TIPS FOR CURATING THE PERFECT HOME. SIGN UP FOR HOME + STYLE.

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Styled by  Lenette Kujawa; shot on location at the Kujawa home;  flowers courtesy The Flower Merchant; bruschetta courtesy Touch Restaurant.
A Subtle Touch: Rather than trying to change an entire room’s color scheme, Kujawa suggests adding Christmas décor that matches your space, such as the white Santas and fresh flowers she added to this living room (opposite). She also added trees on the mantle, as well as wine glasses on the piano.

 

Activity Suggestions
by Lenette Kujawa

Set the Mood. Consider hiring a string quartet to play at your party. If that’s not in your budget, compile a list of your favorite Christmas carols and play them in the background.

Play the Giving Game. If buying gifts for your guests, don’t just hand them over. Hide the gifts, then provide each guest with clues that lead him or her on a treasure hunt.

•  Make Some Music. If you’re musically inclined, consider playing the piano and allowing your guests to sing carols. 

 

Host-It Tips:

1. Kujawa suggests displaying name cards on top of Christmas balls to jazz up place settings.

2. Add simple yet elegant décor to your space by pairing fresh florals with greenery. 

3. Let your food play a role in your décor—be sure to use your favorite serving pieces. 

 

In Good time

You can avoid party-planning stress by doing things ahead of time. We talked to Kristin King of Royal Events (Carthage, 417-793-2151, royal-events.org) to learn a detailed timeline for everything from setting a date to lighting candles before your guests arrive. 

 

1 month before

• Choose type of party and theme

• Set the date

• Prepare a guest list and send out invitations, or call to invite

 

3 weeks before

• Find out any food allergies and plan your menu

• Try out any recipes you are not sure of

• Purchase any nonperishable items

• Rent any items that you do not wish to purchase (such as specific décor, serving plates, table linens, chairs, etc.)

• Hire any servers or bartenders

• Determine cooking times for your menu items and work them into your timeline

 

2 weeks before

• Purchase any liquor

• If any guests have offered to bring anything, let them know at this time what they can bring

• Try out any centerpieces with the table set up and make sure you have everything 

• Put final touches on decoration planning

 

1 week before

• Call any guests who have not RSVP’d

• Start arranging furniture for the party

• Research any games

• Follow up with rental vendor(s)

 

3 days before

• Pick up, or have delivered, any rentals

• Polish any flatware or glasses

• Iron tablecloths and napkins

• Decorate as much as possible

• Mow lawn if necessary

 

2 days before

• Purchase any perishable food

• Make any foods that can be made early (like cookies or cakes)

• Wash and prepare any fresh vegetables

• Pick up flowers if they cannot be delivered

• Finish decorating and set table (if possible)

• Make sure you have all items for games 

• Pick up any clutter

• Make sure coat rack or closet is cleared for guests’ items

 

The morning of

• Have any flowers delivered

• Place flower arrangements

• Complete last-minute decorations

• Arrange dips and appetizer plates

 

4 hours before

• Chill any white wine

• Move cars to accommodate parking

• Stock bathroom with toilet paper, soap and extra hand towels

• Make sure you have an emergency kit in a central location

• Have paper towels in an easy to reach area in case of spills

• Set up games

 

1 hour before

• Be ready for early guests

• Have appetizers in fridge ready to be placed when doorbell rings

 

30 minutes before

• Light candles

 

15 minutes before

• Set up drink station complete with ice

 

 

 

HOLIDAY FEAST:

We talked to Chef Doug Knopp of Chateau Grille about menu suggestions, and he shared recipes for  honey-baked bacon-wrapped dates, walnut-stuffed pork loin, hot chocolate creme brûlée and his secret eggnog. 

Chef Doug Knopp of Chateau Grille shares a sample menu, as well as a tasty recipe to serve at your Christmas party.

(by Chateau Grille):

Honey-baked bacon-wrapped dates, filled with 

goat cheese and pine nuts

Spinach salad with wheat berries, pomegranate, 

roasted pecans and balsamic drizzle

Orange and fennel salad with pomegranate and 

caper berries

Shaved Brussels sprouts with apple wood smoked 

bacon and Parmesan

Wild mushroom whipped potatoes

Sorghum-glazed slow-roasted Tom turkey 

Caramelized apple and almond stuffing

 

 

 

 

Honey-Baked Bacon Wrapped Dates, Filled  with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts 

Ingredients:

16 dates
8 slices of bacon
8 ounces goat cheese
Pine nuts
¼ cup honey

To Prepare: 

Preheat oven to 375°F. With a small paring knife, cut an incision lengthwise from end to end down one side of the date. Remove the pit and stuff with half of an ounce of goat cheese. In a sauté pan, dry toast the pine nuts over medium heat until they look golden brown and smell fragrant. Add five pine nuts to the goat cheese filling of each date. Cut the slices of bacon in half, and tightly wrap each date with half of a bacon slice. Place these on a sheet pan, brush with honey and bake until the bacon is fully cooked, about 15 minutes.  

 

Signature drink: Chef Doug’s Secret Eggnog Recipe
serves 20

Ingredients:

Fresh ginger
Cinnamon
3 cups sugar 
15 eggs
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 quart of heavy cream, whipped
1 quart of whole milk 
1 cup of Meyer’s dark rum

To Prepare: 

Whip sugar, eggs and milk together on high for 15 minutes. Keep whipping it to get the air into it. Over a double boiler, whisk to 150°F, whisking constantly. That will kill any salmonella. After that, cool it in an ice bath. Stir until it cools down. Add rum and the spices and whipped cream. Whisk until blended and foaming. Serve immediately.

 

Walnut Stuffed Pork Loin with Roasted Onions and a Pomegranate Port Reduction 

Ingredients: 

4 pounds Pork Loin
3 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Coarsely Ground Pepper
1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
10 ounces Candied Walnuts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kitchen String
1.5 lbs Sweet Maui onions, peeled and chopped in quarters

For the sauce:
1 cup Dried Apricots
1 cup Pomegranate Juice
1 cup Port Wine
 ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ cup Chicken Stock
 2 tablespoons Butter

To prepare pork:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butterfly the pork loin by making a lengthwise cut down one side, cutting to within ½ an inch of the opposite side. Open the pork, forming a rectangle. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, coriander and garlic; sprinkle half of this on the inside of the pork loin. Roughly chop the candied walnuts and spread an even layer on the loin. Starting at the long side evenly roll up the loin, jelly-role style. Securely tie with the kitchen string at 1½ inch intervals. Season the outside with the remaining seasoning mixture. In a large sauté or roasting pan heat up the olive oil on the stove-top. Sear each side of the loin for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Place seam side down in baking pan with the onions. Reserve the pan drippings for the sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part reads 135 degrees. Remove from oven, cover with tin foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

To prepare sauce:
Add the apricots to the sauté pan with the drippings and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the port wine and bring to a boil; meanwhile scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned pieces. Add the pomegranate juice, chicken stock and cinnamon. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until fruit is tender and the sauce is thickened. Whisk in the butter and the sauce is complete. 

After the pork loin has had a chance to rest thinly slice it and serve with the roasted onions. Top with the port wine reduction sauce and enjoy.

 

Dessert: Hot Chocolate Crème Brulee
serves 8

Ingredients: 

1 ½ quarts Heavy Cream
1 ½ cups Sugar
1 ½ ounce Godiva Chocolate Liquor
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
4 packages Hot Chocolate Mix
1 ½ ounces Chocolate
1 ¼ cups liquid egg yolk (or 16 large egg yolks)
8 teaspoons raw cane sugar

To Prepare: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pan over medium heat add heavy cream, sugar, liquor and vanilla extract. Heat until warm (not boiling). Then whisk in hot chocolate and chocolate until well blended. In a mixing bowl add the egg yolks, slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture until blended. Pour the mixture into oven proof individual serving dishes. Place these into a large baking pan and fill the pan with water up to the halfway mark of the individual dishes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm in the center. Remove the dishes from the water bath and cool for 2 hours before serving. Just before serving lightly coat the top of each dish with the cane sugar and caramelize with a hand torch. Top with whipped cream.

Signature drink: Chef Doug’s Secret Eggnog Recipe
serves 20

Ingredients:

Fresh ginger
Cinnamon
3 cups sugar 
15 eggs
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
1 quart of heavy cream whipped
1 quart of whole milk 
1 cup of Meyer’s dark rum

To Prepare:
Whip sugar, eggs and milk together on high for 15 minutes. Keep whipping it to get the air into it. Over a double boiler, whisk to 150 degrees, whisking constantly. That will kill any salmonella. After that, cool it in an ice bath. Keep stirring it until it cools down. Add rum and the spices and whipped cream. Whisk until blended and foaming. Serve it immediately. 

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