John Kernick
November 09, 2010 12:00 PM

Preparing a menu for a holiday party doesn’t have to feel like one relentless, quick-fire challenge. “There have been times when it was all about who could do crazier things with ingredients,” says David Stark, who has designed events for Beyoncé and actress Ali Larter and is the author of David Stark Design.

But now “the ingredients are the star.” Which is why Stark created an afternoon open house where guests can graze on fresh produce, hunks of cheese and savory cured meats or dig into roast chicken and seasonal vegetables for a heartier meal – all with little stress on the part of the host.

“For a seated meal, you’re working the whole time. The best thing about this party is that the prep work is simply shopping and placing. Just lay out the bounty and let it speak for itself,” says Stark. “People will feel welcome to help themselves and everyone relaxes – especially the host.”


• Lemon-Herbed Roasted Chicken (see below)
Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

Lemon-Herbed Roasted Chicken

Serves 3-4

• One whole 3.5 4 lb. chicken, trimmed of excess fat, rinsed and patted dry
• 1 lemon, zested and halved, zest reserved
• 4 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. mixed chopped fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary or sage leaves (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried)
• ¼ tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 475ºF.
2. Place lemon halves in the cavity of the chicken, and place chicken in a roasting pan. Brush chicken with oil-herb mixture and roast, breast-side up, for 20 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to 350ºF and roast until skin is browned and leg loosens when jiggled, an additional 45-40 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices.
4. Transfer the chicken from pan to platter and let rest about 5 minutes; drain pan juices into a bowl or measuring cup.
5. Remove lemon halves from bird, squeeze into pan juices and skim off excess fat. Carve chicken and drizzle with gravy.

Adapted from ‘How to Cook Everything: The Basics’ by Mark Bittman

NEXT: Roasted Winter Root Vegetables >

John Kernick
John Kernick

Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

Serves 4-5 as a side dish

• 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 ½ lbs. mixed root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, squash and red onions, peeled and cut into 1½ to 2-in. chunks
• 8 cloves garlic, peeled
• 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
• ½ tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Pour oil into a large roasting pan and heat in oven for ten minutes.
3. While oil is heating, toss vegetables with salt and pepper in a large bowl.
4. When oil is hot, remove pan from oven and add root vegetables, tossing to coat.
5. Return to a roasting pan and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Adapted from ‘How to Cook Everything: The Basics’ by Mark Bittman

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