Every year we host a Solstice party, which is our holiday party on or around the winter solstice. This year we are actually a week early, as we are traveling back to Chicago to spend the holidays with my family, and we technically leave on the solstice. (I sure hope those Mayans were wrong…) Planning a party for 50+ people can be challenging, especially if you have any thoughts of enjoying the party yourself. I’ve found, over the years, that the key is to space out the cooking so that you have most of it prepped before the big day. This week I am going to walk you through my prep.
I am hosting an afternoon cocktail party for adults and children. My party starts at 4PM, leaving enough time to socialize but allowing families to either get their kids in bed by 8- or mosey to the next holiday gathering. My menu looks like this:
Puff Pasty Pinwheels- 3 varieties
Flatbread- 2 variteies
Baked Brie with fruit and baguette
Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups
Cranberry Orange Kale Salad
Winter Pesto something or other
PB & J pinwheels
Gold Dusted White Chocolate Popcorn
Prosecco and Blood Orange Nectar
Wine and Beer
Juice and Soda
Today is 6 days until the party. Today I made all the puff pastry pinwheels. These are my go to party appetizer as they can be made up to 3 months ahead of time, and you just slice and bake on the day of. They also taste just as good room temp as they do hot, a real bonus on a buffet table. This year I am doing Gorgonzola and Fig, Spinach and Artichoke, and Kalamata Olive and Feta. Click on the links for each recipe.
Today I also went to Costco and bough my cheese, and the alcohol. I stopped by my natural food store and got ingredients for the pinwheels (puff pastry from Trader Joes) and ingredients to test salads. I have three that I am considering for the table. I took out my eggs to age them for the Macarons which I wil make Monday or Tuesday.
I have been obsessed with raw kale salads lately, eating it for almost every lunch. I wanted to put together a festive kale salad. I came up with this one. Kale with cranberries and pistachios, feta cheese, and an orange honey vinaigrette. I love love love it. It definitely made the cut. The nice thing about Kale salad, apart from the powerhouse of nutrition, is the longer it sits dresses, the more tender it is! Ideal for a buffet.
Wash and prep the kale. Remove the strem and chop into bit sized pieces. Er on the side of smaller- some people won’t be used to tougher salad greens, and they will find it more palatable it they don’t have the work to chew it. Toss with the cranberries and nuts. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the orange zest, garlic, orange juice and honey. Add the vinegar and then drizzle in the olive oil. Mix well and salt and pepper.
- 1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ shelled pistachios, I used dry roasted
- 4-6 ounces feta, cubed
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey
- zest and juice of ½ orange
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- Wash and prep the kale.
- Remove the strem and chop into bit sized pieces.
- Toss with the cranberries and nuts.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the orange zest, garlic, orange juice and honey.
- Add the vinegar and then drizzle in the olive oil.
- Whisk well and salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, you will have extra dressing. It will keep for a week in the fridge.