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A Fête for Foodies

Haven’s Interior

When attempting to plan a New Year’s Eve dinner party, there is one key rule you must abide by.

“Do as much setup as you can ahead of time so that the day-of you’re not crazy,” said Alison Schneider, founder of Haven’s Kitchen, a cooking school and specialty food shop in Chelsea that prides itself on creating a community around delicious and sustainable eating.

For Schneider and the rest of her staff, that also means not doing “anything where you’re stretching yourself” or “anything that you’ve never done before” in the event that a dish comes out over or undercooked, or too spicy or too bland.

“I don’t [prepare] a ton of hot food, because you don’t want to be running in and out,” Schneider said. “Do everything [with] as little back and forth that you have to do as the host—make it very easy breezy but definitely plentiful so that everyone has something and people aren’t hungry.”

Haven’s Kitchen

Schneider advises that a holiday party include a sizeable cheese platter and a bar where guests can serve themselves. To build the party atmosphere, she suggests making a playlist and incorporating dim lighting with candles. To remain comfortable throughout the evening, she typically wears something loose-fitting. The most important thing, she said, is to be relaxed and have a good time.

To help instruct the less experienced on how to prepare for holiday entertaining, Chef Julia Sullivan chalked up two seasonal menus: one for a cocktail-size party, and another for a sit-down dinner. According to Sullivan, chicken pot pie is a good dish to serve to a crowd because it can be made into either individual servings or a communal dish (even more, it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated). The kale salad is likewise a good choice because kale doesn’t die as quickly as other greens once it’s doused with dressing. For a dinner party, Schneider suggests inviting no more than 15 guests, but if you’re having cocktails, invite “double what you think can fit.” Cheers to 2013!

Citrus Cured Salmon with Fennel and Meyer Lemon

Hors d’Oeuvres 

Blue Point Oysters with Apple Cider Vinegar Mignonette

Deviled Eggs with Anna Maria Fish Company Sturgeon Caviar 

Citrus Cured Salmon with Fennel and Meyer Lemon

Smoked Duck Breast with Tin Mustard, Pickled Cabbage, and Pumpernickel Toast

Selection of New York Cheeses with Old Field Farm Honey, Dried Fruit, and Roasted Nuts

Smoked Duck Breast with Tin Mustard, Pickled Cabbage, and Pumpernickel Toast

Sit-Down Dinner

Potato Soup with Anna Maria Fish Company Bottarga and Chives

Kale Salad With Apples, Slivered Almonds, and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with Tin Mustard Vinaigrette
Clawhammer Farms Chicken Pot Pie with Root Vegetables and Mushrooms
Bellocq The Earl Grey Pot de Crème

Take Away: Haven’s Kitchen Granola

Try out two of Haven’s Kitchen’s must-have party menu items at home with these recipes.

Kale Salad with Tin Mustard Vinaigrette
Yield: 8 servings


1 lb kale, washed and torn
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup Cabot clothbound cheddar cheese, grated
2 ea apples, sliced
1 ea small shallot, diced
2 ea lemons, juiced
2 tbsp tin mustard
2 tsp honey
4 oz extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper


1. In a medium bowl, macerate diced shallots in lemon juice for 15 minutes, with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of fresh black pepper.
2. Add honey, mustard and whisk to combine.
3. Add extra virgin olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly to emulsify.
4. Adjust seasoning as desired.
5. Toss kale with sliced almonds, cheese, and apples. Add enough vinaigrette to dress the salad to your liking and toss again.

Yield: 3 cups


3 shallots, very finely chopped
2 cups champagne vinegar
1 cup prosecco
2 tbsp black pepper mignonette
1 sprig tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.

Haven’s Kitchen is located at 109 West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Aves.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Nicole Franzen