We decided to do things differently for our New Year’s Eve party this year. We happily abandoned the elegant, complicated menu we usually serve. As an alternative, we enjoyed a simple yet succulent paprika/garlic roasted chicken with pan juices on a bed of roasted tomatoes and onions complimented by oven roasted sweet potato planks (to ensure a sweet new year) served with an herb and lime yogurt dipping sauce accompanied by a medley of steamed vegetables.
After so much holiday cooking for everyone else, I wanted to enjoy my party. So, while our dinner was in the oven, I prepared some simple appetizers.
We had a selection of cheeses consisting of a tangy special edition white cheddar and a homemade herbed cheese spread served alongside four delightful soft cheeses paired with wines. We paired the nutty Camembert with Chardonnay, the Bleu cheese with a Pinot Noir, the triple crème with Gewürztraminer and the buttery Déjeuner with a white Zinfandel.
Next, I prepared an appetizer tray that encourages guests to interact. Each guest constructs their own bite-sized cracker beginning with a dollop of cayenne-spiced avocado spread and then topped with a spoonful of Crab seasoned with a hint of tart lime juice and fragrant mint. As our guests move around the table building their appetizers, the conversation warms up.
The appetizer table rounded out with a fiery hot appetizer that I call a Wonton Cigar. This is one of my favorites. Inside a crisp oven-baked rolled wonton is a ground beef filling sprinkled with minced jalapeño and livened up with oregano, cumin, chili powder and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s served with a room temperature homemade salsa. If the salsa is too cold, it’s not as spicy tasting. We served this with a dark beer.
Overall, it was a fun evening with good food, great friends and lots of laughter. I wish everyone a sweet, healthy, happy and successful year ahead.
Happy New Year to you all!