Apples to Apples

Autumn is one of our favorite times of the year to entertain. It is the season, we can enjoy crisp air, changing leaves and fresh pumpkins, butternut squash, figs, apples and peaches. Our friend, Nishant, loves to host elaborate dinner parties. We provided some TWINSPIRATION for his most recent dinner party for 8. Since Fall has fallen, we suggested a 4 course tasting menu featuring a single Fall ingredient. We settled on APPLES since nothing says AUTUMN quite like an apple that is crisp, sweet, tart and juicy!
We LOVE finding creative ways to elevate the dining experience at home and make it even more MEMORABLE than dining out. Back in April, we cohosted a Spring themed dinner that featured a variety of "springy" ingredients. For Fall, we chose a single ingredient based dinner. While apples are most commonly consumed out of one's hand, several varieties are excellent for cooking. Their sweet-tart flavor is perfect for savory dishes. So please don't just associate apples with pies and crisps!
Apple Tips:
  • Pick the Right Variety! Apples differ in terms of sweetness, tartness, crispness and juiciness. Some varieties are better for baking others for sauces or salads. Look at the guide below for help picking out the best variety for your dish.
Source: Nugget Market
  • Choose Firm and Shiny Apples: When purchasing apples, select apples without any bruises or mushy spots. The apples should be firm for their specific variety. Look for apples with shiny skin (dull skin indicates a lack of crispness and flavor).
  • Refrigerate Apples: Apples rapidly lose their crispness at room temperature. We recommend  storing apples in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. 
  • Prevent Browning: To prevent apple slices from browning, dip slices in a bowl of three parts water to one part lemon juice.
  • Combine Sweet and Tart Apples: When baking apple pies, use a combination of sweet and tart apples for balanced flavor

Kanchana created a beautiful Autumnal tablescape featuring the seasonal colors of burnt orange, deep reds, vibrant greens and golden yellow. She used Williams Sonoma's botanical pumpkin and gourd tablecloths and cloth napkins. She also printed individual menu cards and inserted them into the napkins. She incorporated our main ingredient in the table decor by turning ordinary apples into place card holders. Olga of International Garden created our STUNNING floral bouquets with orange pin cushion flowers, red solidago and Autumn leaves.
Nishant's guest list included some phenomenal chefs. We asked those guests to prepare a dish that would highlight the apple ingredient. The menu featured apple in a variety of ways: in a savory tart, with scallops, with duck and finally in cake form.
Each course was BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS! The chefs used honey crisp in the cheese course, granny smith in the scallop course, fiji and jonagold in the duck course and a combination of gala, honey crisp and granny smith in the dessert course. The apple tart was visually our favorite. Archana carefully shaped each tart into a stunning rose.
Typically we prepare a specialty cocktail for our dinner parties. However, we decided to start this evening with champagne. If you want suggestions for a signature libation for an apple dinner, please consider:
Pairing wine with the apple dishes was a bit tricky because each course combined salty and sweet flavors. Despite the challenge, our friend, Nico selected wines that complemented the flavors of each apple course.
Thank you to Nishant for hosting us and snapping these beautiful photographs.
We can't wait to try the single ingredient themed dinner again. If you need help selecting your Fall ingredient, look at the list below, which shows when various fruits and veggies peak:
Beets | Cauliflower | Corn | Eggplant | Porcini Mushrooms | Summer Squash | Tomatoes | Winter Squash
Figs | Grapes | Melons | Peaches | Pears | Plums
Beets | Cauliflower | Collard Greens | Chanterelle Mushrooms | Parsnips | Summer Squash | Winter Squash
Apples | Coconuts | Grapes | Melons | Peaches | Pears | Persimmons | Pomegranates | Tangerines
Artichokes | Beets | Cabbage | Cauliflower | Celery | Celery Root | Collard Greens | Chanterelle Mushrooms | Parsnips | Rutabagas | Winter Squash | Turnips
Apples | Coconuts | Dates | Grapefruit | Grapes | Persimmons | Pomegranates | Tangerines

xoxo Archana & Kanchana

“Life was so simple when apples and blackberries were fruit, a tweet was the sound of nature, and facebooks were photo albums”― Carl Henegan, Darkness Left Undone

Recipes from this Post:
Savory Brie and Apple Tart: Simply Recipes (replace sugar with 2 tablespoons of dried basil, 1 tablespoon of oregano and 1 tablespoon of thyme); Mommy Outside the Box (use honeycrisp apples and swap wine with brandy, pan fry apples in half brown sugar sauce until apples are tender)
Scallops and Apple Pan Sauce: Bon Appetit

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