New Year's Eve tapas party
I’m having a tapas party on New Year’s Eve, for 20-30 people. The following menu is a work in progress. I’ve found what sound like good recipes, but would love any and all suggestions on what to add/subtract or on personal experiences with any of these. Thanks – can use all the help I can get.
Beef tenderloin canapes
Rice crackers with goat cheese and edamame
Grissini with Prosciutto
Plum-glazed stuffed shitake mushrooms
Herbed lima bean hummus
Crabmeat Deviled Eggs
Shrimp Scampi Pasta (small bite-size pasta)
Gold-dusted bourbon balls
We're you interested in making any Spainsh tapas?
I did tapas for 20 people last Christmas Eve- here is (what I can remember from) the menu
Tortilla Espanola (Penelope Casas' recipe)
Potato and Serrano Croquettas
Boquerones en vinagre
Asparagus wrapped in Jambon Serrano
Calamares a la plancha
Mussels a la vinagreta
Chorizo in puff pastry
Paprika rubbed roast pork tenderloin
Chick Pea stew
Manchego, Serrano, and Quince
White and red Sangria
Hi Julietg, I haven't had time to reply until now--but, thank you for this menu--I'm not sure about all of these items, but they sound delicious. Do any involve making them a day or so ahead of time & just reheating or bring to room temperature? I try to avoid a last minute flurry of activity. TIA for any recipe or advice.
Our party was in Scottsdale, AZ, and I live in LA. Plus I work full time.
So this is what I did:
--shopped 1.5 weeks before (I work next to a fab specialty store, so that was easy)
--made pisto and chick peas the weekend before at home, put in ziplocks, cooled immediately in a cooler full of salted ice water and put in the freezer.
--made puff pastry and empanada dough weekend before and froze
--made the xmas cookie dough and froze
--ordered the serrano, quince, and boqueronnes from whole foods' deli 1.5 weeks in advance
--ordered the wine to be delivered to the house in AZ 1.5 weeks in advance.
--after work, week of, baked the cookies and put in tupperware lined with wax paper in between each layer.
--bought all the seafood day before we were to leave (try getting good mussels and squid in AZ! well- as good as one can get in Santa Monica)
--packed all cold goods in a nifty plug-in cooler, plugged it into the cigarette lighter in the trunk, and hit the road for ten hours. I wrapped all the wet goods like a caterer, in several layers of plastic wrap and a few of foil. worked out fine.
--assembled the pastries and chilled on cookie sheets (you may be able to get away with storing them on top of one another with parchment in between, but I would experiment first)
--made the masa for the croquettas, shaped, breaded and chilled (it's better overnight, anyway)
--made the sangria and chilled (also better chilled overnight)
--rubbed and tied the pork (ditto)
--peeled and cut the potatoes
--I ended up doing a little more prep stuff day before- mincing garlic and parsley, etc. This cut down considerably on day-of stress.
--this was key: assigned duities to various family members. made lists on index cards of things like "chop onion" or "clean squid" so that when someone wandered into the kitchen and said what can I do they were handed a card with a clearly defined assignment. I didn't waste time standing over them or re-doing their work this way. also, after every day-of task had been completed I could throw that card away and not worry about it anymore. the last card was quite a triumph.
--fried croquettas and tortillas
--assembled garde manger stuff
--printed placecards naming each dish (in Spanish and English- I know, I'm a geek)
--served buffet style on hotplates and chafing dishes
The best advice I can give to you is to plan, plan, plan. Use Excel and plan your menu, ingredients/shopping list (this way you don't overbuy lemons, parsley, etc), oven usage (keeping in mind what can or can't sit out after baking, preheating and turing your temp up and down, plus what pans will and will not fit together), and stove usage. Work backwards from plating if you have to.
My family was certainly dubious (they're future in-laws so I was determined to impress them!). But with completely anal planning, right down to I know at 12.25pm I should have my carrots on, with ice water ready to cool them down or on Thursday I need to go to that specialty store to get the chorizo, it went off without a hitch (no yelling and only one burn). Prioritize your dishes so that you can drop one last minute if you need to. Make a binder with tabs and everything. Point is, you go crazy in your mind while planning, but execute stress-free.
All of the recipes were from Penelope Casas' "Food and Wines of Spain"
"Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain"
Both great books. Oh- except the squid was from the web, and in Spanish...
PS- two menu items I just remembered- Carrots with ginger and marinated mushrooms. Come to think of it, Paella is a great crowd-pleaser, easy (and sometimes better) to make day before, and feeds a ton of people.
Best of luck!!
You are amazingly impressive! SO well organized, down to the tiniest details! I'm going to try a few of these ideas (about staying organized) and recipes. They sound delicious. Thanks so very much for all your time and effort--I greatly appreciate it. I doubt I can be as stress free as you are, but this really helped me get a jump on things. Happy New Year!
Hi julietg, thanks so much for asking! The nye party went extremely well--great food (thanks to your and others' help!), good company, and live music (my husband was a musician in a former life). I tried to utilize some of your organizational techniques, but wasn't able to even get into your league. Thanks for the recipes and the advice. Happy New Year to you all!
i have a work-in-progress italian themed tapas nye party menu...here you go!
1. Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
2. Ricotta-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates or PARMESAN-STUFFED DATES WRAPPED IN BACON - or another option - Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates
3. Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil
4. Miniature caprese salads on toasted baguette
5. White bean dip
6. Marinated olives
7. Prosciutto, Melon, and Mozzarella Recipe
8. Fig sandwiches (pick from 3 choices) - PROSCIUTTO AND BRIE SANDWICHES WITH ROSEMARY FIG CONFIT or FIG, RICOTTA, AND HONEY OPEN-FACE SANDWICHES or PROSCIUTTO, GOAT CHEESE, AND FIG SANDWICHES (will either have 2 things with prosciutto or 2 things with ricotta) ... another fig option is Crostini with Gorgonzola, Carmelized Onions and Fig Jam ... another fig option is ricotta fig bruschetta ... another is Balsamic Fig Bruschetta
9. Espresso Brownies
10. Champagne Grapes
Here's a recipe for figs with gorgonzola and prosciutto that might be a nice addition to your menu. It calls for 3 figs per person as a starter, but you could adapt the serving suggestion so that you could place them on a tray instead of plating them, placing each individual fig in a little nest of prosciutto...
Prosciutto Di Parma With Baked Stuffed Figs
Yield: 4 servings
12 figs, cut open at top but left whole at base
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
2 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1⁄2 cup
8 ounces Prosciutto di Parma, sliced paper thin
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place figs on non-greased baking sheet, opening with fingers as best you can. In a mixing bowl, stir together Gorgonzola cheese, chopped walnuts and chopped parsley until well mixed. Using a tablespoon, stuff 1 tablespoon filling in each fig.
3. Bake figs 8 to 10 minutes, until cheese filling is bubbling out. Meanwhile, lay 3 or 4 slices of Prosciutto on each of 4 plates.
4.Remove figs from oven, place 3 in center of each plate and serve immediately.
Sorry for the delayed reply. I use canned chickpeas, rinse and dry thoroughly; pour enough oil in a large pot to fill it about two inches or so. heat oil to about 365-370 degrees. i think i use canola, though probably any cheap vegetable oil would be fine. pour in chick peas -- be careful, i always get burned at this point! allow to cook for about four minutes, until golden brown. i usually stir a little bit while they're cooking so they don't cluster together.
remove chick peas with a sieve or slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to absorb the extra oil. season with pimienton (smoked spanish paprika) and some coarse salt (i use kosher). enjoy!
Hi, I am not sure if you want to stick with a certain cuisine (like Spanish or Italian) or if you like a more diverse offerings. So I am going to include a few tapas that can be prepared in advance (as they are served chilled) and require little cooking:
- avocado and shrimp (or lobster) salad topped with masago (flying fish roes), served on individual ceramic spoons or martinit glasses
- chilled noodles with peanut sauce served on cucumber "cups" (cut cucumber into thick chucks and scoop out the center and put noodles in it)
- yellowtail / sea scallop ceviche marinated in olive oil, citrus (orange + lemon), a little chile, and chives
- seasmae crusted tuna seared to medium rare and cut into bite sized pieces
- white anchovies or sardines marinated in vinegar and olive oil
- mini blinis topped with creme fraiche and salmon roes
- mini verisons of skewered lamb / beef cubes
- fresh mozzeralla + tomato + olive oil + basil (the classic) for vegetarians
- for sweets - mini puff pastry cups with creme fillings and fresh berrys on top
- if you have a fondue set you may even get the guests to do chocolate fondue themselves. All you need to prepare is cut fruits!
Dear Kobetobiko, I think I'd rather "mix and match" and not stick to one type of cuisine. I love these menu ideas and will definitely use at least some of these!! They're particularly useful to me b/c they require less cooking and can be prepared in advanced(as you mentioned). I honestly can't thank you enough for your thoughtful reply. I'm actually feeling like my menu will be delicious AND not run-of-mill. I hate to ask you for even more...but, if you wouldn't mind a recipe or two (any of the top 4 listed above, &/or the blinis would be greatly appreciated. I'm finally getting in the mood for this party! Thanks again. Robbie in Boston
You are absolutely welcome! I am not a chef, but I do like to entertain my friends in my tiny apartment in NYC. With limited space and equipments, I often need to prepare most of the food ahead of time. Here are some recipes that I found to be easy to prepare and will not lose flavor even if you put them out for hours! (please adjust the amount based on the dishes you are planning to make and # of people...)
AVOCADO & SHRIMP SALAD with MASAGO
To Prepare: Mix cubed avocado (sprinkle with lemon juice first to avoid discolor) and cooked shrimp (store-bought cocktail shrimp will do the trick!) with your favorite type of Mayo (add Tabasco for spicy mayo) or vingrette. Salt and pepper to taste
To Assemble: Put it into small serving plates or glasses. Top with a big spoonful of masago
NOTE: This tastes a little like California rolls without the rice. And you can make it more interesting with flavored mayo or dressing. When served in martini glasses or shot glasses they look like one of those expensive appetizers served at the fancy hotels!
YELLOWTAIL / SEA SCALLOP CEVICHE
marinated in olive oil, citrus (orange + lemon), a little chile, and chives (you can also use tuna)
1 pound yellowtail, cut into 3/4-inch by 3/4-inch cubes
1 pound small bay scallops, slightly blanched
2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp lemon /lime/orange juice (I use all!)
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 p ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small chile pepper (optional if you don't like spicy)
1 bunch chives for garnish
To Prepare: Combine cubes of hamachi and scallops. Marinate fish in soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, and oil in a bowl for 2 to 3 hours, taste and add salt and pepper accordingly.
To Assemble: Put ceviche into martini glasses / shoot glasses and garnish with chives. This should be very easy to refill and you can store the whole thing in the fridge and just spoon out extra to refill.
To ease the after-party cleaning: Use edible items for serving! For instance, substitute the martini glasses and serve the food on endive leaves, cucumber cups, tomato cups, so people EAT the serving plates altogether! No frills and no cleaning!
CHILLED NOODLES with PEANUT SAUCE ON CUCUMBER CUPS
To Prepare: Cut cucumber into 2" chuck, scoop out 1.5" center from one end, leaving at least 1/2" thickness at the bottom end. Season inside with a little salt and pepper
- For noodle and peanut sauce:
1/2 cup chinese sesame paste or tahini (can also substitute creamy peanut butter)
1 tbsp sesame oil, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles, de-stemmed
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup basil leaves
1 bunch chopped scallions
1/3 cup mint leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound angel hair pasta, blanched and refreshed
Garnish: 1 red bell pepper finely diced, A few spoonful of seasame seeds (optional)
In a food processor, mix sesame paste, oils, and vinegar. Add chile, garlic and herbs and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (quick alternative if you have no time: Store bought Thai peanut sauce)
In a large mixing bowl toss pasta with dressing. Check for seasoning. Use a fork to "spiral" the noodle and put into cucumber cups. Sparkle seasame seeds on top and garnish with red bell peppers, basil/mint leaves.
(This can be prepare a day ahead and store in the fridge. Make sure you wrap them tightly with plastic wrap to avoid the cucumber from drying out)
MINI BLINIS TOPPED WITH CREME FRAICHE & SALMON ROES
To Prepare - I usually get mini blinis from gourmet stores (e.g. Dean and Deluca) as it is too much to prepare with other things going. If not available, you can substitue it with baked thin sliced potatoes (just slide the potato really thin (like potato chips), brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, then back until slight golden brown. Then just top with creme fraiche and salmon roes and you are done!
To add a twist, change the creme fraiche to dill creme fraiche:
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche
6 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
To Prepare: Stir together all the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours
I hope this help! Let me know if you want more recipes or ideas for other things (like desserts or drinks!)
Hi Kobetobikok! WOW these are great! I'm going to use the recipe for the Avacado & Shrimp salad with Masago(I never knew that's what the Roes were called). It sounds very tasty, easy to prepare, and very cool in the Martini glasses--love it!! I think I'll also do the mini blinis...also sound easy & delicious
Not sure about the chilled noodles for the New Year's Eve party, but I will try them at some point. These recipes are a huge help--very easy to follow & low-stress!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! I'll let you know if I'm stuck for desserts/drinks. Enjoy the Holidays! Take care, Robbie711
Some simple additions:
Olives! -- herbed black, spicy green, whatever you like
Small green peppers quick-fried in oil and salted
Chile dusted nuts or spiced nuts
Good dry sausage, thinly sliced
Cold grilled vegetables
Homemade flatbread (easier than is sounds)
And the suggestion for quince paste and cheese is a must.