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Need ideas -- nay, a menu! -- for new year's day meal

Hi everyone,

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.


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  1. 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.


    1 Reply
    1. re: IndyGirl

      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:

      Cheese Platter
      Cream of Potao Soup
      Vegetable Lasagna
      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.

    2. Is this a brunch? Dinner? How many people? How long do you have to cook?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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!

            1. I usually cook Christmas Eve dinner for my non-veg relatives. Last year I made these individual lasagnas out of a veg cookbook I have that is full of great ideas badly executed. (I always rewrite the recipes in it.)

              Sweet potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini were marinated in olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and capers and then roasted. (I roasted the red peppers separately, did the chilling and peeling thing, and then added them in with the rest of the veg with 10 minutes to go to absorb the marinade.)

              I bought fresh lasagna noodles and cut pieces about 4x6 inches in diameter, to make a number of mini-lasagnas. The stack was something like this: pasta, pesto & roasted veg, pasta, fresh tomatoes & a slice of fresh mozzerella, pasta, pesto & roasted veg, pasta. Stacking each one individually made for fancy presentation.

              Anyway, my very carnivorous relatives liked them, and I even froze a couple which reheated nicely later in the year.

              This year I made two kinds of quiche and risotto (see holiday dinner hit/miss thread) which also went over well, especially the risotto - it's a dish that tends to impress, but is also hard to mess up.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Allison_

                Okay, this is more than you need, but I'd say the only thing that wasn't perfect about those is that the top layer of pasta got a little too crispy without sauce. A bit of cheese on top would probably do the trick, maintaining some crispiness without making it taste like uncooked pasta. Okay, I'm done. :)

                1. re: Allison_

                  Re-reading your post - the advantage of a lasagna, gratin, or something else casserole-ish is that you could do the vast majority of the work at home, assemble and then just bake at their place.

                2. I made yummy vegetable pot pies for Christmas dinner this year. I roasted red onion, acorn squash, carrots, turnips and a potato. Then, I made the sauce from a basic roux plus vegetable stock, with lots of herbs. I tossed the vegetables (with some added peas) in the sauce and then baked them in individual dishes with homemade pie crust tops. Carnivores around the table agreed they were better than turkey! I would make them again for New Years for sure!

                  1. Cheese fondue with a side platter of proscuitto, a few kinds of pickles, crudites and/or green salad, bowl of grapes. Lots of great wine.

                    Gelato cake (ordered or mash together your fave's) for dessert.

                    not sure you need a starter but a *little* smoked salmon or some small shrimp thing with a glass of bubbly would be nice.

                    1. OK--i think that Moroccan stew sounds really promising. I guess I'll go with that. Now, ideas for sides and apps? And dessert?

                      I should have mentioned that we'll be heading to their place on the 31st and going to a party with them, and I'll be cooking on the 1st. Also, we are out of power at my house at the moment and probably will be for a few days. Again, don't ask.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: IndyGirl

                        You could do dips with vegetables and pita. Hummus, roasted red pepper/garlic, tatsiki. You could make hummus and tatsiki, or buy them. Tatsiki might be harder since you need to drain the yogurt overnight and might not have time. Roasted red pepper dip is very pretty:


                        As a side, if you wanted to do something different, you could do lebanese rice. It's a favorite in my house w/ the vermicelli. Along these lines, but I use broth and fry up onions first:


                        Garlic puree (toum) is great with it. I don't follow a recipe but use roasted garlic and puree w/ olive oil, a little lemon juice and salt. It's much better than the sum of the parts. You could do a side salad if you want but there are plenty of vegetables w/ the dish.

                      2. Oh, and I'm thinking this will be a lunch of sorts...we'll be back really late the night before, probably at least 1 am, so this will be our first real meal of the day. I'm thinking 1 pm for meal time.

                        1. If you're going morrocan the sides are easy. Morroccan typical eat numerous salads served at the same time as the main. One should be carrot, one roast peppers. Do a search, you'll come up with a ton of ideas.