FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FOOD

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Monday:                              Pork Medallions with Grapes in Pomegranate Sauce,  Left-over Leak and Artichoke bread pudding

Tuesday:                              Dunnings

Wednesday:                      ?

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Thursday:                            Thanksgiving

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Friday:                                  Leek and Potato Galettes / Turkey Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie

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Saturday:                             Salumi, cheese and chicken crackling / Poûlet a la crème / Roasted Potatoes

Sunday:                                Aunt Flo’s Appetizer, Left-over turkey pot-pie without crust, smorgasboard of leftovers, Orange Cake

Followers of this blog will have gathered that family, friends and food are important to me.  So Thanksgiving is a sort of trifecta.  We began the day* at Rosie Welsh’s Thanksgiving brunch, a long-standing Fox Chapel tradition.  So many people love Rosie and her Bloody Marys – and to be involved in this loud, crowded, friendly party each year is a privilege.

*To be chronologically precise, we started by getting the Turkey out of the refrigerator, and bringing already prepared casseroles and comestibles to room temperature and drawing up a schedule for prepping, cooking, and generally getting ready to entertain.  I won’t bore you with any more details of our celebration – trusting you had a great and equally complicated one of your own.  And I’m still a bit loggy from all the food and drink.  (I will just note that the pumpkin pie Greg Stewart brought from Whole Foods was the single best pie I have ever eaten.)  So, let’s cut to a few revelations from the food we had during the rest of the week.

Jacques Pépin’s genius graced us again, though I have Marge Cahn Sparer to thank for bugging me about the following recipe.  The pork medallions with grapes in pomegranate sauce sounds fussy, but is real comfort food – a sort of upscale chop – and you can cook it in less time than it takes to listen to the Allman Brothers “Mountain Jam.”  And his orange cake (we needed to step down from the pumpkin pie in stages) is the simplest, most elegant dessert you will ever make, unless you are a trained pastry cook.

It may just be that the best meal of the week was had on Wednesday, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was.

 pork-medallions-with-grapes-in-pomegranate-sauce

Pork Medallions with Grapes in Pomegranate Sauce
(adapted from Jacques Pépin’s More Fast Food My Way)

Feeds 4 – Time to prep and cook:  15 minutes tops, no kidding

Ingredients:

Pork Tenderloin (about 1.25 lbs.)
Note:  I had a nearly 2 lb. pork loin, but used 1/2 and froze the rest.
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup small green seedless grapes (I used large red since I could buy about a cup of them in those ready to eat fruit packs in the supermarket – otherwise I would have had to buy enough green grapes for this dinner and a vat of wine.)
3 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries (I like cranberries)
1/4 cup shredded arugula
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup  (I know – ever since the “ketchup is a vegetable flap,” some people have issues with this wonderful prepared food.  But trust Jacques – this is a perfect addition)

Prep:   About 5 minutes

Trim the pork tenderloin of fat and silverskin and cut it crosswise into 1″ thick medallions.  (I got a pork loin – not solid like the tenderloin – so some of the medallions fell into two pieces – it was just fine)

Sprinkle the medallions with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
Measure out the other ingredients.
Shred the arugula

Cook:  About 12 minutes

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on high, then add the medallions in a single layer and sear for 2 1/2 minutes on each side (a little longer, if that makes you nervous, but 3 minutes at most or you will overcook the pork).  Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Add the pomegranate juice and chicken stock to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Now reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 4 1/2 minutes.  Add the ketchup, grapes and cranberries, mix well, and boil for 1 minute, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Arrange the medallions on warm plates, coat with sauce and grapes, sprinkle with shredded arugula and serve.

orange-cake

EXTRA                                      Orange Cake
(from Jacques Pépin’s Heart and Soul in the Kitchen)

Timing:  This takes 10 minutes or so to make – you can make it while someone else is clearing the dishes from the table.  Caveat – if you have trouble sectioning an orange, this could take much longer and may involve a visit to your local emergency room.)

Ingredients:                             Jacques says this serves 4 – I’d say 8 in sucrophobic suburbia

3 Navel oranges (they are seedless)
½ cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound cake, cut lengthwise in ¾ inch slices (turn it on its side to slice)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (we used St. Germain – a liqueur made from elderflowers, try a little mixed into Campari for an aperitif)
½ cup orange marmalade (this is important – DO NOT OMIT THIS INGREDIENT)
Mint sprigs

Assemble:

Peel the oranges, removing all rind and pith.  Cut between the membranes and remove the segments.  (Do this over a bowl to catch any juices).  Now squeeze the membranes over a bowl to get the remaining juice.

Mix the mascarpone and sugar well

Arrange the pound cake in the bottom of a pie plate, gratin dish or platter with sides that you can bring to the table.  You’ll need to cut the pieces into angels, wedges and crescents – but fill the entire bottom of the dish anyhow.  No one is going to see the pound cake sections after you top them.

Mix half of the orange juice with the Grand Marnier or St. Germain and sprinkle it on the cake slices.

Spread the mascarpone on top and arrange the orange segments on top of the mascarpone

Combine the remaining juice with the orange marmalade and coat or paint the orange segments with it.

(NOTE:  I sprinkled all of the orange juice on the pound cake and then microwaved the marmalade for 10 seconds to loosen it up for coating the orange segments)

Decorate with mint and serve.

One thought on “FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FOOD

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