New Years 2012 – A Departure From The Norm

WhiteWineCoconutShrimpHow to ring in the year with a Paleo-style New Years finger-food feast!

In my experience, New Years Eve parties are all about finger food; and often you find yourself well over-done by the time the party ends. Well, hopefully I can suggest a few alternatives (though similar) to the standard New Years fare. And yes, these will be on display at my own party, and hopefully they’ll have been completely consumed before the Midnight Bell rings!

Cocktail Shrimp

Instead of cocktail shrimp, try my White Wine Coconut Shrimp recipe. I realize that the cocktail shrimp is all about the cocktail sauce, and I really don’t want to invent a Paleo Cocktail Sauce, since there are tons of them already posted, and a quick google search will find you one or another version. Instead, I’ve suggested one of my household favorites, which I’ve already posted. And to make it even better: it’s quick and easy!

Veggies and Dipping Sauce

CilantroSauceStylingI love good dipping sauce as much as the next Paleo-guy, and have tried my hand (mostly successfully) at creating my own. For tonight, though, I’m going to recommend a tried and true recipe, already posted on my blog: Cilantro Sauce. It’s quick enough to make, and quite delicious. Also, it’s all-diets friendly, so anyone can enjoy it as much as you do!

For the veggies: I recommend long-cut zucchini, long-cut carrots, and long-cut cucumbers. These are great options, because most people can enjoy them, and they don’t lose their flavor very quickly. Also, they have a mild flavor, so they’ll showcase the sauce nicely! If you need a few more veggies, you can easily fall back on the standards: broccoli, cauliflower, and red peppers.

Meats and Cheeses Platter


Steckler Grass-Fed Raw Aged Cheddar

While cheeses are not strictly Paleo, there are times when bending the rules a little is appropriate, and cheese can be an incredibly satisfying treat. The tricks to finding the highest quality cheeses, with the most valuable fats and least additives is to look for artisan raw-milk cheeses. Also, to make sure to avoid any lactose issues, always choose hard cheeses like cheddar and parmigiana.

For the meats portion of the platter, go with the less-processed meats when possible like roast beef, roast ham, or smoked meats. Smoked meats make great finger foods! If you’re set on a processed meat like sausages, choose your sausages and processed meats with care, and ALWAYS read the ingredients (I’ve seen both wheat and soy in some sausages, so be careful). Some really high quality artisan sausages are perfect for this kind of special occasion, and like the cheeses, can be a real treat for the occasional party (once a year on New Years Eve is occasional enough, right?).

Drinks and Alcohol

I’ll be keeping it simple this year. But that doesn’t mean you have to, right? For some good, comfortably healthy guidelines, follow the guidelines set out by Urban Paleo Chick in her New Years Eve Partying Paleo Style post from earlier today. For quick reference: stick to wine, rum, and tequila; avoid grain alcohols, sugary drinks, and energy drinks. Here’s what I’ll be serving:

Paleo Hot Chocolate

I’ll be making this from scratch using baking chocolate, honey, coconut cream, water, and seasoning to taste with salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. I will likely end up writing up a recipe for this eventually, but for now just loosely follow this recipe for 4 servings:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup melted chocolate, unsweetened
  • 6-8 tablespoons honey (start with 6, and sweeten to taste)

Heat all of the above until steaming, but not boiling. Mix and let cool to tasting temp; add salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in small amounts, stirring and tasting until it’s good. Add more honey after adding the salt and spices if it needs it.

Paleo Limeade Margaritas

  • 2 whole limes (with the skins)
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Several sprigs of mint

Blend the limes, ice, and honey. Finely chop the mint. Pour 2/3 of a cocktail glass with above mixture, fill the remaining 1/3 with a good tequila (please don’t use the cheap stuff), add mint on top and stir.

And the champagne:

I love all the different versions of grape alcohol. I am, by no means, an expert on these, but I do follow some people who are. If you want some ideas about how to put together a good champagne spread for New Years, take a look at one of my personal favorite Wine Gurus: Mark Oldman and his video-blog post about champagne: $14 or $80 Champagne where he describes a few champagnes, and ends up recommending that it’s not necessary to break the bank for a good glass of champagne. Thanks Mark!

And finally: Enjoy the party!!

Feel free to fill up my comments section with other finger-foods you’ve chosen to enjoy – I love hearing from you readers!

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