Menu of the Week: Welcome to My New Year’s Day Open House

Frank Melanson, my design adviser (and sous chef for the weekend), prepares red potatoes for roasting.


Many years ago I noticed that those of us who have little-to-no interest in football didn’t have much to do on New Year’s Day. That realization inspired me to invite friends over for an open house, and I’ve been doing it annually ever since.  It being my open house, it’s very much centered on food. Sometimes I do an ethnic theme, sometimes an assortment of dishes I’ve enjoyed making during the year, and sometimes my friends are guinea pigs for culinary experimentation.  Thirty to forty people drop in to my cozy abode during the afternoon, and it is the only large-scale entertaining I do at home all year. In order not to be stressed, I like to plan the menu a week to ten days ahead, to do the shopping two days ahead, and to do nearly all the prep and cooking a day ahead. I began by using paper and plastic, but I’ve since acquired all the plates, silver, glasses and napkins I need, so nothing gets thrown away. As my friends are an eclectic group, I have vegetarian and vegan dishes, and usually at least one involving fish or fowl. When I’m in the middle of a mountain of prep, I typically wonder if it is worth all the work, but later, seeing so many people I love gathered in my home, I just feel happy.  And the warm, energetic afterglow lingers on for hours after the final guest has departed.  As for the work,  some good friend always steps forward to pitch in.  So, to all those who’ve helped, and to all those who’ve attended my open houses, I say a deep “thank you.”  Menus for my 2011 and 2010 open houses and a recipe for pumpkin and sesame seed crunch bars appear after the jump…


Pumpkin and Sesame Seed Crunch Bars (wheat and gluten free), recipe after the jump.

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