When you step onto an international flight on September 1st and step back off on September 16th, followed by a week; including the death and funeral of a Grandmother and the wedding of your best friend 4 states away, well it kinda makes you wonder where your month went. We are a full month into Fall! I have not donned one cashmere article of clothing, have not dusted off one pair of boots and I certainly have not been hit by any swirling autumn colored leaves from overhead.
However today I think NYC got the memo. Fall is here and here to stay. So you know what that means right? Time for the first Fall Fete. There is no better reason to throw a cocktail party than to herald in a new Season. Autumn is a particular favorite of mine and being in NYC makes it all the more surreal. Its the stuff of movies. The brownstones look more stoic, the air is lighter and fresh (well, almost) and that “summer scent” has gone. My tree lined street is minute by minute changing colors and everyone lingers longer on the sidewalk cafes in the evening.
We are busy though! Too busy to plan some elaborate cocktail party right? Well, then don’t. Be nice to you.
Here is my plan for an “almost” no cook Fall Fete!
Dust off two large off white platters or a few small ones. Wash, rinse and dry champagne flutes and red wine glasses. (White Wine is on leave until April)
Have a dozen or so (depends if your friends are like mine or not) bottles of a mid-range Malbec delivered over with 6 bottles of bubbles. Chill them. (I highly recommend Veuve Clicquot). Never drink or serve cheap champagne. You will always regret it in the morning and even more so when your friends call in their aspirin order to you.
Arrange the bottles nicely on a side table in your living room, decorated in a festive Fall fashion. A few small gourds, seasonal flowers in small vases, a warm deep orange or chocolate table linen and little votive candles. A stack of dusty books from the flea market. For the food platters do the same styling on another accent table or on your coffee table.
Don a pretty cocktail dress, dust off a great pair of boots and spend only 45 minutes preparing the following delicious hors oeuvres.
– Prosciutto wrapped around a teaspoon of soft goat cheese that has finely chopped dried cherries or a slice of fresh pear inside. (Place one sheet of prosciutto on your board. Dollup the goat cheese on either far end with the fruit and simply roll. Secure with a toothpick or just leave lying flat. )
– Bresola wrapped around a fresh spinach leaf with goat cheese and fresh pear. *Bresola is a cured beef, just like prosciutto but less salty and well, beef! Check your deli section.
-Bresola wrapped around a fresh spinach leaf with ricotta cheese and fresh pear.
– Bresola bundle filled with goat cheese and/or ricotta cheese with chopped dried cherry and tied off with a chive strand.
Make a variety of each of these, mixing and matching ingredients as you like, or run out! Any dried fruit is nice here really.
Bruschetta topped with creamy chive goat cheese and roasted radishes. (Thinly slice radishes and place in a baking dish. Toss with olive oil, add a teaspoon of sugar and roast at 400 degrees about 20 minutes until soft and sweet. Bake or quick broil slices of french baguette brushed with olive oil. Mix a tablespoon of finely chopped chives into 1/4 lb goat cheese. Spread soft cheese on the bread slices and top with the radishes. Garnish with more chive sprinkles. )
Dessert Bruschetta! Raisin Bread Bruschetta topped with chocolate fig spread and a roasted plum.
(As above, make bruschetta slices but use a sweet bread like raisin or pecan. In the deli area of the store look for spreadable fig jams. If you are in luck they have a chocolate fig one. If not, buy fig spread and nutella. Mix equal portions and spread onto baguette slice. Roast plum slices until soft and place on top.
It’s just that easy. Put on some Citizen Cope, light a few well placed candles, open the windows to let those Autumn breezes blow in and enjoy a relaxed evening with friends. Let me know how it goes!