At last, the Holiday Season is upon us. A time renowned for being with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. A season of special meals, parties, get-togethers and food. And for many of us, it’s a period of harried preparations, shopping, gifting – and entertaining. Hosting guests, creating memorable family gatherings, and attending events all in a short period time can put the strain on even the most organized. And in the midst of all the Holiday bustle, we still want to relax and be able to sit back, converse, and enjoy – all while eating well (and hopefully healthfully too!) We can help. GetMaineLobster offers some really special items that can elevate your Holiday menus – and make preparations easy enough for you to shine in the kitchen but not spend the whole time in it. Here are some quick tips to make this Holiday the best ever...
Consider Small Dishes
There’s a reason why so many “small plate” restaurants have popped up over the past few years: they enable diners to experience multiple ingredients and flavors while keeping most preparations simple and delicious. At the Holidays, small dishes can diversify your menu, feed a variety of tastes, and make a hit when having company by serving them as passed dishes or even buffet. Serving small plates bypasses a heavy sit-down meal, usually can be prepared in advance, can have multiple “themes” ( vegetarian, gluten free, hot or cold, and diverse proteins like beef or seafood) and allow you to “mix and mingle at jingling speed” with your guests. Some of our favorite seafood go-tos include the ultimate “finger food”: the lobster roll. Serve chilled either full size or cut the roll in half for a passed appetizer. Crab rolls are also excellent. Another easy but special small plate are single serve Cedar Plank Brown Sugar & Cracked Pepper Atlantic Salmons (grilled or baked in the oven). These are amazing when served on their small wood planks as a simple dish. Finally, there is nothing like bowl full of Maine Jonah crab claws, served chilled and with a dipping aioli for your guests to experience a fresh bite of the sea. All these items can arrive well in advance and be stored frozen until the day of your party.
Here are some recipes for small plates we hope lend a hand as you prepare your menus:
Crafting the Big Meals
The Holidays can also call for more sophisticated, sit-down meals, especially for those special dinners on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Passover, and New Year’s Eve. These meals range between intimate dinners for two to the whole extended family flying in to celebrate.Either way, they often call for a truly special menu – and we think seafood is the perfect fit (who wants to be basting a turkey or checking on the roast all day?) There is a reason why Maine Lobster Tails are far and away our best seller in the month of December: our customers have discovered how delicious, special, and easy to prepare they are. Lobster takes a meal to whole new level, and it doesn’t have to be complex to prepare to make it the Holiday standout – tails are very easily boiled, grilled, or baked ( make it even better and stuff it with some crabmeat). If the whole clan is arriving, consider buying tails in bulk and putting the wow factor into your dinner. Growing up, my mother always started out our New England Christmas dinner with her homemade clam chowder. We take pride in our chowders and bisques and they can make the first course one of the best and simplest to get to the table. A nice fresh piece of fish, served family-style on a passed platter, can also be the star main course – consider some of our Maine-caught halibut, cod, or haddock. All can be prepared as simply or elaborately as your time and recipes allow. Our salmon wellingtons – or beef if you prefer – are wonderful choices for saving kitchen time, while delivering a delicious elegance that will impress all at your Holiday feast.
For those looking to invest in more time preparing, here are some of our recipes that can take your meal to the next level; or check out our curated Holiday meal packages:
The “Just Bring Something” Dilemma
Let’s face it: being invited over to a party can sometimes be as stressful as hosting your own when you are caught unprepared. The invitation says “bring a dish” and you are at a loss. You can be under the same pressure to impress as a guest as you as a host. Showing up with a plate of dry Christmas cookies, a bland bottle of wine, or a tired casserole dish is not the impression you want to make. We can help. Consider a stock of our own Lobster Mac and Cheese – thaw, transfer to dish, and heat at your host’s. No one will resist this hit, creamy with lobster goodness, served buffet style. Another easy yet special touch are Maine Crab Cakes – a quick sear before at home, bring them warm to your host to finish in the oven, and plate them with a side of ailoi. On the hook for desert? No problem: rich, chocolate whoopie pies from Maine are a hit in every state, watch them disappear.
Need more inspiration? Try these when called upon to “Just Bring Something”:
We hope that these tips not only help you to impress this Holiday, but eat healthfully and prepare your dishes with time to spare to actually enjoy the company of family and friends!