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New Year's Day Open House Menu suggestions

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Ok, I need help with some ideas for a party.

We are having an open house on New Years' Day - 1-5pm for 50-75 guests.

I am willing to spend hours and hours cooking before the event, but on the day of, I do not want to spend all day in the kitchen, heating, plating, garnishing etc. I want to enjoy our company. With that in mind, these are the criteria for what I want to serve.

No last minute cooking, must be able to serve at room temp, or cold. I have a tiny kitchen and NO dishwasher, Having a mountain of dishes, pots, and pans to deal with minutes before guests arrive will be a disaster.

Must be able to eat with hands, or with just a fork. This is a stand and mingle kind of event.

I am thinking:

Smoked salmon mousse

Chopped chicken liver, dried cranberry and pistachio "Pate"

Hummus Platter

Cheeses, fruits and bread

Thai chicken salad on cucumber slices

For the sweet side I am going to do a huge selection of petit fours. small tartlets, homemade candies, etc.

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  1. Yes, yes...and yes! Sounds delicious! I might add some sort of pork dish as isn't it considered good luck on new years day? Make ahead pork spring rolls perhaps you could heat up that day. Usually perfect hot or room temp. ....Also, maybe "ho hum" for some but a classic shrimp cocktail always a crowd pleaser!

    1. This may sound trite but everyone loves deviled eggs. You can top them with a dab of salmon caviar (not too $) or piece of fresh dill.

      You can also serve meatballs at room temp. These are always a huge hit and many different ways to prepare.

      Instead of salmon mousse, how about a whole salmon gravalax? Very easy to make, impressive visually. You can serve with mustard/dill sauce or creme fraiche.

      1. sliced ham with a good grainy mustard on parkerhouse rolls.

        12 Replies
        1. re: weezycom

          Ham was my immediate thought too reading the OP's lovely menu. Even the supermarket spiral sliced ham is delicious when prepared right -- throw out that glaze packet, stick in loads of whole cloves, cover well with foil and slowly heat in a 300 oven. Doesn't matter that it cools over the course of the afternoon. Parkerhouse rolls are good and so are potato rolls or brioche -- slightly sweet goes well with the salty ham and hot mustard (agree with grainy recommendation).

          1. re: weezycom

            Ham is the usual suspect at almost all our parties. We both looked at each other and said "We can't serve these folks another ham."

            I am always a fan of really good ham, and ham on a biscuit, roll or mini brioche can make my tummy happy at almost any party.

            Any other pork ideas that aren't ham?

            1. re: gardencub

              how about doing a ginger-based marinade for pork loin/tenderloin and serve on soft rolls with hoisin sauce and a little bit of chinese hot mustard?

              1. re: gardencub

                pulled pork butt on mini rolls or sandwich buns

                1. re: gardencub

                  I make a Cambodian pork dip from The Elephant Walk Cookbook. It has ground pork, coconut milk and peanuts and I usually serve it with shrimp chips. If you are interested I can paraphase it.

                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                    Please do - it sounds fantastic!

                    1. re: meatn3

                      RED PORK WITH COCONUT MILK
                      SERVES 6 T 0 8
                      Nataing

                      ¼ cup vegetable oil
                      ½ pound ground pork
                      1 dried New Mexico chili, soaked, seeded, deveined and ground to a powder (or 1-1/2 tablespoons paprika)
                      8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
                      1 large shallot, thinly sliced
                      1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
                      ¼ cup sugar
                      ¼ cup peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground
                      1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
                      ½ teaspoon salt (if not using fish sauce, use 1 ½ teaspoons)

                      In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the pork and chili powder and saute breaking up the pieces of pork. After a few minutes add the garlic and shallots followed by the remaining ingredients. Cook until the pork has lost its pink color and the flavors have melded.

                      I put this out in a mini crock pot with shrimp chips.

                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                        Thank you! This sounds like a winner.

                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                          What are shrimp chips?

                          1. re: gardencub

                            Per Wikipedia they are deep fried crackers made from prawns and starch.

                            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                              sounds fantastic - do you have a link to the recipe? I find it easier to book mark and save (I googled but couldn't find)

                            2. re: gardencub

                              you can buy them boxed in asian markets. they start about the size of a quarter but POOOOOOOOOOOOOF up enormously and quickly in hot oil. i'm guessing you can buy them pre-cooked, but i haven't seen them that way. they last at least a day so can be pre-cooked.

                  2. I would serve ham biscuits, cocktail weiners, meatballs, cheese ball, and probably a shrimp platter, but then I'm not too sophisticated and neither are my guests.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: vafarmwife

                      Yes, "Pigs in a Blanket" is a no brainer!

                    2. I just made Mini Crab Cakes as a practice run for Christmas Eve Open House. 1 lb jumbo lump easily made 30 appetizer size cakes. At $20.99 lb it's not the least expensive option but people love them and they can certainly be made ahead and then reheated. Probably even better. I would say to save $$ use claw meat...but not nearly as good. http://cookwithcare.blogspot.com/2009...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: care11

                        ooh...see I disagree. I think the claw meat is better in a crab cake because it's stronger flavored. Lump my preference if I were going to eat it plain. AND the little whole claws the line the top of the containers look great if you put one of those on top of each cake.

                        1. re: danna

                          I just find the claw meat too sweet, a mix would be nice and I love your idea for placing a piece of claw meat on top of each one...very nice touch/presentation!

                      2. two favorites at MILs Christmas Eve open house - stuffed mushrooms (make the stuffing ahead, pop under the broiler & serve, and they are fine as they cool as well) and crab dip (on large platter, layer cream cheese, chili sauce - or cocktail sauce if you prefer - and well drained/dried lump crabmeat) with crackers. Neither is especially fancy, but both are crowd pleasers.

                        1. For our New Year's Day open house, we always have cassoulet, lasagna and smoked turkey. We usually have homemade sausage and biscuits, clam dip and crudite with green goddess dip. Desserts consist of lots of cookies as well as cheese cake. We don't usually have lots of left-overs!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: roxlet

                            i was also thinking the op needs a centerpiece of something too -- something more substantial than the nibbles on the menu now. people will have had a very light breakfast (if any), no lunch, and it runs into some people's dinnertime.

                            lasagne ( i prefer a white or a vegetarian version)
                            pulled pork
                            shortribs
                            a roast of any kind- foul or meat (great at room temp with different sauces)
                            b'stilla
                            lamb tagine
                            flank steak, sliced, with gorgonzola sauce
                            pork tenderloin with apple-mustard chutney
                            duck confit hash
                            sausage stew

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I had vetoed the roast ham or turkey as we have done that at 4 of the last 6 parties we threw. I have added ham and cheese in puff pastry that I ganked from Ina Garten and Marha Stewart.

                              Oh, and for the record, I am a recent graduate of pastry school, so I am really planning on showing off my baking skills. probably far too many desserts, but.. hey, I am a baker, not a cook!

                              1. re: gardencub

                                then what about something en croute, or beef wellington?

                                you're only serving "nibbles". you will need to prepare an awful lot of them.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  As it is an open house, and not intended to be an actual meal, I didn't plan on a main entree', We keep going back and forth about adding one more savory dish, but in looking at the quantity of food I have made already and what I am still going to make, I am pretty sure there will be enough food.

                                  I have toyed with making some pulled pork for little sliders, or , god forbid, another ham, but I really want food that needs no untensils or a fork at best. There will be no room for most folks to sit down and trying to cut ham, or a roast on your lap is messy business, especially for those of us who find our laps getting smaller and smaller!

                          2. our menu for open house New Year's Day:

                            smoked turkey with Pepperridge Farms VT sliced bread with Dukes Mayo

                            ham with sister shubert rolls with whole grain mustard or honey mustard

                            Hoppin John (Black eyed peas with smoked sausage)

                            crudite with basil cottage cheese dip (Best of Gourmet recipe)

                            Fruit plate

                            Soup (TBD)

                            Cheese plate

                            Pound cake

                            Bloodies and Screwdrivers/Mimosas

                            1. I might reccomend a blackeyed peas' / 3 bean salad for luck in the new year? Or a crock pot of them?

                              Smoked Salmon, chive & dill creamed cheese. For Crackers or bagels?

                              Spring Rolls with Shimps and an asian dipping sauce.

                              Tortilla espanol - good at room temp.

                              I 2nd the deviled eggs Idea.