Holiday Events: Creating the Ultimate Menu

Roast TurkeyWhether you are planning a holiday event or you just want to incorporate holiday favorites into a special or corporate event menu, these special tools, touches and tips will make your job easier and your feast memorable, even if you opt for traditional favorites.

For Cvent's readers outside North America, Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday favorites in North America include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, yam or sweet potato, dinner rolls or soda biscuits, and apple or pumpkin pie.

Pass these ideas and tips on to your caterer and chef when you are planning your next holiday event.

Turkey

turkey

One of the best-kept secrets for getting the most flavour out of turkey is to brine it by soaking it in a solution of hot water, salt and vinegar for a few hours. Wash it with lime or lemon juice and rinse it really well before soaking it in the brine solution.

After brining the turkey, paper dry it both inside and out and then air dry it in the refrigerator as the dryness is what will help the skin to get crisp. (Some chefs suggest air drying it in the fridge for 24 hours.)

The best way to prepare a turkey that is tender, moist, and brown, is to cook it in a clay cooker or cooking bag. You'll have ample juice for gravy. If you use a clay cooker, soak the clay cooker in water for about half an hour. To brown the turkey, remove the top of the clay cover, drain off the juices so that they don't dry out and cook it until it is brown. There is no need to do that if you use cooking bags.

For the stuffing, cook and cut up the giblets and just before serving add drippings from the turkey as well as  finely ground walnuts for texture.

Chef Gordon Ramsay demonstrates how to infuse a turkey with flavour.

Here is how to use cooking bags to prepare a tender and moist turkey that cooks quickly.

Potatoes

Potatoes and turkeyAlthough scalloped potatoes, boiled potatoes smothered in melted raclette cheese, and creamy potatoes au gratin are fabulous options to consider for holiday events, mashed potatoes are definitely the favorite comfort food associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Be sure to add lots of butter and milk. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Garnish with parsley, Bermuda onions or cheese.

Here is a simple trick to create the fluffiest mashed potatoes to serve at events.

 

Desserts

Raspberry Dessert

Even If you opt for a traditional apple pie, add some variety by using a graham cracker pie crust or presenting the dessert in ramekins. Serve it with cherry, cranberry, raspberry, or blueberry ice cream or ices.

As an alternative to apple or pumpkin pie, consider cherry, cranberry, raspberry, or blueberry pies, cakes or mousses. Raspberry fool, raspberry Napoleon, raspberry mille-feuille, trifle, or pavlova are great choices for holiday desserts.

They'll add color to your table and provide your guests with an unexpected treat.

You'll also want to read American Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World and Foreign Festive Fare for Christmas Events.

Photo Credits: Jazreel Chan, Justin Smith, Janet Hudson

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