I have always enjoyed guests, even unexpected ones. I also really enjoy feeding people, but there's not always time to cook. As such, I have an arsenal of tasty snacks and drinks I like to keep in the kitchen, just in case someone hungry (or thirsty) pops over.
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I like company. I don't even mind unexpected, last-minute, "hey, I'm in your neighbourhood" company. In fact, if I am home, I am almost always ready to receive guests, but my kitchen is another story. But even if there is a pile of dishes in the sink and a weird smell hovering in the air, I can get it in decent shape in about 10 minutes. Here's how I do it.
If you've ever hosted a dinner party (or brunch party, or luncheon) you know that there's more to it than simply cooking a bunch of food. People need plates to eat off of, cloth to wipe their faces with, and furniture on which to set their rears. Though nothing is as important as the food, it's the details that really make the party.
After upgrading my laptop, I spent months feeling bad that I hadn't yet sold the old one. It sat around for months, until one day when a friend was over to work on a writing project. He hadn't brought his computer, so I fired up the spare laptop, whisking away my guilt. That spare computer has now become a dedicated guest computer.
Given the festive nature of the holiday season, cooking can veer towards the elaborate, so it helps to have some quick and easy dishes that impress without a ton of effort. As such, I recommend that everyone keep a stock of puff pastry in their freezer, and use it liberally to whip up appetizers, snacks, and desserts.
Hosting a great party on a budget is easy if you do a little planning. Here's something fun to try next time: Stock your self-serve bar with booze-soaked fruit to keep things fun and fancy.
The words "mulled wine" most likely conjure up images of big pots, slowly simmering with vino and spices. That's all good, but the holidays can be hectic, and you may not have time to babysit a bubbling pot. To infuse wine with aromatics without ever turning on your stove, you'll need to enlist your microwave.
'Tis the season for all sorts of parties, and -- while I love throwing a seasonal soiree or two -- I do not enjoy washing and endless stream of little plates. Paper plates don't feel that special, and plastic is little wasteful, but cedar grilling planks make great little serving boards for apps and desserts.
Making cocktails for a large group of people can be vexing. Do you make a big batch beforehand, and risk wasting booze? Do you play bartender all night, mixing up individual drinks and potentially missing out on the fun? I suggest you do neither, and instead turn your guests into amateur bartenders with recipe cards.
Do you want to be that person at every dinner party, family lunch and gourmet picnic who is known for putting together the most mouthwatering, beautiful and straight up perfect cheeseboards? While plenty of articles on the subject will have you shelling out for $200 cheeses, we'd rather teach you how to put together a board on any budget that will make you the envy of your cheese-loving friends.