1) Invite awesome people.
My date, Matt:
And our guests, my high school friend Amy and her husband, Patrick:
2) Convince said awesome guests to let us use their (unopened until now) wedding china for the dinner. Yes, you read that right. We used their wedding china.
Isn’t it pretty?
Actually, it was Amy’s idea to use their china when she heard the dinner party was supposed to be “luxury” per the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog Challenge #3 instructions 🙂 They were excited to use it for the first time! Heh
3) Serve the first course, Apple Cider Pumpkin Soup, in little mini pumpkins. If you don’t think this is the cutest thing ever, you are probably dead.
I heart pumpkins. They just scream fall!
To serve soup in a pumpkin, just clean out the pumpkins like you would before carving them 🙂
4) Prepare said soup and pumpkin bowls (and any other possible courses) beforehand so you can spend the dinner party enjoying your guests (and the food) instead of slaving away in the kitchen.
I also prepared my Herbed Cranberry Quinoa beforehand:
And the Beet, Goat Cheese, and Mixed Greens Salad:
5) Make a pretty menu, and build your courses around a central theme (mine is autumn!):
6) Pick a pretty location and decorate the table. We decided to move our dining room table out onto our porch for the dinner since the weather was so beautiful!
7) Serve fun, creative, and delicious food (and wine)! I built my menu around embracing the arrival of fall, my favorite season 🙂
~ First Course ~
Apple Cider Pumpkin Soup
served in mini pumpkin bowls
Yum! To make the soup, I followed this recipe. I should probably serve all of my meals inside pumpkins.
~ Second Course ~
Beet, Goat Cheese, and Mixed Greens Salad
with balsamic vinaigrette
Deeeeelish. Recipe is already on my blog: Goat Cheese and Beet Salad — the only change is I left out the cucumbers!
~ Main Course ~
Toasted Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Tilapia
This was soooo yummy. I adapted it from one of my favorite recipes on my blog — my Almond Encrusted Tilapia! I followed the recipe exactly, except that I swapped out the almonds for pumpkin seeds to embrace fall and mix things up. It came out awesome! Even Matt loved it, and he claims to not like fish 😉
Herbed Cranberry Quinoa
Yum! This was also great — it was the perfect light side to the tilapia. I used this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, but I added in some dried cranberries for a little extra interest. They made the dish!
Orange Scented Garlic String Beans
These string beans were delish and another big favorite! I used my Lemon Garlic String Beans recipe, but instead of using lemon juice and zest, I used orange juice and zest! It was AMAZING.
~ Dessert ~
Poached Autumn Pears
with cinnamon ice cream
This was incredible! One of my new favorite desserts — sweet and delicious, but also light and somewhat healthy 🙂
Making poached pears was easier than I thought it would be, too!
I followed this recipe from The Food Network, but instead of using red wine, I used POM Wonderful! Yum 🙂
The cinnamon and cloves in the pot made the room smell AMAZING, and the pears ended up soft, flavorful, and juicy.
I didn’t cool the pears in the fridge, instead deciding to serve them warm. It was a good call — warm fruit is the best 🙂 Especially when served with ice cream! (p.s. Not gonna lie — I couldn’t find cinnamon ice cream and I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I may or may not have just bought vanilla ice cream and topped it with ground cinnamon. Heh. Don’t judge. It was still tasty!)
~ Wine Pairing ~
Amy was kind enough to bring this wine to go along with the tilapia — it was perfect — sweet but not too sweet, and light enough to not overpower the fish.
And now, for the final way to host an awesome dinner party:
8 ) Wash and dry the mini pumpkins everyone ate their soup course in, and carve them with your guests!
Lol — Amy looks pumped, Patrick looks scared for his life:
We carved the pumpkins in an interlude between the main course and dessert (while the pears simmered inside, smelling delicious). It was SO much fun!!
Masterpieces in the making…
And then, success! Everyone made really different looking pumpkins 🙂
Aren’t they cute? They served as our ambiance for the the dessert course 😉
Here’s mine — evil!!
Matt’s — heh love the tongue!
Amy’s — their dog, Miles! 🙂 (p.s. I need a tripod to get still night pictures! Matt’s shoulder wasn’t cutting it…)
And Patrick’s! We decided his pumpkin was “emo” or possibly Justin Bieber, lol. The sideswept hair is the best!
All together now!
So much fun 🙂 We sent Amy and Patrick home with their pumpkin creations as a parting gift!
Here Matt and I are with our pumpkins — first, normal:
And then imitating our pumpkins 🙂 Although I look more deranged than evil, lol.
And with that, our dinner party was over! What a fun night 🙂 I hope you all enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed hosting it!
Voting will be open tomorrow for this round of Project Food Blog and if you liked this post, please vote for me! 🙂