Posts tagged ‘entertaining’

April 5, 2012

menu for a spring luncheon

ginger marinated pork tenderloin

french potato salad

sesame seed asparagus

angel food cake with strawberries

the original inspiration for this meal  fixed for a recent family dinner was from a cooking class i attended some years ago.  i particularly remember this class, sitting on a stool at a large counter feeling much like a dumpy housewife, when in swept a rail thin, beautifully dressed middle aged woman with a designer bag.  as the class progressed,  i felt so intimidated.

until she opened her mouth.

the instructor was stirring something with a simple wooden spoon.  thin lady asked: “so, this spoon, is this something all good cooks use? and are they very expensive?”  i just about fell off my stool.  she obviously thought this was basic cooking 101.  i mean really.  a wooden spoon???  it was all i could do not to holler “oh my goodness madam. yes.  we all have one.  i have six. and they each cost more than your bag.”

while the class wasn’t general cooking, the menu presented wasn’t terribly difficult either.  i make it often in the spring, and even made it once for easter dinner using chicken instead of the pork.    while the potato salad is served warm or at room temperature, it can be made a day ahead, and the pork can be marinated overnight. you then have time to finish cleaning the house, decorate, and set the table.

once the meat is put in the oven the day of the meal, all that needs to be done is the asparagus and the strawberries for the cake, which i confess, was store bought.  if you want to make an angel food cake from scratch then, yes, a bit more effort is required, and (in my honest opinion) more power to ya.

french potato salad

the red and white potatoes are optional, but they add a very nice touch. i used mini yukon golds instead of white and they were wonderful.

1 pound of small white boiling potatoes

1 pound of small red boiling potatoes

2 tablespoons good dry white wine

2 tablespoons of chicken stock

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

10 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 cup of minced scallions; green and white parts

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh basil leaves

bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  add the red and white potatoes and cook for 20-30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.  drain in a colander, and place a towel over them to steam for an additional 1o minutes.  when cool enough to handle cut into halves or quarters (if the potatoes are large) and place in a medium bowl.  toss gently with the wine and chicken stock.  allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil.  add the vinaigrette to the potatoes.  add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, and salt and pepper and toss.  serve warm or at room temperature.

serves 4-6

ginger marinated pork tenderloin

1 cup of honey

3/4 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of minced garlic (about 12 cloves)

1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger root

3 pounds of pork tenderloin ( i used two; 1 1/2 pounds each)

combine the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  pour over the tenderloin and cover.

allow to marinate overnight.  remove pork to foil lined baking sheet.  if desired, pour some of the marinade over the pork and discard the remainder.   bake at  375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until pork reaches desired internal temperature (mine is 160 degrees).  do not overbake.

serves 4-6

sesame seed asparagus

1 pound of fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil, plus more as desired

salt and pepper to taste

lightly steam asparagus; drain, and arrange on serving platter.  season with salt and pepper.  sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle with the sesame seed oil.   serve immediately.

serves 4-6

angel food cake with strawberries

make the strawberries earlier in the day so the juices have time to release.

1 prepared angel food cake

8 oz. of strawberries

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

slice cake and arrange on serving dish or platter.  wash, hull, and slice strawberries.  sprinkle with sugar and set aside.  pour cream into mixing bowl.  add powdered sugar and vanilla.  whip just until stiff peaks form.  to serve, spoon berries over a slice of cake and top with the whipped cream.