New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate not only the passing year, but the year to come. And this usually entails a party. If it’s your turn to host this year, keep the following tips in mind.
1) Don’t try to do everything yourself! As much fun as it is to prepare an entire spread and have all of the various drinks for your guests (and I’m guilty of this), remember to keep it simple. Have a few snacks and a drink or two, but encourage your guests to bring a bottle of wine or champagne or sparkling cider and/or finger food to share. You’ll get to spend more time with your guests, and be a better host as a result.
2) Prepare yourself for some overnight guests. While you may not need to, it’s always better to be prepared for someone overindulging in the vino. We may not all have a spare bedroom, but even a sofa with a blanket and pillow will do. And don’t forget to raid your camping gear! Have a blow-up mattress ready to be placed on the living room floor.
3) Cleaning has two options, but I prefer the latter. To make it easier, clean as needed, such as when people appear to be done eating by keeping the sink filled with soapy water. I know some of you have dishwashers, but we don’t, and this is my suggestion! The other option is to take note when most people have finished with plates and take a minute to rinse and stack them to be washed the next day. I mean, c’mon, it’s New Year’s Day, you won’t be up till noon anyway, and lord knows you didn’t make any plans, right? So plan on a late start, fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash your stemware first, and then everything else. And because it’ll be a late start to a lazy day, why not go ahead and start your late lunch/early dinner by making a pot of Black Eyed Peas.
Black Eyed Peas
1lb Italian sausage (hot or sweet or a combination)
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups water or stock (I use 2 cans beef stock and 2 cans chicken stock)
1lb bag dried black eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
salt and pepper to taste
Crumble and cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. Stir in sweat the onion (that means cook till slightly translucent but not browned.) Add the water or stock and raise the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and add the peas. Lower the heat to low to medium-low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 3-4 hours. Season with salt and pepper during last half-hour, if needed.
Have a Happy New Year’s!
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