I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a bit of snow here on Christmas Eve, just enough to make everything magical and beautiful!
We are right in the thick of holiday week, and you might have a lot of entertaining to do this weekend. Plus, we have the big New Year’s Eve celebration just around the corner! I thought it might be nice to share a few ideas that might help YOU with a party or to ring in 2013!
For many years, my husband and I hosted a sit-down dinner on New Year’s Eve for close friends and family. I saw this ice platter to serve shrimp cocktail in one of my (many) Martha books/magazines. It’s makes a fabulous presentation – though I learned a few things along the way when making this that I want to share with you!
The idea is simple – fill a large, rectangular container about 2/3’s full of water and freeze. (Tip: You want to start this process the day before you are going to serve the shrimp platter!) Once the container is frozen, arrange springs of fresh rosemary and cranberries around the perimeter – it looks like a pretty holiday wreath! Add just a bit more water – not enough to submerge the rosemary and cranberries, just enough that they freeze to the main block of ice. Return the container to the freezer for the added water to freeze.
Now, here’s where I ran into a wee bit of trouble and thank goodness, you won’t make the same mistakes I did! Here are some tips to keep in mind when making this shrimp cocktail ice tray:
- You need a BIG container – I don’t have the exact dimensions of the one I used, unfortunately, but it was at least 30″ x 18″. This will take up a LOT of space in the freezer, so have a full, empty shelf. (I didn’t think about this in advance; thank goodness I have two refrigerators. Though you want to have your shelf ready to go once the container is filled, not scrambling to move things around like me!)
- Once this baby is frozen, it’s really heavy! (Another thing I didn’t think about!) You will absolutely need another person to help you lift it!
- Ok, yet another thing I didn’t think through was getting this massive block of ice OUT of the pan! I thought, oh, I’ll just dip the pan in hot water in the kitchen sink and invert it on my tray! Yeah, no way it came anywhere close to fitting in the kitchen sink. My husband and I (laughing hysterically the whole time) had to drag this heavy, massive pan of solid ice up to the bathroom, fill the tub with warm water and after a number of “dippings,” finally got the the block of ice to come out on a large bath towel. Be on the lookout for runaway cranberries!!
- We carried the ice block back down to the kitchen, where I had planned to put it on a pretty silver tray, until my husband dryly asked where did I think all of the melted water was going to go? (Yes, yet ANOTHER thing I didn’t totally think through! Are we seeing a pattern here?) Luckily, my sister-in-law had this big lucite tray with sides; since it had some openings, I just lined the whole thing with some plastic wrap before we put in the ice block.
- After all this – arrange your shrimp on top of the ice!