Back to Archives

Arm your kitchen for the season

On balsamic glaze, puffed pastry, antipasta and blitzen

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Here we are well into the holiday season where you can’t swing a dead cat around without hitting an office party, a party with friends, a party with relatives, a party with neighbors, etc., etc. That’s a lot of commitment, which always leads to a big drain on your time whether you are throwing the party or just attending. I am here to make your life easier.

In my recent travels, I have discovered ways to impress without draining your precious resources. We’ll start with the food group. One fabulous item I found is bottled balsamic glaze. Now who hasn’t sweated over a hot stove trying to reduce balsamic vinegar into sweet tangy syrup? It’s great for baby carrots, filet mignon, caprese salad, salmon and a slew of other tasty treats. Grocery stores in nicer neighborhoods should be well stocked with this time saver.

Next we have puffed pastry. A box usually holds two sheets. Thaw a sheet out, grate some cheese, add an herb and a meat product, roll it up, slice and bake at 400 degrees. Don’t forget to grease your pan. A nice combination could be salmon, jack cheese and dill, or proscuitto, Parmesan and basil. The little puffed pasty cups are nice too. You can fill those with just about anything, like goat cheese and caramelized onions. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

Now if you REALLY want a time saver, visit your local café, restaurant or deli and see if they will throw a nice mixed appetizer tray together for you. Antipasti is a great way to go because there is always something for everyone. A cheese board makes a great impression. Who doesn’t like good cheese? Ah, that’s right, my friend Godot. He literally picks it off his pizza. Sorry, I have gone there before. Anyway, call around and see who will put something nice together for you to go. Bring your own tray for the “I made it myself” look. Sneaky.

Don’t forget the all-important cocktails. You want something festive but easy. If you read my column with any consistency, you know I love a good dusty martini, but I also love a good Bloody Mary. I discovered Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning. All you need is Demitri’s, tomato juice and a condiment like the traditional celery, olives or pickled vegetable. It is the best. Many restaurants use it, so I have found it at Cash-n-Carry and Bargreen and Ellingson.

Classy and tasty, find a cheap sparking wine (I prefer to use Prosecco) and add pomegranate juice. Pretty. Next you could spend the time searching for mulling spices and again slave over a hot stove to make hot spiced wine. Why do that when your local wine shop or liquor store carries Glühwein, the traditional hot spiced wine of Germany? All you need to do is heat it up in a sauce pan (don’t let it boil) and serve it in a mug with a cinnamon stick. I know it must sound horrible to you wine purists, but I assure you nothing screams Christmas more than when you walk into a house and smell hot spiced wine simmering on the stove. Eastern European goodness!

Well, I hope I have given you a few hints for making your holiday partying easier. I have many more hints, but I am limited in column space. If you need more hints, there’s a little thing called the Internet and I am sure you can find some great ideas there. Or for that personal touch, pick the brain of your local restaurant or bar owner for ideas. They are full of them!

Eat out Tacoma. We need your love.

Sandee Glib has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry for more than 12 years as a server, bartender, cook and owner. Her opinions are expressly her own and she is always right.

comments powered by Disqus