Your Food and Festivities Survival Guide for Making it through New Year’s Eve and Beyond

The holidays are starting to wind down, but there’s still that mad dash to New Year’s Eve, the lavishly fun and festive foray into the next chapter of your life.  If you’re a diehard foodie like me, your new year’s resolution probably consists of things like wanting to learn how to cook gourmet meals or master the art of entertaining — all while saving money and being as eco-conscious as possible in the process.  It wouldn’t hurt to look fabulous while doing it, either! 

Who are these women who arise looking airbrush perfect, whisk the kids off to school, work a full day and manage a perfectly prepared home cooked meal for dinner anyway?!

With the help of Behind the Burner, I have put together a cheat sheet for navigating the new year in style.

Before we delve into becoming a master chef and entertainer extraordinaire, let’s look like one.  Thanks to Shannon Reed, kitchen couture is as stylish as designer label clothing.  From jackets to aprons, she creates unique chef attire that is anything but uniform, and her selections will shroud you in the confidence you need to take on the task of cooking like a pro.

But what to make?  Recipes in gourmet food magazines are either overly simplified and lacking in the artistry of the craft or too complex, resulting in a dilapidated dish that looks nowhere near as perfect as the glossy photo that accompanies it.  

Chef Amanda Frietag shares her award-winning receipe for Eggplant Caponata that is warm and hearty for the winter months, and perfect for vegetarian and vegans alike.  It’s also suprisingly easy to make, yet looks and tastes like a five-star entree (and it’s absolutely impossible to mess up the plating, giving you picture perfect aesthetics that will dazzle your guests). 

If you’re feeling a bit more daring, you can try Caramelized Scallops by Chef Brian Young, of the famous Tavern on the Green, which are also a toasty complement to the chilly weather, and add some elegance to your table.

For those looking to add a little glamour to their New Year’s Eve fare, why not try the decadent  Sturgeon a la Russe by Chef Marc Taxier of New York City’s celebrated Russion Tea Room.  And thanks to Behind the Burner, you can indulge in a little affordable luxury with a 15% discount on caviar to complete this lavish holiday meal, adding a dollop as the perfect finish to a fashionable feast.

For some of you, slaving in the kitchen may not be your idea of a good time, so how about an impressive cheese platter using Artisinal premium cheese that is festive without the fuss.  This video with Max McCalman will show you how to pair cheese and wines for any occasion.  Now that’s coif-friendly cuisne with all the frills!

We can’t forget about the cocktails to ring in the new year.  Mad scientist of mixology, Xavier Herit, shares his unique recipe for a White Cosmopolitan that you can make at home and serve with a frozen edible flower.  Ooh la la!  Just watching this mixologist in action will inspire your very own cocktail creations. You can also choose from any of these 12 sustainable spirits that give drinking responsibly a whole new meaning or enjoy special savings from Behind the Burner on select liquors through December 31st.

And you can skip the baking and extensive dessert preparations by serving Maribelle’s Chocolates or Amano’s Chocolates, both also available at a discount to keep your party on a budget. If any of you still have the energy, you can also seek sweet inspiration from pastry chef, Francois Payard’s book. Chocolate Epiphany

Whichever path you decide to take, you’ll be armed with the tools, tips and tricks to eat, drink and cook better than you thought possible.  Sign up to Behind the Burner today with code ‘EatDrinkBetter’ to experience special member privileges, discounts and culinary secrets from today’s top chefs.  Next week, our interview series returns with Sarah Endline of the Sweet Riot, whose cacao-infused ‘peace’ candies are aimed at creating a healthy planet and a multicultural world, followed by famed nutritionist, Jodi Greebel, author of The Little Black Apron who will help you eat extravagantly healthy, Yes, it is possible.

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