Mighty Life List
Dec 22 2010

100 Parties Project: No. 1, Fall Dinner Party

I’ve been cocooning for a while, so I thought this would be a good time to get started on the 100 Parties Project, to kick start the new year. We threw this little dinner party back in November.

Ten bucks of grocery store mums and daisies, some leftover kumquats, and bam! Centerpieces in 15 minutes. I like to put objects next to my arrangements to make tiny tableaus. This dinosaur fit right in with the color scheme. He is so ferocious. Grr.

I put the kumquats on long toothpicks for the nosegays, and skewers for the larger arrangement, then wrapped with a bit of floral tape so they’d stay put in the vases. Masking tape also works fine in a pinch if your vase is opaque.

The vases are thrifted. These little ones are Hawaiian pottery goblets I picked up in Portland. I’d never seen them before, but for some reason they’re everywhere up there.

The menu:

Pear Sidecars
Melissa and I had these in Portland, and they’ve become a favorite in the Summers and Mason households alike.

Antipasto Tray
We wing it, but there’s a basic outline on the other side of that link.

Red Wine
We weren’t particular about this, but if you have a pairing suggestion that you think fits this menu, leave it in comments and I’ll update.

Winter Veggie Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini
This is one of my favorite soups. It has a granny apple, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for a little kick. Unexpected and delicious, plus you can make it ahead and pull it out of the freezer.

Honey Tangerines and Kumquats with Walnuts and Shaved Celery
This is crisp and palate-cleansy. It’s also how we ended up with extra kumquats for the centerpieces.

Pork Tenderloin and Potatoes
Bryan usually just does some sort of rub based on a random Epicurious recipe. If you wanted to really wow, you could also do the potatoes separately with some wilted Spinach and bacon.

Bill Granger’s Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Bourbon Whipped Cream
This will end you, it’s my go-to guest dessert. I measure everything out beforehand, then excuse myself for ten minutes to melt the chocolate and mix everything up. It takes about 15 minutes to bake while you finish your wine, and then you have simple, warm flourless chocolate cakes. Plus it makes the house smell beautiful.

Coffee and Tea
It was a Monday night, so we didn’t do port. In retrospect, this was a mistake. Be ye not so stupid.

14 Responses to “100 Parties Project: No. 1, Fall Dinner Party”

  • Spring Says:

    This is probably a super dumb question, but how does the bourbon not curdle the cream? I’m curious.

  • latenac Says:

    I’d love to see a pic of the full table set for the party.

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    Spring, I’m not sure. It just doesn’t? Is there citric acid in bourbon?

    Latenac, I just put three of the smaller arrangements in a row down the middle of the table. No tablecloth or other special features.

  • Meg Says:

    Well, I say it’s always time for the 100 parties project. Here is to 2011, clink!

  • Heather Says:

    I’m a bit confused about the cake – you say that it’s flourless, but the recipe that you link to calls for flour. I’d love to find a flourless one, as I have a friend with coeliac disease.

    The centerpieces are amazing, by the way.

  • Kayjayoh Says:

    I am totally making that soup tonight. Those are the exact ingredients that I have sitting around in my fridge, leftover from this summer’s CSA.

  • Kelly Says:

    @Heather, here’s a link to my favorite flourless chocolate cake. Very tasty, easy, and would be a delightful finish for this dinner, as well.

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/passover-flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

  • Cathitude Says:

    For the pudding, do you use a kitchen scale? Or is there a magic grams-to-cups converter somewhere?

  • mp Says:

    mmk, I’m in love with your 100 parties idea so much I might have to steal it, but I had to tell you this because we’re (in my mind) internet bosom buddies and dude: seriously: I got two letters in one week from two grad schools. So speaking of starting new things? This little lady is off to seriously melt her mind via too much useless information AT GRADUATE SCHOOL.
    oh yeah. I’m shakily scratching that one off my life list.

  • houpley Says:

    just made a huuuge batch of the soup. delicious and now i am freezing it for a dinner party later. but just fyi am considering having a small bottle of balsamic on the table for those who wish to garnish with a swirl of it. looks pretty and adds a bit of tang.

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    mp! YAYAYAYAY! Congratulations. That’s an excellent cross off.

  • little bird Says:

    I just made the soup and added a lot of ginger (sauteed with the onions), cinnamon, and nutmeg. And I ate it with a swipe of goat cheese in it. It’s great!

  • Miranda Says:

    I love the 100 parties idea! It sounds like so much fun. My favorite part is the dinosaur ;)

  • Alison F. Says:

    Hi Maggie! The soup sounds yummy and thanks for the link. A lot of the comments on the link said they modified the recipe such as halving the maple syrup. Did you do anything like that or did you keep it the same. Love to make this soon. Thanks!