I’m really late in saying this but Happy New Year!! I’m curious – what did you all do? We were lucky enough to have a night out this year.
I spent my 20′s feeling like New Year’s Eve was Very Important. I had to be doing just the right thing, otherwise it was disappointing. The problem is, I never figured out what just the right thing was so I was always disappointed. I spent Y2K in an uncomfortable skirt, heels that were too high, at a very expensive party where they ran out of wine by 9:30, wondering why I didn’t lower my expectations a little.
Once I did, New Year’s became just another fun night out. Or in. Some of the best that I have spent have been with close friends in someone’s home. Since having kids, going out has become a little trickier. Our babysitters all have social lives and often they include big plans for the big night. Occasionally, Randy’s parents come to town right after Christmas and we have built in babysitters. Such was the case this year.
My friend Julie rallied a small group of us and we had a 9:30 reservation at a local favorite Cantinetta. I like to eat late but 9:30 is pretty extreme for Americans. We decided to have everyone come over to our house for a nibble and a glass of champagne. Knowing a big dinner was on the horizon, I wanted to make something relatively small and light but substantial enough to hold us until dinner was served. I also had a lot of cooking in my future and didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time on a nibble.
Because we entertain a lot and because I have catered several parties, I have a lot of appetizers in my back pocket. But nothing seemed right. In those cases, I turn to Martha Stewart and as usual, she had the perfect thing. These little balls of goat cheese are about marble size and take no more than 10 minutes to prepare. You can really roll them in anything. I chose some things I had on hand – parsley, dill, pecans, black pepper, and took her advice for rolling them in paprika to get that stripe.
1¼ pounds soft goat cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped dill
2 tbsp. finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese into a small ball. Transfer to the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining cheese. Refrigerate the balls for 10 minutes to set slightly.
In separate bowls, place the parsley, dill, pecans, and pepper. Roll several balls in each of the coatings and set aside. To make the paprika band, sprinkle the paprika in a straight thin line on a cutting board. Straighten the edges of the paprika with a knife. Roll some of the balls down the line to form the paprika strip.
Pour the olive oil onto a serving platter. Sprinkle the oil with the red pepper flakes. Arrange the goat cheese balls on the platter and serve with toothpicks.