I’m sure you’re thinking, it’s Wednesday don’t we get to find out how that Christmas party went last week? I mean it was all that you posted about! The answer is, I have good news and bad. The good news is that the party was awesome! The bad news is that it was so awesome that I forgot to take pictures…epic blog fail. I know, I know! Things got rolling and people showed up and my mind kept saying, get your camera for the blog photos and then suddenly the food was gone and it was too late.
This party was, without a doubt the best planned one I’ve had yet. I was crazy organized and it paid off. I was able to get all the food made in advance and it was on the table as the first guests began to arrive and I could kick back and enjoy myself the entire evening.
I have to give it to Bon Appetit’s December issue for their stress free party planning guide. I followed most of it and was so glad I did.
Here are the recipes I used for the party along with pics from BonAppetite.com:
Punch: The Long Hello
Warning: This is not so much a punch as a full on cocktail. Make sure you let guests know not to drink it too fast or they will have a “better” time than they may have planned! It is pure alcohol, nothing waters it down, but in all fairness, it was delicious.
- 1 3/4 cups Calvados or other apple brandy
- 1 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
- 10 dashes bitters, preferably Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters or Angostura
- 1 750-ml bottle Champagne, chilled
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Special Equipment:One 12-cup Bundt or tube pan; 1 punch bowl
Make and freeze ring mold with pears and apples according to our ice mold directions. DO AHEAD: Ring mold can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and keep frozen.
Stir Calvados, St-Germain, bitters, and 1 cup water in a punch bowl. Add ice ring, then Champagne. Ladle punch into glasses and grate nutmeg over.
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
- Kosher salt
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen peas
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint plus more for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Endive spears
Cook edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 3–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Return water in pot to a boil and add peas; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer peas to bowl with edamame; let cool. Drain well.
Working in batches, pulse edamame and peas in a food prcoessor until a coarse purée forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in juice and next 3 ingredients. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup oil; mix well. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup mint. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Transfer to a serving bowl; drizzle with oil and garnish with more herbs. Serve with endive spears.This was my first time making rolls of any kind and they were awesome! A little time consuming because of letting the dough rise, but overall pretty easy.
- 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1″ pieces
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter plus more for the bowl and pan
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
- 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon pretzel salt or sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
Special Equipment:A 13x9x2” baking pan
This was the first time I’ve ever made a ham and I decided to only make 1/2 instead of a whole ham. It was incredible. Moist and delicious and people loved cutting small slices off all night. I never would have thought to make a ham for a party, but this was genius!
Place the potato in a small saucepan and add water to cover by 1″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid in a small microwave-safe bowl.
Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in another small saucepan. Add milk; stir until warm, about 1 minute, and set aside.
Transfer cooked potato to a large bowl. Mash with a fork, then stir in milk mixture, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt (mixture will be slightly lumpy).
Rewarm potato cooking liquid in microwave (or let cool) until an instant-read thermometer registers 105°–110°. Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and yeast; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add yeast mixture to potato mixture and stir to combine. Add 3 1/4 cups flour with a wooden spoon and stir until a sticky dough forms.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface, dough, and your hands often with remaining 1/2 cup flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky, 7–8 minutes. Form into a ball and transfer to a buttered bowl. Turn to coat dough with butter and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise, chilled, overnight.
Butter baking pan. Mix caraway seeds and pretzel salt in a small bowl; set aside. Punch down dough (do not knead). Cut dough in half, then roll each piece into a 12”-long log. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball (for 24 total). Arrange in pan, evenly spaced, in 6 rows of 4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°. Whisk egg and cream in a small bowl; brush tops of rolls with some of egg wash. Sprinkle with caraway salt. Bake, rotating pan once, until rolls are cooked through and deep golden, 25–30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then run a sharp knife around edges to loosen from pan; do not separate rolls. Transfer to rack and let cool for 10 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Rewarm, wrapped in foil, in a 300° oven until heated through. Serve warm.
- 1 14–16 lb. whole cured, smoked bone-in ham
- 2 cups sweet (Auslese) Riesling, divided
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 3 sprigs thyme plus 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Small pinch of kosher salt
Arrange rack in lowest level of oven; preheat to 300°. Leaving fat in tact, remove outer rind from most of ham, leaving a band around the end of the shank bone. Score fat crosswise (do not cut into meat) on top of ham with parallel cuts spaced 1/2” apart. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Boil 1 cup Riesling and 7 cups water in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour into bottom of roasting pan. Bake ham, basting with pan juices occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham registers 110°, 2 1/2–3 hours.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs; cook, stirring often, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in the remaining 1 cup Riesling. Return to stove. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer mixture to a food processor. Add thyme leaves, mustard, honey, pepper, and salt. Process until well blended.
Remove pan from oven and increase heat to 350°. Using a pastry brush, spread Riesling mixture over ham. Return pan to oven and bake ham, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until internal temperature registers 135° and crust is golden brown, 15-30 minutes.
transfer ham to a large platter. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Skim fat from pan juices, reheat, and pour juices into a medium pitcher; serve alongside.There you have it. My party recipes. I also couldn’t have done it without the help of Eric. He was cleaning away and did everything I asked of him, even staying up until all hours cleaning up the mess with me because I’m too neurotic to go to bed with a messy house. I’m already looking forward to next year!