While you may not be hosting your family Thanksgiving this year, you could be considering a fall dinner party for friends. With the right look, feel, appetizer recipes, and drinks it could be the hit affair of the season.
Setting the stage
It's not necessary to go wild over decorating your home for a party, but set a mood or create a feeling that goes along with the season.
- Light a fire: If you have a fireplace, get it going. The warmth, sound, and scent are relaxing, warm, and cozy.
- Light candles: Especially if you don't have a fireplace, light just a few fall- scented candles (all the same scent) and place in the kitchen, bathroom, and gathering area.
- Dim the artificial lights: No need to go dark, but softer lighting, or lamps instead of overheads also work to create a warmer, more intimate feel.
- Display a fall centerpiece on your table: Use a glass vase filled with acorns to hold a candle, or spread some fall leaves and twigs around a white pumpkin or a candle.
Getting it Started
If you're planning to serve cocktails, offer one specialty fall drink along with basic options. It is a special touch and will go well with fall appetizer recipes.
Hot Apple Pie: (recipe makes one cocktail)
2 ounces Tuaca -an Italian citrus/vanilla flavored liqueur
hot apple cider
cinnamon stick garnish
Pour Tuaca in an Irish coffee glass, or any other slender glass
Fill with hot apple cider
Top with whipped cream
Add cinnamon stick garnish
Tease the palette
One or two fall appetizer recipes should be enough to tantalize your guests while they're waiting for dinner. Again, choose a fall-themed dish, like these Spiced Butternut-Pumpkin Soup shots from Southern Living: These will provide great flavor without filling up guests like a full bowl would.
2 Tbs butter
1 lg sweet onion – diced
1 lg red bell pepper – chopped
3 garlic cloves – minced
2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger
1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 small pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
1 32-oz container low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground pepper
¾ cup whipping cream
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and bell pepper, and saute 8 minutes until onion is golden. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add squash, next 7 ingredients, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Process soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven and stir in cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
*Pour into shot glasses and serve warm.
Whatever the weather outside, setting the stage for a fall dinner party is easy with great fall centerpieces, appetizer recipes, and cocktails. Share the warmth.