Need ideas -- nay, a menu! -- for new year's day meal
Cooking for my in-laws and my SO and I. I need to have the ingredient list to my father-in-law by Monday night so he can get the ingredients on Tuesday (don't ask). They are buying the ingredients, I am cooking. Works for me!
I am vegetarian and while I don't care whether other people eat meat, I am wholly uncomfortable cooking it since I have almost no experience doing it and I'm not confident in my quality control. I am also iffy on seafood. So I am thinking of getting smoked salmon as part of our appetizer and then something mostly vegetarian for the main meal--something like prosciutto would be fine since I wouldn't really be "cooking" it, of course. They are very comfortable eating vegetarian and love a number of ethnic cuisines.
Cuisine is open. They don't seem to be people who believe in black-eyed peas on New Year's. They lean toward the health-conscious.
I should add that I am up against a major deadline on the 31st and I don't have a lot of time to prep. They live an hour away. I guess I could make a dessert and bring it so that it's done in advance, but most of it will have to be cooked that morning.
My SO loves carrot cake and hates cheesecake. They aren't big on overly sweet desserts.
Prosciutto ham is not a very substantial meal on it's own...unless it is used to wrap something else or unless it is included in a stuffing.
Here are some ideas for possible dishes:
Cream of Potao Soup
Broccoli Rabe with Sausage, easily roasted in the oven
Roasted Root Vegetables
Brussels Sprouts with Cheese or Pancetta
Roasted Vegetables, eggplants, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and cherry tomatoes
Ragout of wild mushrooms...Oyster, Portobello, Cremino, oyster, Chanterelle, Shitake and White Button
Rice Pilaf, Couscous, Orzo or Rissotto
You can do double duty with some of the menu items. On the crudite, when finished, you can apply it to the Roasted Vegetables. Just decide on a cut shape for later roasting. The cheese platter can be applied to the Brussels sprouts with cheese.....you get the idea.
For a main course, what about a Moroccan chickpea stew? It's easy to put together, you can vary the ingredients (I've added eggplant, zucchini, carrots,celery, etc.). Even meat eaters have loved it when I've made it. It's so hearty and good for you. I serve it over couscous or rice; and sometimes crusty bread. It's along these lines:
Since your SO loves carrot cake, what about doing that? I haven't found a bad carrot cake recipe, honestly, but do like Alton Brown's on food network. It's a cakier one, less sweet and oily. I use a pineapple cream cheese frosting. You could make the cake and then frost it at your inlaws (have them buy a block of cream cheese, a lb of powdered sugar, a stick of butter, vanilla, milk; and can of crushed pineapples if you want).
You could do something with prosciutto for an appetizer if you want to use it. Just wrap it around little mozzarella balls, bake and drizzle w/ balsamic vinegar and top w/ chopped basil. It's really good and you don't need to taste it. Or, just do hummus and pita. Or sauteed variety of mushrooms in puff pastry. All very easy and minimal ingredients needed.
Hmmm, I would start with some gorgeous soup - the potato is fine, or black bean, or if you want a knockout presentation a black/white combo of the two, poured together. The soup would be the best candidate for make ahead. Then your smoked salmon appetizer arranged beautifully with dill cream and/or capers on dark rye or mini bagels, then some knockout baked pasta or vegetable dish like endive baked in gorgonzola cream sauce with a side of simpler vegetables like almond green beans or steamed squash.
If they don't like sweet desserts, arrrange a cheese plate instead, with crackers and a couple different kinds of fruit or jam.
We often go ethnic for our Christmas dinner. Indian food is always yummy, filling, smells great and not very difficult to prepare. You could have a potato/cauliflower dish, garbanzo dish, salad and then purchase some samosas and nan or other bread to help make life a little easier.
For Christmas this year, we decided to have sushi. Again, it can be fairly easy to prepare, particularly if you have one other person to help roll the sushi and it can be made either vegetarian or with some seafood like your smoked salmon. Our ingredients this year included shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, carrot, soy sauteed tofu, scallions. We'll often include some shrimp when making sushi. It is a very beautiful presentation. We served potstickers on the side.
Or, you could go south of the border and do some tamales or cornbread and beans. Something along that line is also filling, can be prepared early in the day and doesn't cost a fortune in ingredients. It is casual but still delicious and fun.
For midnight snacks we often prepare veggie meatballs in a sweet cocktail meatball type sauce (always a hit!), great cheese/crackers/olive plate, or other finger foods. I think it is nice to have a little cocktail party feel to the midnight celebration part of NYE.
Have a fun New Year's feast! Let us know what you decide to prepare!