Lucky foods – Everyone has their own New Year’s Eve traditions, from watching Dick Clark while eating holiday leftovers to spending a night on the town. Take a look at traditions from all over the world and adapt them for your party (like eating twelve grapes before midnight like partiers in Spain and Peru). I love baking so it always plays a central theme in my overall menu planning. Now it’s easy for me to meet the needs of my gluten-free friends on New Year’s Eve since I discovered a new product by Bob’s Red Mill, produced right here in the Pacific Northwest. Their Gluten Free Pie Crust Flour was a dream to work with this week during my holiday cooking marathons.
But first, cheese and seasonal fruit – Stick to small snacks and finger foods instead of a formal meal. By keeping the food classic but casual, you and your guests will feel more comfortable and relaxed. Apple and pear are traditional fruits to pair with cheese, but make your spread even more special by pairing quince paste with manchego cheese, or take a cue from Pizzeria Delfina and pair fresh, ripe figs with large chunks of satisfyingly salty Pecorino Romano cheese. Head to the your local cheesemonger to gather up the best hard and soft cheese without blowing your budget.
Cheese straws – Another classic party food, these are easy to assemble and incredibly addictive. Instead of the traditional frozen puff pastry dough, make a batch of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degree oven. Don’t be shy about kicking up the flavor with a sprinkling of Salinity Salts Chipotle Finishing Salt or hot red pepper flakes for a little jolt to the palate when they come out of the oven! Image: shutterbean via flickr.
Blinis – Blinis are a classic and elegant finger food that is easily adaptable depending on what you want to top them with. The New York Times blog has several variations. You can make this even easier by picking up pre-made mini blinis at most grocery or specialty stores that can simply be heated and served when it’s time to eat. photo credit: linniekin via flickr
Seasonal veggies – Pick up a couple handfuls of fingerling potatoes and roast them until they get a nice caramelized crisp to them. Serve at room temperature with some garlic aioli (you can find Alice Waters’ recipe here). If you want a more abundant display, roast the potatoes along with some skinny asparagus and baby beets for a filling and aesthetically beautiful spread. Crostinis (for the Gluten tolerant)- Small toasts are the perfect base for a variety of dips, spreads and tapenades. Put out a bowl of crostinis and let your guests help themselves to the array of toppings before them. I recommend fresh ricotta, roasted cherry tomatoes, and an artichoke and olive spread as the perfect crostini toppings because they can all be made ahead.
Store bought ice cream – Just because you’re throwing an at-home party, not everything has to be time consumingly handcrafted by you. Pick up some pre-packed pints of different flavors of ice cream and offer a trio of small scoops in brightly colored bowls. Since the evening isn’t a fussy affair, don’t worry about having matching dishware- show off the eclectic variety in your cupboards.
Sweet Treat #1 – Chocolate bouchons, the classic French dessert named for their resemblance to champagne corks and made famous by Thomas Keller of Bouchon fame, make a perfect New Year’s Eve finger food dessert. More creative than the classic brownie, and easier than other French desserts, bouchons will impress and instantly satisfy. You can find the bouchon pan I use in my Tools to Cook By section at the Shop. Blogger Orangette offers easy directions on how to make these dense chocolate treats at home, but I substituted Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for regular flour. The result was even more spectacular!
Sweet Treat #2 – For a less intense chocolate dessert, my go-to easy dessert is usually a galette so I came up with this Pear, Chocolate, Hazelnut version. The Gluten Free Pie Crust Flour I used resulted in a very soft, flaky, and nicely browned crust, with a filling bite. Get the recipe here! Where it tended to split, I simply eased any frayed edges back together for a rustic look. This will be a showstopper on my New Years buffet table! Even if you’re gluten tolerant, I recommend giving this new flour a try for pastries with a completely unique taste and texture sensation similar to shortbread!
Libation – Naturally, Champagne is expected. But, for a refreshing, fruity alternative use Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, to make Giada DeLaurentis’s version of Sgroppino (you’re on your own with pronunciation), the classic cocktail that combines Prosecco, lemon sorbet and fresh mint. Now that’s the making for special midnight toast. photo credit: roboppy via photopincc
Party favors – Have cellophane party bags and decorative ties to “send your guests packing” with leftover treats to enjoy the next day. They’ll appreciate having quick snacks on hand while they recover from the late-night festivities!
Top Image: Aina via flickr.
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