As I continue to adjust to being unemployed and am waiting to have a baby to take care of, I find myself getting a little…well, bored. I’ve painted all the rooms that needed painted and accomplished lots of projects around the house since June and have run out of things to fill my time. I did start a part time job in retail, which is great during the holidays but I’m only working like 15-20 hours a week and that still leaves plenty of time to be bored, especially when Eric is traveling as much as he has been this Fall, I don’t even have anyone to cook for! I decided to remedy my situation by making something for myself to do and throwing my first large dinner party.
I decided to theme it with the harvest/Fall and wanted to host enough people to put all the leaves in my table (I have 4). I ended up with a menu consisting of 3 courses and a guest list of 12 people! The menu itself came easily to me, a few new items and a few sure things combined to create the ultimate Harvest Dinner Party. Here’s my menu, along with live links to the recipes used:
Cocktails: Great Pumpkin Stout
First Course: Butternut Squash Soup
Second Course/Main Event: Maple-Brined Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
Third Course/Dessert: Chocolate Pecan Pie (recipe from the Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook)
Sweet Potato Pudding (recipe from the Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook)
I think I can safely say that each one of these dishes was a hit and I was very proud to serve each one. My favorite of the night is a tie between the brussels sprouts (which is the only dish that came back completely empty) and the chocolate pecan pie. It was my first time making both of these recipes and they were both outstanding, not to mention easy. I was able to make the brussels sprouts while my guests were talking to me and having cocktails in the kitchen and the chocolate pecan pie was a cinch and came out so delicious. It might be my new favorite fall pie.
Here are a few photos one of my guests was able to capture for me while the evening progressed (Thanks Mike!).
My table set and ready for food, the mismatched chairs remind me of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving, though the table was not a ping pong table.
Cocktail hour in full swing.
Action shot of brussels sprouts and butternut squash soup.
Pork being sliced. The apples and onions combined with a maple syrup glaze gave incredible flavor to this roast. I will be making this again, it was simple and so delicious.
A sweet finish to a great evening, made even more sweet with homemade vanilla bourbon whipped cream.
I wanted my harvest dinner to reflect the flavors of the season without using any Thanksgiving “staples” as a part of the menu. I think it was a success! I can’t wait until our next dinner party, I’m going to need to start writing down ideas!
Are you all getting ready for Thanksgiving? Are you making the big feast or bringing a dish to share? Any suggestions you can share to make the day successful? Mine is, make as much the day before as possible, even prepping ingredients and get that table set so you don’t have to worry about anything like that as you’re putting everything together and visiting with guests.
Lastly, I’m hosting Bean Chat for Gevalia Coffee this Thursday from 10am-11am. I’ll be discussing some food related topics on from their Facebook page. I’d love to see you over there so go to Gevalia’s FB page and “like” them, then on Thursday click on Bean Chat between 10am and 11am or join via Twitter chat. See you there!