Category Archives: Entertaining

The Dragon Flagon: Our Favorite Halloween Cocktail Recipes

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes | | | Leave a comment

Skip the tricks on Halloween — this year, we plan on treating ourselves with one of our favorite Halloween cocktails made with George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. The Dragon Flagon is perfect for Halloween entertaining — thanks to its convenient drink dispenser proportions for our Dragon Drink Dispenser Stand.

Get the full recipe for one of our favorite Halloween cocktail (you can print it by saving to your desktop, too!) below:

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10 Tips for Setting Up a Halloween Candy Bar

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To us, a Halloween candy bar is the perfect solution for your next spooky soiree. It’s easy on the eyes, gives everyone a little bit of everything (Chocolate AND gummies? Yes please!) and most importantly — is incredibly easy to set up, serve and take down.

Take a look at our top 10 tips for a successful Halloween candy bar set up.

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1. Choose your containers carefully. Bigger jars mean you’ll have to buy more candy to make them look good. Choose containers that look tall for visual height, but don’t actually hold that much candy. Or prop a few up on pretty boxes.

2. Stick to your theme. Are you hosting a pumpkin carving contest with apple bobbing? Find traditional Halloween candies to fill your containers. If you’re aiming for a spookier vibe, we love these gummy body parts from Dylan’s Candy Bar.

3. Color is everything. Mix and match colors for visual interest — and don’t forget to match the theme of your party, too.

4. Calculate the amount of candy per guest. A good rule of thumb is estimating for ¼ to a ½ pound of candy per guest. Some guests will take much more, some will take less and some will take none at all — this amount allows everything to even out.

5. Make sure there’s something for everyone! Pick a variety of candy. Chocolates, sweets, hard candies, soft candies, sours, gummies and mints — you’ll want to have a little bit of everything for a truly successful candy bar.

6. Less is more. In this case, buy more less expensive candy to fill up large jars, and buy less more expensive candy to fill smaller jars. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save.

7. Take goodie bags into account. If you plan on allowing guests to take candy home in goodie bags, you’ll need to provide extra candy so no one ends up disappointed.

8. Choose cute containers for guests to take candies home. Classic paper bags tied with twine, colorful plastic bags, cute little Chinese takeout boxes or little mini metal buckets. Consider adding cookies and other goodies in there, too.

9. Keep serveware on hand. Make sure you have tongs and scoops nearby to pick candy and goodies up with ease (and avoid sticky fingers).

10. Keep it cool. Check the weather before picking out your candies — if it’s too hot, your perfectly shaped chocolate pumpkins might melt.

Witches’ Brew: A Halloween Bar from Sweets & Celebrations

Entertaining, Holiday, Parties | | | 6 Replies

Double, double, toil and trouble! This festive and fun Halloween bar from Hannah Matthew of Sweets and Celebrations will give you the perfect excuse to whip up a tasty Witches’ Brew for your party. Take a look at this party planner’s how-to instructions and playful Halloween party tips so you can recreate this Halloween bar at home.

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Halloween Bar How-To:

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Wicked Wine: Sponge Mod Podge onto wine bottles and sprinkle with silver glitter. Wrap a black and white striped ribbon around the middle, tape on a label, and top each bottle with Pottery Barn’s Halloween Wine Bottle Topper.

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Spooky Spider Shots: Garnish with a black and white paper straw that has been cut in half.

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Pumpkin Punch: Rim each glass with orange sanding sugar and fill with mimosas. Finish with black and white paper straws.

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Hocus Pocus Hot Chocolate: Rim each glass with black sanding sugar. Garnish with ghost marshmallow Peeps stuck onto black and white paper straws.

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Hannah’s Halloween Party Tips:

A Halloween party is a great time to have fun with a theme and use whimsical names to label food and beverages.

 Little details like coordinating custom paper goods (like the ones I used here from the talented Paper and Cake) and garnishing barware make all the difference.

 If you’re serving food, offer a medley of fall flavors to set the tone like pumpkin, cinnamon and apple.

 Play up a classic color scheme like orange, black, white and silver.

Tell us: How are you celebrating Halloween this year? 

 

 

Interview with a Stylist: Get the Scoop on Our Spooky Medieval Halloween Party

Entertaining, Holiday | | | 3 Replies

Roaring fires, haunting skulls, rusted swords, shimmering chalices and the hint of ghostly spirits — there’s something definitively scary and oh-so-perfect for Halloween about a medieval scene. We can’t help but get the shivers every time we look at this spooky set up from our Get Medieval Halloween Party this year.

To get the scoop on how to bring this same feel home for Halloween, we talked to one of our amazing catalog stylists. Read on for his expert tips!

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Q: What was the inspiration behind this shoot? What makes this style particularly spooky to you?

A: There’s a streak of inspiration derived from medieval themes and storytelling in the culture right now, manifested in everything from fictional television shows to popular novels, so why not extend the trend to a Halloween party?  It’s an opportunity to safely explore the darker side of a particular period of history.

Q: What are your top 3 necessities for a creepy Medieval-inspired Halloween set up?

A: I think the top necessity is a certain flickering quality of light, delivered by novelty candles, candlesticks, and of course a roaring fire.  Next would be fantastical serving pieces — I love the dragon silhouettes from Pottery Barn this year. Third is period-appropriate food; all these elements will work together to transport your guests to another place and time… for one spooky evening.

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Q:  Tell us about that awesome cake and amazing food spread!

A: Rather than setting out meaty legs of mutton for your guests to carry around and gnaw on, I decided on one shank of prosciutto, along with other pre-sliced meats and cheeses.  Slightly more chic and manageable.  And since we’re in dark Medieval times, I felt the cake had to bleed… this cake bleeds raspberry coulis.

Q: What tips would you want to share with customers who want to arrange a similar set up at their party? 

A: My biggest tip would be to take stock of what you already have around the house, with an eye for medieval spin.  Then fill in what you’re missing with key purchases that will flesh out the concept.  In the end, a little can go a long way.

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Q:  The bar set up is fantastic, too. What would you suggest putting in that amazing dragon drink dispenser?

A: Beverages like mulled wine, honeyed mead, or non-alcoholic concoctions based on those medieval libations would work well.

See our full Get Medieval! Halloween Party here.

A Different Kind of Trick or Treat: Bloody Tomato Soup and Focaccia Fingers for Halloween

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 2 Replies

Post written exclusively for Inside & Out by Alison Strickland of Two of a Kind using our Periodic Table Cocktail Plates, Beaker Recycled Glass Tumblers, and Mr. Bones Cocktail Napkin Set.  

Take a break from Halloween sweets and dig into a bowl of “bloody”tomato soup with a side of cheesy focaccia “fingers,”(a fun alternative to your classic grilled cheese). Dunking is a must! And did I mention there’s bacon in the soup?

Creamy Tomato Soup and Cheesy Focaccia

Bloody Tomato Soup and Cheesy Focaccia Fingers

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
Cheesy focaccia:
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh (or 2 teaspoons dried) oregano, divided
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Tomato soup:
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh (or 1/4 teaspoon dried) thyme
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1/4 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cheesy Focaccia_slab

INSTRUCTIONS:
Make the focaccia:

  1. In a large bowl, combine water and yeast, stirring until yeast dissolves. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of black pepper.
  2. Add 3 cups flour and stir everything until it comes together to form a shaggy ball. Then knead the dough by hand on a well-floured work surface for about 5 minutes. Flatten dough slightly, sprinkle on 1/2 cup cheese and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed, about 5 more minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. While dough is rising, combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) oregano in a small bowl.
  4. Oil a rimmed baking sheet. After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Using your fingers, stretch the dough so it evenly covers the bottom of the baking sheet. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  7. With your fingertips, poke dimples at 2-inch intervals over the entire surface of the dough. Brush olive oil/oregano mixture on surface of the dough and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes.
  8. Once focaccia cools, cut into 1-inch-wide “fingers”
    Cheesy Focaccia_cut

Make the soup:

  1. In a large pot, cook bacon on medium heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add butter, garlic, onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste begins to darken, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove soup from heat and purée. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Tomato Soup

How to Throw a Mad Scientist Halloween Party

Entertaining, Holiday | | | 3 Replies

Make no bones about it! Our Mad Scientist Halloween Party has everything to help you get experimental this Halloween. Take a look at our creepy collection and our favorite Mad Scientist Party tips, below!

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Need an easy solution for sweet treats? Buy gummies and candies in creepy, crawly shapes (We love these!) to display on trays and in bowls. Deviled eggs get some serious ick factor when topped with cross-cut green olives with pimentos — don’t they look like eyeballs?

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Bar time! Use food coloring to make your cocktails bright slime green, or mix wine cocktails in a deep blood red for a spooky chemistry set bar display.

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We love this quirky alternative to your average olive and cheese plate. Use toothpicks to attach cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, olives and basil in a molecular-model like display. (You’ll want to serve them on our Periodic Cocktail Platter, of course)

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Add something sweet to your drink station, too! Snap off strips from a bar of white chocolate and use icing to attach a dried cranberry to the top — voila! A creepy, bloody finger that’s perfect for garnishing cocktails.

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Popcorn is a great casual snack for parties — make your batch seem a little fancier with a side of different spices and cheeses for toppings, and serve with our Alligator Serve Bowl and Condiment Set.

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Make sure every spot in your house look extra spooky — we love to fill up bookshelves with candles, glowing skulls and every sort of Halloween knick knack you can imagine!

See all of our Halloween parties here.

A Delicious Cubano Recipe Served with Cameron Hughes Wine

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 5 Replies

A great wine should always be accompanied by great food — but that doesn’t mean you have to cook up a Thanksgiving-style meal every time you want to pop open a bottle of good wine. We love how Alison Strickland of Two of a Kind put together this casual, delicious looking spread with a grilled Cubano sandwich, chips, three homemade dips and served it with a bottle of exceptional Cameron Hughes Wine. Take a look at her recipe, and some of our favorite serveware, below!

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Served with Pottery Barn’s Salerno GlasswareBelgian Linen Everyday Table RunnerGreat White Rectangular Serving Platter and Great White Square Divided Condiment Tray.

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“This Latin-inspired spread is perfect for two to four people, or can be doubled (or quadrupled) for a larger party. Make the dips in the morning and meal prep is a breeze. (Don’t worry about the guasacaca, a Venezuelan version of guacamole — it will retain it’s bright green color for days.) You can even assemble the sandwiches ahead of time and grill them just before serving, leaving plenty of time to kick back with a glass of Cameron Hughes Wine while entertaining.” -Alison

Salsa Fresca, Black Bean Dip, Guasacaca copy

Grilled Cubanos + 3 Easy Dips
Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Grilled cubanos:
8 sweet Hawaiian rolls (homemade or store-bought), sliced in half horizontally
4 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
8 (1 oz.) slices Swiss cheese, cut in half
8 strips bacon, cooked
8 slices dill pickle
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 ounces thinly sliced roasted turkey breast
coconut oil, for grilling

3 easy dips:
Guasacaca:
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and quartered
1/2 small yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 serrano pepper, halved, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, stems removed
tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Black bean dip:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 small fresh jalapeño, halved, seeded and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salsa fresca:
4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small fresh jalapeño, very finely chopped (remove seeds for a milder salsa)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Corn tortilla chips, for serving

Cameron Hughes Wine
Cubano_close

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make the grilled cubanos:

Spread cut sides of rolls with mustard.

Place 1/2 slice cheese, 1 strip bacon (cut in half to fit) and 1 slice pickle (cut in half to fit) on bottom half of each roll. Then top each with cilantro, turkey, 1/2 slice cheese and top half of roll.

Brush coconut oil on outside of rolls.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Add 2-3 sandwiches to pan. Place a heavy fry pan on top of sandwiches and press gently to flatten. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, leaving fry pan on sandwiches while they cook, until grill marks appear and bread is toasted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Let cool slightly and cut each sandwich in half diagonally.

Make the guasacaca: Place avocado, onion, garlic, serrano pepper, vinegar and lime juice in a food processor and purée until smooth. Add cilantro and olive oil and continue to purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the black bean dip: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Make the salsa fresca: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss gently. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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