Sebastien & Sheila Centner share their top recipes, tips, and tricks from their upcoming cookbook and entertaining guide.
As the summer winds down and the evenings turn brisk, we realize that we only have a limited number of opportunities left to entertain outdoors with the backdrop of fall colors, so we like to take full advantage.
And celebrating all that is fall with a harvest linner (lunch-dinner) is the perfect way to welcome the change of season. If you opt for delicate, seasonal courses along with a few body-warming cocktails, a fall harvest meal is the ideal transition meal for this time of year, as you embrace the arrival of the cooler days and settle into meals with heartier menus.
For this issue of Cayman Marshall we’re thrilled to share two of our favourite fall cocktail recipes: our Fall Sangria and our Bourbon Grapefruit Cocktail, along with a dish that will be perfect through the fall and the winter seasons. Our Cranberry Baked Brie is sure to be a hit as your guests dig into the decadence of melted brie and maple syrup!
Also, unlike many of our dinner parties, a fall harvest–inspired meal can be enjoyed any time of day, but since there are only so many weekend nights, and to avoid having to pick a date several weeks in advance, we suggest hosting this meal as a late lunch/early dinner.
Starting your linner around 2:00 pm is great timing for a Sunday afternoon, so your guests can linger until the early evening hours but get home early enough to get a good night’s sleep for the week ahead.
We hope you enjoy these recipes, tips and tricks as you entertain your friends and family!
Tips & Tricks
1) When it comes to fall entertaining, bringing the “outdoors in” is an inexpensive way to add seasonal décor to your table or to create the perfect parting gift for your guests.
Seb says, “Fall vegetables like acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, and gourds are a natural fit for your fall table-scape, and they can all be used later for cooking.”
Sheila says, “If you have the luxury of your own garden, use vegetables from your final harvest in these recipes! Fresh veggies from your garden make a fantastic take-home gift for your guests too. If you’re buying from the store, buy a few extra to make up the parting gift baskets.”
2) When you’re hosting in the fall or winter months, it really helps to warm any dishes that are being used to serve hot courses. This will keep the food from cooling too quickly. Five minutes in the oven is all it takes to take the chill out of the china.
3) The more you can do ahead of time the better! It will save you time the day of your event and will ensure you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
4) There are lots of ways to reduce your workload when entertaining. One of our favorite ideas is to setup a themed “self serve bar” which works especially well when you’re serving a large group. Our Bourbon Grapefruit cocktail is perfect for this since the method is so simple.
Another great tip for saving time is to convert cocktails from single-serve to “batched,” where you prepare a larger batch all at once and then serve in a pitcher like we did with the sangria. To do this you will need to multiply the ingredients in the recipe (we usually do by 6, 8 or 10 depending on the pitcher size) and then instead of shaking the ingredients, mix them together in the pitcher, then add ice before serving and finally add garnishes in a small bowl next to the pitcher.
Bourbon Grapefruit Cocktail with Thyme Simple Syrup
Yield: Makes 1 cocktail + 3 ½ cups syrup
Prep Time: 5 minutes + 1 hour to cool
Cook Time: 12 minutes
THYME SIMPLE SYRUP
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 thyme sprigs
BOURBON GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL
- 2 oz bourbon
- 6 tbsp pink grapefruit juice
- 1 tbsp thyme simple syrup
- 1 pink grapefruit slice, for garnish
- 1 thyme sprig, for garnish
THYME SIMPLE SYRUP
Combine the sugar, thyme, and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, without stirring, over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered and without stirring, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
BOURBON GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the bourbon, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit and thyme.
Cranberry Baked Brie
Yield: Serves 6–8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 (16 oz) brie wheel
- 1 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
- ½ cup dry cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- 1½ cups maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the brie on the prepared baking sheet and bake until soft, 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, warm the pecans, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and maple syrup over medium heat, mixing until warmed through and the maple syrup evenly coats everything.
Transfer the baked brie to a serving dish just large enough to hold it snugly without crowding and pour the maple syrup mixture overtop. Serve immediately while still hot alongside a toasted baguette and a small spoon or knife for spreading.
Yield: Makes 6–8 cocktails
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of sweet white wine, chilled
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 apple (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and ambrosia all work well), sliced in ¼-inch-thick rounds
- 1 bosc pear, sliced into ¼-inch-thick wedges
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of sparkling wine or prosecco, chilled
- 2 rosemary sprigs or 3 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Place the wine and cider in a large pitcher. Add the sliced apples, sliced pears, and pomegranate seeds. Top with the sparkling wine, and stir gently to mix. Garnish with rosemary or cinnamon (but not both).
Prepare your sangria the day before and then cut and allow the fruit to marinate for a few hours. Follow our recipe but don’t immediately top with ice; instead place the pitcher with the sangria and fruit in the fridge earlier in the day, then simply remove and top with ice when your guests arrive.
Eatertainment: Recipes and Ideas for Effortless Entertaining!
Entertaining is about welcoming the people you love into your home, and Sebastien and Sheila Centner are here to help make your events straightforward, memorable—and most importantly—fun with their latest book Eatertainment.
Seb and Sheila offer instructions on everything from setting the table, to picking flowers for your centrepiece, to even planning an easy loot bag for your guests to take home. The Centners also understand that cost and time are often the most significant barriers to hosting, so they offer practical tips and tricks regardless of your prep time, availability, or budget.
Eatertainment includes 12 chapters designed for all levels of hosting and over 140 recipes that can be mixed and matched for any event or any time of year. The party countdown calendars and do-ahead schedules for each chapter will help you plan in advance, and avoid any stress the day of your event, while the party math section will ensure you have just enough
of everything you need to host groups of any size.
No matter what kind of event you throw, you’ll find everything you need to host a stress-free gathering all year round, in this beautifully photographed, all-in-one entertaining guidebook.
Eatertainment includes everything you need to make everyday entertaining a flawless reality and is available everywhere books are sold. To buy online please visit sebandsheila.com/eatertainment-book.
Photography: Bruce Gibson