Holiday Party 101 by Family Features

Catering your own New Year’s Eve party this year? Then do what the catering pros do — shop smart, add luxurious touches and do as much as you can ahead of time.

First of all, shop like a caterer. Select good quality frozen hors d’oeuvres like mini quiches, crostini or cooked shrimp that only need to be crisped in the oven or served at room temperature. Frozen cakes and miniature cream puffs only need thawing, a drizzle of wonderful sauce and a holiday garnish to look and taste great. Affordable luxuries like caviar and fine chocolates make a festive statement without costing you hours in the kitchen.

Secondly, consider this caterer’s secret: Quality ingredients need only simple preparation to dazzle. You can easily begin roasting a beef tenderloin in the oven while preparing the Crab and Ruby Grapefruit Salad with premium ingredients. Accompany your party dish with an effortless but gourmet sauce or dressing that can be made ahead of time to really wow your guests.

And finally, do what caterers do: Let “make ahead” be your mantra. The more food preparation you can do before your party, like making and freezing the fabulous Ginger Champagne Granita, the more you’ll relax and have fun. After all, it’s your party.

For more great holiday foods and recipes, visit your local Sam ’s Club or shop online at


Perfect Wines for the Season

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the array of wines available and uncertain on what to choose? To help, follow this guide for wines to compliment a New Year’s Eve party, to wrap as gifts or to serve with dinner. This selection of award winning wines provides both great quality and value, and all are available at Sam ’s Club. To learn more about great wine and meal pairings, please visit


—Moet et Chandon White Star

Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Brut

—Dom Perignon

Pair With Dinner

—Montevina Terra d’Oro Red Zinfandel

—Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon

—VEO Grande Cabernet Sauvignon

Great Gifts and Party Pleasers

Nachtgold Eiswein

—Mezzacornoa Pinot Grigio

—Francis Coppola Merlot


Crab and Ruby Grapefruit Salad With White Wine Vinaigrette

Winter greens are topped with delicate grapefruit and crab for a light salad that provides a break from the rich flavors of the soup and the main course to follow.

Makes: 8 servings

            2          bunches watercress, washed and dried

            1/2       pound Belgian endive, washed, dried and torn into pieces

            3          cups baby spinach or arugula, washed and dried

            2          cups lump crab meat

            3          ruby grapefruits, peeled and segmented


            2          cups dry white wine (Fume Blanc or


            2          medium shallots, peeled

                                    and finely minced

                        Grated zest of 1 large lemon

            2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice

            1          tablespoon white wine vinegar

            1          teaspoon salt (more if needed)

            1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

            1          to 1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

            1          cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the vinaigrette, place wine in saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and reduce to 1/2 cup liquid. Remove from heat and add shallots and lemon zest. Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue whisking and add oil; stop to taste (you may not need all the oil). Dressing should be tangy and full flavored. Set aside. Dressing can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

In large bowl, toss together greens, crab and grapefruit. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly.



Chef Sarah ’s Chocolate Sauce for Cream Puffs

With the addition of a luxurious chocolate sauce, frozen cream puffs from Sam ’s Club (Poppies International) are an elegant conclusion to this festive meal. Garnish the plate with toasted almonds or hazelnuts. This silky sauce can be served immediately, or cooled and refrigerated up to 2 weeks. Reheat slowly in the microwave.

Makes: 8 servings

            1-1/4    cups water

            1/2       cup sugar

            1/4       cup light corn syrup

            3/4       cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

                         (Dutch processed)

            1            Pinch of salt

            2          ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

            2          tablespoons unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to simmer.

Separately in a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and salt. Whisk into hot water mixture, making sure to break up any lumps of cocoa. Whisk until well combined; remove from heat.

Break up bittersweet chocolate and whisk into hot cocoa mixture. When it is melted, add butter and continue whisking until well combined and smooth. Serve over frozen cream puffs once sauce is slightly cooled.




Crab and Ruby Grapefruit Salad With White Wine Vinaigrette and Chef Sarah ’s Chocolate Sauce for Cream Puffs


Ginger Champagne Granita

Makes: 6 servings

            1          bottle Veuve Cliquot

                                    Ponsardin Brut champagne

            2          to 3 teaspoons freshly

                                    grated ginger

            6          tablespoons sugar

            2          tablespoons lemon zest

Put all ingredients into heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring constantly.

Pour into bowl and cool to room temperature. Pour mixture into 8-inch square metal baking pan. Freeze until icy around edges (about 45 minutes). Use a fork to rake frozen edges toward the center. Repeat raking into the center every 30 minutes until frozen through, about 5 hours total. Cover; keep frozen.

To serve, use large spoon or ice cream scoop to mold. Serve in a martini glass, frosted parfait glass or in a small dish. Garnish with fresh mint and berries. This can be made up to 2 days ahead.