Dinner Parties & Entertaining

We are of two minds when it comes to New Year's Eve: We either want to be dressed to the nines at a fabulous ballroom-esque gala, or gathered with friends in a casual setting at home. This year we're opting for the latter, so we've put together a menu perfect for a casually elegant night in. For further tips, we've crafted test kitchen dossiers on both Cocktails and Hors d'Oeuvres for this month, so take all the notes you need to. Don't forget that the rest of our Entertaining section has further tips on decor and the trimmings. Now get that celebration started, and say adieu to another year! Cocktails, finger foods and dessert. Is there any better way to ring in the New Year? COCKTAILS Provocachic™ Cosmopolitan Lemongrass Martini Love Potion: Family Edition Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail LIGHT HORS D'OEUVRES (2 to 3 servings per person) Minted Pea Puree Canapes in Puff Pastry Vol au Vents Dilled Crab Salad on Artichoke Bottoms Celeriac Prosciutto Rolls with Lemongrass Vinaigrette Cucumber Cups with Caviar and Champagne Onions

Note: This article is a companion to our Gilded Fork: Entertaining at Home cookbook. With 13 dinner party menus, and the tips you'll find in this and our other entertaining articles, we've done a lot of the work for you. Sally forth! There is a certain art to being a good host, and it is one that is cultivated after what is likely trial-by-fire. You have learned that even the largest catastrophes can be met with a sense of humor, flexibility, and a little creative flair. But how do you get to that happy place? The answer is not to be found in the bottom of a martini glass (ok, not always). Instead, it is to be found in planning well, being able to think on your feet, and putting the comfort of your guests at the top of the priority list. Even if your recipes turn out quite differently from what you had planned, your guests will remember how delightful you were as a gracious host.

[This is our latest from the TasteBuds blog, where you can find lots of great information from us, Todd and Diane from White on Rice, and Sassy Radish Olga Massov.] The question I get asked most often is “What wine do I serve with that?” Unless you are an avid wine connoisseur or collector, it’s a question that can range from slightly intimidating to downright terrifying. However, I come bearing gifts that will transform that fear — and the need to know everything about wine — into something workable so you can serve your guests and enjoy yourself without the panic. Here’s my secret: I have no idea what wine you should serve with that. And the good news is that I don’t need to, because there are simple-to-use resources built to help you navigate the wine conundrum with ease. Yes, there are some pairings I know from habit, and which reds vs. whites I prefer, but when I’m going for a killer match, I leave that to the experts. First you want to start with your menu: What are you serving? From there you have something to work with — flavor profiles, dominant flavors and a price range. From that point, there are three simple methods for creating wine pairings: (1) the hi-tech version; (2) the book version; and (3) the old-school version. Let’s see which works best for you.