There’s something about the changing of seasons that always gives me a huge shot of inspiration. And after some serious competition from Summer, I’ve officially decided that Fall is my favorite time of the year. How can anything beat the intoxicating combination of cool crisp air, technicolor leaves and football season? It’s also the perfect time to throw a party before the craziness of the holiday season sneaks up.
With that being said…I bring you inspiration to create your own autumn-themed celebration!
Take seasonal cues in choosing your decor. Pumpkins, squash and gourds look great displayed in a large bowl as a non-floral centerpiece, but if flowers are your thing there are plenty of sunset-hued varieties to choose from. Manzanita branches are my personal favorite, especially with votives hanging throughout. For a chic yet rustic vibe, you can create homemade lanterns by placing small votive candles inside mason jars. Hint: Float the votives in a little water for no-mess clean-up!
Ingredients 20 stalks of asparagus 4 thin slices of prosciutto, fat removed 4 teaspoons unsalted butter freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan 1 lemon, quartered Directions
- Cut off tough ends of asparagus. Cover asparagus with water in a skillet; bring to a boil and cook until tender but still firm, 3–4 minutes. Drain well.
- Divide asparagus into 4 bundles of 3 stalks each. Wrap prosciutto slice around center of bundle. Place the bundles into oven-proof dish; dot with butter; season with pepper, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place in the oven to brown the cheese, 4–5 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedge.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter
- 1 3-pound sugar pumpkin, or butternut squash
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup Locatelli cheese
- 3 large or 6 small amaretti cookies, crushed
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon shallots, chopped
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds store-bought fresh pasta sheets
- 1 tablespoon semolina flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a work surface, cut pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil evenly over insides of pumpkin halves; rub 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into each. Roast, cut-side down, until pumpkin is easily pierced with a paring knife, about 1 hour. Let cool.
- When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh with a spoon. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of purée. Transfer flesh to a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth; wring excess liquid into a bowl. Place flesh in the bowl of a food processor, along with egg, Locatelli, amaretti, ricotta, shallot, and a pinch of nutmeg; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay 1 pasta sheet on work surface. Place 1 tablespoon filling every 3 inches. Brush water around filling. Place another sheet on top, pressing around filling to seal. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut each ravioli into a 3-by-3-inch square. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets and filling. Transfer ravioli to a parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with semolina; freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt. Add ravioli; cook until it just floats, 3 to 4 minutes.
- In a large sauté pan, melt butter over high heat. Add sage; cook until butter begins to brown and sizzle, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; whisk in balsamic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to pan, tossing to combine. Serve immediately with cheese, if desired.
Caramel Apple Bar
So perfect for fall! Give your guests something sweet to take home with them by setting up a table with pre-sticked apples, a pot of caramel and a variety of fun toppings like M&M’s, chocolate chips, nuts, crushed candy bars, sprinkles and colored frosting for them to make their own custom candy apples!
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Sour Apple/Apple Pucker Liqueur
3 oz Warm Apple Cider (not juice)
Mix 3 Tablespoons of Castor Sugar with 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon for the rim
Lemon Juice for the rim
Shake and serve in a martini glass with a Lemon Twist and Cinnamon Stick garnish.
.5 oz Sylk Cream Liqueur
2 oz Vanilla vodka
.5 oz Pumpkin liqueur (or pumpkin spice syrup)
1 tsp Whipped cream
Pour the Sylk Liqueur and vodka into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Add the pumpkin liqueur or syrup. Shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with a teaspoon of whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.