Food-world stars Ayesha Curry and Amanda Haas share their true-life-tested recipes and tips for throwing a memorable (and stress-free!) holiday party
Margo True and Angela Brassinga
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The dynamic duo
When Ayesha and Amanda get together in the kitchen, it’s like a slumber party, albeit one where the conversation revolves around family and food (and, okay, shopping and tequila). The two met when a mutual friend invited Amanda, culinary director for Williams-Sonoma, to Ayesha’s place three years ago. They instantly connected over their shared love of cooking—and basketball: Ayesha is married to NBA megastar Stephen Curry, while Amanda’s dad played for University of Kansas. But their essentially joyful attitude is what they most have in common.
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Over the past couple of years, both women have risen in the food world, cheering each other on along the way. Ayesha hosts Ayesha’s Homemade on the Food Network and just released The Seasoned Life (Little, Brown and Co.; $27). Amanda, author of The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook (Chronicle Books; $28), is fast establishing herself as a healthy-eating expert. They’ve also teamed up for cooking demos that are as fun as they are inspiring, with inventive yet doable recipes.
Now, they’re giving the Sunset staff a taste of how they cook and celebrate, serving holiday appetizers and drinks at our 2016 Bay Area Idea House. Check out their stellar recipes, and top tips for a successful shindig.
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Amanda’s rustic take on the raw vegetable platter is great for fall parties, especially when served with her homemade dips. Although she’s gluten-intolerant, she doesn’t see it as a limitation when she entertains. “There’s so much you can do besides set out a baguette and cheese. It makes me be a more creative cook.”
Ayesha’s whole family is smitten with the sweet, crisp bacon at BrickTop’s restaurant in North Carolina. For her riff on it, she cuts the bacon snack-size and piles it up in small bowls like cocktail nuts.
Although you can use all-purpose wheat flour, gluten-free flour (in combination with coconut oil) makes these brownies more tender and luscious. Let chill overnight for a firmer, easier-to-cut brownie.
“Draw up a list of tasks and add how much time each will take, so you leave enough time to do everything,” urges Amanda. “On party day, add time to nap.”
“Include a personal touch so people know you’re not taking entertaining too seriously,” says Amanda. Her suggestion: kid-drawn recipe labels or nametags.
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Amanda & Ayesha’s party tips
Make a mocktail
Ayesha always makes a festive, nonalcoholic sip. “I have kids! And a lot of pregnant friends,” she says. “Substituting the alcohol with a refreshing fruit purée and a touch of fizz makes all the difference.”
Make cooking part of the fun
Get your guests involved in the cooking, like making biscuits, suggests Ayesha. “I like getting people’s hands dirty.”
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Amanda & Ayesha’s party tips
Deputize a DJ
For music, “delegate to a friend who’s a music fanatic and ask for fun, festive, and upbeat,” says Amanda. “When in doubt … Adele!” adds Ayesha.
Hungry for more? Check out our behind-the-scenes video of Sunset's incredibly fun November 2016 cover shoot with Ayesha and Amanda.