Q: Any last minute entertaining tips for the busy holiday season?
1) Take Advantage of Ready Made Foods: You don't have to cook and make everything. If you're hosting a large party, have some food catered, pick up some ready-made foods from Whole Foods or your local grocery or specialty store, or ask your friends/guests to bring something. It's not about slaving away in the kitchen all day but spending time together and having fun. If the party is more casual, I serve a lot of finger foods and appetizers and a large cheese board.
2) Have A Plan: When entertaining, for me, it’s all about making my guests feel at home and comfortable. I keep it simple, yet still delicious. If you’re planning to cook more elaborate dishes, plan accordingly. Set a schedule in which you plan to cook them. Prep as much as possible in advance and make sure you know when things are going into the oven, and in what order.
3) Make it Self Service: Unless it's a formal sit down dinner or gathering, I always set everything up buffet or self-service style. It just makes things easier. Have everything ready to go: arrange your food platters and drink service. Try to have everything out and set-up before your guests arrive. The serving utensils next to the platters, and glasses next to the drinks. When your guests arrive, you just want to relax and enjoy yourself too, so try to avoid any last-minute scrambling. Arrange everything in a way that will make it easy for your friends to get food and pour themselves a drink.