Winter Dinner Party

We eat meatless and “meat light” more and more often these days, so the idea of a fully vegetarian dinner party wasn’t totally foreign, but it definitely did make Jim a little nervous. The menu I put together was French inspired and comforting. I have to say that it went off beautifully, and our dinner guest truly appreciated my taking her needs into consideration.


  • Vanilla Pear Martinis – This was a delicious and simple cocktail, which tasted much more complex than it actually was to make. I mixed thing up ahead of time and popped into the freezer so it was icy cold when I served. You can find pear juice in the Latin section of most any grocery store.
  • Wine
  • Beer


  • Gougeres – These were simple and delicious. They present quite fancy, but your guests don’t have to know how simple they really are. I used ¾ cup of gruyere and ¼ cup parmesan and a good teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. They can be made ahead and warmed in the oven just before your guests arrive.
  • Salami Plate – Slices of peppered salami were a great balance for the veggies and gougeres, and a welcome site for those who get nervous at the thought of a meatless meal.
  • TJ’s Rosemary Almonds – Fantastic find. A really full rosemary flavor that doesn’t overpower the almond.
  • Asparagus Tart with Gruyere – Enjoyed this with a little extra cheese. The sauce baked up into a custard like base for the roasted asparagus. Don’t forget some salt and pepper before baking.
  • Crudités – Some find it boring or predictable, but I usually have a veg plate out at all my parties. I find it’s a nice counterbalance to the other appetizers that are often quite rich.


  • Salade Verte – I served this by dressing the greens and offering the toppings on the side.


  • Mushroom Bourguignon over TJ’s Egg Pappardelle – I wanted to choose a meal that would work for our vegetarian guest without feeling like it was an afterthought. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen totally fit the bill. I did a mixture of portabella and cremini. I will definitely be making this again.


  • Fresh Bread & Irish Butter – I highly recommend “splurging” on some real Irish butter sometime soon. There is a difference and it’s delicious. Don’t waste in in a recipe, but use it on fresh bread so the butter can really stand out.



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