Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Deck the Halls for a Party {Part Two: Food and Drink}

Whether we're hosting two people or fifty, one thing is always certain in our home: there will be cheese. 

Staples of our cheese plates usually include: cheddar, brie, gorgonzola, almonds, some kind of charcuterie, and green olives. Sometimes I'll throw in honey or jam. Fruit is a nice touch but not always necessary in my book. For our holiday party I purchased pomegranates, satsuma oranges, and teeny tiny lady apples for some edible decoration. A cheese plate is great because it can fill up a lot of people and is so, so easy. I get very stressed out if I have food in the oven that I need to keep an eye on in the middle of a party. Keep it simple! 

More after the jump...

I have a huge sweet tooth, so I selfishly always include something sugary and usually bond over chocolate with guests who share my addiction. This past weekend I used the same Smitten Kitchen chocolate chip cookie recipe that I discovered this Thanksgiving. Brownies are Ghirardelli from the box. Can't go wrong. 

I like to spread out chips, nuts, and candy for guests to nibble on. 

A vegetable platter completely negates the cookie calories. (Amazing how that works!) A good one can be pretty inexpensive to put together if you have some time and don't buy one pre-made. Everything can be chopped up the day before and stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, so the day of the party all you have to do is throw everything onto a tray. Here's the improv dip pictured above, which came about because I was too lazy to go to the store and get sour cream for the dip I usually make: a pack of cream cheese, 4 oz of feta cheese, 3 cloves of garlic, dill, and celery salt and olive oil blended in a food processor. Surprisingly good. We had a bit leftover, so I used it the next day as an omelet filling. Yum! 

The only somewhat labor intensive food we served was the bacon from this post, pictured above in the upper left hand corner. John cooked six packages of bacon and it was gone in the first hour. I'm telling you, this stuff is magic! 

We kept some white wine chilling in an ice bucket on this West Elm tray until a very generous guest showed up with eggnog which quickly took center stage. Whisky and freshly grated nutmeg were fantastic additions to the nog. 

We also had two types of punches: John's whiskey sours (I'll share the recipe for those here at some point!) and rosemary gin fizz, which I discovered here. Both are deceptively boozy and were big hits. 
I don't have photos of either punches because I stopped photographing after I was caught rather obnoxiously arranging bottles for this photo as guests began to arrive.

Hope you enjoyed these holiday entertaining posts! Do you have any good party tips? I'd love to hear from you in the comments! xo Christine