Good morning!

Today is the day to really get things rolling.  
Anything that can be made ahead that you haven't done in the previous days should be made this weekend.  This is  a particularly good time to knock out your stock, gravies, roux, and breads as these can take a bit more attention than other things. 

If you are a tablescaper, or want to be one, this is the time to start setting things out and arranging them.
A few things to keep in mind about your center pieces:

  • While tall arrangements may make for great photos,  they block off cross table conversation.  Low profile is definitely the way to go.
  • If you do want some height, clear glass vases and cylinders are your friend. While still obscuring the other side of the table you can still make eye contact and keep the conversation going.
  • If you are using organic material from your yard make sure it is pest free!
    • A quick spritz with bleach water and/or a physical investigation of the display items can save some mid-meal shrieking.
  • Stay away from scented candles, they can throw off the flavors of your carefully crafted meal.

Rosemary Orange Cranberry Mayretta-ria with Rosemary Sugar Rim

One of our plays on traditional sangria, full of autumnal flavors. Sure to liven up your party!


  • 1 lb fresh cranberries (reserve a handful for garnish)
  • Zest and juice from two large oranges  
  • 6 stems of rosemary, divided 4 & 2
  • 3 cups of white granulated sugar, divided 2 & 1
  • 3-4 black tea bags (lipton or similar will work well)
  • 1 gallon water
  • Sweet sparkling white wine (usually called spumante)
  • Orange juice or simple syrup for rimming


Add water, cranberries, orange juice and zest, 4 stems of rosemary, and 2 cups of sugar to a pot large enough to hold all ingredients.  Bring just to a boil and remove from heat.  Add tea bags and steep for 2-3 minutes then remove allowing the bags to drain back into liquid before tossing.  Allow tea mixture to cool a bit before straining out the solids and then allow to chill in the refrigerator

Remove leaves from the remaining rosemary, discarding stems. Combine rosemary leaves with 1 cup of sugar in a food processor and pulse 5-10 times to combine.  The rosemary leaves should be roughly the size of a half grain of rice and well distributed through the sugar.  If you do not have a food processor you can do this step by hand with a knife on a cutting board by putting the leaves on top of a small pile of sugar and chopping through it until well processed as described and then throughly mixing with the rest of the sugar.  This sugar improves over time so if you can allow to sit for a bit before use, please do. 

To serve:
Moisten the rim of your glass with simple syrup or orange juice and dip it into the rosemary sugar.  Fill the glass halfway with the tea mixture and top off with sparkling white wine.  If desired float a couple of fresh cranberries on the top.  Sip and enjoy!