Celebrating Good Friends, New Friends and The Fourth of July

Henri Peroit is celebrating the American Fourth of July even though he is French. Here he stands ready to greet the guests.

Waiting, waiting…..for the party to begin!

    

Coffee and dessert plates are ready, too.

China:  Royal Doulton 1992 Stanwyck; flowers are from Granddaughter’s wedding last weekend.

Jabber set the table in red, white and blue.  Girlfriend and her husband, “The Pro”,  had guests–The Pro’s brother and his wife, Mr. Winston and Mrs. Salem, had come for a visit.  A celebration was in order.

Mr. Winston chats with his new friends.

Mrs. Salem enjoys a visit with her new friends before dinner.

   “The Pro” (Girlfriend’s hubby)  who  exhibited his expertise in slicing the pork loins.

                                                               “The Pro” and TMWLH (on right)

Vanna’s hubby, “The Engineer”

What are we having you ask as well you may?  Well….

Before dinner, we had small tomatoes halved and topped with Lobster spread, Wesleyan cheese with mango and pineapple on Ritz crackers and drinks–wines, iced tea and lemonade.

For dinner, pork loin wrapped in bacon, marinated in a soy sauce/brown sugar and spices, slow-baked for 3 hours in a 300 degree oven;

potatoes au gratin (recipes below);

fresh green beans;

Fresh sliced beets–I loved how the color of the foods reflected the red, white and blue for the occasion.  Meat, tomatoes red; blue cheese crumbles and potatoes white; beets blue!

fresh greens topped with sliced fresh beets and bleu cheese crumbles

French baguettes; and a delicious dessert prepared by Girlfriend.  (White cake with strawberry and cream cheese frosting–yummy!)

We enjoyed our evening and getting to know our new friends, Mr. and Mrs. Winston-Salem.

Girlfriend and Sosew with the entire ‘male crew’ in the background!

                                               Mrs. Salem on left, Vanna on right.

We had a wonderful time!  This was a fun dinner party to put together with a theme.

Here are the recipes:

PORK LOIN

(from Facebook link)

3 pounds Pork Tenderloin cut into 4 pieces total

1 pound bacon

3/4 cups Soy sauce

1 TBL minced onions

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 TBL white wine vinegar (or white vinegar)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 dash pepper (or a few grinds of the peppercorns)

3/4 cup brown sugar

Wrap tenderloin pieces in bacon all the way around.  Place in a large Pyrex glass baking dish or other large oven-proof container.  Poke holes in the meat with a fork.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, whisk.  Pour marinade over the meat and refrigerate, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.  (I marinated the meat for about 24 hours to allow the marinade to sink deeply into the meat.)

Take the entire pan, sauce and all, and place in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours (you can check it after 2 hours, it may be done, but I baked it for 3 hours.)  If the bacon appears to be browning too much, cover with foil after 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove from oven, allow to sit for about 20 minutes so the meat can soak up the juices in the pan.  Remove the meat and carve into thin slices.  This recipe will serve at least 12.

Potatoes Au Gratin

(www.onceuponachef.com)

This served all 9 of us, with plenty left over.

Grease a baking dish–I used a 9 X 11 Pyrex glass baking dish

Whisk 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper together.

Grate (I used a zester) about 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into a separate bowl.

Set both aside.

Peel about 3 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), and slice them very thin.  For this step, after peeling the potatoes, I cut them in half lengthwise and put through the food processor slicing disk.  Made this step go much faster!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange some of the potato slices, edges overlapping, in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the potatoes and pour 1/4 of the cream mixture over the top.  Repeat forming 4 layers.  Pour any leftover cream over the top.

NOTE:  If you make this ahead and place, (covered) in the refrigerator, the top layer of potatoes will turn brown (overnight).  I did this, so I was not as pleased with the appearance of the potatoes when I placed them in oven, but it had no effect at all on the taste–and after they were baked, they looked a bit browner than they might have, but they were just fine.  This dish takes a while to make and assemble, so if you have other foods to prepare, making it ahead of time seems prudent.

Bake in the 350 degree oven uncovered for about an hour.  The potatoes should be fork-tender when pierced with a knife, and golden brown on top.  Let the dish settle and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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