It's time for another full menu, wouldn't you say?? Since I've been writing lately on how Winter is a great season for a formal dinner party, and since you already have a an elegant music playlist, I decided to give you a fancy-pants menu to go along with it. I'm so exited! Don't worry- This menu does not take major culinary skills. In fact, it's pretty straight-forward. But the flavors have a lot of personality and everything presents beautifully, so you'll look like a gourmet. Drum roll, please....
Appetizer: Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips
Drinks: Blood Orange Soda with Blood Oranges; Water (or whatever drinks you prefer)
Salad: Dried Apricot, Goat Cheese, and Pistachio Salad
Bread: Country White with Herb Butter
Main Course: Roasted Pork Loin
Side Dish #1: Pan Roasted Apples and Pears
Side Dish #2: Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Dessert: Lemon Curd Parfaits
Why I love this menu:
- Easy, easy, easy. That's not to say this is a meal that cooks itself or that there isn't a fair amount of prep work, but you don't have to be a chef or even highly-experienced to make this turn out great. The trickiest part is making the lemon curd for the dessert, and that you can do the day before.
- So much of this can be done ahead of time. The only things that need to be prepped the same day are the pan-roasted fruits, potatoes, and salad. (Some people even prep their potatoes ahead of time and just soak them in a cold bath of water in the fridge overnight.)
- Three of the items call for oven time at close temperatures. This is good for a few of reasons. 1. By tweaking the temp a bit, you can have them all in there at the same time. (One of the dishes is very small, so don't worry about it getting too crowded in there. If you have a double oven, you're even better off.) 2. You want to do little to no cooking while guests are at your home, and, for that reason the oven is your best friend when it comes to hosting. 3. You can wash the prep dishes well in advance of your guests arriving so can worry less about a presentable kitchen.
- It's delicious!
I found this first recipe in my mother-in-law's collection of recipes-to-try.
Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Pears adapted from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens
Cooking Time- 1 hour 5 minutes
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3lb boneless pork top loin roast (single loin)
1/3 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
3 apples, cut in halves, wedges, or slices
2 Tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a shallow roasting pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place meat rack in the pan and set aside.
In a small bowl combine pepper, salt and garlic powder.
Brush pork with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and massage the meat with only some of the pepper mixture. (Use your judgement with the amount keeping in mind that the more pepper there is on the pork the hotter it'll be.) Place pork on the rack in the roasting pan and place it in the oven for 35minutes.
To make the glaze combine molasses, vinegar and soy sauce in a skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 minute.
Remove to a bowl and set aside both the glaze and the skillet. (No need to clean the skillet.)
When the 35 minutes is up, brush the pork with some of the glaze. (Reserve 2 or 3 Tablespoons of glaze for fruit.) Continue roasting for 20 minutes, brushing with more glaze halfway through.
Roast pork for 10 more minutes or until the thermometer inserted in the center registers 150 degrees.
Remove from the over, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile in the skillet used for glaze, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Toss fruit with sugar. Add fruit to skillet; cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and cook for 3 more minutes or until crisp-tender. Add reserved glaze; heat through.Serve pork with fruit and drizzle with pan juices.