Last night, we had dear friends over for dinner. I’ve known SY & FY since college. Our kids grew up calling each other “cousin”. We’ve shared many meals.
For this dinner I wanted something easy to make, with simple, unfussy ingredients. And something somewhat seasonable for a January evening.
Winter Dinner with Friends
with corn chips
Mini cucumber spears
Red pepper slices
Roast pork loin on apple slices
Scalloped potatoes with beef broth & cheese
Green beans with garlic & lemon olive oil
Green salad with white balsamic vinegar dressing
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Trader Joe’s Bistro cookies
I use the roast pork recipe in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I love this one because the pork sits on a bed of Golden Delicious apple slices in the oven. Two dishes cooking in one pan!
The apples are flavored by the pork. Though with so little fat on the meat, the apples aren’t bathed in it but take on the flavors of the herbs and seasonings on the seared meat.
The potatoes appear regularly on my menus. Again from Julia Child, this time in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I. Nearly all 2 pounds of potatoes disappeared. (We sent SY home with what was left.) Using beef stock rather than milk makes is seem less rich and taste meatier. I use gruyere cheese, 4 ounces, because I like how its nutty flavor works with the beef broth. Rather than timing these to come out of the oven when I serve dinner, I make them ahead of time – just a couple of hours. I like how the flavors come together after they’ve rested.
For dessert, I tried a new recipe, the strawberry sorbet. This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters. EASY! One pound of frozen fruit, ½ cup of yoghurt, ¼ cup of sugar, water as needed. These go into a food processor, blend till creamy. I had to process the strawberries in two batches, otherwise not much blending was happening, just spinning. I did this a day ahead. So, before I could serve, it had to soften some.
Try this one. It’s easy and tastes good. Bittman suggests stone fruit, melons, bananas, berries. Freeze fresh fruit. He even suggests a cherry-chocolate version with 4 ounces of chocolate and 12 ounces of cherries, no need for sugar. The rule is to keep the solids to 1 pound.
A good dinner, a fun time with dear friends, catching up and laughing. A nice way to spend a January evening.