The holidays are inevitably stressful at some point. Whether you’re doing last minute shopping, can’t find the perfect gift, or are spread too thin with work and family commitments, it’s a hectic time of year that I personally have a love/hate relationship with. It’s because of this that this post is now called “Last Minute Holiday Entertaining Recipes”, versus the “Holiday Entertaining” title it had about a week ago. But as with all holidays, there’s one thing I always love and appreciate – the gathering of friends around tons of food and great drinks, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. This year, we entertained a few of Mr.K’s colleagues for an evening of thanks and appreciation for all their hard work. Of course, I couldn’t let everyone survive on pretzels and beer. Here are some simple and delicious recipes that inspired a little home-cooked touch to our holiday party.
The holiday stress is over and now it’s time to party and start anew. Whatever you’re doing this evening, I wish you all a healthy, happy, and delicious New Year’s!
Sesame Crusted Salmon with Orange Miso Dressing
I replaced the thin, unimpressive Orange Miso dressing with Wasabi Mayo Dip which was scrumptious. The salmon is quite tasty alone and doesn’t even really need a dip. I served the skewers on a bed of arugula purely for presentation but if you don’t feel like dealing with skewers, or are having a buffet/sit-down dinner, just serve the entire side of salmon whole and portion it out as you plate.
Sesame Crusted Salmon Skewers
Roast Beef & Arugula Crostini
I simplified by smearing goat cheese, a couple baby arugula leaves and premium quality roast beef. I didn’t use the red peppers although they’d be delicious. Instead, I marinated red peppers and used them for an antipasti platter. The key to making these crostini delish, is homemade crostini.
Roast Beef Crostini
1 french baguette
1 garlic clove
Olive oil in a small bowl (start with 2 T, add more if needed)
1. Thinly slice the baguette and line on a baking sheet.
2. Rub each slice with garlic clove.
3. Brush each slice with olive oil.
4. Season with salt & pepper.
5. Bake in oven until golden (turnover and rotate halfway through). You’ll need to keep a close eye on these. Depending on your oven, they could take 5 minutes, or 10.
Crudite with Lemon Pesto Goat Cheese Dip
Baby veggies (I like carrots, radishes, cucumbers – and occasionally cut celery)
Tip – If you can avoid it don’t put out those bagged “baby” (i.e. grown carrots chopped into nubs). Yes, they’re convenient and great for snacking, but if you can take the extra time, pick up true baby veggies. They’re way more tender and flavorful, and also look a lot nicer. Buy the carrots with the greens still attached, peel them and wait until about an hour before the party to trim the green tops. I like to put each veggie standing up in a clear glass (carrots in a tall glass, radishes in short glass etc). Crudite doesn’t have to be an unattractive bore!! Sorry, I don’t have pics of this or the cocktail. :(
Champagne Ginger Cocktail Recipe
I made the simple ginger syrup the day before and made each cocktail to order. It was a very simple, elegant, tasty cocktail. I’d make them again.
Mix of cured meats, cheeses, cornichons, and olives.
Marinated roasted red peppers – Take about 1 cup roasted red peppers. in a mixing bowl, drizzle with about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, capers, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tsp olive oil. Let marinade for couple hours.
Cured Meats (proscuitto and salami)
Antipasti (olives, roasted red peppers and cornichons)
Cheese Platter w/jar of red pepper jam for extra kick!
Here are a couple other recipes I found when looking for some inspiration. I didn’t make them, but am saving for future use.
Mini Crab Cakes
Peppered Tuna Skewers with Wasabi Mayo (I originally planned to make this instead of the salmon but Whole Foods screwed me – who runs out of tuna????)