How To Cheat Fancy Food + Holiday Recipe Exchange

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

With the holidays here, lots of people are hosting more parties and get togethers than they normally would. For Catholics, this is also a time when it feels like the Church decided to squeeze as many big feasts in as possible! So you want to make things special but have it be quick and simple? Here's how I cheat make fancy food.

Have a "fancy" condiment or sauce

Easiest way to swanky-up a dish is to tie it together with a condiment or sauce that seems fancy, but is actually very quick and easy to put together.
My favorites are:
  • Siracha Mayo
  • Dill Tarter Sauce
  • Tabasco Ketchup
Two of those things are literally two other prepared condiments you probably have in your kitchen mixed together!
But it's a two part name thus fancy.

My Dill Tarter Sauce is:
2 part Mayo
1 part Relish
1 part Lemon Juice
Half part Dried Dill

Stir and serve! The flavor will grow a little stronger if you let it sit for an hour+ in the fridge.

Use some restaurant plating tricks

If you're hosting a dinner party, you can take your dinner plates up a notch by doing the finishing touches with a few restaurant plating tips.

If you have chives, paprika, cinnamon or anything else that requires sprinkling on top at the end, wait until you've plated the food then sprinkle on top by putting the ingredient in a regular spoon and distribute by tapping your hand instead of shaking the spoon. You'll get a much more even distribution, and it will instantly look more professional.

I don't have one at home yet, but loading olive oil or whatever sauce or dressing you are using in a plastic squeeze bottle and drizzling with that looks amazing.

Make a Fun Drink

Did you know it's actually really easy to make your own mulled wine, spiced apple cider, or Chai tea?
The secret to making them "fancy" is to use whole spices. It also makes them easier to make. 

I think the mulled wine and the spiced apple cider have the plus of being made in a slow cooker and thus will make your home smell AMAZING when people walk in.

If you know you will be making a lot of such things, I'd recommend buying in bulk either online or in store. I've used My Spice Sage before for things like Star Anise and Smoked Paprika and had a good experience. 

If you're into cocktails, my current favorite trick is adding in a burnt orange garnish.
Peel off a little bit (thumb length) of orange zest. Twist it to release some of the orange oil. Swill the zest on the rim of the glass to add a little pop of flavor. Then, my favorite part, light it on fire for about 2-3 seconds then drop it in the drink.
It gives it a smoky citrus flavor. I love to do this with Manhattans, Old Fashions, certain Gin Martinis would probably be good with it too.
Adding the burnt orange also lets you add onto the drink name (i.e. Burnt Orange Manhattan).
Like I said above, multi-part name = fancy!


Want some easy recipes to try out this holiday season?
Here are two of my favorites, free as a thank you to you!
Click to open downloadable/printable versions.

Visit the other members of The Zelie Group bloggers to get their recipes in our virtual holiday recipe exchange!

Anni at A Beautiful, Camouflaged, Mess of A Life
Brittany at Everyday Thoughts
Chiara at Catholic Pearl
Ginny at Not So Formulaic
Jessica at Pinot Noir and Prayers
Kerry at Fishbowl Fortune

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