Holiday Hosting Guide
The holidays are a time to relax, reflect, and enjoy time with loved ones. If you’re hosting this holiday season, it is probably because you’re looking forward to inviting your friends and family over for a shared meal and revelry. In practice, however, preparing a sumptuous feast for a group can feel like the opposite of relaxing, and getting bogged down in all the details that go along with party prep can leave little time to connect.
Luckily, we’ve spent years perfecting our hosting chops and we’re here to share our secrets for a perfect meal. We’ve got your covered – from appetizers to mains to desserts and drinks – so you can spend more time enjoying and indulging this year.
Guests are arriving and you're still finishing up in the kitchen with your main course? No problem. Set out appetizers and let everyone mingle over small bites and small talk while you put the finishing touches on the meal. Here are a few of our favorites. Most are easy to prep ahead so you can just lay them out when the festivities are ready to begin.
Baked Feta With Elderberry Infused Maple Syrup
The honey and fig flavors bring out the finest nuances of cheese and provide the perfect, sweet compliment.
Sweet Potato and Tahini Dip with Spicy Merquén Drizzle
Sweet and earthy, the coup de grace is the swirl of Merquén syrup that gives it spice and brings out the sugars of the sweet potato.
Prosciutto and Melon 2.0
A melding of woodsy, figgy elderberry, salty, buttery prosciutto, honey-like melon and zingy cress.
Grilled Shrimp with Hot Honey
Forget the shrimp cocktail, kick your party up a notch with this spicy and smoky crowd-pleaser.
Adding either the Cardamom Infused or Pecan Wood Smoked maple syrup brings out the sweetness of the eggplant and onions and gives it a little extra something.
Choosing a main dish to please everyone at your table can be as big of an undertaking as cooking it. Luckily, we have everything from light seafood dishes, to long braises for the traditional table. Our roast delicata squash can be stuffed with beef or bulgur to cater to a variety of food preferences, and roast duck is the perfect size for a more intimate gathering. Still can't decide? Think about pairing two main dishes with a few hearty sides to provide variety and take the pressure off of a single perfect presentation.
Broiled Salmon with Smoked Maple and Dijon
This smoky and sweet salmon is a very simple stunner that will get you some serious culinary cred.
Seared Scallops with a Maple Miso Glaze
Succulent scallops, sweet maple, spiced cardamom, bitter chard, umami miso: a clear winner.
Braised Pork with a Maple Mustard and Fennel Sauce
Maple and pork were meant for each other. Try this marbled pork braised for hours in a tangy cider and fennel broth.
Duck with Maple Ginger Orange Sauce
If the idea of an enormous roast turkey seems too much, consider celebrating with roast duck.
Stuffed Delicata Squash with Hot Honey
Filled with meat or bulgur for a vegetarian delight, these squash boats plate beautifully and work well for a crowd.
Round out your meal with a few simple and versatile side dishes – roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, and some heartier options with complex and refreshing flavors to cut the richness of your main course. And remember: just because they are a breeze to make, doesn't mean they won't be delicious!
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables with Maple Glaze
Highlight the flavors of the season with this easy roasted veggie tray.
Fried Brussels Sprouts with a Maple Cider Glaze
Inspired by our favorite seasonal offering from our local barbecue restaurant, these tangy sweet sprouts are sure to be a hit.
Roasted Cabbage with Horseradish Cream and Maple
Braising the cabbage in the cream tames its sourness so the horseradish can step in and be the dominant note.
Beet Arugula and Citrus Salad with Ginger Maple Vinaigrette
A bright, festive salad, perfect for rounding out a heavy meal.
Sweet Sour Beets
Orange juice and a finishing drizzle of Smoked maple syrup complement the sweetness while a dose of cider vinegar gives them a little edge.
No party is complete without the drinks. Whether you're imbibing in some holiday cheer, celebrating the season with cocoa, or looking to balance the merrymaking with a very tasty, very sessionable sangria, these recipes below are sure to keep spirits jolly.
Glogg is a traditional Scandinavian mulled wine libation – warming, festive and delicious.
Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa
Beloved by kids and adults alike, this Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa is the perfect treat for a snowy evening.
Ginger Hot Toddy
Simple and well-balanced, this ginger hot toddy will take the chill off of the most brutal winter weather.
Cranberry Apple Sangria
Mix up a big pitcher of this beautiful, festive, and low alcohol sangria for your next holiday gathering.
Enjoy & happy holidays from the crew at Runamok!