Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fashionable Holiday Entertaining Made Easy - Dinner Plans

Holiday Entertaining is a SNAP with my helpful tips. Designer Ray & I at Christo Fifth Ave.
Yes, the Holidays are officially here but you don't have to panic. Whether you are cooking your first holiday dinner at home or visiting with friends and family, here are some sure fire ways to pull it all off in style!

On Location Holiday Entertaining
If you do not have enough seating space or are unable to cook and serve an entire holiday meal at your home, consider hosting your banquet at a restaurant. Most establishments allow your to bring your own spirits and you can even choose to have your guests served simply cocktails or coffee and dessert. This is a lot less of a hassle for you and they can go to Grandma's if they want turkey and all the trimmings! The main thing is that you still get to play the gracious host and spend some quality time with friends and family.

Can't cook? Make reservations! The Lighthouse Restaurant-Chelsea Piers, NYC
Entertaining at Home? Let Guests Help Themselves
I admit that I love cooking and host a traditional holiday dinner at my house for nearly every special day starting with Thanksgiving. I've learned to take the pressure off by setting out chilled Sewansecott oysters and clams, deviled eggs, cheese and crackers, coffee, tea, etc. for guests to help themselves too while I tend to the turkey.

Healthy Holiday Snacking-Lance Whole Grain Cheddar Cheese Crackers 

Tea, preserves, Hum Bugs and biscuits by Crabtree and Evelyn for my guests
Share the Wealth-Ask Guests to Bring Side Dishes & Dessert
If this is your first time hosting a holiday dinner, there is nothing wrong with asking your guests to pitch in. You can even use little chalk boards as shown here to show the name of the dish and who made it. Again, laying everything out buffet style allows guests to help themselves.

Serving guests buffet style
Put your self in charge of that turkey or ham and ask guests to bring: candied yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, a tossed salad, etc. You can even ask them to bring their favorite pie or dessert. This will allow you to focus in on just ONE job without having to worry about multitasking.

My Apple Crisp: Pies like these can be brought in by guests. 
Have an Open Bar
It's always good to offer wine to go with those cheese and crackers. Your guests can help themselves to premixed drinks, cocktails and delicious wines if you make them available buffet style. You might want to try Lo Fruit Organolicious Real Fruit Blend Beverage in Mango & Pomegranate Mojito and Acai-Blue naturally flavored concentrates. These offer a low glycemic index and mix great in all sorts of drink recipes. Here's one from the Ultimate Bar Book The Comprehensive Guide to over 1,000 Cocktails by Mittie Hellmich:


Old San Juan Bar Recipe

1 1/2 ounces of Gold Rum
1/2 ounce Lo Fruit Pomegranate Mojito
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Garnish with Lime Wedge

Shake the liquid ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain off ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Run the lime wedge around the rim, squeeze it over the drink and drop it in.

Pour a drink for yourself and spend time with guests!
Oysters Rockefeller at the bar.

Showing Off the Main Event-Presenting the Roast
So this is your time to shine! If you've followed my tips here, you will have more time for yourself and the roast turkey or baked ham. Take off that apron, slip on some heels and a pretty cocktail dress to bring your creation to the style! Here is where you should invest a little in your cookware. I roast AND serve my turkey in a Mauviel of France Copper Roasting Pan.

Mauviel Copper Roaster with Rack
and Creekside Farms French Herb Wreath
It is so beautiful yet functional. I lift out the turkey using the rack and make the gravy right in the pan by de-glazing it over two stove burners. My no fail roasting method: Start by roasting your turkey breast side DOWN at 425 degrees for 1 hour. Take it out and flip it over breast side UP for the remainder of the cooking time at 325 degrees. Breast meat will be juicy and flavorful. 
Serving your roast is your Ta-Dah moment so bask in it!

Make the perfect presentation! Mauviel of France

Holiday Hair and Makeup by Ray - Top Designer, Christo Fifth Ave., NYC
Cookware & accessories c/o the companies mentioned here within.

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