How To: Plan an Autumn Party
October is a great time of year for a party in Colorado. The cool evenings have arrived and bring with them talk of football and politics. You, your family, and friends can still enjoy a crisp weekend evening to “chill out”. There’s also a plethora of fall harvest foods that can be found at local markets as well as through the Colorado u-pick farms (some of which are listed at the end of this article) for a fun way to buy your menu items.
INVITATIONS AND DECORATION IDEAS:
First the invites. Get crafty by picking up some autumn leaves and making your invitations by hand. This is one of those projects that kids love! Alternatively, you can go to www.paperlesspost.com to find an elegant, fall-themed virtual invitation.
Now it’s time to decorate. Fill a large bowl with cinnamon sticks and top them with real sliced apples to make your home smell like apple pie when your guests arrive. Bowls of mixed nuts are easy, and also a great fit for an autumn party. Nuts in the shell are fabulous to use as decorations, just places them at the bottom of glass vases and top with limbs of fall leaves, or use them in glass votives and top with candles. They are pretty and inexpensive.
Purchase some mini pumpkins or gourds to use as candle holders by cutting off the stems and gluing or melting the bottom of the candle so it sticks onto the top of the pumpkin. If you are going to serve your guests outside, you can use some burlap, purchased at a fabric store, as a runner on the table along with plain white dishes and inexpensive glassware. Get your guests in the autumn mood with galvanized steel tubs for drinks and apples. If you have an outdoor fire pit, now’s the time for roasting marshmallows!
FALL MENU AND DRINKS
Roasting a big turkey and using fall’s bounty of pumpkins, apples, and vegetables is always a crowd pleaser. An easy appetizer I recommend is Brie cheese round heated at 350 degrees and sprinkled with almonds (mixed with a little melted butter), heated through for 10 minutes then served with warm apple slices and crackers.
Roasted veggies, crusty French bread, mashed potatoes, and mesclun salad with cranberries and blue cheese will round out your menu as they are all great comfort food choices.
When it comes to wine the following selections are excellent compliments to a fall meal:
Recommended fall red wines: Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2008, Alamos Malbec 2007, and Tudal Family Winery Flatbed Red Zinfandel 2004
Recommended fall white wines: Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2006, NV Ferrari Fratelli Lunelli Brut Metdo Classico Trento, and Herman J mer Frost Cuvee 2008
And, don’t forget the apple cider and pumpkin spiced martinis.
Make it a Stovetop Talent Event!
Our chefs at Stovetop Talent are ready and waiting to help you make your autumn party a memorable one. Whether you are inviting six people or sixty, a professional chef will assist you with your party menu, do the shopping and preparation, and leave your kitchen looking like no one was ever there. All you’ll need to do is invite your guests and we take care of the rest.
Visit www.stovetoptalent.com, or call 720-432-4337 to reserve your party date today.
Pumpkin Ricotta Tart:
I’ve made this recipe many times to rave reviews, and it’s a simple, fall dessert.
1 ¼ Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 ¼ Cup Ricotta cheese, drained in a fine mesh colander
½ Cup Sugar
4 Lg Eggs
¼ tsp Pure almond extract
1 10oz Pie crust dough
Preheat oven to bake 375 degrees.
- Stir first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth using a rubber spatula.
- Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 11” round, placing it into a fluted tart pan, pinching to seal any cracks in the dough.
- Add filling and bake until just set and dough is golden, about 35 minutes.
- Cool on rack 10 minutes. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
LIST OF U-PICK COLORADO FARMS:
Miller Farms, 9040 Highway 66, Plateville, 970-785-6133 or 970-785-2681 Vegetables including—potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, Indian corn, squash, peppers, and the list goes on!
R&K Farms, 29920 Morgan County Road H, Brush, 970-842-0926, U-Pick as available.
Osborn Farm, 1933 S.E. 14th, Loveland, 970-669-4407 pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds
Rock Creek Farm, 2005 S. 112 Street, Broomfield, 303-465-9565; www.rockcreekfarm.com pumpkins
Munson Farms, 7355 Valmont Road, Boulder, 303-442-5330, pumpkins
Pantaleo Farms & Produce, 39651 South Road, Pueblo, 719-948-4556; www.pantaleofarms.com apples, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, chile peppers, chiles - roasted, chile - dried, eggplant, garlic, green beans, okra, onions, pears, pickles, pinto beans, plums, popcorn, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, squash, turnips
Vic Mauro Produce, 35455 Ford Road, Pueblo, 719-947-0655
Gary Hanagan Farm Market, 25388 Road 24.5, La Junta, 719-384-5067 tomatoes, chilis