In season: Party flavors

When the clock strikes 12, bring in 2011 with some special holiday treats: savory dips, piles of candy, chocolate cups and bubbly champagne!

Candy (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If you’re planning a party to ring in 2011, there is no end of festive fare to choose from.
If you’d like some suggestions, here are a few favorites of mine that have always proven to be crowd pleasers.
One dish that invariably has guests asking for the recipe is a spinach dip. Easy to prepare the night before a party, it may not look like much in the bowl, but it is a pleasure to the palate. The ingredients are two packages of chopped (it must be chopped) frozen spinach; a large container of sour cream or yogurt; a small jar of Hellman’s or Kraft mayonnaise; and two large packages of Knorr vegetable soup mix. Thaw and drain the spinach well. Place in a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients, combining them smoothly. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Serve with raw cut-up vegetables, crackers, pita or chunky cubes of thick bread – and wait for the compliments.
On the sweet side, you may think that candy is for kids but you’d be amazed at how grown-ups will gobble up a colorful array of bonbons.
Gumdrops, jujubes, wine gums, jelly beans, gummy bears, M&Ms – use them to dress up the table as well as to delight your guests. Layer them parfait style in tall vases or mix them together in pedestaled glass bowls, with a long spoon or ladle to help scoop them out. Take black and red licorice sticks and have them cascade out of a vase or a tall crystal glass. The options are diverse and delicious.
And when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, double your pleasure by sipping champagne from little chocolate cups. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?