Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”
 ~ Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

But Is This Edible?

BITE consists of a few friends (and me!) who have decided to challenge our everyday menus and taste-buds.  I mention in my "About Me" section that an interest in cooking is really a fairly recent thing - the last 10-15 years or so.  Up until that point, I never quite "got" why anyone would want to make their own spaghetti sauce when the supermarket variety was so easily accessible and user friendly.  That belief carried over to just about everything else "culinary".  I'm not entirely sure when I became interested, though I do remember distinctly a summer that I grew my own tomatoes and decided that I'd best do something with them. I chopped them up and sautéed them with some garlic and basil to put on pasta.  It was absolutely divine - and I think that my memory is serving me well in this particular instance.  I won't say that we have not touched store bought sauce since, but not often!

So - BITE recently had its inaugural dinner at my home.  We decided that for our first "theme", we would choose foods that we associate with autumn. 

As the host, I was responsible for the main dish and the wines.  For our entree, I chose Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin.  

I have never done a recipe like this before - it tasted wonderful - but was time consuming with all of the slicing and dicing involved for the stuffing.  I would definitely do it again, however.

While not included in the original recipe, I decided to do a sauce to accompany the pork.  There was so much yummy caramelization at the bottom of the roasting pan.  I deglazed it with some apple cider and chicken broth.  To that I added a bit of maple syrup (both the chicken broth and syrup were stuffing ingredients) and then added what was left of the stuffing that I had not used.  The result was a combination of tart and sweet which paired well with the pork.
You may access the recipe for this at Simply Recipes,  or on my BITE page (where you will find all of the recipes from today's post) in the right hand column of my blog.  This is a good point to remind readers that if you are receiving my posts via e-mail, please remember to visit My Retiring Life itself in order to see all of the other things that are there.  

For wines- we had a whiteSamuel Argall Dry Riesling from The Williamsburg Winery, purchased on our recent trip, and a red - Masi Campofiorin - on our shelf.

Chris brought the Squash Soup by Alton Brown  - Delicious!  Velvety! Delightful!

The color in this picture does not do justice - this soup looked and tasted every bit of "fall"!  It was just wonderful!

Chris also brought  The Pear and Cucumber Salad with Balsamic and Shaved Romano Cheese by Robin Miller.
The combination of pear and cucumber in this salad was surprisingly light and refreshing - just delicious!

Ellen brought the Apple Cream-Cheese Bundt Cake for dessert.

Wonderful glaze!
I wish that I had gotten a picture of this when sliced - it's just beautiful, with the cream-cheese swirling through it.  Ellen's cake was so moist and creamy, containing her home-made applesauce- a wonderful closure to a fabulous meal! 

When we meet again next month, our theme will be the foods of South America.  We have decided to paint in broad strokes to begin with, rather than zero in on individual countries.  My course will be dessert.  This is a good challenge for me as I am not a baker or dessert-maker - suggestions are welcome!  

Below is a sequential pictorial of today's main dish.  This was not difficult to do, but I must say that it was time intensive - lots and lots of chopping and dicing.  I am so glad that I prepared it through the "wrap in plastic and refrigerate" stage, earlier in the day.

I realized after I got home from the store, that I had purchased "pork tenderloin" rather than "pork loin".  I don't know that there is much of a difference in flavor, but the package that I opened had two separate loins rather than one, as called for in the recipe.  So - I did not do the "butterfly" portion of instructions.  

Two tenderloins ~

Trimmed ~

Pounded ~

The stuffing ingredients waiting to be prepared ~

The stuffing ~

Spread on the pounded tenderloin ~

All tied up ~

Both of them wrapped and tied, ready to go into the refrigerator for later cooking.
At the end of the day - all worth it - it was just a wonderful evening!

1 comment:

  1. You really know how to set a festive table! I'll have to try the soup Chris brought - it's right up my alley and looks great.
    South America and dessert immediately bring chocolate and cinnamon to mind. Anxious to see and hear what you decide to make!