Everyone loves parties, but the challenge of hosting parties is not only to put out a spread that is going to please everyone, it’s also putting out food that is going to make it through the party. Not to mention food that is different enough to have some variety but that will still meld together nicely. And then you add wine into the equation and unless you are pulling together a very fancy tasting party where every little appetizer gets its own very specific wine you want to make food that could all go well with the same or at least similar wines.
So with all that to keep on your mind why not go a little easier on your self and pick dishes that are relatively simple to put together. These dishes can be served at room temperature, they can be prepared ahead of time so you are not rushing around at the last minute and can actually enjoy your food with your guests, and they are all ridiculously easy to put together.
So onto the wine, Sauvignon Blanc tends to be an overlooked wine in general but especially when it comes to food pairing. But it can actually be one of the most versatile wines to pair with food out there. It has excellent bright acidity, which is always a great partner for food. With the Arugula Crostini it is a perfect match, goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most classic parings there is because the acidity and the herbal notes in the Sauvignon Blanc really compliment the tart tangy richness of the goat cheese. Plus that herbal, slight greenness of the Sauvignon Blanc is lovely with the peppery arugula.
Then there are the Spiced Pita Chips with Hummus. Sauvignon Blanc can also be a nice match for this dish. The acidity on Sauvignon Blanc is nice match for a little bit of spice like the warm note of heat in the pita chips and helps to cut through some of the richness of the hummus. But say not everyone is a white wine person; this would also be lovely with a medium-bodied Pinot Noir. Pinot often has notes of earth which pair very nicely with the rich earthiness of the hummus. Pinot also pairs nicely with food that picks up on it inherently spicy flavors, which here are mirrored nicely in the pita chips. All of these notes, the earthiness and the spice, also mean that it will make a lovely pairing to the peppery Arugula Crostini.
Next we turn to the Parmesan Rosemary Popcorn. Both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir would pair well with the fresh rosemary. The acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc would cut through the richness of the Parmesan while the nuttiness of the cheese would be a nice compliment for the oaky notes in Pinot Noir. But the popcorn would also be awesome with a bigger richer red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, or a Bordeaux Blend. These wines all match well with the herbal earthy note of the rosemary and their bigger fruit and ripper tannins are a good match for the rich Parmesan. And again these wines that compliment the earthy herbal ingredients means that they would not be out of place with either of the other appetizers.
Finally there are the cookies. These are a little trickier since they are a dessert, and clearly sweet. However, that hit of salt at the end and the rich, warm spice of the cinnamon add a savory note, which opens up the options a little more. Pinot Noir would actually be an appropriate match with the spicy warm cinnamon. An oaky Chardonnay would have the richness to stand up the cookies and the toasty vanilla and spice notes would be mirrored in the cinnamon. And of course there are actual dessert wines, for this something like a late harvest wine, especially one aged in oak, as opposed to a fortified desert wine, would be lovely with this, matching the sweetness of cookies and the spice of the cinnamon.
Get the recipe for Crostini with Arugula Pesto and goat cheese here
- 6 pita rounds, split in half
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- Kosher salt to taste
- The hummus of your choice
- Drizzle olive oil over the pita rounds and sprinkle with the seasonings. Cut the rounds into triangles and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes.
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot with the kernels over medium heat. With the a lid left slightly open so some steam can escape allow this mixture to heat. Once the popcorn starts to pop shake and occasionally lift the pot until all the popping stops. Toss the hot popcorn with the Parmesan, 3 tbsp olive oil, fresh rosemary, and salt.
Adapted from Kristen’s Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
- ¾ cup shortening
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3 cups rolled oats
- Sea salt for garnish (crushed up slightly if you have big chunks)
- Preheat oven to 375° and line baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the shortening and both sugars, mix for about 2 minutes until it is well mixed and fluffy. Add in the egg, water, and vanilla. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl and then add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Finally mix in the oats.
- Use an ice cream scoop to drop rounded spoonfuls onto your prepared baking sheet. (Note, if you are making multiple batches put the remaining dough in the fridge until you are ready to put it in the oven. They will bake up more evenly this way.)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with a little sea salt while they are still hot. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.