Tag Archives: entertaining
This year, instead of sharing a week of gift guides I decided to mix things up and think a little more local! All this week I’ll be sharing interviews with local Boston business owners to get their tips for holiday gift giving and entertaining. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to hit Main Street for small business Saturday this weekend and support local business! First up, the fabulous duo, TJ & Hadley, owners of the Urban Grape:
I was brainstorming some new appetizer ideas that were easy to make in advance and came up with a simple formula for a snack that has some variety, without requiring tons of grocery shopping or dirty dishes. I purchased some frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, rolled and cut it into 2″ circles. Then I experimented with a few combinations of filling: herb goat cheese and rosemary sea salt, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of organic honey, and my favorite combination, slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. All three combinations got some fresh cracked black pepper on top as well before I rolled up the sides to resemble bite-sized -tarts. After following the baking directions on the puff pasty box (375 degrees for 10-15 minutes), they came out of the oven golden brown. These lasted about 3 minutes from plate to table at a family party I brought them to, which I think means they were pretty good? I’d love to hear what combinations of fillings you might try!
I have one more recipe to share from our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week — and this one combines my two favorite things, gooey baked cheese and sweet apples. The best part about this recipe? You can make it the night before and freeze it, just pop it in the oven before guests arrive! I’d be lying if I said we didn’t eat the full wheel of brie between the few us gals — it was delectable!
- 2 apples, sliced in thin pieces
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- Wheel of brie (6 to 8 oz)
- Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten for wash
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine apple, sugars, simple syrup and spices in saucepan until apples are fully coated and sauté for 4-5 minutes while stirring. When sugars start to bubble up, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
- On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough and cut into a 10″ circle.
- Cut the wheel cheese in half horizontally, place bottom half off cheese wheel on the rolled out pastry dough, top with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Place the second half of the cheese wheel on top, and cover the top with the remaining apple mixture.
- Working in a circular fashion, begin to wrap and fold the pastry dough around the brie, leaving some room at the top for the apple compote to show.
- Brush the dough lightly with one beaten egg, and then bake off in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until the crust is a golden brown. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, and serve warm with a crusty baguette or crackers.
All images by Bring To Light Photography
I’m still so excited over our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week. And it’s not a party without a signature cocktail — our autumn apple punch was a perfect pairing for our tasty treats. We mixed up Bulleit Rye, apple cider, and cardamom clove simple syrup with a squeeze of lemon juice and served them in mason jar mugs with an apple garnish. I’m not going to lie, we had quite a few of these that weekend, and they were so darn delicious—I had to share the full recipe with you below!
- Apple cider
- Bourbon or Rye
- Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
- Fresh lemon juice
- Apple for garnishing
- Combine 3/4 cup of apple cider, 1/3 cup of bourbon or rye and 1 tsp of cardamom clove simple syrup over ice.
- Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon juice into the mixture and divide into glasses.
- Garnish with a fresh apple slice.
All images by Bring To Light Photography
What a wonderful little Friday treat, a shoot I styled with Bring to Light Photography and Little Flower Cottage is up on Style Me Pretty Living today! Click on over to read about our little apple-picking porch party with lots of tasty apple-inspired treats. And be sure to check back next week — I’ll share the details of my recipes for an Autumn Apple punch, a baked brie with apple compote, and other treats like salted caramel apples and mini mason jar apple pies!
I have a little Fall-inspired cocktail to share today as we gear up for the weekend: Apple Cider Sangria. I made this last weekend and it delicious — I love creating a pitcher of pre-made drinks when having friends over, it’s nice to have something already prepared so you can dive right into the party! To make the sangria, I chopped up two small apples, a half an orange, a few slices of lemon, and some cinnamon sticks and poured a bottle of red wine over the top. I let the red wine soak in the fruit overnight, and right before it’s ready to be served, I poured in a can and a half of hard apple cider (I used Down East cider — one of my favorites and totally delicious on its own — which is why I finished the other half of the second while making dinner!). Be sure to scoop out some of the fruit into your glass when you serve it — cheers!
I tried my hand and some homemade pasta this weekend, and finally got a chance to use the pasta machine we got for our wedding — the process of making pasta seems so daunting at first, but it’s actually amazingly simple, and so worth the effort! I tried two different methods, the first was a classic all-purpose flour and eggs combination, and the second used an egg flour and water. I also tried two different fillings with the dough variations, one was a ricotta, parmesan, and Italian sausage stuffing that I served with a red sauce, and the other was a butternut squash with maple brown sugar that my in-laws brought home to me from Vermont — I served those with brown butter and toasted pine nuts. I preferred the egg flour for a stuffed pasta like this, and think the all-purpose flour works better for a cut pasta like fettucini, but overall: YUM. Luckily I made about a gazillion of each, so I will be enjoying leftovers all week!
This weekend we had big Saturday plans to go to Ikea and buy a new couch, but right before we left we checked the inventory online and saw that it was out of stock — bummer! So I was faced with a rare treat: a weekend day with zero plans. I decided to take advantage of our surprise day of freedom and threw a little impromptu dinner for friends. Since it was super last minute, I worked with what I had and re-purposed our table topper from our wedding, and some bright pink napkins from our rehearsal dinner, and then I finally broke out a few of our wedding shower presents, like my sea urchin salt and pepper shakers (I love them!), some Kate Spade candles, and a bunch of farmer’s market blooms — I was so happy with how it came out!
A few weeks ago when we were in Maine for a wedding, we hanging around the rental cottage for the ‘after-after party’ and a cousin of the groom started whipping up grilled cheeses with the local blueberry jams that had come in our welcome bags. I have since been dreaming about this late-night snack and realized all of the untapped potential of grilled cheese experiments. So I set to work this weekend to test some gourmet grilled cheese recipes that would be perfect for a grilled cheese bar at a casual party, or served bite-size as an appetizer.
Are you ready for these pairings? First up, I recreated my late night inspiration with sharp English cheddar and wild blueberry jam (this one is still my favorite!). For a savory sandwich I combined goat cheese with cracked black pepper and fresh green chives (this won the husband vote). And for the most unique combination, I used a french brie, drizzled with honey, and topped with some sweet raisins. My cast iron skillet was pumping out these crusty, buttery little treats and we had quite the Saturday taste-testing all of my concoctions — I’m definitely using this idea for some simple entertaining with friends!
Last night I had one of my girlfriends over for some dinner and drinks on our porch — I’m determined to soak up the warm(ish) weather as long as possible — and truthfully, I didn’t have a dinner planned until about an hour before her arrival. But leftover fig spread and some tasty goat cheese caught my eye in the fridge and I went with it. A quick spin through the grocery store and I had the makings of a fig, goat cheese, prosciutto pizza — I jazzed up with some fresh chives when it came out of the oven, and had rolled some special rosemary infused sea salt into the crust. Sometimes simple is just better, and this was certainly the case — my last-minute meal was a hit, and it paired perfectly with one of the iced tea infused honey wines I picked up from last weekend in Maine!