Home Cooking

NYE Hors d'oeuvres & Champagne

December 31 2013 - 8:44 AM

Hors d’oeuvres can be complicated and you could NEVER make enough. So for a last minute party plan, focus on simple options and quality Champagne. Careful selection of bubbly and a few quick and dirty recipes and you can have a bang-on New Year’s Eve party. We surveyed our writers for their favorite easy recipes. We also reached out to a few of our favorite Champagne houses for some fresh ideas for traditional bubbly.

Henriot Brut Souverain is 60/40 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir. It’s noted online as their entry-level Champagne which, I suppose, is in consideration of price. Regardless of cost, it is a terrific wine with a well defined balance of a bready nose and a crisp mild-citrus  finish. A certain chalky minerality gives enough depth to broaden pairing options to include delicate meats (unctuous serrano ham but not spicy copa).

Rosé is an interesting Champagne segment. Rosé’s aromatics can extend into flowers and berry and  finishes sway between sweet cream and clean citrus. The Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Rosé brings a distinct berry note that is carried through to a creamy finish. It is sharp and bright and if you’re looking for a dessert-oriented rosé this takes the cake. That said it could also stand next to salads with vinegar dressings.

Philipponnat Royale Reserve Non-Dosé Brut is a unique wine that has no sweetness added to it. Dosage is a small amount of sweet wine or spirit that is typically added to a Champagne. The Philipponnat Brut brings a mild citrus and minerality but is certainly not sweet. This style of wine brings a stronger acidity to consider with pairings and can certainly stand up to almost any food.

Lanson Ivory Label is a Demi-Sec which means semi-sweet. Usually reserved for desserts, demi-sec also can surprise along side richer foods. A sweeter Champagne can cut through the richness of charcuterie, cheeses and patés. The Ivory is fairly sweet but has a nice spice note that plays on the finish. If you are serving fruit, chocolates or other desserts it would be a go-to option there as well.

Our recipes include a quick and easy charcuterie platter, crabby cheese layered dip, shrimp dip, mushroom canapés, sweet and sour meatballs, a baked brie and a salmon ball. While crackers are the vehicle for a good dip, don’t ignore them! Thinly sliced and lightly toasted french bread, veggies… they can do the job but you can get good value out of gourmet crisps. John Wm. Macy cheesesticks are ridiculously crispy and add a nice cheese flavor and seasoning. They’re snack-worthy on their own but their varieties go well with different options, from asiago and cheddar to sesame gruyere and even madagascar vanilla to compliment a coffee. Recipes follow!

Charcuterie and Cheese Board – Jenna Temkin
3 cheeses: one mild like a chèvre, something in between like a pleasant ridge reserve and a well aged cheddar or Gouda.
3 meats from a local butcher including thinly, thinly sliced prosciutto, sopressata, summer sausage. Keep everything at room temp at least an hour before guests arrive.

Throw on roasted red peppers, a tapenade, cornichons, honey, homemade date spread,crackers or sliced baguette drizzled in olive oil, and an arrangement of olives.

For a veggie-friendly option add a tahini-free hummus with chickpeas, lemon juice, lots of garlic cloves, pinch of sea salt …cumin or smoked paprika… smoked salt and drizzle of Olive oil to finish.

For Stacy Kenny it’s all about the cream cheese
The famous Crab and Cocktail Cream Cheese Spread
My mom use to do one that I loved that is so 70’s
A block of cream cheese
A block of fake crab meat
A bottle of cocktail sauce

Place block of fake crab meat on top of block of cream cheese. Pour cocktail sauce on top. Enjoy! If you can…

The famous shrimp dip
A block of cream cheese
A can of cream of shrimp soup
A can of baby shrimp
A can of shrimp pieces
Garlic powder to taste

Mix it up with a blender and serve with Fritos!

The famous mushroom canapés–
A block of cream cheese
1 egg
garlic powder to taste

Saute mushrooms. Toast 6 slices of bread. Cut into 4 equal parts. Mix cream cheese, garlic powder and egg. Top each toast slice with mushroom slice and cream cheese mix. Put under broiler until brown. Watch carefully! Don’t burn them!

Sweet n Sour Meatballs – Stacey Ballis
2 lbs frozen meatballs
2 jars Heinz Chili Sauce
1 small jar grape jelly
1 T ground mustard powder

Mix chili sauce, jelly and mustard in a saucepan over medium heat till jelly melts and everything combines.  Drop in meatballs, still frozen, and stir till they are well coated.  Dump the whole thing in a slow cooker on high for about an hour till the meatballs are hot.  Turn to low or warm and serve in the cooker.  Can substitute 2 lbs of cocktail franks for meatballs if you like.

Amanda Topper’s Baked brie:
1 sheet frozen pastry dough
1 wheel of Brie
1 tablespoon jam of choice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped apple

1) Slice Brie in half and place lower half on top of pastry dough
2) Spread jam on top of Brie
3) Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped apple
4) Place top of Brie over lower half
5) Repeat steps 2 & 3
6) Seal Brie in pastry dough and place on Brie plate or oven-safe dish
7) Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown
8) Serve with your favorite crackers or fresh bread

Josh’s Mom’s Salmon Ball
1 can of red salmon
1 block of cream cheese
1 tbsp ketchup
walnut pieces

Remove bones. Whip salmon, ketchup and cheese together. Roll in toasted walnuts or parsley. Serve.

Home Cooking

Chocolate Strawberry Crisp Recipe

Country of Origin: US
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Main Ingredient: strawberries
Additional Features:


Recipe adapted from Heather Christo
Makes 1 9×9 pan


  • 6 cups strawberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss together strawberries and sugar and let sit in a bowl.
  3. Mix together all dry ingredients in topping. Then, stir in coconut oil until evenly distributed.
  4. Spray 9×9 pan and pour in strawberry mixture
  5. Crumble topping over the pan evenly with your hands. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbling and brown.

Allow to cool slightly and then eat immediately.

Home Cooking

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe

Country of Origin: Netherlands
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Main Ingredient: Blueberries
Additional Features:


dutch baby pancakeRecipe adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Powdered sugar for serving, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. As the oven is preheating, grab a medium cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick skillet – make sure it’s ovenproof or it will melt! – and put 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and then into the oven until it’s just melted.
  2. In a blender (you can also use a whisk if you don’t have one) combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend until foamy and thoroughly combined. Then, lightly mix in the blueberries
  3. Remove skillet from oven and pour batter into skillet. Bake until pancake is puffed up on the sides and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove pancake from the oven and before serving, top with fresh squeezed lemon juice and then the powdered sugar (using a shaker if you have one or a thin wired strainer).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Home Cooking

Acorn Squash Cups with Ginger a Stuffing

Country of Origin: US
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredient: Squash
Additional Features:


8 cups vegetable stock
2 small acorn squash
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 heaping teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tart red apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved
in 2 tablespoons cool water

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard seeds and trim off stems and pointed ends so they sit flat. Place skin-side up on prepared baking sheet and roast 30 minutes or until soft (time will depend on size of squash). Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, ginger and apples and sauté until just soft (about 3 minutes). Add raisins, cinnamon and maple syrup and sauté until just soft and caramelized (about 3 minutes longer). Remove from heat, fill each squash half with an equal amount of stuffing and serve. SERVES 4

From EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL | Winter | Page 250

Home Cooking

NoNo Bars

Country of Origin: USA
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 0
Main Ingredient: Seeds
Additional Features:


1 Cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1 Cup sprouted or toasted pumpkin seeds
1 Cup sprouted or toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
3 tabelspoons cacao nibs
1/2 cup sunflower butter
1/2 cup coconut nectar
pinch of sea salt

Stir together sunflower butter and coconut nectar, pour over rest of ingredients and fold until fully combined. Pour in to 9×12 parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a second sheet of parchment and press mixture until even. Smooth paper over top so it sticks and refrigerate 2 hours until firm.

Makes 18 bars, 1in x 4.5in.

Home Cooking

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Country of Origin: USA
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Main Ingredient: Curry
Additional Features:


1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup rice or almond milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric
root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cups chopped cauliflower
2 tablespoons mirin
2 large bunches Swiss chard,
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place crust ingredients in refrigerator to chill.

In large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft (about 3 minutes). Stir in turmeric, celery, carrots and cauliflower. Add mirin, stir and simmer 2 minutes. Add Swiss chard and peas and fold continuously until chard wilts. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together vegetable stock, arrowroot and curry powder. Pour into vegetable mixture and stir until sauce thickens (1–2 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

In food processor, combine chilled brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder and sea salt and pulse to combine. Add coconut oil
1 tablespoon at a time and pulse to cut into flour mixture. In small bowl, combine milk and lemon juice. With food processor running, pour in milk mixture. Process until just combined. Place a sheet of parchment paper on cutting board and transfer dough to paper. Form into ball and then press into round to fit your Dutch oven (about 1/2-inch thick).

Place dough round over vegetables in Dutch oven and bake 35 minutes or until vegetables are soft and filling is bubbling up over crust. Remove from heat and set aside 2–3 minutes to cool before serving. SERVES 6

© 2014 Terry Walters

Home Cooking

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Thin Cookie Recipe

Country of Origin: USA
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Main Ingredient: Chocolate covered pretzels
Additional Features:


dark chocolate pretzel thin cookieThese cookies, like all cookies, call for good quality chocolate – plus a hefty serving of salt. The sweet and salty combination works perfectly as a dessert that leaves you wanting to finish the whole batch. Whip these cookies together the next time you want to impress someone, give a homemade gift or show up the other guests at your holiday potluck.

Just make sure you bake them for an occasion, or you will eat them all.

Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Thin Cookies
Recipe adapted from The Sugar Hit

Serving Size: 15 large cookies

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims, or about 8 oz. chocolate covered pretzels
  • 3-4 oz. dark chocolate chunks, or chopped chocolate
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel or sea salt for topping cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Cream together butter and all sugars for about five minutes, or until light and fluffy. I’d recommend using an electric mixer for this.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl in betwen.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and table salt
  5. Slowly add the flour into the wet mixture.
  6. Set aside 15 full pretzels. With the remaining, cut them on a small cutting board until they are in very small pieces. Add in the pretzel pieces and dark chocolate to the cookie dough.
  7. Roll out the dough to form 15 evenly sized balls, evenly spacing them apart on your cookie sheets. Slightly pat each down.
  8. Freeze for 5 minutes. Then, bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are lightly browned.
  9. Remove from the oven as soon as they are done, gently pressing one pretzel into the center of each cookie. After you are done, you should see the chocolate has started to melt on the first cookies. Lightly sprinkle the fleur de sel over the pretzels, so that it sticks to the melted chocolate.

Allow to cool, and then enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Home Cooking

Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Toasts

Country of Origin: USA
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Main Ingredient: Bread
Additional Features:


  • 1 loaf crusty french bread or sourdough
  • 6 oz. goat cheese, herbed if preferred
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, yellow and red
  • ~1 cup mixed greens (watercress, arugula), a premade mix from the grocery store will work fine
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, tossing in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Use a prepared baking sheet – this will get sticky, so if you have a sillicone baking mat or foil, that would be best. Spread tomatoes evenly across, and roast until tomatoes have softened, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Remove tomatoes and set aside, allowing them to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat your grill. If you don’t have one, simply turn your broiler on low.
  6. Slice bread into about 1/2 inch thick pieces, cutting in half if you are using a wider loaf. Depending on the size of the loaf, you’ll likely need only 1/2.
  7. Brush the bread with olive oil on each side. Throw onto grill on medium high, browning each side evenly for 3-5 minutes. Avoid burning!
  8. Spread the goat cheese in an even layer on to the bread.
  9. Next, toss tomatoes on each slice so most of the bread. Top with the greens.
  10. Lastly, drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Home Cooking

Gluten-Free Almond Coconut Cookie Recipe

Country of Origin: USA
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Main Ingredient: Almonds
Additional Features:


almond coconut cookiesAdapted from The Minimalist Baker

Makes about 12 small cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal (ground almonds works)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I used half brown sugar, half honey)
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 3 heaping Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Ground almonds in food processor until powdery with few chunks – or buy almond meal.
  2. Mix with coconut (make sure it isn’t sweetended), baking powder, salt, cacao nibs and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, coconut oil and vanilla.
  4. Mix wet into dry ingredients until combined.
  5. Refrigerate mixture for 15-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Then, form into small bite sized balls on prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  7. Allow to cool thoroughly, then enjoy!

Home Cooking

Thai Coconut Curry Recipe

Country of Origin: Thailand
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Main Ingredient: Coconut
Additional Features:


  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute olive oil)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 package tofu, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tsp thai red curry paste
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, torn
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rice to serve
  1. Heat oil in a very large, deep sauce pan on medium.
  2. Add carrots, and make sure they are thinly sliced enough as they take awhile to cook.
  3. Once they start to brown, add in the peppers, mushrooms and garlic.
  4. In a separate pan, heat the remainder of the oil and brown tofu on both sides. Set aside.
  5. Once vegetables are slightly browned and partially cooked, add in your red curry paste and mix to combine.
  6. Next, add in the broth, sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, tumeric, salt, pepper and juices from the limes to the vegetable mixture. Allow to simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes.
  7. Lastly, add in the coconut milk and tofu. Allow for the flavors to combine and simmer on low for 10-15 more minutes.
  8. Stir in the torn cilantro a few minutes before serving. Turn heat off and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Note that the mixture will be like a soup the first time you eat it. If you store it with rice before reheating, it will be more like a traditional thai curry.