Saturday, April 28, 2007

Easy Entertaining

Wanted to pass along a few recipes for an easy meal that is great for entertaining. The meal is generally appealing and quite simple to prepare and pairs fabulously with a light red wine.

First, although somewhat unusual, at least as far as prep goes we start with dessert as it need at least 4 hours to set in the fridge. Peel 2 large bananas and roll each in a large, shallow dish filled with Nutella or another variety of chocolate, hazelnut spread or even any thick and rich chocolate sauce. Once well coated, roll each banana in finely chopped nuts of your choice or dried coconut pieces. Place on a plate and let set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.

For the appetizer we take a bit of a twist on a Caprese Salad. Start with 4 large Beefsteak or Heirloom tomatoes. Cut slices from the top of each tomato but only go 3/4 of the way down into the tomato, thus leaving the base intact. Put thin slices of fresh Mozzerella cheese in the cuts in each tomato, season liberally with salt and pepper, and place leaves of fresh Basil in with the cheese. Serve the fanned tomatoes with goodness on a bed of thinly sliced shallots or red onions with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper and toasted baguette or whole weat pita wedges.

For the main, a simple roast pork tenderloin.
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced
2 tablespoons almonds, chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon butter
Sear the pork tenderloin in a skillet on medium high heat on all sides until nicely browned, and bake or grill tenderloin to desired degree (keep in mind once seared "low and slow" is best for cooking pork). Set aside.
In a small non-stick saucepan, add diced apples, butter, almonds and maple syrup. Cook on medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Slice tenderloin on the bias, arrange on a platter, pour apple mixture on top and serve on a bed of fresh spinach with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Serve the pork with caramelized brussel sprouts.
10 cups small fresh brussel sprouts (almost 3 pounds)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon koshersalt
Prepare the brussel sprouts by peeling off 2 to 3 of the dark outer leaves; trim stem ends.
In a large skillet heat the sugar over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking pan to heat sugar evenly. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat and cook until sugar begins to turn brown. Add butter; stir until melted. Add the vinegars. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil and add the sprouts. Return to boiling and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 6 minutes. Uncover; cook about 15 minutes longer or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the sprouts are coated with a golden glaze, stirring occasionally.

For the dessert, cut the bananas into sushi like slices and serve on a platter along or with edible flowers for accent.

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