Host an Enchanted October

Are you under October’s spell? Can’t get enough of the deep rich flavors, colors, and flora of midfall? Ditto. Come October, there’s roasted, stuffed pork in the oven; sweet onion gravy on the stovetop; and a gorgeous gathering is spilling over in the garden. Grab a cozy sweater, and join us for our October Invite.

Bourbon & Quince Hot Toddy 

There’s a chill in the air, and a bourbon & quince hot toddy is the perfect October hand-warmer. The sweetly floral taste of quince paste offsets the vanilla, oak, and caramel notes of bourbon beautifully. I love ladling this up from a black “cauldron” of sorts. Garnish this delicious hot drink with citrus, and embellish with smoking cinnamon sticks for a little aromatherapy. 


4 ounces quince paste

1 orange, peeled

6 cups water


Cinnamon sticks


Place the quince paste, orange peel, and water in a pan, and simmer and stir until the paste is dissolved. Ladle the quince syrup into a glass mug, and top with a splash or two of bourbon. Tie a cinnamon stick onto the mug with twine. Light the stick with a lighter until it just begins to smoke briefly. The fragrance is fantastic!

Fall Flora 

 A whimsical, life-sized floral arrangement is in the old fountain urn, and flowering cabbage, kale, and freshly picked blue and green pumpkins are crowding the basin below. Branches of oak leaves and burgundy smoke bush lend height to this arrangement, while russet sunflowers, rich red mums, and stalks of kale create abundance and ambience. It’s an enchanting backdrop for our fall garden gathering. Add tea lights for a bit of garden glow, and you are ready to entertain.

Squash and Mushroom Stuffed-Pork Tenderloin with Onion Gravy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

If this dish doesn’t say fall, I don’t know what does. It has all of the fall flavors and feels; squash, sage, mushrooms, toasted spices, pumpkin seeds, and don’t get me started on the Walla Walla sweet onion gravy! A bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot pairs wonderfully with the squash- and sage-stuffed roasted pork; just sayin’.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin

Olive oil

2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 small garlic clove, chopped

1 large shallot, diced

2 sage leaves, thinly sliced 

7 ounces butternut squash

3 ounces each diced mushrooms,
green pepper

¼ cup bread cubes

½ cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper


Pork Tenderloin 

Slice the pork tenderloin down the middle, being careful not to cut it all the way through. Make two additional slices on both sides of center, in the same manner.

Using a meat mallet, pound the tenderloin between two pieces of parchment paper, until it is 8 to 9 inches wide. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Set aside.


Toast the pumpkin seeds, cumin, and cinnamon, low and slow, on low heat in a dry stovetop pan. 

Add a good drizzle of olive oil to the same pan. Sauté the seeds, garlic, shallots, and sage for 2 minutes. Add another splash of olive oil to the pan, and then layer in the squash, mushrooms, green pepper, and bread cubes. Sauté until the veggies are almost tender (Approximately
8 minutes).

Add the vegetable broth to the pan, and simmer for a few minutes, until the liquid is just absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool.

Spoon stuffing lengthwise, about 2 inches, off one edge of the pork. (You will have extra stuffing! Great on toast or as a salad topper!) Carefully roll the tenderloin up. Tie and secure in several places with butcher’s twine.

Place in an ovenproof pan. Drizzle tenderloin with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, until juices run clean.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Gravy

When your kid goes to college in Walla Walla, come fall, you receive a box of Walla Walla sweet onions in the mail! This gravy is the perfect topper for my roasted, stuffed pork tenderloin.


2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons pork drippings

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

¼ cup cognac

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/2 cups unsalted vegetable broth

Salt and pepper 


While the pork is resting, heat the butter and pork drippings in a stovetop pan. Add the onions, thyme, and cognac. Cook slowly, until the onions begin to caramelize (approximately 10 minutes). Sprinkle, then whisk in the flour. Slowly add the stock, until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over sliced pork.

Roasted Figs, Grapes, Burrata, & Fresh Thyme 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Try this classic combo of roasted fruit and gooey, melted burrata cheese. So quick and easy to make. Serve it as an appetizer or as a closer at your next fall gathering.



Figs, halved

Fresh thyme

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Burrata cheese


Crowd an ovenproof dish with an assortment of grapes and fig halves. Add fresh leaves of thyme. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Nestle hunks of burrata in between the fruit, and roast for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese begins to ooze. Serve with toasted slices of bread. 

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