Fall Gathering 2014


Since the day that chilly weather arrived, I’ve craved nothing but warm food. The days of salads & smoothies are decidedly over. To harken in soup, baked goods, & whiskey that warms the belly, the Fond Life Fall Gathering is finally here. Don’t be fooled, even the spinach salad featured in this post is warm.

A special thanks to Carmen & Riley who provided the lovely dishes, and Andrew who helped with the brie. As always, the night was filled with laughter & ended with a warm dessert topped with bluebell. Is there any other way to do it?

This is an entirely vegetarian spread, and although there were some grumbling from the boys on this account, everyone admitted that it was delicious.

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Brie En Croute

A few people arrived late and I literally had to hide this so it didn’t get devoured before everyone could try it. Of everything that I made this night, the brie was repeatedly the dish that made people toss their head back and say “omigoshthisissogoodwhatisit?” 



1 round of brie
(top cut off and discarded)
1/2 pear
1/4 c brown sugar
1 package crescent rolls
2T unsalted butter


Preheat oven according to the pastry instructions.
Lightly flour counter and spread out your pastry dough. Depending on what kind you use, you may have to patch it together a little bit.
Place brie on dough & top with brown sugar and pear.
Wrap the pastry on top and around the brie, pressing the dough together to ensure nothing seeps out as it bakes. Brush with melted butter.
Bake until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with crackers.


Wilted Spinach Salad

The ribbons of parmesan add an extra pop of saltiness and texture. 


1 large bag of baby spinach
1/4 c olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2t thyme, chopped
1/2t rosemary, chopped
1T lemon
dash of salt and pepper
parmesan cheese


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot and garlic until soft. Add thyme and rosemary until fragrant.
Off of the heat, whisk in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture over the spinach and toss until totally covered and wilted.
Portion to serving plates and top with parmesan cheese shavings.

You can find the recipe for the butternut squash soup, and bread pudding, on cooksillustrated.com.