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Can I ask for holiday party menu help here? please?

9 years ago

Good afternoon. I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post for help with a menu for a holiday party or not. I know from my kitchen forum time that this is an active forum. Please direct me someplace else if necessary.

I entertain a lot and usually come up with more than enough menu ideas on my own, but I'm a little stumped suddenly. I'm hosting, as president, a holiday gathering of my son's elementary PTSO on Friday night. I tend to cook complicated, fancy dishes and am cooking through any type of holiday or party gathering I host. I actually like it that way, but I know it can make some people uncomfortable. This time, I want to have most of the food prepared in advance. Complicating matters is that this crowd doesn't seem to have very sophisticated tastes. Some seem to be adventurous, but most aren't. Bottom line is that I want to make it as fancy as possible, without it seeming too off-putting. I want people to EAT.

Taking all of that in mind, I was planning on serving a cold fillet of beef with sherry wine vinaigrette as the protein. It's something I made for a large wedding I hosted a few years ago, and it can be made the day ahead and served at room temp. The directions say to serve on platter with arugula, tomatoes (not doing that this time of year with bland fruit), and red onions and the remaining vinaigrette on the side. As I know not many will eat the arugula as a green, I feel like I need another veggie to go with. I make a great blanched green beans with walnuts and lemon vinaigrette that works at room temp, but that's another vinaigrette.

I'd like to make an orange and grapefruit (supremed fruit) salad with mint sugar and pomegranate seeds. It's gorgeous and tastes great.

For apps, my usual tapenade with crostini and, because it's been so cold here lately, a warm app like bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds and goat cheese.

For drinks, I'll serve a non-alcholic punch of some sort (ideas for seasonal?) and a specialty cocktail (still noodling that one), along with a red and white wine.

Desserts....stumped again. A plate of cookies is too simple for me, but I'm not sure how much all-out pastry chef-y I can get away with.

Could someone please make suggestions? Talk me down off the gourmet ledge? :-) Thank you!!

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