Creating a Beautiful Holiday Spread

November 2, 2010 by Kenmore

Do you need a recipe for making holiday food look and taste great? Guests eat with their eyes, so it’s important to make food look beautiful.

Here are a few tips and tricks to create show-stopping dishes for your holiday gatherings.

1. Garnish dishes using contrasting color, texture and shape.

For example, on Sweet Potato Galettes, garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a small square of crispy bacon and a baby sage leaf. Try piping a star of goat cheese onto grilled polenta toast with roasted red bell pepper pesto and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

2. Be creative in your presentation.

For Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Walnut Puree, nestle triangular pita chips around the dip to create the look of a sunflower, as shown in the photo above.

3. Serve on white platters to highlight the food.

A plate with a busy pattern does not showcase the food as well as a plain white one. Vary the heights of the white platters on your table to add depth and make the display eye-catching.

4. Garnish with a light touch.

Fresh herbs add wonderful color to a finished dish — but don’t overdo it! You don’t want to hide the food. Always garnish with ingredients that are in the dish.

5. Vary the base for presentation.

For example, serve a chopped Ahi tuna tartare in wonton cups made by toasting wonton wrappers in mini muffin tins until golden. Once cooled, scoop the tartare into the cups. Other fun vessels are hollowed fruits or vegetables, toasted phyllo dough, crostini (small toasted bread), endive leaves, potato chips, circles of brioche or tortillas.

6. Use fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The best ingredients create the most delicious dishes. Use ingredients that are in season because they are likely grown locally vs. grown cross-country or flown in from another country.

7. Use ingredients that are festive and colorful.

Garnish Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Pomegranate Molasses Dip with pomegranate seeds. For a colorful beverage, place a few cranberries or pomegranate seeds in a glass of champagne.

Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts and Pomegranate Molasses

Pita Chips:

  • 10 pieces whole wheat pita bread, 6-8 inch diameter
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or spray)
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt and pepper


  • 3 red bell peppers (about 1 pound)
  • 1 six-inch piece whole wheat pita bread
  • 1 medium or large garlic clove
  • 4 ounces walnut pieces (about 3/4 cup), toasted, plus more for garnish
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon hot paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pistachios
  • Sprig of parsley

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Make Pita Chips: Using scissors, cut off edge around the circumference of each pita. Split the pita into two round circles. Cut the circles in half. Cut each half into 3-4 triangles. Lay the triangles inner side up on baking sheet. Brush/spray each triangle with olive oil and cumin, then sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Toast until golden and lightly crisp (about 10 minutes).

Roast Peppers: Roast the bell peppers over a gas burner until blackened all over, turning with tongs as each side is blistered. (Alternatively, place under broiler). Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins, stems and seeds. Set peppers aside.

Make Dip: Combine bell peppers, piece of pita, garlic and walnut pieces in bowl of food processor; process for about 30 seconds. Add paprika, cumin, pomegranate molasses and process until smooth, about 30 more seconds. Add lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Pulse until combined.

Serve: Transfer to center of a serving platter. Sprinkle dip with pomegranate seeds (optional) and pistachios. Nestle the wide end of the chips in the dip (to make it look like a sun or a flower). Garnish center with a sprig of cilantro and serve.

Makes 2-1/2 cups of dip. Serves 30.

Prep time/cook time: Prep time: about 30 minutes; cook time: 15 minutes.
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $15

Kenmore recommends…

From saucepans and stockpots to muffin tins and poultry shears, Kenmore cookware and bakeware helps you create more holiday magic in the kitchen.



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