As we head down the home stretch of the 2012 winter holiday season, our eyes lock on the final event: New Year's Eve. Unlike Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and -- come to think of it -- nearly every other widely celebrated holiday, New Year's Eve poses a unique menu- and party-planning challenge: you and your guests need to make it to midnight. As host, you need a simple menu that's easy to execute, so your knees don't buckle from exhaustion before the ball drops. You also need to provide hors d'oeuvre that are substantial enough to keep energy levels up till the clock strikes 12, but not so heavy that they put guests in a food coma. No one has fond memories of a sleepy "Happy New Year" cheer or half-hearted New Year's kiss. And speaking of kissing, you'd be wise to keep garlic off the menu, too.
These potato-carrot pancakes land dead center on those targets, but they have even more going for them: these latke look-a-likes can be cooked ahead of time, stored in the fridge between layers of parchment paper, and then recrisped on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven before serving. The sauce, flavored with chipotle, Dijon mustard, or cranberry sauce, can be made ahead, too. Why not prepare all three varieties and offer your guests a choice? Or, as we prefer to think of it, give them reason to conduct a little "taste test" and try all three. After all, it certainly can't hurt to have a more playful and lighthearted conversation starter than the inevitable topic of resolutions.
Mini Potato-Carrot Pancakes with Festive Sour Cream
Makes 2 dozen
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced OR 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard OR 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 small yellow onion, grated
2 large carrots (about 1/2 pound), peeled and grated
1 large russet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled, grated and squeezed to remove excess water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
What's on your New Year's Eve menu? Share your holiday menu and entertaining tips in the comments section below.
Like this post? See the Easy Everyday topic from last week: Hempseed Apricot Chews.