Holiday Open House…The Food (And how to make sugar coated cranberries!)

Holiday Open House Spread 2011

We had such a great time at our open house this year. So much fun, in fact, that these are the only pictures I took! About 25 of our dearest friends joined us this year. The house was pretty packed at times, but full of love and laughter and spiced cider. We started at 7:30 PM, so I went ‘light’ on the food. In the past, we’ve had heavier options (ham, homemade brined turkey breast, sandwiches), but I went strictly with finger food this year. But, we’ll start with the sweets because life is short and dessert should come first. The glorious cake above is a Barb Moore cake. It’s my mother’s signature cake, and therefore is named after her. I believe the original name was Irish Cream Cake, so you can imagine why it’s popular.

Holiday Open House Spread 2011

This, my friends, is mid-west heaven on a plate. My new boss gave each of us (several) pecan kringles. It’s dense and gooey and still flaky and so, so very good. I’m gaining 5 pounds just thinking about it.

I garnished both the kringle and Barb Moore cake with sugar coated cranberries. They were stupid easy to make, extremely pretty, and even tasted good! Do as follows to make your own: Combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a pot. Heat, stirring continuously until sugar dissolves. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and dump in 1 cup fresh and washed cranberries. Stick the pot in the fridge to cool. After an hour, drain cranberries and reserve. Get a big bowl and put some sugar in it. Toss cranberries in small batches in sugar and set on a wax paper lined tray to dry. They’ll harden up and be sparkly and delicious. I’m thinking they would be yummy dropped in some champagne, too!

Holiday Open House Spread 2011

The rest of the spread was really simple. Pesto pinwheels: Buy puff pastry. Thaw puff pastry. Spread all over with pesto and roll up. Cut into 1/4″ slices, brush with egg whites, bake at 400 for 10 minutes. SIMPLE, but yummy!

Holiday Open House Spread 2011

Cheese: Buy cheese. Cut cheese. Arrange on platter with grapes. Garnish with an adorable mouse knife given to you by your fabulous gay friend (optional).

Holiday Open House Spread 2011

Pickled mini-peppers stuffed with mozzarella: Drain and de-seed a jar of sweet mini-peppers and stuff with fresh mozzarella. Ok, these sound easy, until you know I pickled those baby peppers with my bare hands this summer. They are truly a labor of love. I bought so many pints of fresh, sweet, mini-peppers that the FARMER asked me what I was going to do with them! Answer, a delicious pickle. (He’d never even pickled them!) IF you don’t have it in you to pre-plan and pickle your own mini-peppers from Farmer Rosemary Pete, buy a jar of peppadews and stuff them with bits of  mozzarella. If you don’t live in the South and can’t find peppadews, well, try those cute little Spanish Piquillo peppers.

I’m going to have a houseful of guests from now through Christmas and then I am traveling to my grandparents’ for New Year’s, so this is the last post until 2012. I hope you all have a terrific Christmas (if you celebrate) and a wonderful New Year! Thanks for all your comments, support, tweets, pins, emails, and such. I am so lucky and looking forward to a wonderful next year here at Ready, Set, Party! Kisses!

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2 thoughts on “Holiday Open House…The Food (And how to make sugar coated cranberries!)

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