Ho ho whoa, it’s holiday party time! Always fun, of course, seeing friends and coworkers and tasting all sorts of delicious appetizers, cookies, and drinks.
Back in the 90s, I used to do a rip-roaring holiday buffet for the neighbors each year – I thought of it as the perfect opportunity to serve all of my favorite appetizers in one night and experiment with new ones. I would start cooking and freezing a couple of weeks before the big event, then spend the whole night in the kitchen chatting and cooking my brains out. Great fun, but exhausting.
These days, I edit my menus – and stretch my energy! – a bit more carefully. John and I are hosting his partners and spouses on Sunday, a group of about 70, for a late-afternoon cocktail party. I’m making a few things and having the rest catered (by the fantastic Silver Service, they always do a lovely job), with the goal of leaving the kitchen to greet our guests. The buffet menu is shaking out as follows:
cold, sliced, grilled beef and pork tenderloins with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs (me)
assorted cheeses with crackers and apple slices (me)
warm chicken curry with red pepper skewers
warm puff pastry with cauliflower puree & sauteed mushrooms
warm shrimp spring rolls
mini lemon tarts with raspberries, chocolate truffles, almond triangle cookies (me), & grapes (me)
John and I are doing all the beverages, ice, and set up. I’m renting plates, glassware, and silverware. I’ll complete the decorating and flowers. I’ve done giant parties this way before – plugging in a caterer to help with the most time-consuming tasks and clean up, but taking care of decor, set up, drinks, and a portion of the food myself. It’s pretty much the perfect combination – I get to do what I like to do without killing myself, or our budget.
I managed to put the final touches on the Christmas decorations despite Puppy Louis having a difficult time post-neutering. Bad reaction to pain meds, biting/licking his incision despite the “cone of shame,” special food and narcotics, lots of puppy pain, trips to the vet, antibiotics, and finally…a happily healing pup. A bit more of an adventure than we expected, but all’s well that ends well.