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Archive for the ‘Entertaining’ Category

by Sarah Steimer

Sarah's Halloween table

Halloween without treats? That’s like a slasher film without a babysitter getting killed (possible, but totally no fun).

(more…)

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by Caitlin Saniga and Sarah Steimer

Wine and chocolate? Can’t complain. Normally wine is paired with a full meal, or various aspects of the meal. We decided to take that information and pair red wines with different types of chocolate. These pairings are a great idea for a small party — or just for you and that hunk of burning love that is lucky enough to call you his or her own. Or it can be just for you (how do you suppose we tested out this guide?).

And please note: We’re not experts.

Red zinfandel and ginger-orange spiced dark chocolate

Red zinf and spicy dark chocolate

The wine: Red zinfandels have a medium to heavy body with spicy, sometimes fruity notes.

The pairing: Red zinfs pair well with desserts that have spice — think gingerbreads and carrot cake. With that in mind, I went with a ginger-orange dark chocolate.

— S

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Pinot noir with caramel milk chocolate

Merlot with caramel milk chocolate


The wine: Pinot noir is a light red wine with notes of vanilla, strawberry and raspberry and pairs well with milk chocolates. It can range in color from cherry to purple.

The pairing: This wine is a natural dessert partner with creme brulee, a custard topped with caramelized sugar. The vanilla aromas pair nicely with the caramel chocolate.

— C

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Cabernet sauvignon with espresso chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon with espresso chocolate.

The wine: Cabernets can be a nice, mellow wine. They often have notes of currants, along with oak and a bit of vanilla.

The pairing: When served with desserts, Cabernet sauvignon matches up well with treats that have a coffee flavoring — which is why I chose a chocolate that has an espresso flavoring. (Could you imagine this with tiramisu? Sounds perfect.)

— S

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Shiraz with raspberry dark chocolate

The wine: Shiraz has aromas of blackberry, plum, and pepper. It can be

Shiraz with raspberry dark chocolate

prepared in a fruity style, which many sweet wine drinkers like.

The pairing: With its dark berry and plum flavors, this wine pairs nicely with the fruitiness and tinge of bitterness of raspberry dark chocolate. Don’t like raspberries? I was tempted to try blackberry and blueberry dark chocolates I spotted at the store.

— C

Sources: WineIntro.com and Savory.tv

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by Sarah Steimer

After my friend Nick made pepperoni rolls, I started brainstorming what else you could roll up in pizza dough. Squash, feta, onions and sage? Why not.

My friends have had some pretty fabulous parties over the years, everything from a Black Friday Party (where everyone dressed in black the day after Thanksgiving) to Christmas sweater extravaganzas. One of the most recent parties was a Fall Dip Party with assorted appetizers. We ate way, way too much, drank hot spiked cider (thank you, Ashley) and carved pumpkins. It was a total success. Here are just a handful of recipes from the party:

Autumn pizza rolls

  • pizza dough (I halved this recipe but didn’t let it rise)
  • small butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup of sage, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of feta
  • egg white from one egg

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place on a glass baking dish with the open sides facing down. Cook at 350 for about a 30 to 45 minutes until you can insert a knife easily into the skin. Cut the squash into 1/4-inch thick, 1-inch diameter pieces. I only used about half of my squash for the roll and stored the rest in the refrigerator.

Mix pizza dough and set aside (unless you just bought the dough, then just make sure it’s thawed). Caramelize the onion in a small pan with about a tablespoon of butter or oil. Add sage to this when the onions are almost done. Roll out pizza dough to about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Try to keep the dough rolled in a fairly rectangular shape.

This isn't even everything. We had to keep rearranging the table all night as more people came bearing food.

Layer the ingredients as though making a pepperoni roll: Sprinkle some of the feta across the top, followed by some of the onions and sage. Add the squash pieces across this. Fold dough over and continue to layer the ingredients and fold over the dough until the end. Place the roll on a cookie sheet and brush the egg whites over top. Cook at about 375 until the roll is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool then cut.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer (in a moment of genius)

Crab-ulous Dip (vegan)

  • 1 (12-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 12 ounces firm tofu, drained, patted dry and broken up
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • Old Bay seasoning

Chop the artichoke hearts and place in a bowl. Add the tofu, mayonnaise and approximately 1 tablespoon of Old Bay. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, checking to see if the top is slightly bubbly. If it’s not, microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes. Top with another sprinkle of Old Bay and serve warm with crackers.

Recipe: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook: 275 Easy, Cheap, and Delicious Recipes to Keep You Vegan at School (via Tom Flavin)

Slow cooker meatballs in peanut chile sauce

  • 40 already cooked meatballs (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup canned coconunt milk
  • 1 tablespoon red chile paste
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Put meatballs into slow cooker (frozen is fine). Add peanut butter and coconut milk. Drop in red chile paste, then add fish sauce and sugar. Stir as well as you can to combine — it won’t be perfect because the peanut butter will still be clumpy.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours, high for 2-4, or until peanut butter mixture is fully melted and the meatballs are heated throughout.

Recipe adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking (via David Richie)

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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