A Stress – Free Holiday Party Menu

by Michelle

This Christmas we decided to keep our party very intimate. It has been a long and difficult year for so many of our closest friends. Ralph and I wanted to show our love and support by hosting a party that would allow our friends to celebrate together without the need to ‘mingle’. Instead of the usual party chit chat, our friends engaged in longer, more meaningful conversations. I could feel a sense of contentment settling over the evening as our friends enjoyed the drinks and treats and, most importantly, each other…

Every year, I experiment with new dishes and innovative ways to serve them. Some years have been successful and some years – not so much!

Having a cocktail party in the absence of wait staff requires a menu that does not need any last-minute kitchen time. Once the groaning board is stacked, you should be good to go!

This year’s menu worked.

Christmas on Carmarthen 2011 

Old Cheddar * Le Gruyere * Jalapeno Havarti * Gorgonzola * Provolone

Chevre with Orange Syrup, Pomegranate Seeds and Fennel Fronds

Knife -Cut Rustico Salami * Fennel Salami * Piccanti Salami * Mild Chorizo

Country Pork and Veal Terrines * Chicken Liver Pate Parfait 

Black Pepper and Parmesan Biscotti with White Bean Dip 

Black Forest Ham and Gryuere Cheese Gougere

Sun-dried Tomato and Provolone Tea Bread

Miniature Pork and Beef Italian Meatballs in Marinara  Sauce

Savoury Cheddar Thumbprints with Raspberry Jalapeño Jelly

Warm Brie with Green Tomato Mincemeat and Chopped Granny Smith Apple 

Savoury Shortbread with Boursin

Jalapeño Peppers stuffed with Feta * Spiced Holiday Nuts 

Tiny Quiche with Bacon and Fontina 

Hand Shaped French Baguette * Salted Butter 

Crudités with Blue Cheese Dip, and Ranch Dip

Candied Orange Peel and  Hooton Family Fruitcake 

I wanted a little snap for the pork and veal terrines so I made a garnish of caramelized red onion jam – cheek sucking goodness!

Caramelized Red Onion Jam

Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups red and yellow onions, thinly sliced you can use any combination amount as long as you have 2 cups

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup red wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

small piece of cinnamon bark

In a medium skillet, melt butter until frothing

Add onion and saute gently for 10 minutes

Add sugar and vinegar, reduce heat and saute for 5 minutes

Add red wine, seasonings and cinnamon bark

Simmer until the liquid has disappeared.

Serve at room temperature with terrines, pates or roasted game.

Thanks for reading.