Oh, hayyyy there Fall. Let’s celebrate. With apple tart, boozy apple bourbon drinks, roasted fruit cheese plates, fig chai cake and the most incredible cauliflower dish. And, a million other yummy things.
A few weekends ago, my STL foodie gals Anna, Julia and Amanda got together to do what we do best: cook, photograph and talk. I’m so fortunate to be able to call these super-talented women friends, I leave every conversation inspired and ready for more. This feast-day was no exception, the perfect day surrounded by delicious, fall-worthy food and good times.
We all know how I feel about entertaining. In that, I love it. Dinner parties are my jam, and now that we’ve made a few friends in our new home, I’m hoping this holiday season will bring plenty of them. I know I can scour the internet and my favorite cookbooks for weeks until I finally settle on the right menu. Which, is both exhilarating and depressing at the same time. So, we’ve done it for you. A beautiful, show-stopping, plant-based menu that will impress any crowd:
Chai Spiced Fig Cake by Feed Me with Amanda
Coconut & Thyme Roasted Cauliflower by My Lavender Blues
Homemade Croutons by My Lavender Blues
Brown Butter Apple Tart by Urban Apron
Maple & Rosemary Roasted Nuts by Urban Apron
Spiced Chickpeas by Urban Apron
To help finish our Fall theme, Amanda created the flower table scape with scattered eucalyptus branches, roses and more flowers. Seriously, I love this casual, effortless look and have since picked up those branches every time I head into Trader Joe’s. They are so gorgeous!
For the adorable place-settings, Julia oven-dried thin pear slices and placed our name on top. Isn’t that the cutest idea ever? Both of these things escape me. I may love food, I may love serving food, but when it comes to making it look good on the table, I fail miserably. Thankfully, my friends are rockstars in this area.
For my contributions, I knew I wanted to do something with roasted grapes and pears. Since I roasted all the fruit this summer, it was only natural to take the trend to fall. So easy, yet delicious. I then piled the hot, roasted fruit on a wheel of brie, a one-two step for plating and warming the brie at the same time.
I can’t think of Fall drinks and not thing of bourbon. Which, is so ironic since it’s one of my least-favorite spirits. However, once the temperatures dip, I’m all about a good whiskey or bourbon cocktail. I was inspired to make this recipe with the enormous amount of apple cider that I had stock-piled in our fridge. Gah, I’m such a cliche. See apple cider at the market, must buy all of it.
Apple and Ginger is one of my favorite combos, so I made a simple ginger syrup to go with. Even if you don’t like bourbon, you’ve gotta make this syrup. I added the leftovers to sparkling water for a take on ginger-ade and it was so, so good.
I hope one or all of these dishes make their way into your home this year. Cheers to Fall!
- 2 medium pears, thinly sliced
- 2 cups grapes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 small wheel brie cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss pears with grapes and place in a single layer in a baking sheet and add in thyme sprigs. Roast for 15-20 minutes until pears are softened and lightly browned.
- Unwrap the brie and place on a serving platter; top with hot roasted pears and grapes to gently melt the brie.
- ½ cup sliced fresh ginger
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 cups apple cider
- dried apples, for garnish
- Place the ginger, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until reduced by half. Strain out solids, then place syrup in a pitcher.
- Add in the apple cider, bourbon and stir together. Taste for strength preference, adding more cider or bourbon as needed.
- Shake with ice and pour into glasses, garnish each glass with a dried apple.