In the spirit of the holidays and all the social gatherings that come with them, local author and food writer Suzanne Corbett asked our President Richard Nix, Jr. for some hosting tips. Here are 5 ways to make hosting a dinner stress-free.
- Play with your menu. Consider what you enjoy preparing, as well as what you think will appeal to your guests. If it’s an annual tradition in your home, you may already know your menu, have tweaked your recipes, and memorized the schedule for preparation. Each year, you might want to add a little something special, such as a festive holiday drink like a triple-chocolate mocktini. This is great for when guests arrive, or to end the evening.
- Focus on the main course. Paying special attention to the star of the show will really make your menu memorable. Thinking outside of the box from your usual ham or turkey, you can always offer Cornish game hens or a delicious vegetarian main course, like a brown butter butternut squash ravioli with roasted vegetables. Keep the menu small so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many steps.
- Be besties with your kitchen and especially your oven. If you are working with limited counter or oven space, map out your schedule with times for cutting, preparing and baking. The more detailed and strategic you are, the more likely your guests will be fed before bed. Truthfully, it’s a lot thinking, planning and organizing that really make the difference. You might take this opportunity to utilize other options, from the slow cooker to the outdoor grill. Perhaps you can phone a friend, family member or neighbor. Sometimes, more than one cook in the kitchen is helpful and fun!
- Taste the food before you serve it to your guests. Just a tiny taste will give you the opportunity to slightly adjust the seasonings before the guests indulge.
- Clean as you go! This task makes it all so much easier and more pleasant. You will also have a place to pack up leftovers to share with others or save for your own family to eat the next day.
Use these tips, and chances are your holiday dinner will be a success! To jump-start your planning, here’s a recipe for a triple-chocolate mocktini. Enjoy!
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE DECADENT MOCKTINI
2 ounces Oberweis Chocolate Milk
1 ounce Heavy Whipping Cream
1.5 ounces Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Creamer
1/2 ounce Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrup
1/2 ounce Toasted Marshmallow Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously for 15–20 seconds; double strain with a fine mesh strainer into preferred glassware.
Garnish, if desired by drizzling each glass with Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrup. Top with Reddi Wip Barista Sweet Foam (canned), and sprinkle with mixture of crushed cocoa nibs and sea salt.
View the full article published in Gazelle Magazine, here.