As always, my holiday post is a slight afterthought, not really getting to you in time to execute the same menu for the upcoming new year’s eve celebration (unless you’re highly motivated and have a well-stocked grocery store). This issue will improve in 2015. However, as always, the menu is highly transferrable to other occasions. How many days ’til Cinco de Mayo??? Even if you’re too busy hunting down the last bottle of champagne in town for your NYE party right now, this menu will be here waiting for you in May.
It’s not exactly the representation of a silent night over here, here being suburbia Minnesota. Wedding preparations for my sister’s January 2nd wedding are in full swing, and I’m enjoying 98% of the minutes of it. Keeping it real. If you’ve ever participated in an immediate family member’s wedding preparations, you know there are a small handful of undesirable moments where we all just get too tired, hungry, dehydrated, cold, and/or overstimulated to interact with the human beings around us in a positive manner. However, most of it is wonderful in the way that only a once-in-a-lifetime event can be, and it’s so worth taking a step back from Natural Comfort Kitchen operations to immerse myself in the process and family time.
Part of the pre-wedding festivities includes spending new year’s eve at my parent’s condo with both of my sisters, our fiances/husbands, my parents, and a select few (lucky) early wedding arrivals. Games, fun, toasting, ball drop, and food. Food?! Yeah, you know I volunteered for that two months ago. I’ve settled on a big Tex-Mex feast, including a nacho bar that can stay out for a few hours for leisurely snacking. Menu details, with links to the recipes, are below, if you want to skip all the intimate details of menu creation that follow.
So, for those of you who haven’t scrolled as fast as possible to the final menu, why Mexican? One, because it’s really difficult, in this type of setting, to sit down and eat a big meal together all at once. Everyone is hungry at different times when we’re talking about a six hour party. Putting a big meal in one’s stomach then pounding margs all night sounds like it could end disastrously. By starting with some apps over the first couple hours, then moving onto a nacho bar which can stay out for the next few hours without sacrificing quality or safety, everyone can eat (and drink) as often as they please. I can nibble on some veggies and guac between drinks, Tris can indulge her wing love between rounds of Banana-gram, and Dad can work his way through a mountain of vegetarian nachos as we countdown the final seconds to midnight. Oh, that’s the other thing. Of all the options I considered, nachos stood out as most likely to please omnivores, gluten-avoiders, and meatless me. And do not worry–the corn chips are organic.
I’m not putting too much thought into how much to make, because we’ll need leftovers in the subsequent couple days as we wrap up Tor’s final wedding details. I just plan to make lots of beans, pork, and queso. We likely overdid it with two cases of bottled Pacifico for the boys, but that will also be necessary as the big day approaches. The menu is a nice mix of packaged items, nacho toppings that simply need chopping or grating or crumbling, make ahead dishes, and a few that need attending the day of new year’s eve. They don’t, however, need so much tending that I’ll have to skip the family lunch we have planned out of the house. Since it’s a relatively long celebration, I can do some food prep at my leisure as we chat about the potential wedding day weather and become overly emotionally involved in a game of apples to apples.
Here’s the plan:
New Year’s Eve Tex-Mex Feast
Organic blue and yellow corn tortilla chips (from Trader Joe’s)
Stewed pinto beans (omit bacon/ham hock)
Crock pot pulled pork carnitas (spice rub recipe; I also throw in quartered limes and yellow onions)
Green chile queso dip (note: green chile enchilada sauce sans MSG and gluten is hard to find; I’ll be using jarred green chile salsa as a substitute)
Spicy green chile salsa
Charred sweet corn
Crumbled queso fresco
Pickled red onions (recipe in my eBook)
Cilantro lime sour cream
Hot sauce (lots of spice-loving boys in the crowd, so we’ll have Frank’s, Tobasco, and sriracha)