This week's Sunday Supper Features a Sparkling Orange Bourbon Cocktail, Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Apple Pie Cannoli and more ....

I'm really excited to share this week's Sunday Supper with you guys, and the guests who are coming for dinner. There are so many beautiful, fresh flavors and the presentation of every dish is gorgeous. This menu feels light and healthy to me in the way that summer food feels fresh and alive but made with autumn flavors. If you celebrate Thanksgiving in a few weeks and want a non-traditional menu I think this would be a great one.

We'll begin with some dressed-up sourdough cheese toasts topped with sage and kale pesto, 2 different kinds of cheese, sautéed button mushrooms, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. Pretty and yum. In the other hand, we'll be holding a very special cocktail made from bourbon and bubbles, my two all-time favorites.

The first dish we'll be serving once we sit at the table is a creamy cauliflower soup with crispy panko. This simple soup is cooked in 2 stages for an extra deep flavor. For the main course, we'll set down a skillet with tender and perfectly cooked cornish game hens and a salad filled with quinoa, roasted beets, crispy chickpeas, avocado, and more.

Dessert will be light as air cannoli filled with ricotta, whipped cream, and apples. I think a late harvest Riesling is made for this Italian take on apple pie.

Buttered Mushroom, Sage Pesto + Goat Cheese Sourdough Toast :: by Half Baked Harvest :: These cheese toasts are loaded with flavor. No lie. I'm a big fan of rustic-looking comfort food that gets dressed up just enough to come to a dinner party. In this case, it's the accessories that count: the grownup sage, kale, and pistachio pesto, the perfectly browned button mushrooms, and the tiny sprinkling of bright red pomegranate seeds.

The other great thing I love about this little appy is that most of the components can be prepped in advance so it will only take you a few minutes to throw it together once your guests arrive. Have a look at the tips section at the bottom of this post to learn how to make this a make-ahead dish.

Sunday Supper :: 11.16.14 :: Sparkling Orange Bourbon Cocktail

Sparkling Orange Bourbon Cocktail :: by Food Fashion and Fun :: When I was thinking about what to serve with the cheese toasts I wanted one of two things: bourbon or bubbles. I thought that bourbon would hold up to the richness while the bubbles would cut through it and help to cleanse the palate between bites. What I found was both; the perfect cocktail for the occasion, or any occasion. My two favorite drinks are bourbon and bubbles and my new favorite cocktail is this one.

Love at first sip.

Sunday Supper :: 11.16.14 :: Simple Cauliflower Soup

Simple Cauliflower Soup :: by The Clever Carrot :: I wanted a warm, delicious and simple soup to start the meal and fell in love with this one at first sight. The cauliflower is cooked in batches to give an unexpected added depth to the dish and the panko on top adds just the right amount of crunch.

This time of year it may be hard to find chive flowers. Try a tiny sprinkling of dried lavender flowers along with the chopped chives for a pretty hint of color.

Sunday Supper :: 11.16.14 :: Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Game Hens :: by Running to the Kitchen :: There's no need to tell your guests how easy this dish was to prepare when you set it down on the table amidst their oohs and aahs. All you'll do is a tiny bit of prep then pop it in the oven for about an hour. So easy!

If you don't have a skillet large enough for the hens you can always use a small roasting pan. You'll see in the tips section below that I suggest prepping these in advance. Likely you won't put these in the oven until after your guests arrive and it will be much easier (and way less stressful and messy) to simply pull them out of your fridge and pop them in the oven. You'll look like a pro host. 🙂

Sunday Supper :: 11.16.14 :: Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Tahini Maple Vinaigrette

Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Tahini Maple Vinaigrette :: by Camille Styles, photography by Kate LeSueur :: I can't get enough of this salad. It's gorgeous and full of contrasting flavors and textures. I've eaten it as a simple weeknight meal all on its own and I think it will be lovely beside the cornish game hen.

To make your day of cooking a little simpler you can incorporate some roast beets into your Saturday night's meal and make enough extra for the salad. See the tips at the bottom of this post to learn how to prep this salad (mostly) in advance.

Sunday Supper :: 11.16.14 :: Apple Pie Cannoli

Apple Pie Cannoli :: by Diethood :: I have been drooling over this picture all week. Just look at it! Those cannoli just won't stop screaming EAT ME!

This will be the most time-consuming part of the meal to prep, but it will be worth it. The directions call for straining the ricotta overnight. Usually overnight means 8 or so hours so as long as you start straining this first thing in the morning you should be good to go.

Make sure you don't fill the cannoli shells until just before you serve them or they will go soggy. See the tips section below to find out the best way to prep these in advance.

Tips for preparing tonight's supper:

  • Start by setting the ricotta (for the cannoli) aside to strain first thing in the morning. If you can, do this step the night before.
    I like to get the more finicky prep out of the way first as I find I can get stressed out by it if I leave it for later in the day. Making the cannoli shells will take a bit of time so start that right away. Once they have fried and are COMPLETELY cool then you can store them in a resealable plastic bag.
  • The next step will be to get everything for the salad prepped and ready to go. Roast the carrots and beets, cook the quinoa, slice the radishes and make the vinaigrette. Store all of these separately in your fridge. About an hour before dinner take everything out and leave them on your counter so that they come to room temperature before serving.
  • Fry the chickpeas for the salad and store them between a layer of paper towels in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature.
  • Make the sage and kale pesto and seed the pomegranate and store both covered in your fridge. (Or buy a cup of pomegranate seeds instead to make your life more simple.)
  • Toast the panko for the soup and leave it, covered, at room temp.
  • Once the ricotta has finished straining prepare the filling for the cannoli and put it into a pastry bag. Tie the pastry bag shut at the end with an elastic band and place a piece of plastic wrap over the nose end and secure that with another elastic band then store the bag in your fridge. Remember to take into account the size of the diced apples when choosing the tip for the pastry bag!
  • Stuff the cornish game hens, place them in the skillet or a small roasting pan, scatter the potatoes around the pan, and then cover it and put the pan in your fridge. An hour before you plan on eating it (NOT an hour before your guests come or you'll have an overcooked bird!) take the hens out of your fridge, uncover them and pop them in your oven.
  • Toast the sourdough for the starter and brown the mushrooms. Both are safe to stay at room temperature for up to 4 hours. You'll want to gently reheat the mushrooms before you serve them so I suggest leaving them in the pan you cooked them in. The same thing with the sourdough, leave them on the baking tray and just set it aside.
  • The final major prep step you have is to prepare the soup. The prep for this will only take 5 minutes so it's hardly a major step, but … you'll want to do this at least an hour and a half before you serve it. The soup takes an hour and 15 minutes to cook. Since it has no dairy in it it can be safely left at room temp for 4 hours, but there's no need to leave it that long. If it has finished cooking before you want to serve it simply remove it from the heat then gently reheat it right before you serve it.

A few last minute steps:

  • Remember to pop the hens in the oven an hour before you want to eat them. This will likely be shortly after your guests arrive, which is why I suggest prepping them in advance.
  • Take the salad ingredients out of the fridge so they can come to room temperature.
  • About 20 minutes or so before your guests arrive get the cheese toasts ready to go. Top the toasted sourdough with the pesto and cheeses so that it is ready to go in when you hear the doorbell ring. Warm the browned mushrooms for a minute or two before you put them on top of the cheese toasts.
  • Have the ingredients for the cocktail-ready on your counter. Prosecco in your fridge.
  • Chop the chives and take out the soup bowls.
  • Cut the avocado and toss the salad when you take the hens out of the oven. It will give the hens just the right amount of time to sit before you serve them.
  • Fill the cannoli with the filling right before dessert so they don't go soggy.
  • Happy cooking and eating!

Note: There’s no need to start preparing for your Sunday supper days in advance unless, well, you need to. The menu is planned so that, if you start in the morning and work at a leisurely pace, you’ll be able to have everything ready by dinner time. If you know you have errands to run on Sunday, or you’ll simply feel more prepared and less stressed, then by all means prep some of the dishes ahead of time. The tips section above will give you an idea of what can be prepared ahead of time and how far in advance a dish can be made.

If you make this dinner party menu, make sure to snap a pic and tag @theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on your photos. I love seeing TEM recipes you create.