Holiday Entertaining Tips & Recipes

Contributed by: Lawson Roberts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It also happens to be one of my favorites! I’ll go ahead and admit it, even after being in the entertaining business as long as I have, I simply adore the art form of entertaining guests. There is no better time to do it than over the holidays.

We know that with your busy traveling schedule, making time for holiday entertaining can prove to be tough.

Here are some really fabulous ideas that you can try at home and add that chic festive touch to your next holiday get together that take no time at all to put together.

Candles are king: spice up the scents in your house with festive holiday candles. You can do an installation of sorts on your dining room table or simply  place around the house. It is widely known that our sense of smell is the key factor of us remembering where we were and even the mood we were in. I like to use cinnamon as well as evergreen. Yankee Candle has a remarkable array of options for the holiday season.

Ornament installation: another really fun  idea would be to keep it simple and do glass balls in a clear bowl and sprinkle some fake snow on top. It’s so simple and yet elegant.

Greet your guests with a signature cocktail upon arrival. This absolutely sets a festive tone to the evening. I always enjoy bubbles during the holiday season. A very simple and yet colorful champagne cocktail is the poinsettia.

Poinsettia Cocktail:

  • 1.5 ounces Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup prosecco or champagne

Pour triple sec and cranberry juice into a chilled champagne flute. Top with prosecco or champagne.

 

Huevos  Nog:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Bacardi Anejo Rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces ruby port
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh grated nutmeg

Preparation:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add rum, port, simple syrup and whole egg.
  2. Dry shake to combine ingredients.
  3. Add ice and shake well.
  4. Strain and pour into a white wine glass.
  5. Dust with nutmeg.

Treat your guests to a savory cheesecake. Try our smoked salmon cheese cake with a green onion coulis.

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with Green Onions Coulis

  •  1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 pound (2 cups) chopped smoked salmon
  • 2 1/4 cups Green Onion Coulis

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and butter until thoroughly blended, and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the onions and the green and red bell peppers and sauté, stirring and shaking the skillet, for 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, sauté for 1 minute, and remove from the heat.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the eggs in a large bowl until very thick and frothy, for about 4 minutes. Beat in the cream, Gouda, the sautéed vegetables, and the smoked salmon, and beat until thoroughly incorporated and creamy, for about 2 minutes.

Pour the filling over the crust in the springform pan and bake until firm, for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature; if you refrigerate the cheesecake before serving, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, for about 1 hour.

To serve, cut in wedges with a warm with a warm knife and serve each wedge with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the Green Onion Coulis. Yield: 12 to 16  serving

Note: Remove the crusts from a dense, homemade-type white bread, and crumb 3 or 4 slices at a time in a food processor or blender. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 pound (2 cups) chopped smoked salmon
  • 2 1/4 cups Green Onion Coulis

Green Onion Coulis

  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil

Place the green onions, parsley, shallots, and garlic in a food processor or blender and purée. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper, and continue to process. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil slowly until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Serve immediately. Yield: about 2 1/4 cups

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