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fall forward how to host a fall dinner party
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 1

on the menu
As youíre planning your menu, think fall produce -- goodies like butternut squash and sweet potatoes, wild mushrooms and leeks, apples and pears are all at their peak this time of year. If youíre at a loss, make a trip to a farmerís market or farm stand, and get inspired. The zesty bright tastes of summer start to seem too light and insubstantial as the weather cools down, too, so go with warmer, spicier accents for your dishes, like tart dried cranberries and freshly grated nutmeg, earthy sage and thyme, flavors that wrap you up in a fuzzy warm blanket of comfort.

Fallís also the time to start using your oven again. Get your kitchen all cozy by roasting up some ripe red peppers Ė delish sliced up and tossed with garlic, oil salt and pepper as an appetizer, or tossed into a pasta dish or risotto. For meat lovers, the grilled goods of summer make way for slower-cooking roasts. Cook up a perfectly browned juicy chicken (itís way easier than you might imagine, and relatively cheap to boot); bake up some succulent pork tenderloin. And for dessert, of course, nothing beats a homemade apple pie, still warm from the oven.

If youíre looking for something that wonít tax your culinary skills quite as much, fallís the perfect time for a fondue party. Just get your fondue pot and fondue base ready, cut up some dippers, and let your guests get interactive with their meal. If fondue seems too frou-frou, go casual with a soup and salad party -- great for hosting a crowd on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Change the soup to a great big vat of chili, add a smorgasbord of topping offerings, and youíre all set for a fall football party, or a TV night in honor of the fall season premiere of your favorite show. apple oí my eye | Baked apples make for an easy and elegant dessert. Prep and stuff the apples before dinner, then pop them in the oven after folks have finished the main meal. To pep up the baked apples, garnish with a cinnamon stick, then serve with fresh whipped cream or a dollop of ice cream.


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