Entice with Spice: A Holiday Party

holiday table

Last week I catered a dinner for ten, as a fundraiser for our local Soroptimists supporting women and girls in education and business development. We called it “Entice with Spice” and this was our menu.

Entice with Spice

I am not a caterer, but it was the brainchild of Wendy McGuire, former owner of Ganosh Gourmet (ganosh = gnosh, ganache + ganesh because Wendy is truly multicultural in kitchen and in life). Wendy promised to help, and I put my trust in her, even as she trusted me to take the lead in offering a rich experience of spices.

appetizer table

We began with appetizers by the fireside and a chat about Ayurveda, focusing then on food and spicing for your body type, the medicinal value of spices, sampling the six tastes, and some of the best spices for each dosha. Intricately enticed, the guests moved to the dinner table where we served a sumptuously spiced meal to delight every sense.

appetizer tray


endive bar


Having just met Erin Gleeson at The Front Porch when she came in for a book signing and taste samplings (Thank you Sally!), I was inspired to borrow those same drinks and appetizers served. It lent perfect holiday color, while aligning with the “Indian Raj” theme that delighted our gin- and scotch-loving guests with twists on their usual.

gin fizz


apricot canape

Here are the recipes:

Drinks (inspired by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast)

Rosemary Gin Fizz

Hot Pear Toddies

Appetizers (also inspired by Erin Gleeson)

Endive Bar

Spicy Pecans and Pepitas

Apricot Goat Cheese Bites

Ginger Miso Soup

braised squash and cranberry arugula salad

digestive drink


Ginger Miso Consommé

Fish Molee  with Spinach Saag and Sesame Speckled Basmati

Braised Squash and Cranberry Arugula Salad with a Citrus Dressing

Digestive Tonic (fresh mint and lemon infused bitters)


Chocolate Pâté

Nutmeg Lassi

Plates of Indian Treats

chocolate pate

dessert table

I think they liked it. They were kind enough to write.

“Wow, we’re still basking in the warm glow of what surely ranks up there as one of the most interesting, beautiful, original and downright DELICIOUS evenings ever! Thank you both so very much for including us – it was perfect in every single way!”

“It was wonderful!!! We fully enjoyed the evening and our guests have been raving about what fun it all was. The next day I babysat two of our granddaughters came over for the day and they loved seeing the party things. Thank you again for donating this lovely experience for Soroptimists.”

Our beautiful hostess

Big thanks to our hostess Gail for her generous gift to Soroptimists, and a big thanks to Coronado Soroptimists for all you do to support our communities, and for the Ruby Award that gave launch to our Sophia Camp.

I send out immense gratitude to Wendy who offered her kitchen when our house burned just as the three days of prep began, and whose patience, expertise and heart really made this the magical night that it was.

Thank you Shannon Jones for these gorgeous photographs. Thank you Sally for the invitation to meet Erin, and for all the ways you inspire me, and thanks to all of you who bring beauty, nourishment and love to our world. To me, beauty, friendship and delight is the best medicine of all.

Forest Feast

If you would like Erin’s Forest Feast Recipebook, please leave a comment below. I will pick a name randomly and send it out next week. How do you celebrate this season of light? 

Happy Holy Days. I wish you all love, joy and peace. 


38 thoughts on “Entice with Spice: A Holiday Party

  1. Friendships nourish me. I have spent most of my life focused on career, and now at 60 am finding time to connect more deeply with new friends and old. A special time of life. What a beautiful sharing and helpful ideas for a holiday dinner. Thanks so very much. Now did I read correctly, amidst all this beauty did you say “when our house burned .” What even mindedness you share amidst what sounds like great difficulties.

    1. thank you mindy. yes, our house burned and life is upside down, which is all the more reason to celebrate friendships, love, this moment now. i hope you are getting to bask in that this holiday season.

  2. Focusing on preparing a meal for others nourishes me. This is why I decided to create my food business after retiring from the Army (it truly helped me through some readjustment difficulties) and why we worked so seamlessly through the preparation and delivery of a magical evening for Gail and her guests in spite of some bumps in the road…like your house fire! It was so worth it to see Gail’s beaming face as she greeted her guests, to watch everyone sit fascinated by your Ayurveda lesson (including the MD, who asked many questions), and see everyone enjoy every bite of the beautifully prepared and presented food. This was a night of lovely tastes, sights, smells, sounds, and sensations. This is a calling, a profession and a source of great satisfaction for me. Thank you for the opportunity to work together to make everyone so happy.

  3. Sweet, Sweet Laura, I admire your Love, Peace and Grace at all times. I want to be like you when I grow up. Satnam

  4. What nourishes me? Healthy food, being with my family, and art. Learning about healthy living and other cultures. Being in nature, drinking lots of water, and an occasional afternoon nap!

  5. Nature, laughing, animals, kindness, music, dancing, art (making and enjoying) hot springs, singing, silence and being of service all nourish me in different ways. Your Entice with Spice looks delicious in every way. If you ever need an extra set of hands, please let me know if I can be of service. Sending much love & light & gratitude to you Lauraji! XO, Erin

    1. Creative hands in the kitchen are an extension of the heart, which is why, tiring as it may be, this is divine work. So, yes Erin, I will let you know. It would be a joy to create with you. Thanks!

  6. Wow Laura! Maybe you SHOULD be a caterer? This looks absolutely amazing. If I ever see it up for auction again…. I’m gettin’ it!

  7. What a beautiful opportunity! The menu is mouth-watering! What nourishes me: I can’t really list what nourishes me. I have endless dreams and endless energy to create and endless emotions to reflect on. Everything nourishes me. This life is so short and I know that everyday is an opportunity to learn, to accept, to create, to smile, and to share. I guess I can say that the daily act of living nourishes me, and then I nourish life, and on and on and on to he break of dawn!

  8. Laura this table is amazing!! I love the way you set it.
    It spreads peace and happiness.
    Happy Holidays to you all.
    PS: Did you receive the Christmas card Bea sent you? Hope you did.

  9. Laura, the gifts of life, love, food, self-acceptance, etc that you’re giving these girls are too textured and layered to puts words around. Every teenage girl needs the wisdom and loving guidance that you provide in the Sophia Camp. I would have loved to be at this dinner. Wow! And if I’m reading it correctly, I’m so very sorry to hear about your house burning.

  10. A beautiful feast and extraordinary event. I love the harmony of flavours, the beverages look truly inspired! Thanks for sharing the recipes, : )

  11. In our house, we celebrate the sacredness of this season of introversion and introspection. It is a period of reverence and patience. Mirroring the external world, we shed things (old habits, patterns, belongings) that no longer serve us. We honor the sacredness of the dark period, but ever light candles all around us, signifying our trust that the sun will return in all fullness and splendor, bringing with it new life, growth and opportunities. But for now, we are content to kindle our inner agnis with comforting and nourishing food, rest more, and enjoy the sacredness of the satsang of dear family and friends.

  12. just some of the things that nourish me are: my family, especially my beautiful grandchildren, doing and looking at art, learning new things about the world, and loving friends.

What nourishes you?

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