I am a board and card game fanatic. I am always down to play a round of Monopoly Deal or Scrabble. My family has an annual Christmas game of No Limits Texas Hold 'Em. I'm not competitive in most areas of my life, but when playing any sort of game? I need to win. I'm weirdly really good at Clue, and take it personally if I lose. My younger brother and I almost came to blows during a game of Rummikub. And we had to put a temporary ban on Scrabble after ~The Incident~ (don't ask...)
As we head into the colder months of the year, stay inside and host a game night with your friends. Have every guest bring their favorite game and provide some snacks and drinks. The makings of a perfect evening.
I opted to serve uncomplicated appetizers. I made three things and bought and assembled two more. You could always purchase everything or even have a pot luck and just provide drinks. The most important elements of a game night are good drinks, a killer playlist, and of course, a plethora of game options. Most recently, we played Barbie Prom (a new-to-me game that's a replica of the 1960s version), Rummikub (my personal favorite), and Clue.
Link to my favorite Spotify cocktail party playlist: HERE
Make cookie dough. Roll and cut out shapes. Refrigerate. (Cookies can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.)
Lay out serveware.
Day of Party...
Decorate shortbread with sprinkles and bake.
Bake fontina. (I like to do this after everyone has arrived.)
For one of the homemade appetizers, serve fig and fennel caponata. Caponata is a Sicilian dish typically made from fried eggplants. This dish contains a lot of sweet elements with the Calimyrna figs, cooked fennel, orange juice, and tomatoes. The sweetness is balanced out with Cerignola olives and sherry vinegar. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. I made it a few hours before everyone arrived and served with fresh baguette.
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Fig and Fennel Caponata
Atlanta Hot Tip: I'm obsessed with Alon's Bakery, a European-style market with three locations around town. The baguettes are to die for. Check it out if you're in the Atlanta area!
The star of the game night snacks was this baked fontina dip. Broil fontina cubes drizzled in oil and sprinkled with fresh thyme and rosemary for an appetizer that is simply stunning. I prepped the cheese and herbs ahead of time and popped it in the oven after my guests arrived. Serve family style with more baguette. (My snacks tend to be carb heavy and, honestly, I'm okay with that.)
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Baked Fontina
For something sweet, I made Ina Garten's shortbread cookies. I normally use my grandmother's tea cake recipe but it's the most high-maintenance dough and I didn't have the energy to baby it. On a whim, I tried Ina's recipe, which has more flour. This dough was so much easier to roll out and cut. You can make the dough and cut out the cookies up to a week ahead, then bake them the day of your party. I froze half the dough to bake at a later date. These are so buttery and crisp, by the end of the night, they were all gone (maybe I shouldn't have halved the recipe - oops). I used my grandmother's vintage cookie cutters in the shape of the different playing card suits. The dough spread a little, so next time I'll probably just use the heart, since it retained its shape the best.
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Shortbread Hearts
For a no-cook appetizer, I assembled an antipasto platter. I added some Israeli tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella slices, fresh basil, salami, prosciutto, and some of the leftover Cerignola olives from the caponata. Drizzle the tomatoes and mozzarella with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange everything on a large platter and everyone can help themselves.
The final appetizer I served was simply some store-bought marcona almonds. I picked up some roasted and salted truffle marcona almonds as well as some roasted and salted with rosemary. These were perfect to snack on while sitting around the table. The truffle ones were my favorite, but they were both good. All I had to do was pour them into a pretty bowl.
Do you enjoy boardgames? What are some of your favorite? Let me know, as I'm always looking for more games to win (er - I mean play).
Thanks for reading!