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Holiday Entertaining Tips From The Pros

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

As an event planner, I've been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented people in the industry. My colleagues and myself are always so busy organizing and planning everyone else's celebrations. I decided to invite everyone over for a little soirée in my home. I was doing a photoshoot with Herend China for a holiday table setting and decided why let lots of beautiful flowers from Paul Tsang Diaz at Spina Events go to waste? I decided to whip up some food and invite a few friends over. In addition to the Herend China, I had many beautiful dishes and stemware from Party Rental Ltd. Why not have a few people come over for the night? We had lots of good things to eat and a glass of bubbly to toast the New Year ahead.

I figured that my esteemed colleagues, who are geniuses in different fields of entertaining, would have some great pro tips to share... I thought it would be little fun and interactive to ask them to share some holiday tips, traditions and favorite memories. I'm about 99% decorated in my house, but I was lacking a table in my entry hall and my good friends at Luxe Event Rental gave me a table to style this interactive station that I planned. I ordered cards on Etsy from Paper Case Studio and how crazy is this... her name is Caroline Bender , her studio is called Papercase !?!?!?!??!?!?^&%^&?! and her handwriting even looks similar to mine.

I used these cards to pop a few questions to the Kings and Queens of the event planning industry. On this beautiful table people could share their holiday tips, advice and favorite traditions.

Scroll through some great tips about cooking, decorating and learn about their family traditions!

I loved hearing all of their advice, traditions, and suggestions for holiday entertaining! Somethings were quite simple....BREATHE, MR. BUBBLE and spend time with family. Other recipes, decorating and traditions below. I hope you enjoy and make good use of all these suggestions.

A Holiday Recipe Tip from Christina Matteucci: Executive Director at David Beahm Destinations

Many people are familiar with the Italian Christmas tradition of Panettone – if only from seeing the familiar boxes of this popular dessert at their local market or Italian specialty store.  This large, Milanese, sweet bread, laden with candied fruits and raisins, is best known for being served after dinner with a sweet wine or warm drink – but my holiday pro-tip: take the stale leftovers and make a glorious, thick-slice French toast for those sleepy, late-morning breakfasts between the holidays and New Years!  It is sweet, rich, and oh – so divine! 

I've been lucky enough to have worked with some of the bets caterers in the event industry. Check out this easy to do appetizer tip by amazing caterer Larry Craig of Laurence Craig Catering below...

Easy to Make Appetizer that anybody can do By Larry Craig:

Take individual 3” wheels of camembert cheese and place in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds – top with store bought fig jam ( or other fruit preserves)  and if you feel like going all out sprinkle with cooked crumbled bacon – serve with sliced bread, toast or crackers favorite way to celebrate New Years, Christmas or Chanukah!

Larry had another fun tradition he shared with us on how he celebrates New Years Eve. Sounds like FUN and COMFY to me!!!

We love to have a onesie pajama party on NY’s Eve – ( there are pictures) – it is super casual and EVERYONE looks great in a onesie! It seems to relax the guests and it is so easy to fall into bed if you get carried away.

I've had the pleasure of working on so many beautifully designed parties with Timothy Scalet of David Beahm Destinations. Who better to give expert advice for holiday decorating? He's shared some of his tips below as well as a traditional Christmas recipe that his family has made for years.

Some great holiday tips from Timothy Scalet Senior Designer/Producer!

Timothy had several holiday tips. See below all the great info he shared with me....

As you may remember I was in both the holiday retail and wholesale markets for numerous years. Working for Silverstri out of Chicago (they started the small Christmas tree lights also know as "B" lights) back in the fifties. I was also the Visual Director for Starad, Inc., most notable know as Christopher Radko, known for the hand-blown glass ornaments from Poland, Germany, the Czechoslovakia Republic and Italy. While I was at Christopher Radko I provided all of the technical and styling tips and styled the book "Christopher Radko's Heart of Christmas".

An easy holiday table or fireplace mantel decor trick, is to take two vintage glass finials (Tree toppers) and attach them to a pair of candle holders, with either beeswax from a candle or Silly Putty. This will keep them firm and hopefully standing upright throughout the holiday season. I always add a decorative solid gold or red dupioni wired ribbon around the base of the final and candle holder where they meet. This will disguise any of the beeswax or Silly Putty. I use wired ribbon because you can shape it especially with wavy ribbon tails. Colorful finals can also be mounted to multi height glass bottles or acrylic stands

If you have several finals in your collection, you may wish to add them to different heights of candle sticks and group them all together to make a statement. These will most definitely add a dramatic festive touch to your home.

Now this sounds delicious! See below a tradional pasta dish Timothy and his family have year after year.

( I know he spends his Christmas visiting family out of town- wondering if I can convince him to make this with me another time???:))

From Timothy:

I can not go without mentioning a delicous traditional holiday food favorite. A northern Italian home-made pasta treat that is a family favorite. My Italian Grandmother always made Cappelletti's. Italian Cappelletti is a mush have at Christmas lunches, but our family has always created them after Thanksgiving and served on Christmas day. The northern area of Transaqua Italy is where my father's side of the family is from so the ingredients differ from region to region.

Italian Cappelletti's are not to be confused with Tortellini since they differ in many ways. It's all about the filling.  Cappelletti shape resembles a small hat, thus a shape that resembles a medieval hat. The Home of the Cappelletti seems to be the Romagna, which is at East of Emilia-Romagna region but cappelletti are also consumed in the Marche region. 

Now for the recipe: Pasta

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3 eggs Pinch of sea salt Filling

1 tablespoon unsalted butter ground sirloin (or 1/2 chicken breast or 4 ounces of lean pork) 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 eggs  1 egg yolk 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg Optional: 1 pinch of lemon zest 1 pinch of fine sea salt 1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper 1 cup of bread crumbs Steps to Make ItNote: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Cappelletti dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking. Make the Filling Gather the ingredients. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the chicken. Let cool and then cut into small chunks. Using a food processor or blender, combine the sautéed chicken, ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, whole egg, egg yolk, nutmeg, lemon zest (if using), and salt and pepper to form a fine paste.  If, on the other hand, the mixture is too stiff, add an extra egg yolk.Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, as necessary.

Make the Pasta

Gather the ingredients.Make a mound with the flour on your work surface and form a well in the middle.Crack the eggs into the center of the well, add the salt, and work the eggs and the flour together with your hands until you have a smooth dough, adding just a few drops of water, if necessary, and no more.Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and quite elastic. Don't skimp on the kneading or the dough will tear while you're rolling it out. Separate the dough into 2 pieces.Flour your work surface (marble countertops are ideal for this, though wood or Formica work as well) and start to roll out the dough, rolling out from the middle, flipping it over occasionally, and flouring it as necessary to keep it from sticking.Keep on flipping and rolling until you have a sheet that's almost transparent—as thin as a dime, or thinner if you can manage it, as the pasta will almost double in thickness while cooking. Shape the Cappelletti

Once you've rolled out a thin sheet of pasta on a well-floured surface, use a round cookie cutter (you could also use a round or square raviolo stamp or a fluted-edge rolling pasta cutter) to cut out 2-inch-diameter circles of dough.Place 1 level teaspoon of stuffing in the middle of each circle.Using your fingertip or a pastry brush, moisten the edges of the circle with a little water so they will seal.Fold the circles in half over the filling to form half moons, pressing down with your fingers to seal the edge.Then pull the two corners towards each other, overlapping one over the other, and press down on the tips to help them adhere together. 

If Serving in Broth Gently boil the cappelletti in broth until they are done, 3 to 5 minutes (the pasta should be al dente). For each serving, place 10 to 15 cappelletti in a brimming bowl of broth. I like to add on more grated cheese on served. My grandmother, Lena, would always add a little red wine to her bowl. Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Warmly, Timothy Scalet Senior Designer/Producer

Thanks everyone for coming. I had such a good time celebrating with my friends. I can't wait to share with you the pictures from the actual party from Hechler photography!!

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and that the New Year brings all great things for you, your family and friends

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