Are you planning a New Year’s open house, throwing an impromptu party for a few friends or just want primo snackage on hand? This celebratory fare is what I depend on to see me through. Yes, I do like using citrus in the kitchen this time of year; I’m also quite fond of cranberries. When I’m in the mood for a cocktail, a mimosa is high on my list. Who says they’re just for brunch? Not me.
And I must add that once you add Grown-up Onion Dip to your repertoire, you’ll never reach for that packet of instant onion soup mix or container of refrigerated dip in the store ever again.
Not only are Beef Tenderloin Sliders with Cranberry Orange Relish an elegant party snack, but the tenderloin can also be served as a fancy main course with your favorite side dishes. You can also build a hearty sandwich on crusty bread for a filling lunch.
Onion dip is a cinch to make in a food processor, if you have one. However, simply using a sharp knife to chop those onions works well, too. You’ll want to make a lot of it. Serve warm or at room temperature with potato chips, assorted crackers, toasted baguette slices or crudité. Go ahead and spread it right on to the tenderloin sliders. It’s delicious on burgers, spooned onto chicken¬—I could go on, but I trust you’ll figure it out.
As for these seasoned crackers, I tasted them for the first time at a holiday gathering years ago. When I raved about the crunchy well-spiced tidbits to the host, who was in his 80s, he merely waved me away and said, “Oh, those are just ‘dickied-up’ crackers.” He couldn’t believe I’d never heard of them before. Forevermore, these crispy crackers with their sprinkling of seasonings are part of my holiday menu.
Whether your celebration includes a big bash or you have a contemplative segue from the old year to the new on tap, I wish for all of you a fresh slate that is shiny and bright. May you be content. May you be warmed by family, good friends and good food.

Cranberry Orange Relish
1 cup water
3/4 sugar
1 (12 oz.) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsps. orange zest
1 tsp. orange juice
1 tsp. sugar or honey to thicken juice (optional)
Bring water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add cranberries, apple cider vinegar, orange zest and orange juice. Simmer until all the cranberries have popped. Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl and push the cranberries through the strainer using a wooden spoon. Place the relish in a container and refrigerate overnight.
Boil down juice until syrupy. A teaspoon of sugar or honey may be added. Refrigerate.

Beef Tenderloin
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 rosemary sprigs
Allow the tenderloin to be out of the refrigerator at least 15 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and thyme. Rub this mixture over all sides of the tenderloin.
In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin and butter and brown on all sides. Once browned, place rosemary on meat and roast until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees in about 17 minutes.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Slice the tenderloin across the grain in 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
Serve with slider buns along with cranberry orange relish and a small drizzle of the cranberry juice. Yield: 4-6 servings

Grown-up Onion Dip
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 cup onion, finely diced
A dash or 2 of Tabasco sauce, optional
Beat cream cheese with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in all other ingredients. Spoon into a small baking dish or individual ramekins. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Less time with be needed for individual dishes. Yield: 3 cups

Dickied-up Oyster Crackers
1 (16-oz.) package oyster crackers
1 tsp. dried dill
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4-1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 envelop ranch dressing mix
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine all seasonings, oil, and dressing mix. Place crackers and seasoning mixture in a bowl or zip-lock bag and stir or shake to coat crackers evenly. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring gently half-way through. Yield: 4 cups

Blood Orange Mimosa
1 oz. fresh blood orange juice
1/4 ounce Triple Sec liqueur
8 oz. chilled Champagne or Prosecco
Twist of orange rind and a fresh cranberry or two for garnish
Pour the juice and liqueur into a Champagne flute. Add Champagne or Prosecco and the garnishes. Yield: 1 serving

Karen Schneider is a Coastal Journal contributor. She can be reached at [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.