Monday, December 29, 2014

Vegan Appetizers And Bubbly
A Stress-Free New Year's Menu

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Make it Simple
We've made it past the holidays and have had our share of eating and cooking big meals so it's absolutely fine if you want to celebrate New Year's Eve with a few appetizers and a bottle of bubbly. The following are some of my most popular appetizer posts that you may want to consider.

But First the Bubbly
A lot of people spend big bucks on their New Year's champagne, but our absolute favorite is Roederer Estate Brut - Estate bottled sparkling wine, Anderson Valley. And it's less than $25 a bottle and you can sometimes find it for less than $20. Since Roederer Estate was founded by one of the most famous Champagne houses in France, Louis Roederer, it should be no surprise that it is in the style of French Champagne and just as delicious. Except for the Italian sparkling wine Prosecco (I have no particular favorite brands), Roederer Brut is the only bubbly we drink.

My Favorite Appetizers 

What's a party without a simple Antipasto? Most of these ingredients can be found in a olive bar or in jars at your local market. It's a great alternative to crudités. Or if you prefer, prepare an Antipasto Salad.

Serve an Antipasto with a sliced baguette or GF crackers

Antipasto salad
Vegan, dairy free, and gluten free

Dips are always popular and you can usually make them earlier in the day or the day before (unless it's guacamole or something that would oxidize.) Here are some of my favorites:

Romesco with Almonds, Peppers and Tomatoes
This yummy vegan Catalan Romesco sauce makes a tasty dip and if made with gluten-free bread, can be suitable for your gluten-free guests. 

Romesco sauce
Vegan, dairy free. Gluten free if made with GF bread.

Kalamata Olive Tapenade
This Sweet and Spicy Kalamata Olive and Artichoke Tapenade with Hazelnuts is a crowd pleaser. You can make it earlier in the day or even the day before. 

Kalamata olive tapenade
Vegan, dairy free and gluten free

Raw Red Pepper Dip
Enjoy this healthy, raw Garlicky Red Pepper Dip with Basil and Cashew Cream and enjoy all the cancer-fighting benefits of cruciferous veggies. This can also be made ahead of time.

Raw vegan and gluten free Red Pepper Dip.

Finger Foods
Appetizers that don't require a knife and fork always make entertaining easier. Here are a few of my favorites:

Stuffed Mushrooms
Although most recipes stuff mushrooms with sausage and cheese, this Raw Vegan and Gluten-Free Walnut and Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms are a lot lighter and healthier. Pesto can turn a little brown so don't fill the mushrooms more than several hours before your party. 

Pesto stuffed mushrooms

Since we grow wine grapes we usually make these with fresh leaves but you can use the ones in the can to make these yummy Dolmades. Or make a raw vegan version that uses raw chard leaves and sprouted garbanzos. Both recipes are vegan, dairy free and gluten free. Domades make great appetizers so even if you don't want to go to the trouble of making them, buy them in a local deli.

Dolmades are a popular appetizer

Miso and Ginger-Glazed Eggplant would make a wonderful appetizer for your New Year's Eve party. Prepare them up to the step where you cover them with the glaze. Then cook them under the broiler for the last 5 minutes before you serve them.

Prepare up to this point earlier in the day.
Miso and ginger-glazed eggplant is vegan,
dairy free and gluten free.

Raw Crackers
These will take a day and a half so you'll have to start them right away, but these Raw Vegan and Gluten-Free Zucchini Onion Crackers are delicious and will make a nice accompaniment to your dips. Of course there are lots of vegan and gluten-free crackers and chips available in your local market so you can just purchase an assortment of them to make life even easier.

Zucchini onion crackers

I hope I've given you some ideas for a simple and stress-free New Year's Eve.

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