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Rely on some foodies' favorites for your New Year's holiday

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"Thanksgiving and Christmas are for the birds," asserts food reviewer David Torres-Rouff. "Ringing in the new year is a time for beast: four-footed, fattily marbled, red-rare meat."

Allowing fellow reviewers Kathryn Eastburn and Matthew Schniper to fill out that menu, the Indy proposes a trio to ring 2007 in right.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year.

Meat (David Torres-Rouff)

The recipe below is a multi-generational favorite in my family. It's cost-effective, because the sliced steaks allow for portion control, especially in multi-course settings. Better still, much of the work can be done in advance, so neither the guests, nor the buzz from the first three bottles of red, gets in the way.

Entrecotte with Herbed Butter, "The Peninsula"

stick butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons minced parsley

1 teaspoon minced onion

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon tarragon (dried)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

teaspoon brandy

teaspoon Madeira

16 ounces fine steak: sirloin or New York strip preferred

Note: The first two steps can be prepared up to a full day in advance. Remove pre-prepared items at least 30 minutes before final assembly.

1. In a small bowl, cream softened butter with the garlic, egg yolk, parsley, onion, thyme and tarragon. Whisk in the remaining liquid ingredients.

2. Put a large heavy skillet over high heat. Rub the hot pan with some fat trimmed off of the end of the steaks. In the pan, brown the steaks quickly on both sides no more than two minutes per side. Set steaks to rest for 10 minutes.

Final assembly:

Preheat broiler to high. Slice the steaks lengthwise, 1/3-inch thick. Overlap them slightly into a large baking dish, or individual gratin dishes for personal presentation. Spread softened compound butter over the steaks. Broil for three minutes, until topping is brown.

Side dish (Kathryn Eastburn)

Black-eyed peas on New Year's Day bring good luck for the entire year (csindy.com/csindy/2005-12-29/domesticbliss.html). This recipe by a friend, Betty Lou Shepherd of Fort Payne, Ala., pulls together convenient canned peas with savory, crunchy vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing for an all-purpose salad that will make the good luck charm go down easy.

Poor Man's Caviar

2 cans black-eyed peas, washed and drained

2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green), seeded and finely diced

8 green onions, chopped (you can substitute finely chopped red onion)

1 cups cilantro, chopped fine

2 cups tomatoes, finely diced

Mix all to blend flavors. Pour 1 bottle spicy Italian (or any vinaigrette) dressing over. Mix, cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve as salad or side dish, cold or at room temperature. Makes 8 cups. Recipe can be halved.

Drink (Matthew Schniper)

Spice up your champagne or sparkling wine this New Year's with just a few simple additions. Similar to adding orange juice to make a mimosa, a shot of your favorite liquor or splash of juice creates a much more colorful and festive drink.

Here are two champagne recipes from nearly 60 listed at drinksmixer.com:

Champagne Martini

2 parts champagne

1 part Cointreau orange liqueur

Mix and serve.

Ginger-bang Champagne

4 ounces champagne

1-2 dashes simple syrup

ounce fresh ginger

Muddle fresh ginger in the bottom of a bar glass. Add chilled champagne and simple syrup, stir gently and immediately strain into champagne flute. Serve.


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