Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Go-To Holiday Treats

With the holidays coming up, I'm sure everyone has a million parties to attend. If you aren't hosting, it is always polite to bring either a food item or something alcohol related. You should always ask the host "is there something you want me to bring?" before assuming they need anything. If they tell you "nothing," bring a bottle of wine. Most guests will bring either wine (which you can never have enough of since it doesn't go bad unopened) or cookies/brownies (which you will have too much of).

Wine #1
This is a Caplan family favorite year round but is more frequently consumed around the holidays. It's light, tasty, and relatively inexpensive (around $15 a bottle in stores). My mom bought a case of it and with extra savings, it equaled out to less than $9 a bottle! 

Wine #2

I think this may be my favorite wine of all time. The first time I had it was at The Cheese Plate in Warren, RI and my 3 friends and I loved it. Unfortunately, it is not sold in every liquor store (I guess this can be a good thing since it is one of my secret obsessions). It has hints of grapefruit and tastes similar to a very light and fruity pinot grigio. If you can't find Ken Forrester, Baron Herzog is probably your best bet as a second choice. 

I don't drink red wine so the next two are strictly recommendations from friends:
Wine #3

This wine is a little more pricey than the previous two (still under $25 though which is fine). It has a woody, yet fruity taste as you drink, and finishes your pallet with a spicy afterthought. It's great with Italian food and has hints of cherry, almond, cola and blue flower.

 Wine #4

I've heard great things about Kendall Jackson; whether it be the Merlot or the Chardonnay, it seems to be on point. This specific wine has a dense plum taste with hints of cherries and spice. It goes great with any type of food and good company! You can find it at most wine and spirit stores for around $20 per bottle.

Since I don't bring dessert to parties, I opt for H'orderves, dips, or any finger food really. For parties with my friends I am notorious for making Buffalo Chicken Dip or my Corn and Black Bean Salad. I'm spicing things up a bit this year and making BBQ pulled pork sliders from scratch to bring to a holiday party on Saturday! I'll post the recipe after, don't worry.

H'orderve #1

Christmas Eve is a small celebration for my family but it has always been one of my most favorite traditions. We always have tons of different appetizers (and wine) and you can always find these mini quiche! They come in 3 flavors: spinach, veggie, and cheese. The Veggie one is my personal favorite but they are all so delicious! If you can't get your kids to eat them, do as my brother did and dip them in ketchup (gross, Scott).

H'orderve #2
Yes I know, "way to self promote, Rachel." But seriously, these are SO easy to make and you can add a variety of ingredients. For some reason, not everyone likes buffalo chicken. These can be made with barbequed chicken, steak and cheese, or with just veggies and cheese. There are also so many different dipping sauces that can be used to change things up. 
H'orderve #3

As you know from previous blogs, I love crab meat. My friend Kelly is from Baltimore and is a genius on all things crab. Since I cannot divulge her family's recipe, I found one that sounds pretty amazing as a substitute. These little treats are a great finger food and aren't terrible for you either. You know it's a good party if these are present!

H'orderve #4
The link for this one goes to one of my favorite food bloggers. I have recreated quite a few recipes from Life's Ambrosia, and they have all turned out to be delicious. Instead of posting my own recipe for this finger food (super simple), I just shared hers. I've made many different dished with a baguette since they are so inexpensive. Cheesy garlic bread and this bruschetta are among my favorites. Easy, yummy, and a crowd pleaser!

Enjoy your holiday parties :)