Illustration by CK Wolfson
The best place to celebrate
A television commercial says, "A baby changes everything." Overjoyed with your new bundle of joy, you coo and baby-talk endlessly. Then reality hits. Your social life is gone forever. Unless you can bring the baby, you don't go. What sort of New Year's celebration can you have?
It's not only new parents who are forced to readjust their holiday celebrations. Perhaps the old year brought heartache or loss, making an out-on-the-town evening unthinkable.
As New Year's Eve approaches you may be looking for a low key, at home celebration. Here are some ideas that might help you ring in 2007 without feeing left out.
Midnight is so far away
Ditch the idea of staying up until midnight. Plan your champagne toast for a more reasonable time. The event will be just as special and you won't feel so tired the next day.
Amy Look from Al's Package Store in Edgartown suggested some reasonably priced champagne. For example, $15 will buy you a bottle of Korbel, and a $13.50 bottle of Freixenet will do double duty. Toast the New Year and mix any leftover Freixenet with orange juice the next day. What a great start to 2007.
Ms. Look said a spumonti is a good choice for people who like sweet, sparkling wine. Vivace Spumonti is only $9.95, or spring for the Asti at $16.35. Can't finish a bottle? Buy a split, which is just enough for two.
Vera Clements, manager of the Vineyard Wine and Cheese Shop in Oak Bluffs recommends Gloria Ferrar champagne for around $20 and the Piper Heidsieck, now under $40.
Food for the soul
For your evening in, decide what style of food will complement your personal celebration. A big dinner for two, or one, may not be the best idea unless you want to greet 2007 with a sink full of dirty dishes.
Consider a meal of hors d'oeuvres. You can enjoy it slowly, one bite at a time, while you sip your champagne. Simple hors d'oeuvres can be very elegant. Here are some suggestions:
Wonton Mini Bowls
Buy wonton wrappers in the produce section of the grocery store. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Push one wonton wrapper into each muffin cup. The ends will stick up. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool. They are ready to fill with a variety of wonderful things. Fillings:
#1: Mix refried beans with salsa and shredded cheddar cheese. Fill mini bowls. Serve cold or warmed up in the oven.
#2: Cook Italian sausage (bulk sausage or remove the casings from links) in a pan with chopped onion. Drain well. Add just enough tomato sauce to coat the sausage and onions. Add shredded mozzarella cheese. Fill mini bowls. Serve at room temperature or warmed up in the oven.
#3: Mix cooked chicken with dried cranberries and chopped celery. Mix in enough mayonnaise just to coat. Fill the mini bowls. Serve cold.
On thick-sliced deli ham, spread a mixture of cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. Roll it up from the short end. Slice the roll. Spear with a toothpick if necessary.
Spread cream cheese on thick-sliced deli ham. Spoon a small amount of crushed pineapple (drained well) on the short end of the ham. Roll up from the short end with the pineapple. Add a toothpick if necessary.
If you really want to do it as easy as possible, buy frozen hors d'oeuvres. Visit Cash and Carry off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road as well as the grocery stores for many ready-to-go options.
Pass the tray
Surround a container of Forty Spice Hummus with assorted vegetables such as celery, carrots, broccoli, or cucumber slices.
On another tray arrange yummy cheeses with crackers. Add a smoked beef sausage if you like.
Pull out all the stops when it comes to presentation. Take out the crystal stemware or buy yourself one or two beautiful champagne glasses. For easy clean up, you might want to use disposable plates. Do it up right and buy special New Year's Eve designs. Check out the gold and silver plastic utensils on the market. They add wow without the work.
Cloth napkins are quite nice, but if you think they are too high maintenance, there are so many paper alternatives that you may have trouble deciding which to buy.
As the year winds down, make a toast to 2006 and another to 2007. Enjoy your evening at home. The best place to be.