New Year’s Day Brunch: Tips for Throwing the First Party of 2017

Your temples might throb, your mouth could feel pasty, and your arms leaden when you wake up to your first full day of 2017. Or you could that bright, chipper person who jumps out of bed for a brisk morning run to start the year off right. Maybe you feel the former yet do the latter, you machine. Whether you partied hard or went to bed early on New Year's Eve, that's up to you; what you do after that first hour of awakening, leave that up to us.

Don't relegate New Year's Day to second-class status, a day devoted to only hangover recovery or Netflix binging. This year, celebrate the day as much (or more than) the eve. This make-ahead buffet allows you to live it up the night before and wake up to a festive, ready-to-eat brunch. So whether you find yourself facing a visit from the in-laws or yours is the designated sleepover house, this spread will take care of a crowd. (Though it never hurts to toss in some good luck.)

Our brunch is engineered to cover all the bases of a good hangover meal: carbs, eggs, and something sweet. Of course, you don't need indulgent party plans as an excuse—simple, make-ahead preparation is welcome anytime. There’s a bubbly cocktail for those needing to take off the edge, and three variations of Bloody Marys for anyone who wants something a little stronger. If your guests are DIY types, you can set up a Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings so that they can doctor their drinks themselves.

THE MENU

Chiles Rellenos Strata
A strata is something layered, and in this case, it's combination of sourdough bread, eggs, sour cream, and fresh, smoky poblano chiles. It's a heavy dish, but there's no cheese, and the bright tomatillo salsa and cilantro will perk up the casserole. All in all, the mix makes this dish a shoo-in for brunch. Get our Easy Chiles Rellenos Strata recipe.

Flank Steak and Arugula Salad
Peppery arugula, sweet bell peppers, and seared steak combine in this healthy, flavorful salad. If you plan on going low-carb, Paleo, Whole-30, gluten-free, or just eating cleaner, this is the dish for you. Get our Flank Steak and Arugula Salad recipe.

Monkey Bread
Monkey Bread is also called "pluckets," a name inspired by how each person plucks a section off the ring to eat it. You'll need a 12-cup Bundt pan and an instant-read thermometer before you get going on this bread. Making this bread is a bit of a time commitment if you do it all at once, but plan ahead and it's no sweat. Get our Monkey Bread recipe.

Baked Ginger Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are so awesome, why reserve special treatment for them for Thanksgiving and Christmas only? Here's a way you probably haven't prepared them. The glaze for these sweet potatoes is made from orange juice, apricot preserves, and spicy ginger, plus a bit of salt to balance out the sweetness. Get our Baked Ginger Sweet Potatoes recipe.

Jicama and Orange Salad
Don't do an ordinary fruit salad. Jicama is a Mexican yam bean or turnip that's often enjoyed raw, as it is here. It's crunchy like water chestnut yet tastes a little like apple. Brightened with juicy orange, mild red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, the salad gets a hit of heat with minced jalapeño. This is a quick, simple salad that’s packed with flavor, texture, and color—all the things required of a good salad. Get our Jicama and Orange Salad recipe.

Extra-Spicy Bloody Maria
Need more help than usual waking up and clearing your head (and sinuses)? This will do the job. The ultimate hangover cocktail, a good Bloody Mary makes everything better. This one takes it to another level. Get our Extra-Spicy Bloody Maria recipe.

Greyhound Cocktail
You know, everything great doesn't have to be complicated. A simple, refreshing mix of vodka and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (add a touch of simple syrup if your grapefruits are a bit too tart) does the trick. You've got your booze and a healthy, Vitamin C-packed citrus that will widen your eyes. Get our Greyhound Cocktail recipe.

Smoky Bloody Mary
A standard Bloody Mary is just not happening for you. Something more unusual is your style, and we're here to provide that unique flavor that your friends haven't had already. This smoky version uses barbecue sauce and chipotles in adobo sauce to give the traditional Bloody a nice edge. Get our Smoky Bloody Mary recipe.

Ginger Bloody Mary
As if you really needed a reason to make ginger-infused vodka. Get our Ginger Bloody Mary recipe.

BRUNCH PREP TIMELINE
Sure, everything can be made ahead, but in what order, you ask? Here are rough guidelines:

Up to Five Days Ahead

  1. Check your supply of serving dishes, individual dishes, and/or disposable plates and utensils. Buy what you're missing.
  2. Buy the nonperishable groceries. Make room in your freezer and get ice. You always need a lot of ice. Always.
  3. Pickle the jalapeños for the Bloody Mary bar. Infuse the ginger vodka.
  4. Make the salsa verde for the strata and the vinaigrette for the steak salad.

Up to 36 Hours Ahead
1. Sear the steak and cook the beans for the salad.
2. Mix the base for the strata.
3. Mix the grapefruit base for the cocktail.
4. Set up the buffet and the Bloody Mary bar.

All that's left for the day of is combining the salad and throwing things in the oven. You're ready to face 2017!

NEW YEAR'S DAY BRUNCH SHOPPING LIST

Produce
4 pounds sweet potatoes
3 medium red onions
2 large shallots
2 medium carrots
20 medium garlic cloves (about 2 heads)
1 (6-inch) piece fresh ginger
1 (2-inch) piece fresh horseradish
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch mint
2 bunches cilantro
6 cups arugula
10 small limes
6 medium lemons
2 medium oranges
1 pound (about 2 small) jicama
2 medium red bell peppers
1 medium English hothouse cucumber
1 pound tomatillos
4 fresh medium poblano chiles
1 pound jalapeño peppers
16 large green olives

Dairy
1 3/4 cup (1 pound) sour cream
15 large eggs
1 quart milk
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter

Meat
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds beef flank steak

Bakery
1 loaf (about 1 pound) sourdough bread

Pantry
2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) olive oil
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 quart apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (from 2 packets dry active yeast)
1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar)
1 jar apricot preserves
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 medium bay leaves
2 teaspoons crab boil spice mix (such as Zatarain’s brand)
1 cup cooked black beans (or 1/2 cup dried)
1 cup cooked black-eyed peas (or 1/2 cup dried)
2 cups pink grapefruit juice
1/3 cup orange juice
3 quarts (12 cups) tomato juice
1 bottle Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 bottle soy sauce
1 bottle barbecue sauce
1 bottle celery seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chipotle en adobo
6 small dried red chiles
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, plus more for seasoning

Booze
8 ounces orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling wine
1 (750 ml) bottle tequila
3 (750 ml) bottles vodka

A version of this story originally appeared in December 2007.

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