Tips & Recipes for Autumn Entertaining

Dinner Parties, Entertain, Fall, In Season, Learn, Menu Ideas, Tips & Techniques

This post comes to us courtesy of cooking instructor Jodi Liano.


Summer entertaining is a breeze — fire up the grill, eat outside and enjoy long days that turn into warm nights. When fall kicks in, the motivation to entertain tends to wane a bit. The days are shorter, the weather is cooler and, let’s be honest, the farmers’ market is just not as inspiring.


Fear not! Autumn entertaining is the perfect way to ward off the back-to-school blues and catch up with friends you’ve missed over the summer. A few new recipes, all easy to fit into a busy schedule, will have you throwing a dinner party in no time.


This menu draws from the best of the season (and a few of my cookbooks). If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with year-round farmers’ markets, take advantage of them. While peaches and asparagus may be long gone, you’ll find stunning root veggies and greens as well as crisp apples and pears. Buy what looks beautiful and throw in some extra to make a great centerpiece for your table. In my opinion, nothing looks better on a fall table than a gorgeous bowl brimming with farm-fresh apples.


These dishes capture the essence of fall flavors, and all but the pork tenderloin come from the books New Flavors for Vegetables or Cooking from the Farmers’ Market. Click below for the full text of all the recipes.


Fig and Fromage Blanc Crostini

Roasted Beets with Orange and Herbed Goat Cheese

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovies and Red Pepper

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay

Pear Tarte Tatin with Winter Spices

I’d serve the crostini first, preferably with some dry bubbly or a nice Sancerre. The rest of the savory dishes work well served family style, or you can plate the salad as a first course, then present the pork, broccoli rabe and potatoes as your main course.


The best part? These recipes lend themselves beautifully to some “make-ahead” prep. This would be my game plan:


Day Before the Party:

  • Roast the beets and prep the goat cheese and vinaigrette for the salad. Refrigerate.
  • Trim, blanch and cool the broccoli rabe in ice water. Refrigerate.
  • Set the table.


Morning of the Party:

  • Toast the bread for the crostini, then wash and dry the arugula.
  • Prepare the tarte Tatin but don’t bake it yet. Refrigerate.


Afternoon of the Party:

  • Prep the figs on a baking sheet, ready for the oven. Leave at room temperature.
  • Prep ingredients for the pork: chop the herbs, peel the shallots and measure the sauce ingredients. Leave at room temperature.
  • Prep ingredients for the broccoli rabe: sauté the garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes quickly. Remove from heat and leave at room temperature.


Just Before the Party:

  • Heat oven for the figs, then roast and finish the crostini (leave the oven on for the potatoes and pork).
  • Put the potatoes in the oven.
  • Prepare the pork, then place it in the oven when potatoes are about halfway done.
  • Combine the beet salad.
  • Reheat the broccoli rabe ingredients, then add the broccoli rabe and finish.
  • When the pork and potatoes are done, bake the tarte Tatin in the oven while everyone eats the main course.
  • Warm the serving dishes, plate dinner and enjoy!


Happy cooking and happy entertaining!


About the author: I am a cooking instructor and food writer from San Francisco. Originally from Seattle, I moved to SF in 1998 to pursue a career in food. After culinary school I worked at Rose Pistola and the Blue Plate in SF, Sunset Magazine, the Food Network in New York, and Bay Cafe, to name a few. My passion is teaching cooking and I’ve made a career doing just that at Tante Marie’s Cooking School San Francisco. I’ve also written three books for Williams Sonoma-“New Flavors: Vegetables”,”Cooking From the Farmer’s Market” and “Eggs”. I’m a huge proponent of family dinner so most nights you’ll find me eating at home with my husband and son. When I’m out in SF, I’m probably eating a Panna Pie at Pizzeria Delfina, a Rainbow Salad at Burma Superstar, Chopped Liver at Bar Agricole, or Coffee Ice Cream with Jimmies from Swensen’s .

3 comments about “Tips & Recipes for Autumn Entertaining

  1. terri silverman

    Grad from the School of Culinary Arts Ft Lauderdale Art Institiute..and so love you websight…always looking for something new or something from the past and the holidays are right upon us now..!! thanks..!!

  2. Ginny Clifford

    What an outstanding menu for fall, hope to try some of the recipes. Thanks to my favorite store!


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