New Year's Eve table spread side shot featured

A Swanky New Year’s Eve

There basically are two scenarios when it comes to New Year’s Eve.

You have the night on the town, late dinner, lots of cocktails, dancing, ball-drop with toasts and lots of shimmer and sequins. And you have the quiet night at home, maybe a family affair with board games watching the New York countdown (even if you are on the east coast) so you can call it a early night.

Yes, I know there are other scenarios, but these two extremes sum it up for many of us.

I just so happen to like the idea of melding these two “parties” together to host an intimate night with friends that has enough glitz and swank to make it feel like a true celebration.

Something chic, yet still informal. This is a night about letting lose, so sitting down to a 2 hour meal isn’t really the way to get the party going.

Lamb lollipops platter close up

I like a buffet set-up with familiar foods that have an upscale twist. Nothing too fussy, but there is still a “fancy” feel to the menu.

Spiralizer sweet potato fries in bowl full side shot

Finger foods are a must. Something that can be eaten standing up with a cocktail in hand or close by is the guideline.

Sliders platter full

Sliders are basic, but can be dressed up with roasted tomato ketchup and sharp white cheddar. It’s just a mini burger, yet it’s slightly unexpected. Everyone needs some sustenance to build a base, and crudité will not cut it.

Sliders platter close up overhead

Sliders platter close up

These spiralized sweet potato fries are super YUMMY and fun to eat. Spiralizing the potatoes allows them to fry up quickly since they are thinner than hand-cut.

Spiralizer sweet potato fries in bowl full

Sprinkle with salt as they come out of the oil and they will be sure to disappear in a hot second or two.

Spiralizer sweet potato fries in bowl close up

I mentioned how I like the idea of giving the food a dressed-up feel. These simple grilled shrimp do just that by being paired with a Thai Coconut Bisque.

Shrimp skewers in cups full

Seafood always feels special and the bisque acts as a luxurious sauce that is both sweet and spicy.

Shrimp skewers in cups close up

This will be the most popular dish of the evening. Fried ravioli stuffed with a crab and artichoke filling.

Crab ravioli platter full vertical

Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. These ravioli can be made a day ahead and rewarmed in the oven when serving time rolls around.

Crab ravioli held

If you want to make this a completely over-the-top appetizer, serve the ravioli with a side of hollandaise sauce. Talk about decadent.

Crab ravioli platter full horizontal

Lamb chops with a spicy pomegranate glaze will literally make peoples’ jaws drop. Served “lollipop” style and drizzled with a pomegranate reduction that lends a seasonal feel, these lamb chops will help to end 2016 on a memorable note.

Lamb lollipops platter full horizontal

Lamb lollipops close up

Not only do they look amazingly festive and elegant, but they taste hella good.

Lamb lollipops platter close up overhead

For dessert, keeping with the finger food theme of things, these Elderflower Crème Brûlée Cupcakes blend casual and sophisticated.

Elderflower cupcakes plated full 1

Elderflower cupcakes platter close up

Who doesn’t love a cupcake? This tender white cake is infused with elderflower liqueur for a slight floral note. The pastry cream also gets a few glugs of the liqueur…wink, wink.

Elderflower cupcakes plated close up

Present the dessert after most of the nibbling is completed. Torch the tops in front of the group. Guys especially love fire. It’s like they become 9 year olds again when they see a flame (particularly after a few drinks).

Now everyone is fed, the fire-show is over and the music gets bumped up a notch. Let the night roll on. You are all set to ring in the New Year!

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