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.
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.
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.
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.