Fall Festivities

Happy October everyone!  I sort of intentionally and sort of unintentionally took September off from blogging.  A new month means a fresh start and it is the start of my favorite season. So to kick things off and celebrate the beginning of my three favorite months and my (relatively) new apartment, I had a mini housewarming party Saturday night.  Instead of preparing a full meal I offered my guests fall inspired snacks and drinks!  I pulled inspiration from favorite flavors, friends and food websites all credited throughout.

Mulled Apple Cider

Mulling with orange peel, cloves and cinnamon stick.

This was a basic recipe that I got from foodnetwork.com.  Here is the full recipe, but all you really need to know is that you simmer apple cider with whole cloves, a cinamon stick and the juice and peel of an orange.  Let cool, strain and add bourbon.  Warms the spirit and the belly!

“Old Fashioned” Compound Butter

I love butter; who doesn’t? Compound butter is, in my opinion, the greatest thing since (and to be paired with) sliced bread.  For the party I wanted to make a compound butter that would go well with the fall theme and the Rosemary Olive Oil Cake, complement the cider and taste great on its own.  I already had the bourbon and the oranges from the cider and so I decided to make “Old Fashioned” Compound Butter, a genius idea from The Nibble. This recipe utilizes all the ingredients of the classic cocktail to make a rich, sweet, tangy butter that has a great kick.  Perfect for my fall menu.  I made a few slight tweaks (a little less bourbon, a little more sugar and salt). The recipe, with my changes, is below.

“Old Fashioned” Compound Butter

1 stick of room temperature butter
1 oz bourbon
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 tbsp orange zest
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
A pinch or two of salt, to taste

Simply mix everything together in a bowl.  Taste for sweetness and saltiness; I like a balance to bring out the flavors and soften the kick of the bourbon.  Feel free to adjust the sugar and salt quantities.

Serve at room temperature spooned into a bowl or roll into a log inside parchment paper, refridgerate and cut into pats.

Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves and Sliced Almonds

This dish was the biggest hit of the evening!

This dish couldn’t be tastier or easier!  It was inspired by one of the Perry family’s very dear friends, Cherise Still.  Whenever our two families get together Cherise brings “Mama Cherise’s Cheesy Yummy Thing,” as we have come to affectionately call it.  I’m not sure if this is her exact recipe, but this is what I made tonight in an attempt to replicate her signature party dish.

1 wheel of brie cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Cut the rind off of the brie and place into a shallow baking dish.  Spread the preserves over the top of the cheese and sprinkle on the almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the the almonds have begun to brown. This is great served with crackers or crusty french bread.  Delicious!

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

This recipe comes from my favorite food blog, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson passionately writes about and beautifully photographs delicious, healthy, natural foods from her San Francisco kitchen. She, like me, loves to mix sweet and savory, especially when it comes to baked goods. I made her Rosemary Olive Oil cake to finish my fall celebration on a sweet-ish note.  Warning to dessert lovers, this isn’t especially sweet.  It is more like a banana or zuchini bread than a chocolate cake.  I have a little less than half left over and it will be perfect for breakfast.

You can find the recipe here.  I used wheat flour instead of spelt flour and added one of the extra 2 tbsp sugar to the batter.  You really only need 1 tbsp for the top.

What a great fall feast, so great that I didn’t want it to end!  I continued the theme in the morning when my overnight guest and I made pumpkin pancakes.  Just use your favorite basic pancake recipe and add half a can of pumpkin puree, some cinnamon and nutmeg.  I reduced some apple cider in a pan with fresh orange juice to make a syrup and used the leftover “old fashioned” butter for the top.  Scrumptious!

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About acperry28

The humble observations and adventures of a self-trained cook and self-made foodie.
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