New Year's Eve. I've probably mentioned before that this is my favorite holiday. It's all about celebrating fresh starts with my closest group of friends. It's also become a tradition over the past few years that Larry and I host NYE at our house. And you know, I love the idea of entertaining. I always vow to do it more often - something about having our friends together in our home and sharing food and drinks just makes me happy. But I always forget how much work it is. And this year, we clearly overextended ourselves. We hosted at our house THREE TIMES in the week before New Year's Eve and by the time the last party of the year came around, I was spent. (Note to Self: Don't host three times in one week! Dumb idea!) The morning of the 31st, I even said to Larry "Can we cancel?" to which he replied "Well, we'd definitely be assholes if we canceled a New Year's Eve party on December 31st", followed by "But I'm not above being an asshole." Now, really, I'm just kidding - I never would've canceled, but I was worn out and as we prepped for the party that afternoon, I gave up on my ideas of fancy decorations and focused on the food. The "decorations" ended up consisting of bottles of liquor. Decor you can drink? Win win!
You say bar, I say decor.
We usually pick a theme and ask all our guests to bring a dish to share. Several of our friends really enjoy cooking, so it's a fun challenge and a good excuse to test out new recipes. A few years ago we hosted an International Wine & Cheese NYE party and our friends chose a country and brought a wine/cheese/dish from that country. This year, Larry and I started thinking of themes way back in November, but we were stumped. We nixed lucky foods, sliders, a chili cook-off, and a black & white party. In desperation, a few days before New Year's Eve, we decided our theme was On a Stick.
But as we discussed the theme with our friends during our Pinstripe Bowl party, we started having second thoughts. What if everyone brought meatballs? (I love meatballs, but we probably didn't need 12 dishes of them.) What if everyone thought the theme was lame and just stuck a bunch of toothpicks in regular food? (Ok, that would've been kind of funny. We don't take ourselves too seriously around here.) I was even cursing the theme myself as I attempted to make bacon and goat cheese balls that melted into a puddle and wouldn't stay on a stick. (I ended up serving it as a dip. Yes, I'm a cheater.)
Anyway, I needn't have worried. All our guests rallied around the challenge and brought a wide array of delicious offerings. We dined on shrimp, scallops, chicken skewers, mini sandwiches, sweet potatoes on a stick, dumplings, popsicles, and yes, meatballs! It was all fantastic. (Though I was a little sad that no one brought corn dogs!)
Guess what else we had on a stick? Gravy. No, not the sauce. The dog. Yes, our greyhound swiped a shrimp skewer, and scarfed the shrimps and an 8" POINTY WOODEN SKEWER all in one bite. Several days later and he's seen no ill effects, other than my wrath. Jerk.
So we pulled it off. But the night flew by, and before I knew it, the clock struck 12, the kitchen was a disaster, I hadn't taken any photos, and I hadn't even gotten the chance to chat with all our guests! Maybe in 2013 I'll learn to be a better hostess. Or at least I'll learn to not attempt to entertain three times in a week!
I have such inspiring friends: All of these ladies are small business owners. (And all of us are drinking moonshine.)