(Family Features) Holiday gatherings call for an extra touch to make the celebrating special. Since many holiday festivities are centered on food, focus some attention on the refreshments for a simple way to upgrade your next holiday party.
From the presentation to the pairings, it’s easy to make an ordinary spread extraordinary this holiday season. Take this year’s event to the next level with these easy tips that bring the wow-factor to your gathering:
Make it look as pretty as it tastes. Even simple platters of crackers and cheese can feel extra special when presented on a pretty plate. If you’re serving food buffet style, use a colorful tablecloth and stack sturdy boxes of varying sizes underneath to serve as risers that create some visual interest for the spread. Incorporate seasonal decorations such as ornaments or sprigs of holly and poinsettia blooms. For a plated meal, a table-runner adds just the right pop of color and a tasteful centerpiece of candles or evergreen dressed with holiday trinkets elevates an everyday table.
Offer the perfect pairings. When planning your menu, consider the types of beverages you’ll serve along with the appetizers and dishes. When paired properly, food and cocktails complement one another, making the flavors more vibrant and the overall experience more impressive. A good starting place is cheese. Pair alpine-style cheese such as Roth Grand Cru with Riesling; creamy blue with gin; smoky blue with merlot; Havarti with pinot noir; Spanish-style such as Roth GranQueso with scotch; and Gouda with prosecco.
Enhance traditional favorites. Putting a fresh, elegant spin on the basics instantly elevates your menu and the overall experience for your guests. Even a staple like cheese can get some special dressing for the occasion. This recipe combines three rich, flavorful cheeses for a fondue that’s sure to delight guests.
Explore more ideas for exceptional holiday entertaining at rothcheese.com.
Culinary Education Center House Fondue
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Original, shredded
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Reserve, shredded
- 1/2 pound Roth Fontina, shredded
- 16 ounces Pinot Grigio or other light- to medium-bodied white wine
- 1 loaf crusty artisan bread
- fresh apples, grapes and pears
- black and white pepper (optional)
- nutmeg (optional)
- Combine cheeses and wine in ceramic fondue pot and stir to combine. Allow mixture to soak 15-30 minutes.
- Heat mixture over low heat, approximately 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Do not allow mixture to boil. When cheese has melted completely, remove from heat and transfer to tabletop burner.
- Serve fondue with chunks of bread and fruit. If desired, provide pepper and/or nutmeg guests can sprinkle onto a plate and use for dipping bread and cheese. Pair with chilled dry Riesling and a shot of authentic Swiss kirschwasser.
Source: Roth Cheese
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup 2% Plain Chobani
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped coarsely
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In large bowl, mix together Chobani and sugar. Add egg and combine. Stir in orange juice. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Mix only until just combined. Carefully, fold in orange zest, cranberries and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully invert pan to remove, and finish cooling on rack.
- Wrap in plastic and foil. This bread is extra delicious on the second day.
Total Fat: 3.5g
Yield: 10 (3/4-inch) slices
- 1 package (16 ounces) Johnsonville Italian All Natural Mild Ground Sausage
- 1 loaf (1 pound) frozen white bread dough, thawed
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, well drained and sliced
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 cups (8 ounces) Swiss cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- In skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink; drain.
- On lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to 16 x 12-inch rectangle.
- Transfer dough to greased baking sheet. Combine cream cheese and garlic, spread lengthwise over center third of dough. Top with sausage, peppers, olives and cheese.
- Fold dough over filling, pinching seam to seal. Make slits across top of dough every 2 inches. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Yield 16 appetizer servings
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup Silk Nog or Vanilla Silk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 (1-inch thick) slices cinnamon swirl or any sliced bread
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Maple syrup or fruit
- Sifted powdered sugar
- In large bowl, whisk together eggs, soymilk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place bread slices in flat casserole dish and cover with egg mixture. Let soak 5 to 10 minutes.
- Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add slices of soaked bread and cook until golden brown. Top French toast with maple syrup or fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar.