Deck the Halls: Lenox, Where Entertaining is @

By Isaiah Negron

Christmas is a time for family, friends, fun and food. While the idea of planning a holiday party may seem daunting at first, a festive Christmas table can actually be assembled with great ease.  Lenox, America's foremost tabletop and giftware brand, along with their entertaining expert Andrea Correale, have teamed up to create a dazzling holiday arrangement, sure to make your season brighter. Here, Andrea and Lenox, "Where Entertaining is @" have presented their top new ideas to celebrate this timeless tradition.

Officially declared a U.S. holiday in 1870, Christmas has evolved into a traditional ritual of decorating trees, singing carols, exchanging gifts and setting the table for a grand Christmas feast. Since 1889, Lenox has brought families and friends together for countless memorable occasions. As the only company that still makes fine bone china in the USA, Lenox is the name in home entertaining and puts everything needed for those perfect Christmas and New Years dinners at everyone's fingertips. The brand continues to expand while still holding true to their core mission of providing classic and beautiful tabletop collections at affordable prices. From their legendary china dinnerware collections to decorative holiday ceramics and timeless glassware to an extensive array of serveware and stainless steel flatware, every host has a stylish arsenal of options to choose from when planning their dinner table.

"Christmas is about light and sparkle," said Andrea  "That's what we tried to capture with this table."  Andrea chose Lenox's Winter Greetings China collection, one of her favorite patterns, which she says " is perfect for Christmas, as the dishes are ornamented with blue-green winter firs coupled with red ribbons and Cardinals and wrapped with a glistening gold trim." Instead of using a tablecloth and flowers, Andrea set the china on glass charges, allowing the warm mahogany of the table to serve as the meals backdrop. She set votive candles atop silver holders as luminous accents, giving the table a classic "silver and gold" Christmas ambiance. With the timeless elegance of Lenox china and Andrea's delicious Christmas menu, your holiday party can bring the good cheer and magic we all love about this joyous time of year.

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Andrea's Christmas Tips
For her Christmas menu, Andrea says, "Start off with light bites. Slice your favorite flaky bread and bake with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper, creating a great bruschetta, paired with figs or a red pepper tapenade." A crown rose roast with a "winterized" quinoa and kale salad provides a healthy yet delicious dish for the main course. "A lot of people are afraid to make a crown rose, but it only looks like it's hard to do," remarks Andrea. For dessert, she whips up a traditional plum pudding, a Christmas staple since Charles Dickens' famous story, and an eggnog-based crème brûlée, a new twist on a holiday favorite. Andrea also advises to create a master list beforehand. "Planning a Christmas party can kill a hostess with everything to get done and the pressure of time," she says. "Know what you need early on, even starting to set up a week before to relieve some stress. And don't be afraid to delegate the work. It'll help you enjoy the process."

Stuffed Crown Roast of Pork with Cranberry Sage Sauce

16-rib crown roast of pork
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 cup uncooked quick-cooking wild rice blend
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans, (1/4 cup reserved for finishing sauce)

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped (from above)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 cups frozen cranberries, thawed
1/2 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub or brush spice mixture all over roast (inside and out). Place roast, bone ends up, in a shallow roasting pan. With butchers twine, tie the bones into a circle.  Cover top of roast with aluminum foil, folding over the tops of the bones to prevent burning. Bake roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until an internal temperature reads 150 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, sauté the shallot in butter until tender. Add wild rice and chicken stock. Stir to moisten the rice and bring to a boil, stirring only once. Cover with a tightly fitting lid or foil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes with the cover on. Gently fold in dried apricots, dried cranberries and pecans, being careful not to stir too much. Hold warm until ready to serve. While roast is resting for 15 minutes prepare finishing sauce. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sage and cook for one minute. Stir in chopped pecans, brown sugar, cranberries and cider. Cook through until mixture begins to bubble.

To Serve:
Remove foil from bone ends. Place the roast on a large beautiful platter. Mound the rice mixture in the center of the roast and spoon the finishing sauce all around the bottom of the roast. Garnish with fried sage leaves.

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