Spring Gatherings: Hosting Tips
Whether you opt for potlucks, buffets, detailed menus by course or a hybrid of all three, it’s not only possible to host fuss-free gatherings – it’s encouraged! Relaxed hosting is the spring thing – so get pointers on simple tulip arrangements and some spring-y ideas for baking for brunches and beyond.
Tulip arrangements are never the same two days in a row. Their graceful arching stems continue to grow and bend toward the light even after they are cut.
How to Get the Most from Your Fresh Cut Tulips
- Look for color. Buy blooms that have developed color but are still tightly closed.
- Prep the flowers. Wrap the whole bunch tightly in paper, cut the stem ends on an angle and place in clean, cold water. Let them condition this way in a cool (or cold) spot for a couple hours before arranging.
- Use a tall vase. This helps to support the long stems. Make sure the vase is absolutely clean.
- Use fresh, cold water with no additives. That means no pennies, sugar, lemon-lime soda, aspirin or (gasp) bleach! All tulips need is fresh, cold water, preferably not treated by a water conditioner.
- Arrange your flowers. Remove any leaves that fall below the water line. Remember that they will grow taller. Place your arrangement in a cool spot, away from heat and bright light.
Looking for a few ways to lighten your entertaining load? Here are our top suggestions for which cooking tasks to take on yourself and which to outsource.
- Invest Your Time in One Star Dish. Choose a main dish, appetizer or even a cocktail to be the star of your party and keep the rest simple.
- Buy a Side, Add a Twist. Buy one or more ready-made side dishes like roast potatoes or a grain salad and add an easy personal touch like fresh herbs or dried fruit and nuts.
- Try Ready-to-Bake Bread. Nothing beats the flavor and aroma fresh bread, and baking up a loaf or two of frozen, pre-formed dough couldn’t be easier.
- Do a Cheese Course. It’s a crowd-pleaser and plating up your selection of cheeses can be done in minutes. Ask our cheesemongers for samples and suggestions!
- Delegate Dessert. Unless you’re a dedicated baker, pick up a delicious fresh-baked dessert or, better yet, let an enthusiastic guest bring one.
Bright flavors and simple recipes are what spring baking is all about. Here are some of our favorite ideas for seasonal celebrations.
- Assemble ahead. Egg dishes like Portobello and Asparagus Egg Strata and Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding are ideal for spring brunches. You can assemble them a day ahead and bake them just before your guests arrive.
- Use leftovers. Got leftover ham? A fresh biscuit with wafer-thin slices of ham is a classic treat; try our Ham with Buttermilk-Chive Biscuits or just use your own go-to biscuit recipe.
- Minis are in. Give Morning Glory Muffins an update by baking them in mini muffin pans. Serve them in a bowl lined with a bright cloth for a seasonal touch.
- Feature pineapples! Pineapples are at their peak and ideal for spring desserts; try Spicy Chocolate-Dipped Pineapple with Sea Salt or use canned pineapple in Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
- Find a perfect Passover dessert. Meringue-based treats are a natural when it comes to baking without flour or leavening. Our Chocolate Swirl Meringue Cookies couldn’t be simpler, or try our sophisticated Satsuma and Pomegranate Pavlovas.