In our 5TH post of our 2015 Holiday Entertaining Tips series, Linda Sample shares her thoughts on the first line of defense for your holiday guests – the hors d’oeuvres!
Let’s talk about hors d’oeuvres (hd’s) – especially, balancing them with the entrée/meal. Also, let’s look at some of the factors that affect both passed and stationary.
If you are serving a main dish later in the evening, consider what you’re serving and do not replicate the flavors. You also want to make sure you are not redundant with protein; beef, fish, pork, chicken, lamb, or shellfish. This holds true whether you’re doing a seated meal or a forkable station.
WORK FOR A BALANCE OF…
COLORS – Bright vs brown or all pale.
TEXTURES – Some with crunch, some soft, some in-between.
Here is the fourth in the series of Holiday entertaining season tips from A Thyme to Cook Founder and President, Linda Sample…
Now that you have decided to host a soiree and your home is all decorated, you need to figure out what KIND of food to serve, and a lot of these decisions are based on the type of party you want.
In the previous post, I mentioned how the time frame of your party dictates the appropriate kinds of foods. Make sure to balance some stationary items, (requiring a cocktail napkin ONLY) as well as some hot hors d’oeuvres. By balance, I mean combining different colors, textures, temperature, and a representation of meat, poultry, veggie, fish/seafood, and cheese. You will also want to think seasonal and utilize what ingredients are currently at their peak for both flavor and quality. This is why ATTC does not routinely give lists of suggested hors d’oeuvres items, as people tend to choose what they like – only to realize that what was chosen, was all some variation of cheese!
It is nice to offer some take-away sweets as guests leave, too – depending on the length of the party, you may or may not need to provide coffee. If you do, you need to provide it for ½ the guests, as not everyone will trade their wine glass for the a coffee mug.
We are often asked for our advice on entertaining during the holidays. Recently, A Thyme to Cook Founder and President, Linda Sample, took some time to discuss her thoughts. Here is the third in the series of Holiday entertaining season tips…
Decorating for the holidays is probably my MOST favorite thing to do. So, I want to make sure I do not get carried away with this one and start rambling….
It is important to make your home feel warm and inviting (use candles, make the entryway festive and smell wonderful). However, DO NOT GO CRAZY CLEANING THE HOUSE!
The only place to focus on is the bathroom. No one will notice the kitchen, as they assume you are as crazed as everyone else at this time of year; but they WILL visit the bathroom. Make sure it is clean, smells great; and I always recommend adding some unexpected holiday touches to this neglected, but also, frequently visited room – some greens, twinkle lights, perhaps an Elf on a Shelf? And if some of your family are of the fuzzy kind, make sure to clean their “bathrooms” too and tend to the litter box and scooping the lawn before guests arrive.
We are often asked for our advice on entertaining during the holidays. Recently, A Thyme to Cook Founder and President, Linda Sample, took some time to discuss her thoughts. Here is the second in the series of Holiday entertaining season tips…
You decided you are going to have a party and have narrowed down the guest list. You looked at your available space and all the logistics. Now you have some serious decisions to make! As with all these tips, I will keep reminding you to Keep It Simple! Plan on serving something tried and true that is also reflection of yourself. This is the season for comfort and is NOT the time to go playing with pork belly or that 45 step dish you saw on the cooking show last week.
Let’s talk guests and menu…
Although it may seem arbitrary – this is HUGE, as this will dictate the amount, style and quantity of your menu. A cocktail party from 5pm-8pm implies that you plan on serving enough food to equate a meal and do not expect guests to go on to dinner when they leave your home.
You might want to consider a few stationary items, a few hors d’oeuvres (maybe get someone to assist you so you don’t have to leave your guests – Keep It Simple) and perhaps, bring out something a little heartier around 6:30pm or so. You also may want to set out a few holiday cookies for a sweet send-off before guests head back out into the cold.
If you decide on an earlier 5pm-7pm soiree – this is what I would call a traditional, light, cocktail party. With a few nibbles and bites, this short gathering is more social and promotes mingling; but just not for too long!
We are often asked for our advice on entertaining during the holidays. Recently, A Thyme to Cook Founder and President, Linda Sample, took some time to discuss her thoughts. Throughout the Holiday entertaining season, we will share them here with you…
So, you have decided to have a holiday bash. Of course, my first response is going to be – call us at A Thyme to Cook! However, with all the seasonal, festive decorating at this time of year, it’s understandable that you may decide to show off your home and do it yourself.
With that in mind, here are a few tips and trends…
The Basic Questions
WHERE is the party? If it is in your home – how many people can your home accommodate COMFORTABLY? I said COMFORTABLY, not crammed into every nook and cranny. You can determine how many guests you can fit by simply dividing the square footage of your home by 5 – that is the magic number. If you do not want to open up your entire house, decide which rooms and use the same formula to determine how many people you should invite.
WHAT kind of party are you throwing? Now that you have a sense of your ‘party space’ you need to think about WHAT KIND of party you want to host. A cocktail party, a casual brunch, a full dinner party for 12? Remember, keep it simple and focus on doing what you feel comfortable executing.
In a world of information at your very fingertips, it is a common occurrence to receive ‘bad’ information. Like old fish-tales, stories get distorted and the truth slowly gets wrung out of the facts.
This is very common within the world of event catering. From TV shows to friends who have ‘done this before’ and everywhere in between, sometimes things people know as ‘fact’ are actually far from it.
The team at A Thyme to Cook put our heads together and came up with 10 common statements we hear a lot and feel need some real answers.
BUFFET OR FAMILY STYLE ARE THE MOST AFFORDABLE OPTIONS
For a pre-selected or paired plate, the caterer knows exactly what the portion size is and how many of each portion they will need.
For a buffet or family-style dinner, the caterer needs to prepare a greater quantity of food. Thus the cost and staff time goes up. We never know how many times Uncle Albert will head up for ‘seconds’.
Or thirds or fourths or fifths….
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
? Benjamin Franklin
At the end of March, three members of our A Thyme To Cook team – Linda, Gina and Magda – flew out to Las Vegas for the 2014 edition of the CaterSource conference. Their official website describes it well: “The annual Catersource Conference & Tradeshow has a proud history as a leading educational opportunity for caterers, with dynamic presenters, nonstop networking opportunities and the most amazing parties.”
According to Linda Sample, our President here at ATTC, it’s 24-7 catering and non-stop learning! The biggest news from the event was our being honored with a 2014 CATIE Award!
I asked Linda, Gina and Magda their thoughts on the trip and what they took away from it.
1. Other than the CATIE win, what was the highlight for you at this year’s Catersource?