By Laurel Thompson
There’s no better way to celebrate the New Year than with friends, family and a spread of homemade food. It’s different from other holidays—the offerings are elevated yet informal, with hors d’oeuvres ranging from bite-sized classics to modern recipes with a (healthier) twist.
The best appetizers for New Year’s Eve are individual little grabs that keep your guests grazing, says Ginger and Baker’s Teaching Kitchen Coordinator Piper Fennimore. Lately, she is seeing fewer “heavy” appetizers and more vegetable-forward recipes taking their place, making this the year of sweet potato cups, zucchini rounds and other inventive veggie bites.
When it comes to shareables, charcuterie boards and vegetable platters are always a good choice. Paul DeLongchamps, co-owner of Across The Board Charcuterie & More, says charcuterie boards are a great way to anchor your table with different flavors and textures that complement each other (and pair well with champagne). For a vegetarian crowd, his go-to is a crudité platter with brined vegetables and bean-based dips, or a homemade baba ghanoush.
If you’re hosting a crowd to drink, snack and watch the ball drop, Across The Board and Ginger and Baker have lots of tasty appetizers your guests are sure to love. Here are some of their favorite recipes to ring in the New Year.
By Chef Deb Traylor, GINGER AND BAKER
Makes 5-6 dozen biscotti
1 ½ Tbs. whole black peppercorns
4 cups flour, plus additional
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ cups Parmigiano-
Reggiano, finely grated
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Cream cheese and red pepper jelly for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in a coffee or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, herbs, 2 cups grated cheese and 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat three of the eggs with the milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until you get a soft dough.
Place on a lightly floured counter and cut into quarters. Flour your hands and pat each quarter into a slightly flat log, about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and ¾-inch high. Place logs on two baking sheets, about 3 inches apart.
Whisk remaining egg and brush over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs with remaining ½ cup cheese and ½ tablespoon ground pepper. Bake until logs are lightly golden and firm, about 30 minutes, switching baking sheet position halfway through. Cool logs until you’re able to handle them, about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Place one warm log on a cutting board and cut diagonally into ½-inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool on racks for about 15 minutes. To serve, spread with cream cheese and top with red pepper jelly, if desired.
Artichoke Heart Tarts
By Chef Deb Traylor GINGER AND BAKER
INGREDIENTS (Artichoke Tarts)
1 recipe pie dough, chilled overnight
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup peeled, seeded and chopped green chilies
2 green onion, minced and divided
1clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1(15 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and slightly chopped
INGREDIENTS (Salad Topping)
4 thinly sliced and julienned radishes
1 stalk thinly sliced celery
¼ cup tender celery leaves
¼ cup parsley leaves
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife or cutter, cut circles out of the dough that are large enough to fit halfway up the sides of a muffin tin. Once the dough circles are placed in the muffin tins, place tins in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan, chopped green chile, one chopped green onion (save the other green onion for topping), garlic and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Fold in chopped artichoke hearts.
Remove muffin tins from the freezer and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture into each dough-lined muffin cup. Top with reserved green onions.
Bake tarts for 25-35 minutes or until the tops are bubbly and the crust is slightly golden. Cool for 15 minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.
Optional garnish: Gently toss all salad topping ingredients together right before serving. Place a tablespoon on top of each tart.
Baba Ghanoush (Gluten-Free/Vegan)
By Paul & Dianne DeLongchamps, ACROSS THE BOARD
Makes approximately two cups
2-3 whole eggplants
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
2 pinches of salt
5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Set the oven to 400°F. Slice eggplant lengthwise (about a ½ inch to inch in length), sprinkle with two pinches of salt. Place on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, roast in oven for about
45 minutes. After the eggplants are soft, remove from oven, peel skin and place in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, adding cumin, lemon juice, parsley and onion powder.
Season to taste and enjoy with pita bread, pita chips or tortilla chips.
By Chef Deb Traylor, GINGER AND BAKER
Makes approximately 4½ cups
1 lb. pecans, about
4 heaping cups
½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup sugar
6 cups water
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring water and ½ cup sugar to a boil, add pecans and bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika and cayenne in a large bowl. Pour blanched pecans into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Transfer nuts to a rimmed baking sheet pan and evenly spread the nuts apart. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, bake for an additional 15 minutes, stir again, then bake for 5-minute intervals until they are crisp.
Charcuterie Board Selections
Source: Paul DeLongchamps
Imported and Domestic Cheeses
Manchego, Dutch Gouda,
Merlot Bellavitano, Aged
Dry Cured Salami, Soppressata, Milano Salami or Coppa
Red and Green Grapes, Dried Apricots, Tuscan Roasted Almonds, Pistachios, Marinated Olives, Pear, Blue Cheese, Brie, Fig, Honey Drizzled Crostini
Orange-Hazelnut Cookie Cups, Loveland Chocolate Bites