KEEP YOUR COOL: Setting out platters of food for your New Year's Eve get-together? Here's a trick for keeping the perishable items cold while they sit out, one that puts your Bundt pan to good use. Fill a Bundt pan half full with water, then freeze until solid. Right before you're ready to serve the food, run the pan under water so the ice block loosens and comes out of the pan. You'll have a Bundt-shaped ring of ice. Place in a large serving bowl or on a large rimmed serving platter, then top with raw crudites, fruit or even shrimp. Bonus: The hole in the middle created by the Bundt pan is perfect for holding a ramekin of dip or cocktail sauce.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor