To properly welcome the arrival of fall, I'm hosting a harvest themed dinner party. Everything about this dinner will be warm, cozy, and inviting. In terms of food, the evening will begin with goat cheese balls, marinated olives, crisp flatbreads, and toasted pumpkin seeds. These easy appetizers — all store bought except for the cheese balls — will be awaiting the guests arrival. A simple, but tasty, pear-spinach salad with mustard vinaigrette will be served before a classic roast chicken and baked sweet potato fries. To learn how to make these lush autumnal recipes for your friends and family,
3 (4 ounce) logs goat cheese, at room temperature
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
a variety of toppings such as crushed pink peppercorns, white and black toasted sesame seeds, snipped fresh chives or cayenne pepper
- Place the rindless soft goat cheese in a bowl and roughly mash with a splash extra-virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Take small spoonfuls and roll into bite-sized balls.
- Chill, covered on a baking sheet until ready to use.
- Roll in coverings of your choice and pick with toothpick. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Make them ahead; the rolled and coated balls will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to a day.
2 Bosc pears, cored and thinly sliced
6-ounces fresh baby spinach
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Combine pear slices and spinach in a large bowl.
- Combine water and the next 6 ingredients (through pepper), stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and toss gently to coat.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
Nutritional Information: CALORIES 52(47% from fat); FAT 2.7g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 1.7g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 58mg; SODIUM 215mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.1g
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley plus 3 large sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus 3 large sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus 3 small sprigs
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 7- to 71/4-pound roasting chicken, rinsed, patted dry
3 medium onions, peeled, quartered lengthwise (do not remove root end)
14 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- Mix butter, chopped herbs, fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in bowl; blend well. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)
- Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F.
- Sprinkle main cavity of chicken with salt and pepper; fill with herb sprigs. Starting at neck end, slide fingers under skin of breast and upper part of legs, loosening skin. Spread 3 tablespoons herb butter under skin on breast and upper leg meat.
- Place chicken on rack in large roasting pan; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Scatter onions around chicken. Brush chicken and onions with 2 tablespoons herb butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast chicken 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Scatter garlic cloves around chicken. Brush chicken, onions and garlic with 1 tablespoon herb butter.
- Roast chicken and vegetables 30 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon herb butter for sauce; brush remainder on chicken and vegetables.
- Continue to roast until chicken is golden and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, about 30 minutes longer.
- Insert wooden spoon into main cavity; tilt chicken so that juices drain into pan. Transfer chicken to platter; surround with onions and garlic. Tent with foil.
- Set roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add broth and wine; bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat; discard fat.
- Pour juices into medium saucepan.
- Stir reserved 1 tablespoon herb butter and flour in small bowl to smooth paste.
- Bring pan juices to simmer; whisk in paste. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened, whisking occasionally, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 small sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and quartered lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the Parmesan on a sheet of waxed paper or put it in another shallow bowl.
- Dip the sweet potato first in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then dip each wedge into the egg white mixture until coated. Finally, dip the sweet potato in the Parmesan, pressing the exposed surface of the potato into the cheese. (Don't worry if some gets on the skin.) Transfer potato wedges onto the prepared baking sheet as you go.
- Bake potatoes until tender and crisp, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more salt if desired.