Luxury for me doesn’t come in the form of expensive dinners, fine china, or black-tie affair.  Instead, luxury comes in the form of time- time with friends, food, and conversation.  As a full time music graduate student, time is something I don’t see a lot of between rehearsals, concerts, classes, and work.  So, when I can take time to fix an amazing meal for friends, that feels like a luxury for me.  Since moving to grad school I have been fortunate to find a few close friends and I seriously can think of no better way to spend time together than to cook great food for them!

I also find luxury in all of the food I prepared for this dinner party.  I am fortunate enough to live in an area with good soil and the perfect climate to grow a wide variety of crops in the spring, summer, and fall.  So, with good friends, a little wine, and a wide array of fresh vegetables and fruits from the csa and the farmer’s market, I was able to have a pretty darn awesome (and luxurious) dinner party.


Whenever I cook for a crowd, there are a few ideas I never forget.  I always plan out my dishes well ahead of time, write out recipes and ingredients, test a few days before hand, and always time everything out.  I find that organization is key when it comes to having all the food come out just at the right time.  When it comes to recipes, I research (I’m a college student, it’s what I do best.)  I look at at least 75-100 different recipes gathering ideas, ingredients, and inspiration.  Most of the food I make is my creation, however, there are some recipes that look so good, I can’t help but try (like the sweet potato falafels!)

I also make sure I have dishes that I can prep or even fully make ahead of time so that the day of the party is a little less hectic (usually desserts and appetizers are great areas to prep/make ahead of time.)  This meal has both make ahead items and day of items.  You really could reduce it down to one choice per category (I just have a hard time deciding what to make so I make it all!)

I will say though one of the best things you can do is stay calm and be wiling to fly by the seat of your pants.  Something doesn’t go you way?  Oh well!  I always take a deep breathe and adapt (don’t worry!)  Also, working with seasonal vegetables, I don’t always get what I want or I get ingredients I didn’t plan on (for example while at the farm on Thursday I was told the radishes had to go!  So, I made them part of my meal and it turned out great!)

Here’s the menu:


Sweet Potato Falafels

Pumpkin Hummus


Spicy acorn squash soup with jalapeno cheddar

Caramelized pear, walnut, and Gorgonzola salad

Main Entree:

Swiss chard and onion quiche served with a warm arugula and radish salad

Quinoa stuffed carnival squash served with a sage sweet potato puree


Pear and Apple Galette

Maple Mousse

Oh!  And of course you can forget the guest!  I had such a great time cooking for this that it makes me wish I could prepare big meal more often.  I love cooking for people and when I get to use the freshest ingredients- it makes cooking so much better!


**recipes from this dinner party will be popping up throughout the next week or two.  If you see something you love- check back later for recipe details!



Apple and Pear Galette
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Desserts
Serves: 0
  • Crust:
  • 1½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 5-6 tablespoon cold water
  • Filling:
  • 2 medium pears
  • 2 medium apples (sweeter apples)
  • ⅓ cup sucanat
  • ¼ cup unbleached all purposed flour
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Either by hand or in a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients for the crust. Whisk/pulse to combine. Cut in cubed butter until butter is about the size of peas. Tablespoon by tablespoon, add in water and stir with fork/pulse until dough comes together. Roll out onto a piece of plastic wrap and chill dough in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  2. While dough is chilling, combine apples, pears, sucanat, cinnamon, maple syrup vanilla, nutmeg, and flour in a bowl. Stir until apples and pears are coated. Let sit until dough is done chilling. Melt two tablespoons of butter.
  3. Preheat oven to 375˚.
  4. Remove dough from freezer and roll out into 14-16 inch circle or divide dough into sixths and roll out into smaller circles. Place filling in the middle and top with small chunks of remaining butter. Fold over edges and place on a baking tray covered in parchment paper. Brush galettes with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
Makes 6 smaller sized galettes or four medium sized ones.
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