Recently I got in touch with cookbook author Katie Lee for an article I was writing for ElleDecor.com about time-saving tips for the holidays. She passed on some good holiday entertaining insight. Here are the outtakes I didn’t use in the article but thought they were worth sharing.
Be the “host-est with the most-est”
Do all of the set-up for the party and as much cooking as possible the day before. The day of the party, you will feel so much more relaxed having most of the work behind you. Take time to get dressed to the nines (but remember to stay away from bell sleeves or light colors so as to avoid any kitchen wardrobe disasters), put on your best jewelry, and a bright lipstick. The host sets the tone for the evening, so if you feel good, your guests will too.
Make punch your holiday signature cocktail
I always have a signature cocktail for parties. Punch is retro and has a really festive vibe, as people tend to gather around the punch bowl, making it the perfect drink for a holiday party. Bonus: you can easily make large batches, so serving is a cinch.
As soon as the holiday season rolls around, I go grocery shopping and to the liquor store to stock up on all the staples. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of cooking or preparing for a party and to realize that you’re out of something. I also buy a few cases of red and white wine to keep on hand.
If the thought of cooking for a big group during the holidays just sounds overwhelming, no worries. I like to make assembly-only hors d’oeuvres and desserts, leaving more time for me to focus on the main course. For cocktail hour, I’ll wrap prosciutto around breadsticks, spread gorgonzola on crostini and top with a dollop of fig jam, and serve smoked salmon on blinis. For dessert, a trifle is simultaneously simple and elegant. Just layer cubed store-bought pound cake with fruit, an instant pudding, and whipped cream, then top with chocolate shavings. I set up a self-serve coffee bar during dessert with a carafe of coffee, creamers, and liqueurs.
(BTW, I loved Katie Lee’s former, Nate Berkus designed NYC townhouse.)
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