Autumn Happy Hour With Savory Pear & Apple Endive Cups
It's hosting season! Sure summers are jam packed with friends, BBQs and long warm evenings - but fall is where it's at! Cozy nights where you can break out some moody candles, layer on the table linens and serve up a fabulous spread for everyone to nosh on along side a robust bottle of red wine.
I personally love this time of year to host impromptu gatherings - just a few friends who happen to be free and a snackable feast that's pulled together with ease. No need for a formal sit down dinner when you can put together a loaded cheese board and serve some seasonal appetizers! Because we all know the most stressful time of year is right around the corner and we can save the formalities (and all the dish washing) for the holidays.
Enter Harry & David - who has just launched a new collection of distinctive gourmet fare, created for everyday entertaining with elegance and ease – Harry & David Gourmet. If you want to talk about hosting without hassle, it's ordering one of these gourmet boxes and letting the party deliver to you (over night). Whether it’s a savory side dish, dessert or an entire decadent spread, they have everything for entertaining - literally, you can pick from over 200 premium products to serve and share at your next gathering.
My ultimate Autumn happy hour includes a decadent cheese and charcuterie spread with a variety of pickled and marinated sides. And instead of serving dessert, a unique fruit forward yet savory one bite appetizer that sings of the season. To pull this all together I ordered a gift box selection of meats and cheese (no brainer), premium antipasto pack (because who doesn't love a marinated artichoke heart...or five), and the deluxe pear & apple box (you have not lived until trying their famous golden wrapped pears!).
So many options to play around with and curate an amazing autumn spread. The key to styling the perfect cheese and charcuterie board is to weave in some fresh elements - a few herbs and blooms plucked from the garden and tucked around snacks turns your wooden board into a bouquet! And don't forget to pull out those cheese knives, all of them, so everyone can serve up the perfect slice without mixing up the flawless flavors.
For our fruit, I whipped up one of my favorite easy apps: Pear & Apple endive cups! They are full of flavor and texture, but the real winner is a zippy white balsamic dressing that pulls all the flavors together and lessens the bitterness of the endive. Sweet, savory, bright and tart - these fall flavored cups are the perfect way to use these gourmet fruits. Plus - the extras make for great take home gifts...who doesn't need an excuse to bake a pear tart or cake this time of year!? And these pears and apples make for the best desserts.
- Pear & Apple Endive Cups -
Makes 12 appetizers
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 pears, finely diced
1 apple, finely diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2-3 small heads endive, leaves removed
1/4 cup white balsamic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small shallot, diced
1 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove larger leaves from endive heads, wash and set aside. In a bowl mix fruit, nuts, blue cheese, and parsley. Toss with vinaigrette and scoop mixture into individual endive cups. Filling can be made a day ahead and stored in the frige.
Let's make a promise to not let the stress of entertaining hold us back this fall from sharing moments with friends. This time of year can feel very busy and a happy hour like this is a particularly easy and delightful way to put together an impressive spread with a little assistance...I mean, it even came with a bottle of wine AND a wood serving board. It's like having your own personal shopper and everyone's going to be pleased about it.
Looking to cut back on the cheese pre-holidays? Don't worry! The Harry & David Gourmet collection also includes iconic homemade delicacies, such as mouthwatering entrees and flavorful sides that can be mixed and matched for any social gathering - so go do a little online shopping and see what kind of perfect autumn evening you can come up with - I know it's going to turn out perfect!
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