Holiday open house: assorted refreshments for all kinds of appetites

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

A memorable holiday open house should include refreshments that appeal to all sorts of appetites. Some guests will be making the rounds of several parties. Others will come to your house for the singular event of the day. Some will be hungry while others snack reservedly. It is not difficult to please them all.

A simple plan is to place major dishes dramatically in one large buffet arrangement with smaller items placed about the room.

Serve finger foods that are easy for guests to handle while sipping traditional holiday drinks. Provide small plates. Eliminate the need for utensils and make sure there are plenty of small napkins.

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For hearty appetites, consider a handsome roast sliced in manageable small, thin pieces. Rare roast beef, sliced paper thin, looks elegant and tastes so good that it will bring accolades from the most sated partakers of holiday fare.

Smoked seafood or turkey is always a treat, but avoid the traditional roast turkey. A cold leg of lamb, cooked until delicately tender and still slightly pink, could be featured. Or consider the taste treat provided by a fresh ham.

An outstanding buffet will present varieties of taste, texture, and type of food. Vegetables definitely should be included on the menu. The following recipe will contribute approximately 5 1/2 dozen delicious bites of cheesy broccoli. Broccoli Cheese Bites 2 10-ounce packages frozen broccoli 3 eggs 1 cup flour 1 cup cream 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 2 tablespoons onion, minced 1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Steam broccoli for 6 minutes and chop by hand or in processor.

Beat eggs, add flour, cream, seasonings, baking powder, and onions. Mix well. Add broccoli and cheese and mix. Melt butter in a 9 by l3-inch baking dish and pour in broccoli mixture. Bake 35 minutes. Allow mixture to set 6 to 8 minutes. Cut into bite-size servings.

An unusual soup such as chestnut, turtle, or oyster bisque will cheer up any partygoer on a blustery day. Oyster Bisque 2 quarts oysters, shucked Liquor strained from oysters 1/2 cup green onion, minced 2 cups celery, minced 2 cups butter 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups milk 8 egg yolks Salt and pepper Paprika

Melt butter in soup kettle. Add onions and celery and sautee until tender. Add cream, milk, and liquor from oysters. Simmer mixture.

Beat egg yolks and gradually add 1 cup of cream mixture while stirring. Whisk egg mixture into remaining liquids. Add oysters and seasoning to taste.

Simmer slowly until soup begins to thicken, but do not allow it to boil. Pour into heated tureen and sprinkle with paprika. The steaming soup surrounded by handy mugs should entice many guests.

Serves 16. For larger amounts, prepare recipe more than once rather than doubling it.

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