Five rules of entertaining during the holidays (and really anytime) that will ensure success~let’s get right to the point because I know your time is crunched~
1. Make it easy for you and your guests. Nothing fussy and complicated. It’s all about the camaraderie. Grazing around a big table creates a communal family atmosphere that’s inviting and relaxing. Plus, there’s tons of warmth that’s spread because people who may no know each other well, or at all, could be standing beside the same dish and conversation can naturally spark! Yummmy new friends all because of food!
2. Lay out a spread that sings of beautiful colors, textures, flavors and styles. Center your table with a few candles and collection of fresh flowers in small, eclectic vases that are short and easy to reach across. And, by all means, get your friends involved~who doesn’t love getting their hands ‘dirty’ and helping out! So save some of those ‘little’ things until the end when folks arrive and they say, ‘How can I help?’ Well, put ’em to work!
3. Have a variety of nibbles and bites~from fresh/dried fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, olives, cured meats and cheeses to hot and cold dips, chips, breads, dipping oils, wings and more. Then settle on one ‘statement’ dish like a vegetable paella, a big pot of beans with toppings. Maybe a huge bowl of pasta. Wings. Whatever you want to claim as your trademark statement nibbles!
4. Stack plenty of small plates and bowls, different sizes (but mostly small) and shapes. Consider a heavy grade paper entertaining plate if you’ve really got a slew of folks coming. If utensils are needed, make sure it’s just one, like a spoon or fork. Use decorative paper napkins when you have a crowd. If it’s a small group, then spring for cloth napkins.
5. Keep refills of ingredients on the kitchen counter, so it’s easy to get to when you see things are running low. When the ‘statement’ dish runs out, just remove it from the table (unless you have more making it easy to refill) and let the grazing continue.