{Things I Love} :: Holiday Entertaining

So we are full swing in the midst of the holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year! Food, cocktails, friends, family, traveling, gifts, and a whirlwind of social activities can sometimes be a little crazy and exhausting, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things to help make your holiday entertaining a little easier, stylish and a whole lot more fun (and tasty!)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and amazing New Year 2018!

xo Kristen 

Entertainers Gift Box

Entertainers Gift Box 

Who doesn’t love a cozy and fantastic party with a gorgeous cheese board as a centerpiece? This Entertainer’s Gift Box is perfect for a cocktail party bursting with classic goodies like Marcona almonds from Spain, an olive wood serving bowl, sweet and savory spreads: Orange and Fig Jam, Pepper Jelly and Mango Chutney and Cracked Pepper gourmet wafer crackers.

Entertainers Gift Box

The perfect accompaniment for an assortment of cheese, prosciutto, salami, fruit and nibbles – and a beautiful addition for your holiday table!

$60, UncommonGoods.com

Marble and Wood Serving Board

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set

This Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set is perfect for entertaining and goes hand and hand with the Entertainer’s Gift Box to display all that delicious cheese, crackers, salami, nuts and spreads! One side is marble and one side is wood, making it attractive and functional at the same time.

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board

Pair fresh bread and crackers on the wood board with cheese on the chilled marble, or sushi on the cool side with tempura vegetables on the wood. The on-point arrow design unifies the two sections, integrating the contrasting materials. Foam pads on the bottom protect your tabletop. It makes a stylish addition to your tablescape or distinctive hostess gift.

Marble and Mango Wood Board

$55, UncommonGoods.com

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

This rustic Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand is a beautiful addition to your kitchen and handy tool to view recipes on your iPad or to hold a traditional cookbook.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

It has a sturdy wood base and back and collapses or expands to lay it flat or prop it up on your counter.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Designed by Stacy Borocz, who has a carefully curated collection of antique and repurposed home furnishings and culinary accents for over a decade. She attends local markets and old homes, barns and warehouses to find the architectural elements for her designs, and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

$95 Uncommongoods.com

Melting Pot

Fondue Melting Pot 

This Fondue Melting Pot is perfect for melting cheese to accompany your holiday table – serve with pickles, bread, olives, meat, and vegetables. The Melting Pot Includes a Boska Tapas Fondue Pot, Murray’s Fondue Blend,
Murray’s Sopressata Salami,  Crisp & Co. Grand Dill Pickles and crunchy Cipollini Onions.

$110, MurraysCheese.com

Anthropologie Enchante Wine Coupe

Enchante Wine Coupe

These imported Enchante Wine Coupe glasses by Anthropologie are gilded in a gold design and also come in stemless water glasses, stemmed champagne flutes and a small bowl. A gorgeous way to serve cocktails and snacks and ring in the New Year!

$20, Anthropologie

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

This fun Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit comes with all the right ingredients to serve up these citrusy refreshing drinks for your next holiday party – including the brandy, rum, bitters, orange liqueur and glasses. Simply add fresh fruit and juice and voila! you’ve got an amazing cocktail to entertain your friends with.

WINTER SOLSTICE

1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz rum
.25 oz orange liqueur
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1-2 dashes bitters
Orange wheel, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine brandy, rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters.
2. Shake until blended and well-chilled.
3. Strain into a couple glass and garnish with orange wheel.

Makes 1 cocktail

$173.50, Mouth.com

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible cookbook is the ultimate resource for all things holiday entertaining.  With over 565 recipes served up on everything from skewers to spoons, for fun and flavorful mini hors d’oeuvres, amuse-bouches, small bites and finger foods, stylish cocktails and desserts, you are sure to find some inspiration for your next holiday cocktail party!

$14 Amazon.com

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

This Moonglow Cocktail Shaker is a beautiful way to stir, shake and serve all your holiday cocktails in style!

$39 Anthropologie.com

Martini and Sweet Spicy Nuts

Classic Dry Martini

1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.

Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

These Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts I created are perfect for a holiday party! I made sweet mini cranberry apple almond tarts and savory bacon, veggie and cheese tarts but feel free to experiment with the fillings and flavors..so cute and easy to make!

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

This Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. Brimming with creamy cheese, roasted garlic, and tons of savory juicy artichokes with crispy homemade chips for dipping – this one will fly off your holiday table!

Truffle Potato Stacks

Truffled Potato Stacks

These Truffled Potato Stacks are crispy and savory and buttery and delicious! Sliced thin and baked with butter, garlic, parmesan and cheddar cheese and 7 Barrels Truffle Olive Oil in a muffin pan, then dusted with sea salt and thyme and served with tangy and sweet 7 Barrels White Balsamic Vinegar for dipping – they make a perfect appetizer or side dish to your holiday meal!

4 medium potatoes (Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, finely shredded
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling

Preheat the oven 400 degrees F. Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.

In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.

Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.

Serves 6 (approx. 2 stacks per person).

New Years Soup

New Year’s Soup

A hearty and delicious traditional soup served on New Years Day – with black eyed peas and collard greens and ham for good luck and financial blessings for the New Year.

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (14-1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh collard greens
  • Hot sauce for splashing

Instructions

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except collard greens and hot sauce; mix well. Add collard greens on top.

Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours, or until greens are tender. Splash with hot sauce before serving.

Recipe by Mr. Food.com

Lobster Pies

Lobster Pies

These luscious Lobster Pies are decadent, delicious and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays and New Year. Bathed in a buttery creamy sherry sauce and filled with tons of fresh lobster and parmesan cheese then baked with a butter crunchy cracker crust. Divine, elegant and oh so good. Indulge!

Holiday Brunch Quiche

Bacon, Cheese & Pepper Quiche with Hashbrown Crust

This is a delicious spin on a holiday brunch quiche – you simply line a springform pan with shredded hash browns and cook until lightly browned, then add your quiche ingredients until bubbly and cheese is melty. Perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch or casual lunch with friends.

Ingredients

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  • 1 large package frozen hash browns, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • A dash of onion flakes, garlic powder and dill seasoning, to taste
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

For the Quiche:

  • 3/4 cup red, orange and yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 1-2% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush a small amount of oil to the bottom of a spring form pan and line with parchment paper, including the sides. Brush with more oil on top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, egg and spices in a bowl and place them in the pan pushing them up the sides to make a 1 inch crust for the quiche.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the hash browns get lightly browned and crispy.

For the Quiche:

  1. In a small pan, over low/medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the peppers and onions, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream, milk, cheese and cooked bacon. Add cooled peppers and onions,  season with salt and pepper and pour into the precooked hash brown crust in the springform pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a side of fruit salad and toasted holiday bread and butter.
 Serves  6-8.

Smirnoff Ice Holiday Cocktails + Appetizers

Smirnoff Ice Holiday Recipes

Who says you can’t eat, drink, and be merry all at once? Tis the season for boozy brunches, family gatherings and holiday feasts after all. If you’re looking to kick up your next party platter, boozy brunch or family gathering – Smirnoff Ice has you covered. Here are some fun and delicious Smirnoff Ice cocktail and appetizer recipes using Smirnoff Ice Original, Smirnoff Ice Strawberry, and Smirnoff Ice Green Apple – perfect fruity and citrus flavors that will steal the show whether you’re hosting or just bringing a dish to the party!

Holiday-Berry-Sparkler

Holiday Berry Sparkler

Ingredients

For the Cranberry Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

For the Cocktail

  • .75 oz cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)
  • .50 oz triple sec
  • 1.50 oz apple cider
  • 1 oz original Smirnoff Ice
  • 2 oz strawberry Smirnoff Ice
  • Cranberries and lemon peel for garnish

Mini-Berry-Bites

Mini Berry Bites

Ingredients

For the Cranberries

  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Bites

  • Mini Phyllo dough cups
  • 2 pkgs gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Smirnoff Ice
  • Sugared cranberries (recipe above)
  • whipped cream
  • orange slices

Caramel-Green-Apple-Cocktail

Caramel Green Apple Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka
  • .50 oz ginger simple syrup
  • 1.50 oz Green Apple Smirnoff Ice

Citrus-Asian-Chicken-Wings

Citrus Asian Wings

Ingredients

For the Wings

  • 2 lbs wings
  • 1 bottle Smirnoff Ice Original
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste – about 1/2 tsp each
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups Smirnoff Ice Original
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp Teriyaki
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • black pepper to taste

All recipes courtesy of Smirnoff Ice / Jay and Leah from The Gastronom

For more great recipe ideas from Smirnoff Ice check out their Facebook and Twitter pages!

Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!

 

BloodOrangeCake_StrawberrySauce

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 

PumpkinPearTart

Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic

SpinachSalad-Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

ChocolateChipotleShortRibs

Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Holiday Cocktail Party! Cocktail + Appetizer Recipes

It’s that time of year again – holiday parties filled with plenty of cocktails, socializing and finger food much to our heart’s desire to celebrate this sparkly season. And what better thing to do than start thinking about planning a Holiday Cocktail Party with some fun recipes for cocktails and appetizers?

So here’s the lineup: Whiskey Sour with Stuffed Mushrooms, Classic Martini with Spiced Mixed Nuts, Mulled Wine with Cheese and Crackers, Pisco Sour, and a luscious White Russian for dessert. I know you’ll love all of these recipes for your next holiday cocktail party…Happy Holidays to all of you – CHEERS!

Whiskey Sour
Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour

1 small lemon wedge
Turbinado sugar, for rimming glass
1/4 cup bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, preferably organic
1 cup ice cubes

Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of a 12-ounce rocks glass. Place turbinado sugar in a shallow dish. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar to coat; set aside.

In a large cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and ice. Cover, and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined and cold. Pour into prepared glass, and garnish with orange slice.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
Garlic salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
16 large white mushrooms, stemmed
White Truffle Oil (a few sprays or 1-2 tablespoons for brushing)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stem the mushrooms and chop the stems into fine pieces, set aside. In a mixing bowl, blend together bread crumbs, cheese, chopped mushroom stems, garlic, parsley, chile flakes, garlic salt and pepper with EVOO. Adjust olive oil amount to your liking until filling is soft and blended well.

Stuff mushroom caps (cavity side up) with the filling (generously) on a greased baking sheet. Spray or brush truffle oil on outer mushroom caps.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown. Garnish with fresh mint.

Makes 16 servings.

Classic Martini
Classic Martini

Classic Dry Martini

1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.

Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar
Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar

Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar

Two bottles of fruity red wine (Zinfandel or Merlot)
Zest strips from one orange
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed

Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.

Serve warm in glasses or mugs with a variety of cheeses and crackers and spiced nuts.

Recipe from Food and Wine Cocktails.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour

2 oz Pisco
1 oz Lemon or Lime Juice
1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Sugar
1/2 Egg White

Shake all ingredients except bitters with ice. Strain into champagne flutes.

Dash with bitters and drag with a toothpick to make design.

White Russian
White Russian

White Russian

2 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
Half and Half Cream

Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into ice-filled old fashioned glass and fill with milk or cream.
Alternatively you can shake it all up in a cocktail mixer and strain over ice.
Garnish with coffee beans or cocoa powder.

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