For this global take on a festive New Year's Eve dinner, we created a mash-up that draws on the flavors of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Europe. We start with a simple green salad, but dress it with a blend of coconut milk and sherry vinegar, then stud it with dried apricots and cashews.
For the main course, we have a quickly seared tuna steak accompanied by rice flavored with mango puree and tahini. The result is simple, yet rich. We then end the evening with tangerine twirls, an easy but attractive three-ingredient dessert made from frozen puff pastry.
COCONUT CASHEW SALAD WITH APRICOTS
Start to finish: 10 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper
5 ounces baby greens
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced dried apricots
1/2 cup toasted cashews
In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Add the baby greens and toss well to dress. Divide among 4 serving plates, then top with scallions, apricots and cashews.
Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories; 90 calories from fat (56 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 4 g protein; 50 mg sodium.
SEARED CURRY-RUBBED TUNA WITH MANGO-TAHINI RICE
Mango puree can be made fresh by pureeing peeled and pitted mango (or frozen mango chunks) in a food processor. Bags of puree also are sold alongside the Hispanic foods in the grocer's freezer section.
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Four 4-ounce tuna steaks
1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
3 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice
1/2 cup mango puree
2 tablespoons tahini
Heat the oven to 200 F.
Rub the tuna steaks on both sides with curry powder, then season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Working in batches, sear the tuna steaks for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to an oven-safe plate and place in the oven to keep warm while repeating with the remaining tuna steaks.
Once all of the tuna is seared and in the oven, in a medium bowl, stir together the rice with the mango and tahini. Season with salt and black pepper. Divide the rice between 4 serving plates, then transfer a tuna steak to each plate.
Nutrition information per serving: 450 calories; 150 calories from fat (33 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 31 g protein; 170 mg sodium.
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes 12 cookies
1 sheet puff pastry (each 17.3-ounce box contains 2 sheets), thawed
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
Zest of 1 tangerine
Heat the oven to 400 F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Unfold the pastry and lay it flat on the counter. Lightly moisten the top of the pastry with water, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Flip the pastry dough over so that the sugar side is against the counter. Lightly moisten the top of the pastry with water, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar.
Roll out the pastry to an 18-by-12-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the tangerine zest evenly over the top. Fold the puff pastry in thirds and press gently with the rolling pin to help it stick. Cut the pastry crosswise into strips 1/2 inch wide. Arrange the strips cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown all over.
Nutrition information per cookie: 25 calories; 10 calories from fat (40 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 0 g protein; 15 mg sodium.