Meat-free New Year's eve for 14: Need advice!
In a small NYC apartment, I'm cooking a sit-down dinner for 14 New Year's Eve. (Buffet style would be MORE crowded and crazy than sit-down in our cramped space.) Our dining table plus my work desk, moved into the living room, will be our dining surface; we'll have appetizers standing around in my small study, sans furniture.
So: What to serve? Among the 14 are 6 non-meat eaters, so it would be best to make a fish dish. I'm thinking a pasta course (veggie), then a fish stew, maybe, with crusty bread, then a crisp salad. But what fish can be mostly prepared in advance so as not to cause last-minute tiny-kitchen chaos (not to mention cooking pasta after all guests have arrived.) I welcome menu suggestions (even highly alternative ones, as long as meat plays no role.) Thanks!
A nice veg main course is the mushroom bourgignon from Smitten Kitchen http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0...
I made it for a dinner party last year and it was a huge hit. I used a combination of sliced portabellos and halved criminis to mimic the traditional meat version. I served it with egg noodles, so maybe that could be your pasta course.
I'd be tempted to go with Indian food. A raita and some chutneys or pickles, some papadums, a hearty chickpea curry, a vegetable dish (maybe saag paneer) or some dahl, a salad of sliced cucumber, tomato and onion, rice to go with it.
If you can borrow an extra rice cooker or two you can set up the rice to cook nicely without any attention. The curry, chutney and raita and dahl can be made ahead of time, even the day before. The papadums can be cooked just before people arrive, and the salad can be assembled in advance. All you would need to do is heat up the cooked dishes, and serve stuff out after people arrived.
I would go with the cliche, which none the less remains excellent particularly in the winter: a spicy vegetarian and bean chili with lots of bowls of add-ins that make a table pretty like grated cheddar, sour cream, chopped cilantro, two kinds of salsa with different chips, guacamole, and a culce de leche cake for desert. everything can be made ahead except the guac which should be finished before serving.