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As the year rolls to an end, we can’t help succumbing to the holiday spirit, and there is no better time to bring family and friends together. With everyone in a festive mood, it’s prime party time. Deciding to throw a party is the easy part, but with a little planning and preparation, especially when it comes to the food, your holiday shindig is sure to be a memorable one.

A few festive decorations will help to set the proper mood, such as a big wreath on the front door, a few holiday knickknacks, candles, and greens placed around the house, and some Christmas music in the background. Now, you’re ready for the food. Good friends make for good fun but in these busy times, the menu doesn’t have to be complicated or the dishes complex, just delicious. By adding a few special touches you can make your party one that your guests will talk about for years to come.

Resist the urge to make and pass complicated hors d’oeuvres. Start your evening with simple appetizers and soup. With so much going on during the holidays, your favorite gourmet shop can be your best-kept

secret. Stop in for marinated olives, roasted pepper marmalade, and a few quarts of your favorite soup. If you’re feeling flush, add some foie gras or caviar. Arrange a few platters, relax, and mingle with your guests. You’re well on your way to a delicious evening.

Just before you disappear into the kitchen to get dinner out of the oven and onto the table, pass around small cups of piping hot soup. Roasted butternut squash or wild mushroom are good choices for a winter evening. Let your guests sip and enjoy while you put the finishing touches on dinner. Whether you serve a sit-down meal or a buffet, beef or pork tenderloin is sure to delight your guests. You can give it an extra-special twist and set your dinner apart by adding a spicy salsa, a traditional horseradish cream, or a luscious Gorgonzola sauce. Add a few perfectly roasted baby potatoes and a crisp salad, and dinner is complete. Complete, except for the crowning glory. Wow your guests with a wonderfully decadent dessert. A white chocolate trifle is creamy and delicious, the perfect dessert to send

everyone home with a smile.

Regardless of what’s on the menu, the best part of any party will always be the company and the lively conversation and laughter you share.

Bon appetit!


Beef Tenderloin

Serves 12 -16

Two 3-pound center-cut beef tenderloin roasts, trimmed and tied

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat beef dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, turning often, until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 120 degrees for rare or 130 degrees for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, make the Gorgonzola sauce. Remove string from beef, cut into thick slices, and serve with a spoonful of Gorgonzola sauce.

Gorgonzola Sauce

2 shallots, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons cognac

16 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled

1/4 cup heavy cream

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add thyme, white wine, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook until liquid has been reduced by half. Stir in cognac. Cook for 1 minute. Gently stir in cream and Gorgonzola. Cook until the sauce is just warmed through. Check for seasoning.