Early Fall Dinner Party

Just the mention of fall, even the mere thought of it, gets this Farmer ready for autumnal glory. One way to welcome the season is to welcome new friends into the fold. An impromptu dinner party for these new friends and old friends alike, partnered with some early fall décor, and good food sounded like the perfect way to kick off into autumn.

Soups, stews, chowders and bisques - whatever you fancy - are one pot wonders that are just the ticket to an easy entrée for your friends and family. I chose to stick with a Farmer’s favorite, Mexican Stew paired with skillet cornbread. Luckily, my gracious guests offered to bring the appetizers, sides, and dessert, so farming out the fixings to the other couples made for an easy way to cut down on preparation as well. A delicious green salad and apple cobbler from one couple and a fun new recipe came from another – Raspberry Black Bean Dip …yum! All made for the perfect accoutrements for the evening’s meal.

Equally as fun as the food and fellowship is the chance to gear up the ol’ house and change the guard from summer to fall. Little things such as a table cloth switch, a new candle, or trading out a bowl of shells for an arrangement of fall foliage and feathers just helps me get in the mood for the approaching season. Having company over is such a good excuse to gussy up the place and check off those little “to do’s” hanging over your head as well i.e. light bulb in guest bath, petrified arrangement on foyer table, and more shabby than chic pots by the front door.

An old tin feed trough filled with crotons, sunflowers, dried hydrangeas, magnolia, pheasant feathers, and, why not, Mr. Pheasant himself, graced the console in my dining room and set the theme for the party. A mustard and cream tablecloth accented with sunflowers, mix and match vintage napkins, basket weave dinnerware, and depression glass goblets all kept a jaunty early fall feel for the tableau. I always recommend having great basics that can be used and reused all year long and then totally changed for the season simply by seasonal stems, flowers, foliage or linens.

Invite a few friends over, spruce up around the house and usher in the new season with a bit of fanfare. Casual dining, great atmosphere, and a super mix of folks will always ere on the side of a good time. From this Farmer’s home and garden, happy fall, ya’ll!

Raspberry Black Bean Dip… courtesy of Mrs. Phillip Potter aka Meredith Barr Potter

Farmer’s Note: I am just giddy for sweet and salty combos…this one, with a little heat, is just delicious…we tore into it before its glamour shot and an empty dish says a whole lot!

  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and mashed
  • 1/3-cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1-cup hot salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ to ¾ cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine onion, cream cheese and mashed beans, blending well. Spread on bottom of 8-inch glass casserole dish.
  • In small mixing bowl, combine preserves and salsa, mixing well.
  • Spread on top of cream cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle with chili powder. Top with thin layer of cheese.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with blue tortilla chips.