Cheers to Holiday Entertaining! | Try a New Recipe, Make Guests Feel Welcome — and Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead

The holidays provide a wonderful opportunity to gather friends, family, and romantic partners to enjoy great meals — be they formal sit-down affairs or casual dining around a kitchen counter. Keep a few top-level tips in mind, and be adventurous with cuisine, and you’re on the way to a superb season of event-planning.

HOLIDAY TIPS

  • Be Your Own Guest. Plan a party you will enjoy, and your guests will naturally be at ease and feel welcome. 
  • Plan Ahead. Don’t leave anything to the last minute. That opens the door to forgetting something and becoming a harried host who doesn’t have time to enjoy the event. Prep as much as you can ahead of time. And if outsourcing or augmenting with delivery helps make it easier, go for it! 
  • Cocktails & Mocktails. A signature cocktail makes an event even more festive. But with more people forgoing alcohol, be thoughtful and choose a creative mocktail so all guests feel included. 
  • Don’t Forget Décor. Nothing sets the mood like party décor, but it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Fresh flowers, seasonal gourd arrangements, and other ideas set the scene without over complicating things. 
  • Map Out Your Meal. Consider the kind of party you want. Sit-down? Go for a menu that you can plate to impress. Buffet? Plan for self-serving party-pleasing dishes that will keep. It’s also fun to lean into seasonal produce to make the most of the latest harvest. 
  • Craft a Creative Menu. What better way to inspire entertaining than with creative recipes from new cookbooks spanning multiple cultures and cuisines. Here are a few that might inspire original menus for the party season. 

ENJOY THESE NEW COOKBOOKS FOR HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING.
THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, NO MATTER YOUR FRIENDS’ OR FAMILY’S TASTES.


LEARNING KOREAN: RECIPES FOR HOME COOKING
By Peter Serpico with Drew Lazor 

Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning chef Peter Serpico reached back to his Korean heritage to develop more than 100 recipes that offer a new spin on the food of his homeland. His Instant Kimchi offers 11 different versions of the classic food – with scaled back heat to accommodate different family tastes. Some dishes perfect for fall include Acorn Squash Soup and Sweet Potato Noodles. Most Inventive Recipe: a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Korean Army Stew, taking American staples such as Spam and hot dogs and combining with kimchi and Korean noodles. 

BREADSONG: HOW BAKING CHANGED OUR LIVES
By Al Tait and Kitty Tait 

This father and daughter duo shares more than 80 recipes for making homemade breads — a hobby that took off during the pandemic and remains a popular pastime for home chefs. It was also a hobby that not only pulled Kitty out of a severe bout of depression but allowed the family to start their own bakery. Nothing will wow holiday guests like homemade Maple Bacon and Pecan Buns or Cauliflower Gratin Tarts. Most Inventive Recipe: Zatar, Feta and Honey Buns. 

PARSI: FROM PERSIA TO BOMBAY – RECIPES AND TALES FROM THE ANCIENT CULTURE
By Farokh Talati
The Parsi culture dates to the seventh century, when a small group of Zoroastrians fled persecution in Muslim-occupied Persia by settling in the coastal town of Sanjan in India. This unique blend of cultures gave rise to a culinary tradition mixing the foods and seasonings of two different but complementary cuisines. Some recipes well suited for holiday entertaining – with a twist – include Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Turmeric and Masala Ma Dukkar Gos, aka Pork Chop Cutlet with ginger and masala spices. Most Inventive Recipe: Pink Elephant, a rosewater infused gin cocktail.

NISTISIMA: THE SECRET TO DELICIOUS VEGAN COOKING FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN AND BEYOND
By Georgina Hayden

The Greek work Nistisima translates to “Lenten” – relating to fasting and, in this case, abstaining from animal products. The author therefore reaches back to the rich history of traditional vegan cooking from Greece, Cyprus, and other locales to bring dishes featuring seasonal ingredients. Whether serving a full vegan meal, or just healthy sides for a main course, some recipes to try include Crushed Coriander and Olive Potatoes or Spiced Roasted Okra, Molasses, and Herbs. Most Inventive Recipe: Prassinopita, a “green pie” recipe the author invented leveraging the technique of salting the greens instead of steaming or sautéing.

ESSENTIAL
By Ollie Dabbous Michelin

Star Chef Ollie Dabbous takes dishes back to the basics and then elevates them to offer a creative stable of go-to dishes that will wow dinner party guests. One of his more elaborate recipes include Roast Venison with Jerusalem Artichokes, Tarragon and Rye for a sit-down meal, while the more modest Crispy Chicken Wings with Smoked Paprika offers a fancier take on casual dining fare. Most Inventive Recipe: Carrot Tartare with Sunflower Seeds, Mustard, and Tarragon.


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