|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.
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
Wines for the Season
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
—Montevina Terra d’Oro Red Zinfandel
—Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon
—VEO Grande Cabernet Sauvignon
and Party Pleasers
Ruby Grapefruit Salad With White Wine Vinaigrette
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
bunches watercress, washed and dried
cups baby spinach or arugula, washed and dried
cups lump crab meat
ruby grapefruits, peeled and segmented
cups dry white wine (Fume
medium shallots, peeled
and finely minced
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
tablespoon white wine vinegar
teaspoon salt (more if needed)
freshly ground black pepper
to 1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
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.
addition of a luxurious chocolate sauce, frozen cream puffs from
light corn syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
tablespoons unsalted butter
In a small
saucepan, combine water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to simmer.
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.
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.
Ponsardin Brut champagne
to 3 teaspoons freshly
tablespoons lemon zest
ingredients into heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring
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
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.