Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Night Supper

My boyfriend's dad came to visit from Pennsylvania, and after an adventurous weekend of sightseeing around Arizona and meeting friends and family, I hosted the guys for dinner at my place. Sticking with seasonal recipes for the most part, and using already kitchen-tested recipes from my home cooking adventures, we enjoyed a non-stressful, elegant fall feast.

Joe - I hope Arizona was everything you thought it would be and more and come back and visit anytime...but next time please bring Diane!

Hors d'Oeuvres:
Sherry Chicken Liver Pate with sourdough crostini, sweet-and-spicy pecans and strawberries

First Courses:
Steamed artichokes with curried mayonaise & melted butter dipping sauces
Sweet Potato-Carrot Bisque (recipe below)

Fig & Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops (recipe below)

Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Cornbread Sage Stuffing

Berry Tart (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Carrot Bisque:
(serves 4 as a first course)

2 cups sweet potato puree (roast sweet potatoes & scrape out flesh)
2 cups chopped carrots (small dice)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 large shallot, chopped
2-4 tbs olive oil, or as needed
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Get oil hot in a pan, add shallots and carrots, cook until beginning to soften. Add wine, simmer until reduced by one half. Add sweet potato puree, heat through and then add stock. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and add milk (add more milk to achieve desired consistency & creaminess). Puree in small batches in a blender. Once all blended, bring back to heat if serving immediately and adjust seasonings, or let cool and refrigerate.

Fig and Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops:
(serves 4)

4 1/2 inch thick boneless pork loin chops
1/2 cup dried figs
1 tbs capers
1/4 cup pecans
2 tbs brandy
2 tbs water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cornstarch for dusting
Olive oil as needed
1/2 cup white wine

Simmer figs, brandy and water in a small saucepan until figs are soft and liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat. In a food processor, chop figs, nuts, capers, salt and pepper until it forms a thick, chunky paste.

Meanwhile, pound pork chops between plastic wrap until very thin (thin enough to roll). Place a heaping tbs of fig puree at the end of each chop, roll up firmly but too tight to squeeze out the filling.

Dust each roll in cornstarch. Next, saute on the stovetop in olive oil until brown and just cooked through. Remove from heat, let rest on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn heat up to high, deglaze pan with white wine and simmer until reduced to a thin pan sauce. Plate up pork and pour sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

Berry Tart:
(serves 6-8)

1 recipe basic pastry crust
1 recipe basic pastry cream (2/3 plain, 1/3 chocolate)
Raspberries and strawberries for garnish

Bake pastry in tart pan, let cool. Make pastry cream, 1/3 converted to chocolate with about 1/4 cup chocolate and a tbs of heavy cream (melted together). Let both creams cool completely. Prep berries. Spread a thin layer of chocolate cream over tart shell. Let cool completely, uncovered, until it forms a hard shell.

Top with plain vanilla cream, decorate with berries. Let chill until serving.


peabody said...

It all looks so wonderful.

Kirsten said...

Peabody, thanks!

The good news is that the guys cleared their plates and we had SUCH a nice evening. And, even better, I sent home the tart and stuffing leftovers with the guys...I can't afford it quite as much as they can.

My baking is still rustic at best, but it tastes good, so presentation can only improve from here I imagine. :)