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Buffet Party—New Favourites

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Preparing food for a festive gathering can make for a lot of work for the host. That’s where potluck brings welcome respite—from the chaos of planning and prepping. Inviting guests to bring their own contributions to the festive fare will help you turn that chaos into calm. 

This year, we’ve raised the bar on potluck. Wonderful mainstays such as traditional mashed yams, whipped potatoes, and Brussels sprouts make way for new traditions with four easy potluck recipes that can be prepped ahead. 

Our colourful rice dish is a feast for the eyes. It offers a wonderful blend of herbs and spices, complete with candied nuts, that turns this dish into the perfect complement to any main dish. Plus, we’ve given sweet and sour meatballs a makeover, serving them with a delicious homemade red onion marmalade that does double duty as topping for practically anything, including crackers and cheeze. 

For a lighter taste at the table, citrusy endive boats are a refreshing starter that can also do duty as stand-alone hors d’oeuvres for any gathering. They’re pretty to look at and easy to eat, without a lot of fuss. Don’t forget the caponata: it’s vegan, versatile, and can be served in any number of ways.  

Each of these delicious recipes is so good they’ll long be sought after—even after the holidays have passed. 

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Brown Rice and Spinach with Candied Almonds and Pomegranate Arils

Brown Rice and Spinach with Candied Almonds and Pomegranate Arils
Roasted Meatballs with Red Onion Marmalade

Many of us are familiar with age-old sweet and sour meatballs, regular fare on the buffet line or served from a slow cooker or fondue pot with long-handled forks. Roasted meatballs anyone? This version is definitely upscale and will have everyone hovering with forks in hand.

Festive Caponata Two Ways

Many caponata recipes include something sweet, such as plumped raisins. Some even have anchovies or tuna. We’ve kept our recipe on the simple and savoury side to give it a myriad of serving possibilities. We suggest serving it on crostini or on top of creamy hummus. It’s also delicious served in a lettuce leaf or tucked into mini pitas.

Belgian Endive Boats with Citrus Crab Salad

This delicious appetizer is a terrific hors d’oeuvre for the holiday season. Dungeness crab is just being harvested at this time of year, and it’s a light delicacy that’s so easy to transport. For extra freshness, carry the crab filling and Belgian endive leaves in separate containers, and simply spoon filling into spears when you arrive.

Keep it safe

We raised the bar this year with some delicious additions to the holiday buffet. However, one small bug can spoil an otherwise beautiful celebration. The following are some useful food safety tips to keep in mind when transporting and handling food.  

  • Transport food in tightly sealed containers. 
  • Use hand sanitizer before serving. 
  • Keep hot foods hot (140 F/60 C) and cold foods cold (40 F/5 C).  
  • Always use serving utensils, one for every dish.
  • Make sure utensil handles don’t fall into food.  
  • Never top up a buffet dish that has been standing for a while with fresh food. 
  • Supervise children at the buffet.  
  • Never leave food out for longer than two hours. 
  • When in doubt, toss it out. 
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