We had 20(000)+ people over on Thanksgiving. Then we went to a leftovers party on Saturday, and hosted some friends on Sunday. So I was cooking up a storm. They say not to try new recipes for a big party but I sorta love the risk of trying something new on a bunch of people. And I just don't cook often enough to find any pleasure in making the same recipe twice in one month. Here were some new ones I tried that got raves:
Gingery Pomegranate Punch: I served this at cocktail hour at Thanksgiving and it was a hit. I didn't think it was that boozy but it's so delicious people drink it fast, so you may want to cut down the vodka? It also works with prosecco. Make sure you get a good zingy ginger beer. I picked up a 2 liter bottle of Jamaican stuff at my grocery store which has a great international selection.
Date, Feta and Red Cabbage Salad: I wanted a non-wilty salad to go with the many carbs that were on my table and chose this one from Smitten Kitchen (but omitted the sesame seeds, which didn't quite seem Thanksgiving-y to me.) It was delicious, looked gorgeous, and, best of all, stood up great for days of leftovers which was excellent because I really needed to eat some sort of produce this past weekend, let me tell you.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dried Cherries and Israeli Couscous: I've actually made this many times before but never for a huge crowd. Everybody loved it--what's not to love? The original recipe calls for a relatively tiny amount so I roughly quadrupled it, using bagged shredded sprouts and a whole package of bacon. I also prefer dried cranberries, myself. The only downside is that this dish is a lot prettier right away--it doesn't lose taste but the colors leach a little each time you re-heat it so it's not optimum for making it ahead of time, although it's not a very complicated recipe. Worst case scenario you can make the couscous and bacon ahead of time, save the bacon fat and then sautee the sprouts in it shortly before serving. So good.
Alton Brown's Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe: One of the weirdest challenges of Thanksgiving was when my brother-in-law walked in with spinach dip RIGHT before I was about to make this and I just had to recalibrate my day's plan (it's not his fault: I suggested he bring an app and didn't tell him what I would be making.) So I made this for my leftovers party (and quadrupled it which was WAY TOO MUCH which is not a real problem.) Potlucking is not a competitive sport but if it were, I would wager to say this recipe gave me a good seed in our food bracket. You don't really need to boil the vegs if you have time to just thaw them out (I warmed them though before combining them with the creams.) Trader Joe's parmesan crisps went really well with this.
Cinnamon Roll Apple Cobbler: I had to try this recipe out for a Sunday morning playdate because it looked so unnecessarily indulgent and easy enough for me to try. Essentially you make your own apple pie filling (which is just mixing up some sugar, flour and ginger), bake it, and then stick some quartered refrigerated cinnamon rolls on top. Bake that, then ice it with the icing that comes with. The recipe I used (which is not online but if you contact me and ask for a photo I'll send you one) calls for raisins but I don't know why you'd ruin a perfectly good dish like this with raisins. Highly recommended for your next brunch thing.
And tonight for dinner I'm making this because of the recipes listed above.