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(BPT) - Although there is plenty of love circulating around the holiday season, the thought of entertaining in the comforts of your home can be a stressful factor that often feels like a massive responsibility. Luckily, culinary and design guru Athena Calderone of the popular lifestyle blog EyeSwoon can provide some advice and tips to transform you into the hostess with the mostest!
Plan and prep your meal in advance
The last thing you want to think about is slaving away over the stove while your friends and family are celebrating in the other room. For starters, always write out the menu! Seeing the entire meal described in one place helps you better spot whether you need to add something — fresh or crisp. Finally, make an ingredient shopping list so your grocery store experience is focused. From plan to prep, this process is paramount in making the most of any holiday meal — with the least amount of stress possible.
Ensure roasting and searing success
The best part about roasting and searing is your oven can do all the hard work for you, if you just keep a few tips in mind.
For oven-roasting or pan-sautéing your meals to caramelized perfection, do not overcrowd your pan. Doing so will steam your veggies or protein — not good for flavor or presentation. Instead, sear on the stovetop in batches, or if you have a lot of ingredients, use multiple sheet pans when roasting in the oven.
Next, always preheat your oven. With LG SmartThinQ technology, preheating your LG oven remotely from your smartphone can keep meal time on track effortlessly and is a great home hack. It’s also super helpful for switching temperature settings from dish to dish. Another tip? Pop the empty pan in the oven as it heats. Starting with a piping-hot pan before you add your veggies helps ensure a swoony sear. Finally, bring any protein to room temperature before cooking. A cold cut of meat will immediately reduce the temperature of your pan and prevent that golden goodness you are after.
Serve family style
Consider a self-serve solution for your holiday meals. Not only does this save you from having to formally plate each dish, but it also allows you to sample more food. The key to creating an eye-catching buffet is to use different colors, textures and heights. Think about the hues of the food beforehand to avoid a monotone palette, and use platters and pedestals to create a multilevel composition on the serving table.
Time and kitchen management
Organizing your time and your kitchen is essential come the holiday season because there is never enough space in the refrigerator and the queue for the oven is always endless. That’s why you need to plan your meal with kitchen efficiency in mind.
Decadent pots de crème, for example, are a perfect holiday dessert, but have to be made at least one night before the party to ensure they set properly. With an LG InstaView refrigerator, you can simply knock twice on the tinted glass panel to see inside without opening the door and losing cold air.
When it comes to the main course, an entree like a braised meat is the smartest choice, since a slow-cooked dish is even more delicious when it has a few days for the flavors to meld together. This also saves precious oven space for more a la minute recipes on the big day.
Follow these tips and you'll realize there is plenty to love about hosting the holiday dinner after all.