A party without cake is just a meeting.- Julia Child
My mom’s family has a wonderful tradition of having a party every year on Christmas Eve. It’s such a fun time and I always love seeing everyone. The party is actually a tradition that my great grandfather started, years ago, when my mom and all of her cousins were little. I love hearing her tell stories of the excitement she felt as she anticipated Santa’s arrival and looked wide-eyed at the Christmas tree dripping with tinsel.
My great grandfather was a car dealer and the party was always held at his dealership downtown. All of the cousins looked forward to Christmas Eve when the windows of the dealership would be covered in brown paper to keep the Christmas trees hidden from eager little eyes. I was also lucky enough to experience these magical parties and I can remember running around, my cheeks flushed with excitement, as my cousins and I ran around looking for Santa.
My grandparents on Christmas.
This year my mom’s cousin will be hosting everyone at her home and we are each asked to bring a dish to pass. We love to bring an appetizer and I’ll have to admit that some of my favorites are tried and true classics like a relish tray or deviled eggs. They’re simple to make and you can really wow guests with the presentation.
I love the idea of serving a crudite on a pretty Spode blue and white platter or using a vintage silver tray for the deviled eggs. I’ve been searching Epicurious for inspiration and found some new takes on these old favorites. Here’s to party prepping for the holidays!
- 1/2 recipe quick pickled carrots
- 5 celery stalks, cut into 4″–5″ logs
- 1 bunch radishes, halved if large
- 1 cup cornichons, drained
- 1 cup pitted black olives, drained
- Arrange pickled carrots, celery, radishes, cornichons, and olives on a tray of crushed ice.
Jammy Eggs with Smoked Paprika Aioli
- 24 large eggs
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, halved lengthwise
- 2 ounces roasted marinated bell peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick strips
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
- Flaky sea salt
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Gently lower eggs into water; cook 10 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water. Gently tap edges to break shells a bit so water gets in under shell and makes them easier to peel. Let sit in ice bath about 5 minutes, then peel.
- Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, and paprika in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Slice eggs in half and arrange on a platter. Dollop with aioli. Arrange 1 anchovy or red pepper slice diagonally over each. Top with parsley, then season with sea salt.
Aioli can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Eggs can be boiled and peeled (but not sliced) 2 days ahead. Transfer to another airtight container and chill.