Set the Stage
Having the perfect tablescape is one of the first steps to setting the mood for a picture-perfect party. Eric Edman, assistant store manager-visual for Pottery Barn at Northlake Mall, shares how to mix and match to design elegant place settings with the right sparkly details.
Great White 16 PC Dinnerware set $102; Schott Zwiesel Glassware $12/per stem; Antique Silver Ice Bucket $89; Antique Silver 3-tiered stand $129; Antique Silver Flatware $45/per setting; Linen Hemstitch Napkin $12 each; Maxfield Silver Napkin Ring $5 each; Pocket Watch Clock $34; Griffin Table $1969; Griffin Bench $789; Mirror Faceted Charger $45.50; Mercury Red Votive Cup $6.50
All available at Pottery Barn at Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Dr #222, (704) 494-4883, www.potterybarn.com
Whether you decide on a catered affair or doing it yourself, food and drinks are what hold a party together. Queen City Catering Company shared some of their recipes for palate-pleasing treats to impress guests, along with a recipe from The Food Network’s Sandra Lee for a simple champagne punch to start the evening off right. www.qccatering.com
Diver Scallops with White Wine Butter Sauce & Herbs
For the Scallops:1 pound dry sea scallops4 tablespoons clarified butterKosher salt, to tasteBlack pepper, to taste
For the Sauce:2 tablespoons shallot, minced1/3 cup Chardonnay1 tablespoons chives, finely chopped1 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice2 tablespoon unsalted butterKosher salt, to tasteBlack pepper, to taste1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Remove the abductor muscle from each scallop and pat them dry with a paper towel. The drier the scallop, the better the sear. Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season each scallop evenly on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper and place the scallops in the pan, being sure not to crowd them. Sear the scallops to golden brown on one side and carefully flip them, searing for an additional 30 seconds on the other side. Remove the scallops from the pan and allow them to rest on a wire rack with a pan underneath to catch the juices.Reduce the heat to medium and immediately add the shallots. Sauté until shallots are translucent and fragrant. Add the white wine, chives, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the residual juices from the pan under the scallops on the wire rack. Simmer on medium heat for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place the scallops with the seared side up on a plate and pour sauce over. Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy.
Baked Mac & Cheese Bites
Delectable Cheese Sauce3 tablespoons butter3 tablespoons flour1/2 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper1 1/2 cups milk1 cup total of your favorite shredded cheese (we love using cheddar, gouda, parmesan, and pecorino Romano!)
Sherry Tomatoes24 grape tomatoes1 cup sherry wine3 tablespoons olive oil
Other Ingredients:1 pound orzo (cooked)1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs3 tablespoons butter (melted)Phyllo cups (24 pack)
To make the Delectable Cheese Sauce, melt butter in saucepan on medium then remove from heat and add flour and seasonings. Once blended, gradually add milk, then cook over low heat stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Cook 5 minutes longer, then add cheese and stir until smooth and well blended.Quarter grape tomatoes and marinate them in sherry wine for 1 hour. Drain them and toss in olive oil to coat. Roaste in oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes.Boil 1 pound orzo pasta using package instructions, drain, then mix with the sauce.In a separate bowl mix Italian breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons melted butter.To make things easy, you can use phyllo cups prepackaged cups (24). Using a teaspoon, fill each cup to the brim with the mac and cheese and orzo mixture, top with buttered breadcrumbs. Bake them for 6-8 minutes on 350 and top with sherry tomatoes!
Kalamata Tomato Bites
Kalamata Olive Hummus1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans1/2 cup kalamatas, pitted1/3 cup of tahini2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes1/4 teaspoon cumin3 tablespoons lemon juice
Other ingredients:24 cherry tomatoes2 cucumbers
In food processor, combine all hummus ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. If too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time till you reach desired consistency. Put hummus into pastry bag with no tip and store in fridge until ready.Cut a thin slice off of the cherry tomato top and spoon out the tomato seeds and guts. Invert tomatoes on paper towel to drain water for approximately 20 minutes. While drying, using a peeler, thinly peel cucumbers long ways and cut down into 1.5-inch strips for wrapping around the tomato. Pipe in the kalamata hummus to each tomato and then use a toothpick to secure the cucumber slice around the tomato. Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled feta cheese.
What to Pour:1 can (20-ounce) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup1 cup fresh lemon juice1 cup maraschino cherry juice1 cup dark rum1/2 cup brandy1 bottle (750 ml) chilled Champagne
In a large punch bowl or pitcher, stir pineapple, lemon juice, cherry juice, rum, and brandy to blend. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add Champagne just before serving.
Make it Pop
Need a how-to on the go-to drink for New Year’s Eve? We’ve got you covered. To chill your champagne, use an ice bucket filled with equal parts water and ice for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator on its side for three to four hours. To open your champagne, remove the foil, place a napkin or dish towel on top and grip the cork. Ease it out while holding the bottom of the bottle with one hand. When pouring, hold the glass upright, pour a bit in and wait until the foam subsides, then top it off.
Champagne for all price ranges:Splurge: Roederer Cristal ($209.99), Dom Perignon ($139.97)Mid-price: Veuve Clicquot ($42.97), Moet & Chandon ($32.99)Bargain: Louis Bouillot ($18.99) Korbel ($11.99)
End the evening with a cozy favor—Savory Spice Shop Hot Chocolate ($4.25 each) www.savoryspiceshop.com