I have a confession (a dirty-little secret if you would) to share with you: my husband and I don’t entertain in December. December is by far the busiest month of the year at my store, and all of my time and energy needs to be focused on the shop. Working in retail in December is loads of fun though, as there is an indescribable energy all around, and (almost) everyone is in a fabulous mood!
That being said, I sometimes daydream about the kind of parties I would host if I weren’t so busy. What repeatedly comes to mind is a “brunch-by-the-bite” hors d’oeuvres party.
Friends and family would arrive late morning on a Saturday. Everyone would most definitely be greeted at the door with a mimosa. After most of the guests had arrived, I’d start passing mini-sized versions of classic, comfort breakfast and brunch foods, such as: tiny BLT sandwiches, mini quiches and frittata’s, small skewers of roasted potatoes with aioli, teeny-tiny pastries (think muffins, Danishes, scones, shortbread), fresh fruit skewers, shot glasses of fruit smoothies, and more.
Who doesn’t love breakfast food? And let’s face it, December is a crazy busy time for everyone, so a late-morning to early-afternoon party means that you still have a good chunk of the afternoon and evening to get other things accomplished.
Below is one of the recipes from my “mock menu” for this fantasy party!
rosemary shorttbread with pears & camboloza cheese
2 (two) cups all-purpose flour
1½ (one-and-one-half) tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (one) cup unsalted butter, softened
½ (one-half) cup packed brown sugar
1 (one) cup camboloza cheese (or goat cheese), softened
½ (one-half) cup spiced pear chutney, jam or confit
1 (one) pear, sliced (skin on) into 1 inch pieces, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a bowl whisk together flour and rosemary. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined.
3. Press dough evenly into an 11 x 7-inch or 9-inch square baking pan and with a sharp knife score about ¼-inch deep in top 1 ½ inch squares or rectangles.
4. Bake shortbread in middle of oven 45 to 55 minutes, or until pale golden.
5. Cool shortbread in pan on a rack and cut completely through score marks.
6. Top cooled shortbread with about a teaspoon of softened cheese, a dollop of jam and a piece of sliced pear.