Posts tagged entertaining

Fall brings with it all the cravings, for cozy sweaters, roasted aromas, plums and grapes and pears and with them, the kind of creamy toasted…..

Something easy, but earthy. Something spectacularly seeming with a secretly low workload behind it. Goat cheese toast delivers on this. Starting with honey chevre, which has a subtle sweetness that makes it palatable to even my four-year-old, you can top it with

To amp up the wow factor, I’ve seasoned my honey chevre with fennel seed, black pepper and maldon, and served it potted like a pate might be on a cheeseboard. Then, I popped a few clusters of grapes into the oven at high heat with salt and pepper and oil and yes, more fennel. It’s surprising how this anise-forward seed brings out the best of fall, and doesn’t overpower the sweet grape but instead, tempers them just a bit, keeping them feeling savory.

Clip with small scissors or pull off individual grapes to top your toasts.

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When I entertain, I like there to be a main event--a centerpiece that speaks of abundance, but also ease: a signal to both me and my guests that there will be plenty here, but we can relax and settle into it without a lot of shuffling about. This main event should be made or purchased ahead, and can look like a giant pork shoulder braised to a juicy, succulent tenderness, or a bountiful wheel of cheese, a no-hold’s bar approach to the cheese platter that we’ve all grown to know and love. There’s no worry of leaving enough for the person to your right or your left, just a welcome mat to heartily enjoy. 

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Every year for Christmas during my childhood, my dad would receive hundreds of holidays gifts from his patients—almost always food— tins of handmade peanut brittle, lush boxes with freshly baked pastry and pies, and cello-wrapped baskets brimming with crackers, cookies, sparkling wine and cheeses galore. It was one of the perks of being a family doctor. For my siblings and I, it was one of the perks of being his kid—those sweet December days when the atrium (where we ate breakfast and dinner every day) ran over with an endless parade of sweets.

I tend to still love food gifts for the holidays—handmade or carefully curated purchased ones—boxes of perfectly ripe pears and tins of caramel popcorn still harken Christmas to me. They speak of love and —even if not perfectly matched to individual taste, thoughtfulness. Maybe you don’t have time to bake this season—I hear you. That’s where this guide comes in. These Eight Practically Handmade goodies can make their way to the houses of your dear ones in just one click. They’re worth every penny.

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I think we all know by now that a cheeseboard (or meat board, or fruit and veg board) is the easiest, fastest way to serve a crowd. It’s the best trick I learned from my own mom back in the 80s, and though the boards have gotten more beautiful (she used carved wooden boards shaped like leaves, with grooves and curves for dips), the concept is the same: fast, easy, filling, beautiful, abundant snacking for all. With the right board, even the simplest spread can ready fancy. Here are my favorite ten (+ accessories) under $100.

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