On Saturday I planned a dinner party for my parents-in-law. I planned it to coincide with round 3 of Project Food Blog, however I did not make it through the 2nd round. I love to go all out when I have guests for dinner, with decorations, fun recipes, and little touches to make the evening special.
(I did use the menu template that Foodbuzz sent us, but I took out the logos so as not to cause any problems)
Adam’s parents were at our house all day Saturday helping Adam finish a whole bunch of landscaping projects (pictures coming soon!) while I created deliciousness in the kitchen and worked on a paper for my Nutrition and the Environment class.
One of the best tips for hosting a successful dinner party is to prepare as much as possible in advance. First thing Saturday morning I prepped the pork wellington.
After the wellington was resting in the fridge, I tackled dessert:
Finally I started on the soup course:
Once that was done I had time to change and freshen up, light the candles, and start pulling everything together!
Our dinner was paired with a delicious oak-aged Blueberry wine from the Muskoka Lakes Winery. All-in-all, it was a wonderful dinner to share with one of our two sets of wonderful parents!
Purple Carrot Soup
I picked this recipe because I really wanted to highlight the beautiful orange carrots that I bought 2 weeks ago on a class trip to a biodynamic farm.
- 1 lb organic locally-grown purple carrots (any carrots will do) – peeled and diced
- 2 acorn squash
- 1 white onion – diced
- 3 cloves garlic – diced
- 1 inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and diced or grated
- 3 ribs of celery – diced
- 4 cups of water
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- roast the squash. I chose to roast the acorn squash to help me get it out of the skin, as well add a bit of extra flavour to the dish. Heat the oven to 375. Split the squash in half and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for approx 30 minutes, or until the flesh is fork-tender. Set aside and let cool. Once cool, remove and discard the seeds and scrape the flesh from the skin.
- heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- once hot, add the onions and cook until they get soft and translucent
- add the celery, carrots and squash, cook for 5 minutes, but make sure the onions don’t burn
- add the garlic and ginger, and mix everything together.
- add enough water to cover everything (mine took about 4 cups)
- allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes, or until everything is cooked.
- take the soup off the heat, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. (this is important for the next step!)
- using a hand blender, blender, or food processor, blend the soup until smooth. I used a hand blender, and it is much easier to do when the liquid isn’t boiling hot.
- after the soup is blended, have a taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
This dish featured Ontario pork, prepared wellington-style. Recipe adapted from Wish Magazine. This dish can be prepared up to a day in advance, and kept in the fridge.
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1/2 package of puff pastry
- 4-5 pieces of pancetta
- grainy mustard (Dijon or deli-style works well)
- black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten with a bit of water to make egg wash
- If cooking right away, preheat the oven to 375.
- roll out the puff pastry until it is about 8 inches wide, and 2 inches longer than the tenderloin on each end.
- spread the mustard on the pastry, avoiding the edges
- lay the pancetta on top of the mustard, overlapping the slices
- place the tenderloin on the dough, tucking the thin end underneath, so that the meat is relatively the same thickness all the way across
- pull up the long sides of the dough, and wrap them together. Roll the dough under to create a seal.
- trim the excess dough from the short sides of the roast and fold the ends like an envelope.
- flip the wellington over and tuck the ends under
- slash the top of the bundle gently, and brush with the egg wash. (This is where you would stop if preparing in advance)
- place the wellington onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- brush the wellington again with the egg wash, and place in the oven
- cook for 35-40 minutes. Check at 30 minutes, and if the pastry isn’t browning enough, raise the oven temperature to 400
- the wellington is done when a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat reads 170 degrees.
- allow to rest for 10 minutes, and slice into 1 1/2 – 2 inch slices. 1 roast serves 4 with leftovers.
Lemon-Parmesan Maple Brussels Sprouts
Originally this recipe was for lemon-parmesan sprouts, but I forgot the parmesan cheese, so I turned them into maple sprouts! The batch I bought this week were really tiny, so they cooked in the time that the wellington was resting.
- 2 lbs of brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and outer leaves removed
- olive oil
- maple syrup
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- spread the sprouts onto an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet (make sure it has a lip!)
- drizzle with the olive oil, shaking the pan to coat evenly.
- sprinkle with sea salt
- roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice.
- remove the pan from the oven, and drizzle with maple syrup. (you want to do this after they’re cooked, or the sugar in the syrup could burn in the oven)
- toss to coat, and transfer to a serving dish, or right onto the plate.
Ontario Apple Crumble
This recipe was an amalgamation of a bunch that I read, plus what I could remember from the last time my mom made it. I combined 2 different types of apples (courtland and spy) which really worked well to balance sweet and tart. I made this dessert ahead of time, baked it, set it aside, and then let it sit inside the oven after I turned it off to get warm again.
- 6-7 apples
- 4 tbsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter
- 1/2 cup oats
- preheat the oven to 375.
- wash, peel and cut the apples into bite-sized pieces.
- toss the apples with the white sugar and 2 tbsp of the cinnamon
- put the apples into a greased casserole dish
- mix the flour and cinnamon together in a separate bowl
- cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or 2 forks.
- mix in the brown sugar and oats
- spread the mixture over the top of the apples
- bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the topping is browned and looks crunchy
- allow to cool, and serve with ice cream if you like.