First off, we love to have things set out for when guests arrive. Since it was a work day for all of us, and Jenine had flown in from New York earlier in the day, we did not sit before dinner as long as we normally do. I kept the pre-dinner snacks to only a few choices. We put out 2 of our favorite cheeses, an herbed chevre and St. Andre. I usually like to put out 2 different things to have the cheese on too. This time I put out thick Wasa crispbread and thin fig & olive crackers. As well as a bowl of radishes cut in half next to a tiny bowl of sea salt to dip them in. I had candied pecans the night before, so that was the nut option. Here is how I do it–super easy.
Melt half a stick of salted butter. To that add a good amount of brown sugar and mix together so they incorporate. Pour warm mixture over a single layer of pecans that are on a baking sheet. Cover and let sit on the counter overnight.
Since it was a school night and we had a busy trunk show day ahead of us, we thought it best to keep to one drink option. Dempsey & Carroll is a decidedly American institution, so I opted for Chandon, the decidedly American sparkling wine. We would stay with bubbly from start to finish. The new sparkling water we sell at the shop, Antipodes, would be the other option. Sticking to a few drink choices really helps to ease the work load of the host. Plus, we have never had a guests complain that they had to drink bubbly for the entire evening. I am smiling as I type that.
Once we sat for dinner, we were treated to one of my favorite Mister Sive creations. Given the season and the table setting, he made his butternut squash and sausage lasagna, which has a béchamel sauce as the base. It is one of my all-time favs. He made half of the lasagna without meat, as 2 of our guests are vegetarians. He also sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic. I made a simple arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette that had pink grapefruit slices added for a little kick, topped with shavings of Parmesan. For dessert, TPS made an almond cake, that we served with fresh blackberries.
It was a festive evening filled with many stories and many laughs.