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.