New Year’s Eve happens to be my birthday, so I was born to celebrate holidays and special
occasions with friends. Every year, when I’m in town, I like to have a big party on New Year’s Eve. My friends know that when I entertain, the food matters because I put a lot of thought into the menu and the evening’s entertainment.
Whether you plan to host a small gathering of friends or a large party during the holidays, you can start the evening off right with some enticing appetizers.
When people are drinking alcohol, it’s a good idea to serve snacks and appetizers that are high in good fat and/or protein. And because these appetizers come from my latest book, The Age Beautifully Cookbook, rest assured that all of the ingredients are healthful options that will help you feel ready to take on the New Year.
Crab Mango Cocktail
When served in martini glasses, these crab cocktails make elegant appetizers for dinner parties. I use Alaskan king crab legs, but you can also use grilled shrimp or tilapia instead. Semi-ripe mangoes are tarter than fully ripe mangoes and hold their shape better. Depending on your taste for spicy food and drink, adjust the amount of hot sauce and jalapenos.
Crab and other shellfish have selenium, an antioxidant that increases resistance to infection. The mango, lime, and hot sauce deliver plenty of vitamin C, which helps the body resist infection and protects against skin aging.
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup sliced scallions
2 tsp. sliced jalapeños
1–2 tsp. sea salt
1–2 tsp. hot sauce
2 cups diced green (semi-ripe) mangoes
1½ cups diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup julienned young coconut meat
¼ cup minced cilantro
1 cup coarsely chopped, steamed crab meat
- In a glass bowl, combine the lime juice, scallions, jalapeños, salt, and hot sauce.
- Fold in the mangoes, tomatoes, coconut meat, and cilantro.
- Carefully fold in the crab meat without breaking it apart.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Spoon into martini glasses.
Beauty – Promotes vibrant skin and hair and keeps eyes healthy.
Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response
Olive & Watercress Tapenade
A heart-friendly snack, this tapenade is wonderful on crackers or warm bread and even dabbed onto pizza. Olives contain a lot of salt, so if you have hypertension or are watching your salt intake, use low-salt olives.
Olives are full of monounsaturated fats, which are good for the heart. The fat content also delays the passage of the contents of the stomach into the small intestines, giving the stomach’s enzymes more time to work and slowing the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Garlic has allicin, another artery-friendly compound. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin C (an anti-inflammatory), vitamin K, and folic acid, which also protect the heart.
Yields 2 cups
1½ cups tightly packed watercress, without stems
1½ cups tightly packed parsley, without stems
1 cup drained and pitted black olives
1 cup drained and pitted kalamata olives
1 cup drained and pitted green olives with pimentos
¼ cup olive oil
3 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh oregano
Place all the ingredients in a food processor bowl and blend for 5–6 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and blend another 5 seconds or until the mixture is somewhat granular. Be careful not to overblend into a paste.
Cashew and Avocado Dip
This creamy dip is delicious on crackers or raw vegetables. If you thin it out with more water, you can use it as a dressing for salads or steamed vegetables.
Cashews and avocados both contain anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats, which help nourish and hydrate the skin and protect the heart and brain. Ginger is also a potent anti-inflammatory.
Yields 2 cups
1 cup cashews (raw or roasted)
⅓ cup water
¼ cup avocado
3 Tbs. cilantro leaves
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt or salt substitute
½ tsp. minced or grated ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Place all the ingredients in a food processor bowl and puree for 1–2 minutes or until smooth.
Eat your way to good health and have a vibrant 2017!