You may know Zac Posen as Project Runway's newest judge or perhaps you covet his luxurious silk toile gowns, but what may surprise you is that Posen is just as brilliant in the kitchen as he is in his design studio.
"It's all about preparation and decoration," says Posen.
Tip #1: For hors d'oeuvres I always like an variety of fresh, savory, and colorful options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. And, crudités is always necessary, so make sure you have an assortment of beautifully cut vegetables you can arrange as a bouquet. For dipping sauces I like to blend white miso, puréed cashew, a dash a spicy yuzu sauce sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, and grated ginger.
Tip #2: Champagne cocktails are fun, refreshing, and a great way to get the party started. For those who don't like bubbles, spiced wines are a nice alternative--warm up a port and serve it in an old inherited punch bowl.
Tip #3: Serve finger food. There are so many amazing variations with puff pastry and phyllo dough, like mini puff squares with sundried tomatoes or prosciutto rolls. The combinations are endless!
Tip #4: I'm a salad person and in the winter I like to incorporate all the winter root vegetables for a great combination. Grated beets for color, turnips, and hicima go really well with chopped kale and baby lettuces. I like to mix in baby bib lettuce and for a refreshing surprise, pomegranates!
Tip #5: For the non-meat eaters quiches are so easy. And for time efficiency you can totally opt for a pre-made pie crust, just add vegetables and a few different cheeses. It's a whisk, bake, and serve dish.
Tip #6: But we all know the holidays are all about dessert. Need something easy? Buy puff pastry dough, add apples, honey, nuts, brown sugar, and dried fruit. Roll and bake!
As the party planner for celebrities like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey; Author of Colin Cowie Chic, among 8 other books, as well a regular guest on NBC's The Today Show, you can bet that Cowie will give you nothing short of the most perfect celebration:
"A savy hostess is well organized and resourceful," says Cowie.
Tip #1: Set your table the night before and have all your serving dishes and serving pieces set out, with little stickies as to what will be served in each dish or bowl.
Tip #2: Prepare a casserole or a dish that can be made ahead of time so you are not stuck in the kitchen cooking while the festivities are going on in the other room. This will allow you enjoy time with family and friends, and not be a slave to the stove.
Tip #3: Or, take your favorite casserole dish to your local restaurant and have them fill it with the specialty of the house.
Cowie's final tip? "When your guests show up at your door greet them calmly and well prepared with a cocktail in your hand and a warm greeting. And enjoy your holiday time together!"