With the holiday season in full swing, party planners everywhere look to answer the same festive question with their annual gatherings – how do you spread the holiday spirit among guests? While décor and music play a role, nothing raises spirits more than a memorable hors d’oeuvres and drink spread that satisfies appetites and makes guests jolly.
Here are a few tips from King’s Hawaiian for creating a sumptuous first-course spread and festive setting that will keep guests entertained:
•Deck The Halls! Create an enticing aroma and beautiful display with candles. Set them atop holders accented with ribbon and seasonal trimmings from pine and noble firs (widely available this time of year).
•Punch it up! Create festive punches with a variety of toppings so guests may garnish however they want. Use red maraschino cherries, mint sprigs or cranberries. Consider pre-mixing drinks, so that you can enjoy the company of your guests. Also, offer beverages with and without alcohol for varying guest preferences.
•Ho Ho Hors D’oeuvres Made Simple! To minimize your time in the kitchen, incorporate tried-and-true, ready-made dishes that can be created well in advance and served at room temperature. Veggie dips, cheese trays and fruit platters all work well. Professional caterers recommend having 10 to 12 appetizers total per person.
•That’s Hot! As a complement to cold dishes, serve warm recipes that can be created almost to completion well in advance of the party. Just pop them in the oven right before guests arrive so they will be served warm, with minimal fuss.
•Festive Finger Foods. Add flair to dishes with themed-toothpicks, colored sauces or decorative dips. Present them on attractive serving dishes which display seasonal colors.
Here is an easy and elegant hors d’oeuvre recipe. Make the mixture and pour into muffin tins a day in advance of your gathering and, shortly before guests arrive, pop them in the oven to bake these simple and savory soufflé bites.
For more festive recipes,
Mini Cheese Soufflé Bites
Makes 10-12 servings
1/2 16-ounce King’s Hawaiian Original Bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick vertical slices
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1. Trim crusts from bread slices and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
2. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Add milk, cheese and Worcestershire sauce. Mix together, then stir in bread.
3. Let stand for 15 minutes.
4. Put 1/3 cup soufflé mixture into buttered muffin cups.
5. Place the muffin tin into a jelly roll pan filled with 1/2-inch of water.
6. Bake in a 375°F oven until set, about 25-30 minutes. Remove when they have puffed up and are slightly brown on top.
7. Sprinkle chives on each soufflé, for garnish.