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As a hostess of hundreds of parties, I know first-hand that the key to any successful party lies in planning and organizing. Since you set the tone and mood for your guests, the more prepared you are, the more at ease everyone will be during your party.
So when I hosted a Christmas Soiree this past weekend, I practiced what I preached. I opted for various hors d’oeuvres over a sit-down dinner. The particular menu allowed me to tackle most things ahead of time, avoiding last-minute stress. You can even outsource some of your food rather than making everything from scratch.
Here is my buffet spread: mini beef wellingtons, lamb kabobs with yogurt sauce, chicken lettuce wraps, pork satay with peanut sauce and cucumber relish, assorted French cheese tray, Italian salumi platter, crudités, fresh fruits, and water chestnut dip. They might look complicated, but in fact, these dishes were very easy to assemble and all were prepped in advance.
The full-flavored, crunchy water chestnut dip caught everyone’s attention. As tasty as the other foods were, my friends fear that it was beyond their culinary skills to venture out to those intimidating recipes. I conceded that anyone could whip up a bowl of dip. Dips are versatile and easy to put together. I sometimes use it as a filling in wontons, similar to crab rangoons, or I use them as sandwich spreads when I want to add more Asian flair to my sandwiches.
Water Chestnut Dip
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnut, finely chopped
1 8 oz regular or low fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with rice crackers or pita chips. Keep in the fridge for up 2 weeks.
Makes 2 cups