Tuesday, December 14, 2010

that's entertainment

are you entertaining this holiday season? so much of our celebrating involves family traditions we revisit year after year, which is such a comfort. for my family, rum-spiked hot cider is it on thanksgiving, and perfectly fried potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream on channukah. but it never hurts to infuse some innovation and fresh ideas into the festivities either. here are some ideas that have caught my attention this year.

first of all, anyone having any kind of party at any point in the future, you MUST bookmark this article in which cocktail experts greg and shelley lingren school us on the well-stocked bar. they offer useful tips like which liquors to splurge on (scotch, since people drink it straight), which to go cheaper on (vodka since it's rarely consumed straight and bourbon since it's made according to strict regulations and has to be of a certain quality to even make it to shelves), and they even single out brands in all price ranges. seriously, this is an amazing resource.
i'm always a huge fan of crate and barrel's multicolor napkin sets, but these cotton napkins on a roll are worth a mention too. and given my whole tartan thing at ikea this year, it can't be a surprise that i'm drawn to their paper plaid napkins, or crate and barrel's cotton red and green holiday plaid ones either.
when it comes to sips and bites, there's just something so charming and festive about things in miniature, isn't there? we've all probably been treated to catered parties which use mini spoons and dishes for special treats, but there's no reason we can't do it at home too.

especially with the help of pier 1's tasting party collection, which includes mini tasting spoons, ramekins, martini glasses, cordial glasses, trifle bowls and more. even just looking at the spreads they've put together is inspiring, but with the individual pieces and the twelve-piece sets being so well-priced, it's a done deal, making whatever you put out look so impressive. put a little dip in the base of a mini-trifle bowl and stick some celery and carrot sticks in there, and people have their own portable dip situation. a few swedish meatbals in a ramekin with your sweet or savory sauce heaped on top, and it's balls to the wall...and the couch and the piano, and anywhere else your guests want to hang out.

and as much as people love mini, they love big too; towering, especially. so for thanksgiving, i used root vegetables and nuts and fresh cranberries to create this tower which, all in, cost under $30 (including the tiered stand which was $20 at homegoods).

even the simplest food and drink is elevated to a higher level when you take care in the way it's presented, and the mood is festive and light.

if you're at a loss for what to serve, go with some tried and true favorites like nuts, mixed olives and fresh vegetables (go for all veggies in the same color for the sharpest presentation) and then pepper your selection with some special treats like these.

i always remember one of my favorite barefoot contessa episodes where she recommends buying three apps and making three for a cocktail party. she buys marcona almonds (well-priced at trader joe's, by the way), mixed olives and hothouse cucumber rounds topped with salami rounds. and then she makes ham and cheese in puff pastry, roasted shrimp cocktail with amped up cocktail sauce and blue cheese and walnut shortbread crackers. as ina always says, your friends don't have more fun if you slave in the kitchen to make everything.

check out more honey living posts on entertaining, and of course the honey gift files for everyone on your holiday lists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You'll want to add a facebook button to your blog. I just bookmarked this article, although I had to complete it manually. Simply my $.02 :)

- Robson

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