How to Plan a Veggie New Year’s Eve

For a small celebration, portobello au poivre is just the thing.

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By Tejal Rao

I’m at home in Los Angeles, vaccinated, boosted, happy to be alive and absolutely exhausted — frazzled and shattered in ways I didn’t even know I could be. What a year. I’m not going to a party tomorrow, but I’ll celebrate with my husband, a couple of friends, two good dogs in silly hats and a big dinner at home.

I live for this stage of the menu planning, when every single future, in every possible combination, is still possible. I was thinking we’d start with a round of cocktails (see below!) and a few snacks on the coffee table. Maybe some crunchy stir-fried chickpeas, tossed with lots of lemon zest and aleppo pepper, and some tamarind-spiced nuts with cheese, and this very easy beet dip with labneh and olive oil, which I love with spears of cold Persian cucumber and warm lavash.

When we sit down for dinner, I want juicy, smoky portobellos au poivre with creamed spinach and heaps of colcannon with crispy leeks and puffy vegan Yorkshire puds (this new recipe isn’t made with beef tallow, and I can’t wait to try it). Or wait! Maybe I want to make a few puffy, cheesy-edged homemade pizzas instead, with a big, beautiful Sicilian-style citrus salad.

For dessert, I think red wine poached pears with thick, poured cream and juicy pomegranate seeds on top will fit the mood — there’s something so quietly celebratory about whole fruit for dessert — but I’ve also got my eye on this rosemary-honey almond tart. Could I make it all? No. I’ll edit this all down before tomorrow, promise.

Crunchy Chickpeas With Aleppo Pepper and Lemon Zest

Go to the recipe.

Portobello Au Poivre

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Vegan Yorkshire Puddings

Go to the recipe.

One More Thing!

I’m going to clear some space on my kitchen counter so I can set up glasses and garnishes for Rebekah Peppler’s batched 50-50 martini. I’ll mix it tomorrow morning in a big bowl, then pour it all into an empty liquor bottle and pop it into the freezer to chill.

If you want to do the same, you’ll need 9 ounces dry gin, 9 ounces dry vermouth and 4 ½ ounces filtered water. Combine, chill, then measure 3 ¾ ounces for each drink and add garnishes like green olives, lemon twists, tiny cocktail onions a splash of olive brine, or whatever you like.

This recipe makes exactly 6 drinks, so double it and fill/chill a second 750-milliliter bottle if you want to be ready to pour more cocktails. Happy New Year, and see you next week!

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