Chef Stathakis’ favorite holiday drinks & appetizers
Chef Pano Stathakis once again lent ELYSIAN his expertise, sharing four recipes perfect for entertaining during the holiday season. “Food and family are equally shared during the holidays,” says Stathakis. “Spending time in the kitchen to prepare a delicious meal for them is a wonderful gift to give.”
While most of us can’t relate to his level of culinary prowess, we can relate to entertaining our friends and families for the holidays — and the stress may come along with it. The most important things about cooking for the holidays, Chef Stathakis says, is making sure that you don’t overbook yourself or overestimate your abilities. “Feel comfortable with what you’re making. Don’t get too wrapped up in wanting to make it all yourself,” he says. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the party and your family as well. Holiday meals should begin with that element of “comfort food,” but the cooks in the kitchen should focus on adding their own spin, being creative and crafting something fit for a special occasion. And, of course, you should consider your own family and friends’ tastes and dietary restrictions.
Having a signature cocktail at your holiday party is a great way to show off your are and “give the guests something to remember,” says Stathakis. Champagne is traditionally served at holiday parties, but adding a cordial can bring forth a whole new color and flavor to the tradition. For the appetizers, it’s best to go with something universal — something that will please vegetarians, carnivores and the pickiest of eaters. His recipe for stuffed mushrooms (with two different fillings) are just as good served lukewarm, so they are a great option for setting out for guests to pick as they please.
The holidays are a time to rejoice, a time to celebrate. At holiday meals, Chef Stathakis rightly says, “It’s a time to say, ’What the hell, let’s treat ourselves,’ before we get back to a strict diet for the New Year.” E