Ideas And Recipes Of Appetizers To Try On New Year’s Eve
By Michelle Stansbury, Eat, Drink, Be San Diego
Saying goodbye to 2020 at New Year’s Eve parties around the world this year should call for huge celebrations…. if only there wasn’t a global pandemic going on. Instead, micro-New Year’s Eve celebrations will be how many of us will ring in this new year. The upcoming New Year’s Eve will look a little different than in years past, but that gives us an opportunity to create the at-home NYE party we’ve always (secretly?) wanted. It’s time to celebrate new beginnings with a shift from the typical over-blown New Year’s Eve event to a more intimate affair at home, with sumptuous appetizers and the ones we love.
Here are my top three favorite ideas for at-home New Year’s Eve celebration themes, and appetizer ideas to go with each:
Gatsby NYE Micro-Party
A smaller celebration means you can put more time and attention into the details. Shell out for that more luxurious bottle of Champagne to enjoy and try out some new appetizer recipes to elevate your feast. Put on your best sparkly dress or don a tuxedo to create all the glam of a fancy NYE party at home.
For appetizers, go all-out with fancy hors d’oeuvres that put the “great” in “Great Gatsby.” Try a Caviar and cCème Fraîche Tartlet, featuring a beautiful ying and yang design that combines the salty decadence of caviar with the smooth creaminess of crème fraîche. Since it doesn’t need to be cooked, just assembled, this New Year’s Eve appetizer is as easy as it is impressive. Or, try Lobster Toasts: a zesty lobster and avocado salad atop golden brioche slices make for an easy and elegant appetizer.
One of my new favorite finds is “Hand Salads” as appetizers. There are several options that will make you feel oh-so-fancy, but for a real Gatsby theme, try a Crab Louie Salad Cup. Salads are usually tricky as hors d’oeuvres, but when toppings are pilled into a lettuce cup, it’s a perfectly refreshing and manageable appetizer. Crabmeat with a retro dressing is piled into firm leaves, offering traditional flavors in an easy-to-eat New Year’s Eve appetizer.
What is an elegant soiree without oysters? For your at-home New Year’s Eve, try a version of baked oyster that includes a parmesan and polenta crust. Serve the crusted oysters placed back in their shell with fresh lemon wedges . Or, opt for escargot, a French delicacy of snails drenched in garlic herb butter. For a dessert appetizer (sure, that’s a thing!), make sparkling Cranberry and Brie Bites. Fun and festive, the dessert looks as good as it tastes, thanks to the cranberries that are coated in sugar, set off by a fresh mint garnish.
Recipe: Caviar and Crème Fraîche Tartlet
- 12 small phyllo shells or tart shells
- 3 ounces store-bought crème fraîche
- 1 ounce black caviar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Pour the chilled crème fraîche into a small plastic bag and cut a small opening in the corner. Pipe about half an ounce of crème fraîche onto one side of the shells and approximately 1/12th of the caviar onto the other side. Garnish with finely chopped chives and serve.
Good Luck in 2020 NYE
Every year, we look to New Year’s Day as a time of renewal. This year, more than ever, many of us are looking for a fresh start. Take inspiration from good luck rituals from all over the world to up your chances of a healthy and prosperous 2021. Try cleansing your home by burningsage, a custom based on a Native American spiritual ritual that aims to cleanse a space. This rite of “smudging”, or the burning of sacred herbs, has become a fairly common New Age practice for purifying a home.
For your food options, you may have heard about black-eyed peas symbolizing good luck in the Southern United States. Look further from home and try long noodles which symbolize a long and prosperous life in China. Just don’t cut or break any of the noodles, as that can be unlucky. For a fresh start to the new year, follow the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. Or, follow the Italian tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Eve. The rumor is that lentils resemble Roman coins, and so will bring wealth and prosperity.
Looking to start or grow your family? In Greek culture, on New Year’s Day a pomegranate is placed outside the home and smashed for luck, so the seeds can be celebrated for fertility. Or, if you prefer, just eating pomegranates might up your fertility luck in 2021. For a simple and easy Mediterranean New Year’s Eve appetizer, top crackers with hummus and pomegranate seeds.
Recipe: Fertility Crackers
- 15-20 crackers, like Triscuits or Wheat Thins
- 1/2 cup hummus
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- Mint leaves to garnish
Spread hummus on crackers and then top with pomegranate seeds. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.
Cozy at Home NYE
We’ve all had disappointing New Year’s Eve experiences, from navigating through crowds to struggling to find your friends to waiting for an hour to get a drink at the open bar you’ve paid so much for. So, it’s great to have an excuse to sink into a cozy New Year’s Eve celebration at home instead! Your feet will thank you as well, when you’re dancing in slippers to the top hits of 2020 rather than high heels.
For your appetizers, go cozy with the food as well. My favorite warm New Year’s Eve dish is fondue, an appetizer that is difficult to serve at a big party. If it’s just you and your family, you don’t even need a fondue pot to make it happen, just place a metal bowl over a pasta pot to create a double boiler. Pro tip: adding a processed cheese like Babybel will help keep your fondue smooth and creamy.
Dessert doesn’t get much cozier than bread pudding. Try an apple bread pudding with warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Pair the dessert with a hot cocktail, like my new favorite combination of warmed apple cider, mulling spices, yellow chartreuse, and Skrewball peanut butter whiskey.
Recipe: Apple Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce
Ingredients for Bread Pudding:
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 cups stale bread, 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups Gala apples, peeled and sliced
Ingredients for Caramel Sauce:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons butter
Instructions for Bread Pudding:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Grease a 9 x 13-nch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and slowly add in the milk and cream as well as 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, combine sugar and melted butter, and stir in remaining cinnamon.
- Fold the cubed bread pieces into the egg mixture, carefully coating the bread all over.
- Add half of the creamy bread mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with a layer of sliced apples. Add the remaining creamy bread mixture and another layer of apples. Drizzle the sugar mixture over the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes, until there’s only a little jiggle. Rest for 10 minutes before serving with the warm caramel sauce (recipe below).
Instructions for Caramel Sauce
- Melt butter over medium heat.
- Add in the cream and both sugars, stirring until well combined.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to low while the caramel mixture thickens. Careful not to burn the mixture. Stir in vanilla and serve immediately after removing from the heat.
May 2021 be a prosperous, safe and happy New Year for you and yours!