EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 20, 2013

Recipes for an open house

For that annual Christmas party, or perhaps your first open house for neighbors and friends, or simply a get-together with a few members of your family, here are three very good recipes that will give you more choice as you plan what you would like to serve.

The dessert is a show-stopper and would be delicious with a hot drink, and the Cheese Canapés alongside a bowl of high quality pimento-stuffed olives, provides substance to accompany a cocktail. And who wouldn’t like to make a toast to the New Year with homemade eggnog?

If you are having a party with many guests, don’t hesitate to mix your homemade selections with foods purchased from local gourmet shops and bakeries. It is a shortcut that will leave you more time to enjoy your guests. Set around bowls of snacks that are not every-day fare such as spiced nuts, cheese straws, and pecan cheese logs.

Two suggestions for a large get-together that I think are great: hire a high school student as wait-staff to re-fill platters, pick up used glasses, etc.. They certainly can use some extra money at this time of year. Secondly, if you know someone that plays an instrument such as the piano or violin, have them play for an hour or two. I have a friend who has a brother that plays the piano and I wouldn’t hesitate to ask him, especially with plenty of notice. Your party will be extra special for sure.

Mocha Cream Torte

Serves 10 to 12

This dessert is meant to impress, and it certainly does that. It is a delicious cake that will make a beautiful addition to your holiday dessert table.


For cake:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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