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Looking for a showstopper recipe for Holiday Party.

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I have a Holiday Party to attend this weekend and I am in need of ideas for a dish. Expectations are high- I am known to be a pretty good cook. My head is cloudy and I just can't think of anything great. Ideas?

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  1. What kind of dish are you planning/assigned to take (appetizer, main, dessert)?

    1. Completely flexible. The main will be a blue cheese crusted beef (or lamb, I can't quite remember.)

      1. The Bombe a trois chocolate from "Julia Child and more company" never fails to impress. It takes some doing but always gets talked about for years.


        1. Last year I saw a croquet bouchée decorated with sugar to suggest a Christmas tree.

          1. What ever you make should complement what is being served by the host, that is the gracious thing to do. So maybe you should find out if they are serving beef or lamb and what they think might compliment the main dish and go from there.

            It might be an amazing appetizer or a side dish or a dessert. Sometimes a great potato side dish can complete a meal in a way that it is a "show stopper".

            Or you could just blow off your host and show up with something made with lobster, foie gras or truffles... [eyeroll]
            What are you trying to accomplish?

            1. Yule log. And it's not really that hard, just time consuming. Make a lovely genoise roll cake, flavor of choice but probably chocolate or white. Maybe make some pastry cream filling. Make chocolate or mocha butter cream (a lot of it). And then (or before) make garnishes. Merengue mushrooms are necessary (pipe stems and caps, bake). Make chocolate leaves. Make spun sugar moss if you feel extra ambitious. Or buy green cotton candy and get creative. Then roll up your log with pastry cream and butter cream in the center, frost thickly, pull a fork thru the butter cream frosting for bark, maybe construct a branch with an angled section cut off the end. And garnish with lots of crisp-melty merengue mushrooms, chocolate leaves and so on. People will go mad.

              Edit: the merengue mushrooms are really the key here. They look great once you put them together, make all sizes.

              1. The meat and blue cheese is a strong flavor profile....

                Homemade bread or rolls are always popular- a horseradish or herbed compound butter along with warmed bread would impress me.

                An old school classic ceasar salad can be impressive- use whole romaine hearts for a more dramatic presentation on a platter with chunky homemade croutons.

                A savory vegetable tart can be interesting and very pretty with beets, fennel, greens and herbs in the crust.

                I once made puff pastry "purses" with an assortment of chopped roasted veggies and herbs inside that were very popular. Puff pastry is always a crowd pleaser....