Fake It: Tips to Being the “Perfect Hostess”
Many of us have been told by our loving caregivers that if try hard enough we can be whatever we want. But the truth is we all can’t be the perfect hostess that Martha Stewart so effortlessly showcases. Tragic right? Luckily, there are tools and techniques that allows even the worse hostess to fake it. So no one needs to know that you over-seasoned the string beans with salt or your cocktail making skills are limited to pouring champagne (one (or both) of which this gal is guilty of). Now, when your parents come to visit, or when you host a Thanksgiving party you can pretend you’re a pro. Here are some tips that will get you on road to wining the title of the best hostess. That is you’re the competitive type.
Food Star, Tom Colicchio, who recently hosted a lunch at Craft to showcase Bing's Food & Drink App says its important to "get all of your prep work done ahead of time." This preparation process involves "getting everything in place," including vegetables and other simple that things can be done in advance. By preparing ahead of time "you really save yourself time and have a much smoother cooking experience."
Use the Microwave
Colicchio, also says these magical words "don't be afraid to use your microwave." He explains "there’s nothing wrong with heating up a puree in the microwave, it’s not doing anything to it, it’s just heating it. Heating a puree is actually better in the microwave than on the stove." Now go on heat your puree and do so with pride.
Get Ready and Find Your recipes
Go to the internet and find recipes that suite needs of your guests. The Bing Food & Drink app, for example, lets you find new recipes, create shopping lists in one click and you’re done. You can then take your list to your local grocery store or use services like FreshDirect to get your ingredients. Once you're ready to get going the app (available for your phone, your PC or tablet) also lets you navigate through a recipe hands-free so your screen stays clean when your hands are messy.
Create a signature dish for your party
So guests will want to come back. If you're cooking challenged (and you know who you are) stick to simple recipes or if you're a daring type of a gal go for gold. Click through for a signature recipe created by Tom Colicchio featuring bass.
What You'll Need to Prepare the Broth
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
½ fennel bulb, cored and sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 quart fumet
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, fennel, celery, and shallot and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the coriander and fennel seeds, wine, and vinegar and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the fumet, 1 cup water, the thyme, bay leaf, tarragon, and rosemary. Simmer until the ﬂavors in the broth blend, about 15 minutes; set aside to cool.
What You'll Need to Prepare the Bass
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 6-ounce, skin-on striped bass fillets (about 1 ¼ inches thick)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish if desired
Directions: Divide the oil between two large skillets and heat over medium. Salt and pepper the ﬁsh and add it, skin side down, to the skillet. Add the thyme and cook until the skin is crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn the ﬁsh, then ladle two cups of the broth with vegetables into each skillet, reserving the remainder. Bring the broth to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the bass until it is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes more.
Get Your Guests in the "Mood"
Everyone loves some good guacamole. Start your party with homemade guacamole and pair it with a lovely bottle of wine to get your guests "in the mood!" Here's one recipe for a delicious guacamole created by Chef Sam Talbot that you can pair with a bottle of Thorny Rose Cabernet Sauvignon.
Recipe: Guacamole with Feta Cheese and Almonds
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted in the oven
4 Hass avocados
Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
6 to 8 dashes of hot sauce
1 small red onion, diced
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: In a food processor, process the almonds until coarsely ground. Halve the avocadoes, pit, and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, hot sauve, onion, feta, and ground almonds. Mix until well combined, mashing the avocado with the back of a spoon. Fold in the tomatoes and oil. Transfer to a serving dish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pair with Thorny Rose Cabernet Sauvignon. Serves 8.
Create a Signature Cocktail
Having a specialty cocktail is a great way to add a personal touch for your guests. Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese, who in addition to putting on a good show has a passion for entertaining and just happens to be a lover of Cointreau. When serving your cocktails she suggest, setting a mini bar with a signature base (whether vodka or gin, etc) and seasonal ingredients. As a host select a spirit that speaks to you. For example Dita loves Cointreau Rickey because it is a chic and easy create cocktail the guest that also tastes glorious (as per our research). Also Dita notes by "personalizing their cocktails, guests will remember which drink is theirs!” So you'll spend less time cleaning.
Also, don't be afraid to create batch drinks such as punches and serve them in beautiful carafes. This way you'll have ready made drinks and instead of running back and forth to the kitchen making drinks for your guests all night. Click to see a signature cocktail recipe that your holiday dinner party guests will love and it is super easy to create.
Signature Cocktail Idea: The Cointreau Rickey
The Cointreau Rickey
2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3-4 oz. Club Soda or Seltzer
Build all ingredients in a glass with ice.
Directions: Stir briefly. Garnish with orange peel and lime twist.