Wednesday, January 12, 2011

weekend dinner party

Images Courtesy of Michael Turek for Food & Wine

Okay so I'm kinda cheating. And perhaps I should consider removing the word "cheating" from the previous sentence, er, fragment. But it's only cheating so far as I didn't put together this menu on my own. Or the wine pairings. So there's no two ways about it. I've cheated on my weekend dinner party post.

But here's the thing: this menu is perfect. Gorgeous. Ridiculously fine-tuned. With undeniable Scandinavian nuances. Lingonberries, smoked trout, fennel salad, buttered egg noodles. I mean, it had my name written all over it (only not literally). I'd be an idiot not to pass it along to you.

And I'm not cool with looking like an idiot. Even if it means I have to cheat every now and then.

Hold up. How'd I get myself here? Enough yappin'. Feast your eyes on this Winter White spread courtesy of Tory Miller for Food & Wine.

smoked trout and caper cream cheese toasts
2006 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée

roast pork loin with fennel salad
buttered noodles with toasted sage
2009 Doña Rosa Albarino

ricotta blintzes with lingonberry syrup

Click here for all the recipes from this spread.

Smoked Trout and Caper Cream Cheese Toasts
Recipe Courtesy of Tory Miller for Food & Wine
10 Servings

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small shallot, minced
1 tbsp. chopped chives, plus 1-inch lengths, for garnish
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
5 english muffins--split, toasted and buttered
1/2 lbs. skinless smoked trout fillet, coarsely chopped

1. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, shallot, chopped chives, capers and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread the English muffins with the caper cream cheese. Top with the smoked trout, garnish with the chive pieces and serve.

Roast Pork Loin with Fennel Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Tory Miller for Food & Wine
10 Servings

1 tbsp. each of whole fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, black peppercorns, star anise pods, allspice berries and juniper berries
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 bay leaves
One 10-rib, bone-in pork loin roast (about 7 pounds)

1 large red grapefruit
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large fennel bulbs, cored and very thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. PREPARE THE PORK: In a large pot, toast all of the spices over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the water, salt, brown sugar and bay leaves and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine into a large roasting pan and let cool to room temperature. Put the pork roast in the brine, meaty side down. Cover the roasting pan and refrigerate overnight. Bring the pork roast to room temperature in the brine before roasting.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Set the pork roast on a large rimmed baking sheet, meaty side up. Roast the pork in the upper third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 145F. Transfer the roast to a carving board; let rest for 15 minutes.
3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SALAD: Using a small, sharp knife, peel the red grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a large bowl, cut in between the membranes, releasing the grapefruit sections into the bowl.
4. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and honey; season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the sliced fennel and red onion to the grapefruit sections in the large bowl.
5. Carve the pork roast into chops and transfer to plates. Toss the fennel salad with the dressing, mound the salad alongside the chops and serve.
WINE: The first impulse might be to pair this roast pork with a red wine, but Michael Kwas, wine director at L'Etoile, prefers to serve it with a vibrant white wine like the 2009 Doña Rosa Albarino. That wine has enough acidity to cut through the richness of the meat and also goes nicely with the citrusy fennel salad.

Buttered Egg Noodles with Toasted Sage
Recipe Courtesy of Tory Miller for Food & Wine
10 Servings

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
1/2 cup thinly sliced sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound wide egg noodles (pappardelle would work beautifully)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. In a skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sage and cook over medium heat until crisp; with a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 more tablespoon of the butter to the skillet. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the stock and boil until reduced to 1 cup, 8 minutes. Cover the skillet and remove from the heat.
2. Cook the noodles until al dente; drain. Return the noodles to the pot. Add the reduced stock and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and toss well. Stir in the 1/2 cup of grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, top with the toasted sage and remaining 2 tablespoons of grated cheese. Serve right away.

Ricotta Blintzes with Lingonberry Syrup
Recipe Courtesy of Tory Miller for Food & Wine
10 Servings

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 cups fresh ricotta (24 oz.)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
one 10-ounce jar lingonberry jam
1 cup pure maple syrup
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. MAKE THE BATTER: In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and sugar. Whisk the flour and eggs together; whisk in the butter. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
2. MAKE THE FILLING: In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, sugar and cinnamon.
3. PREPARE THE SYRUP: In a saucepan, simmer the jam and maple syrup over moderate heat until slightly reduced, 5 minutes.
4. Heat two 8-inch nonstick skillets. Spray with vegetable oil spray and add 2 tablespoons of batter to each. Swirl the skillets to distribute the batter and cook over moderate heat until golden brown on the bottom, 1 minute. Flip the crepes and cook until brown spots appear on the bottom. Transfer the crepes to a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 20 crepes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line another cookie sheet with parchment. On a work surface, spread 2 rounded tablespoons of the filling in the center of each crepe. Fold each crepe to form a rectangular packet. Arrange the blintzes on the cookie sheet, seams down. Bake until hot.
6. Rewarm the syrup. Place 2 blintzes on each plate. Dust with confectioners; sugar, pour the warm syrup over the blintzes and serve.


Pink of Perfection said...

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. This is indeed perfect. It sounds perfect for a snowy eve, yet not so heavy that people will want to just crash on your couch afterward. Love!

Kiira Leess said...

Thanks for the comment, Sarah! I totally agree that it sounds perfectly satisfying. That's one of the things I love most about Scandinavian food. Let me know if you give it a shot!


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