wedges
8 oz (1 cup) chilled vodka
For garnish: green olives, blue cheese, parsley, lemon wedges

To make the juice: 
Coarsely chop tomatoes, celery, and parsley, and puree with 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and chill for one hour.  Strain pureed mixture through a sieve into a bowl or jar.  Discard the solids.  Add horseradish, Tabasco, and lemon juice to the strained liquid.

To make the drinks:
Mix sea salt and ground pepper on a small plate.  Use lemon wedges to moisten the rims of the glasses and dip rims into salt and papper mix.  Fill each glass with 1 oz vodka  and 2/3 cup juice.  Season to taste.  Garnish with green olives, blue cheese, parsley, or lemon wedges.

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