New Year’s Day Brunch: Tips for Throwing the First Party of 2015

The ball has dropped. The toasts have been toasted, the kisses kissed, the countdown counted down. Maybe there are overflowing ashtrays, broken glass, a dress balled up in a corner where you left it. Or maybe just two champagne glasses in front of the TV. How you spend New Year's Eve is up to you; how you spend New Year's Day, leave to us.

New Year's Eve is renowned for its excess, yet New Year's Day gets short shrift, relegated to hangover recovery. This year, celebrate it. This make-ahead buffet allows you to live it up the night before and wake up to a ready-to-eat festive brunch. So whether you find yourself facing a visit from the in-laws or are 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: starch, carbs, eggs, and something sweet. Of course, you don't need indulgent party plans as an excuse; simple, make-ahead preparation is welcome any time. There’s a bubbly cocktail for those needing to cut 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
The combination of sourdough bread, eggs, sour cream, and chiles makes this dish a shoo-in for brunch.

Flank Steak and Arugula Salad
Peppery arugula, sweet bell peppers, and seared steak combine in this healthy, flavorful salad.

Monkey 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.

Baked Ginger Sweet Potatoes
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.

Jicama and Orange Salad
This is a quick, simple salad that’s packed with flavor, texture, and color—all the things required of a good salad.

Extra-Spicy Bloody Maria
The ultimate hangover cocktail, a good Bloody Mary makes everything better.

Greyhound Cocktail
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).

Smoky Bloody Mary
This smoky version uses barbecue sauce and chipotles in adobo sauce to give the traditional Bloody a nice edge.

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

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

Up to a Week Ahead
1. Pickle the jalapeños for the Bloody Mary bar.
2. Infuse the ginger vodka.
3. Make the salsa verde and vinaigrette can be made, and buy the nonperishable groceries.

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

All that's left for the day of is combining the salad, throwing things in the oven, and lighting one burner to finish the hash. You're ready to face 2015!

NEW YEAR'S DAY BRUNCH SHOPPING LIST

Produce
4 pounds sweet potatoes
3 medium red onions
2 large shallots
2 medium carrots
20 medium cloves (about 2 heads) garlic
1 (6-inch) hand 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