Chez Val: An Autumn-Inspired Dinner Party

Breaking bread Chez ValConversation, food, friendship. Full bellies, full hearts.

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My studio apartment may be 375 square feet, but that didn’t stop me from serving a four-course dinner for eight, which included an intermezzo course of gelatinized Champagne and post-dessert coffee with freshly-ground Costa Rican coffee beans.

I invited seven dear friends to my humble abode for an autumn-inspired menu that celebrated the harvest season. Five of my seven guests had dietary restrictions that ranged from vegan to pescatarian, so I settled on a vegetarian menu featuring fresh, organic, local produce.

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I wanted the table décor to reflect the season as well, so I used the warm and inviting earthy red apple hues in the name cards and table runner.  I used candlelight to warm not just the temperature on the chilly Sunday night, but the lighting and ambiance as well.  My centerpiece was the sky-high apple pie I prepared for dessert, which worked well since I didn’t have much spare room on my Ikea gateleg table with us squeezing in eight people. Plus, I was committed to serving the dishes family style, since I think there is something special about passing dishes and serving one another.

The table was set and the food was prepared, but the most crucial ingredients for my Fall Feast were my dear friends and dinner guests, who traveled from near and far.  Some came from Harlem and Brooklyn, others from Connecticut and Washington, D.C.  This was a family dinner, and it was beautiful to share not just food—but these moments with my USC in NYC family.

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THE MENU

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Walnuts Organic Pumpkins sourced locally from Milford, New Jersey via City Hall Farmer’s Market in Lower Manhattan

Pumpkin Soup Recipe Here

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Mushroom Risotto, Blanched Green Beans, Beets with Horseradish Sauce Blend of Shitake and Baby Portabella Mushrooms

Mushroom Risotto Recipe Here

Simple and delicious mushroom risotto
Simple and delicious mushroom risotto

Champagne Jello

champagne jello finale
champagne jello finale

Sky High Apple Pie à la mode Blend of Organic Honeycrisp Apples sourced locally from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, New York and Organic Granny Smith Apples

Sky High Apple Pie Recipe Here

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sky high apple pie

Costa Rican Coffee, served with vanilla ice cream

Click the two links below for beautiful video images of the evening!

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