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Tips for Holiday Entertaining from SUNY Plattsburgh Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

With the holidays come the season for entertaining. We asked Kimberly Emery, chef and instructor for Plattsburgh’s hotel, restaurant, and tourism management program, to share her favorite tricks for hosting in style.

Here’s what she said:

1. Honor Traditions, Even if They Aren’t Yours

If you are entertaining friends, invite them to include their own holiday traditional recipes or ideas. They are likely to have a favorite dish that they grew up with. Including the traditions of others in your festivities will make everyone feel welcome and at home.

In our house, we do the store-bought dinner rolls that come out around the holidays. While I would prefer to make my own, I just buy them, and everyone is happy.

2. Take a Chance on Something New

Bring out the old favorites but try at least one new dish. Everyone will be pleasantly surprised. If the dish is fabulous, it can become a part of your repertoire. If it tanks like my butternut squash and prosciutto soup did one year, you don’t ever have to make it again, and you will have a good story to tell.

3. Trim the Table Too

A cloth napkin really brings the table together. Wash and iron your napkins a few days before so it isn’t on your to-do list the morning of your gathering.

Children can get involved in the holiday preparation by making place cards.

Everyone will appreciate your hard work. Don’t forget, though, that, as the host, you want to be able to spend time with your friends and family. You might consider getting festive paper plates and napkins for dessert.

4. Snacks Rule

Some of the best recipes should be saved for the snacks that come before the meal. I enjoy making different cheese dips. One of my new favorites is simple to make but has a rich flavor.

Brie Pistachio Cheese:

  • 6-8 oz. brie cheese.
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped.

Separate the soft, creamy brie interior from the rind. Mix thoroughly with the pistachios either by hand or with a mixer

Serve with crackers

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