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A Dinner Party You’ll Fall For.

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Miller and Smith Blog Team

When you live in a Miller & Smith home, you’ll find any excuse to throw a good party. With features like Top Chef kitchens that are seamlessly connected to Great Rooms, large infinity islands for the perfect party spread and rooftop terraces that keep the party moving from inside to out, these homes practically beg you to be used properly. Well, with Halloween now behind us, the holiday season has officially kicked off. So here’s your chance. Celebrate the fun of the season in the most sweet and savory ways. With a menu that’s this enchanting, this dinner party will last you through the fall harvest.

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Cranberry-Spiced Martini

Recipe Provided by The Noble Pig:

3 cups cranberry juice cocktail

3 cups water

1-½ cups vodka, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

12 whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

1 star anise pod

Fresh cranberries

Red sanding sugar

Orange juice


In a large saucepan combine the water, cranberry juice cocktail, sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole cloves; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the spices and cool completely. This may be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated, which is perfect since it can get nice and cold.

Dip the rim of your glasses in some extra cranberry juice and then in red sanding sugar for a decorative touch.  Put cranberries on festive toothpicks and freeze for garnish.

To a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice, add ½ cup of spiced-cranberry simple syrup, ¼ cup vodka and a splash of orange juice. Shake and strain into martini glasses and garnish with frozen cranberry skewers.

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Pumpkin Cheese Ball:

Recipe Provided By Southern Living:

2 (10-oz.) blocks extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded* 

1 8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 (4-oz.) goat cheese logs, softened

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Braided pretzel, muscadine vine and leaf

Crackers and assorted vegetables 


Stir together first 4 ingredients. Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth pumpkin’s entire surface with metal spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips. Press pretzel into top of cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin stem; place muscadine vine and leaf beside pretzel. Serve with crackers and assorted vegetables.

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Wine Braised Short Ribs with Mushrooms & Thyme:

Recipe Provided By Williams Sonoma:

4 lb. beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch lengths

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 Tbs. olive oil

1/3 lb. small white button mushrooms, brushed clean, trimmed and quartered

1/2 large yellow onion, minced

1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 large celery stalk, finely diced

1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup water

2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat an oven to 300°F.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy fry pan over high heat until hot. Pour in the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan bottom. When the oil is hot, add the short ribs, reduce the heat to medium and brown well on all sides, about 25 minutes total. As the ribs are done, transfer them in a single layer to a large baking dish or pan.

Pour off all but 2 Tbs. fat in the fry pan and return to medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the baking dish and return the fry pan to high heat. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and the water to the baking dish. Cover tightly, transfer to the oven and cook until the ribs are fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven.

Transfer the ribs to an ovenproof platter, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the turned-off oven. Pour the contents of the baking dish into a large measuring pitcher and let stand for 5 minutes, then using a large spoon, skim off as much surface fat as possible. Pour the remaining juices into a fry pan and reheat to serve as a sauce. If the juices seem too thin, simmer over high heat to thicken and concentrate them. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the ribs, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (at room temperature so it is soft)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 (15 ounce) can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

2/3 cup Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (16 ounce) container sour cream (at room temperature)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of ungreased 9-inch spring form pan.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown).  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk.  Add cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat well.  Pour into crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.

Combine sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl; mix well.  Spread over surface of warm cheesecake.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Remove side of spring form pan. 


For more information on our party perfect homes in VA, MD & DE, check out our complete portfolio of communities.