Wednesday, November 24, 2010

POM Wonderful Dinner Party - 11 Pomegranate Inspired Dishes


If there is one fruit I understand..... it is the silky red pomegranate. Apples are passe, kiwis share their name with a bird, dragon fruits are cool looking (but yet not so great in the taste department). However no other fruit is so damn sexy as the round, red, pendulous, juicy and fecund pomegranate.

See what I mean?
If you have been keeping up with my blog in any way over the past two weeks, you will know that all of my past recipe posts have featured pomegranates in one way or another. This post is the culmination of all of those posts put together. POM Wonderful selected myself along with 99 other foodies to compete in a "Pomegranate Dinner Party". My job was  to create an amazing evening filled with pomegranate everything, food, drinks, decor, even "how to" pomegranate opening lessons. You name it... it was to be pomegranate themed.

Fresh Pomegranates and Eucalyptus Branches
I call the pomegranate my long lost love. Sometimes you have been kept from something so long, when it finally shows up in your life, it takes you over, from head to toe. Those dear pomegranates... all 44 that arrived on my doorstep, took over my house for an entire two weeks and have had me seeing red and singing the praises of this magical fruit. Morning, noon and night... they have been on my mind... they are around my house, everywhere I look. Red, magical orbs....cradling hundreds of rubies.... each tiny seed, filled with a gorgeous red juice that makes your lips smack and ask for more.


I invited several friends over for an "ode to the pomegranate party". It was an evening filled with food and drink, all dusted with the magical taste of the pomegranate. The house was filled with pomegranate art and decor. We were truly seeing pomegranates and that was not just the cocktails talking! Thank you Pom Wonderful for selecting me to host a POM Wonderful Party. The dinner was such a creative and artistic experience for me. I was able to let my inner spirit shine! From 6 p.m. until midnight.... we partied with pomegranates.

Toasting the evening and loving my dear friends!
Iced POM Hearts

Themed parties keep one focused, and if anybody knows me, they know I am quite easily distracted. Having my dinner focused around pomegranates kept me in line and on task. It became quite easy and fun to come up with a decadent dinner menu for eight.  Preparing for the party was not so easy. It was quite time consuming and a lot of work. But heck, nothing like a bit of pre-party child labor to move things right along and lessen mother's stress. My darling kiddos....willingly...(ahem... I suppose there was a bit of arm twisting involved) de-seeded 8 pomegranates for me. Once they got into it... there was no stopping them, each one was fighting for the next pomegranate segment. I was going to need each and every one of those seeds for my evening feast.


Old School Thinking = Pomegranates are messy and will stain up your whole kitchen in a heart beat. You can not ask your kids to help you as your mess would be so great, you would be wiping red pomegranate juice off your walls and cupboards for weeks.

New School Thinking = Pomegranates are no longer messy! Even your kids can have fun and complete your kitchen work for you... with a smile on their face. Bye bye stained walls! So long red hands! Sianara mommy stress! Check out the video below for the latest, safest, and cleanest way to open a pomegranate.





Seeing Pomegranates
Menu for Eight
November 12, 2010
Hosted by Miss Megan of Foodalution

Pomegranate Place Cards
Drinks
Persephone's Tears ~ Sparkling Prosecco infused with pomegranate molasses and topped with frozen pomegranate seeds. 
 

I ♥ POM Punch ~ 1, two litre bottle of sparkling lime water mixed with 2-16 oz. bottles of POM Juice, ½ container pink lemonade concentrate and topped with "POM HEARTS” - frozen pink pomegranate hearts. Serve in punch bowl.

Pomegranate Ice Hearts for the punch
Appe “teasers”

Pomegranate Butterserved atop crusty fresh baguette ~
1/2 lb. softened Pasture Land/ Organic Valley or other high quality organic butter

Mix butter with molasses until well combined. Adjust the molasses addition to your liking. Refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy on fresh crusty bread, drizzle over warm fruit, saute your greens in this... get creative!

Pomegranate Butter

POM Cheese Dream – Addictive cheese spread ~
In a glass bowl, layer Widemar's Brick Cheese Spread or other tangy cheese spread with fresh pomegranate seeds. Layer two to three times finishing with pomegranate seeds. Serve with fresh bread.... you can not stop eating this!

POM Cheese Spread
Fresh French Tartar Sauce with Pomegranate Vinegar ~ served with celery, cucumber and blanched asparagus ~
1.5 cups mayonnaise
2 TBS minced shallots
1 small sweet pickle minced
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1 TBS chopped chives
2 tsp. Pomegranate vinegar
Dash of Tabasco
Salt and Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate overnight so flavor develops. Served with celery, cucumber and blanched asparagus.

Salad.....

Spinach Salad with Roasted Squash and Hot Bacon Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing  ~
1 lb of washed spinach
1 lb of good bacon, fried, grease saved, and chopped into little bits
1 small butter nut squash, diced and oven roasted
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 TBS dijon mustard
3 TBS pomegranate vinegar
sugar
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Dressing: Take about 1/3 -1/2 cup of saved bacon fat, melt in small sauce pan, add around 3 TBS- 5TBS of pomegranate vinegar, start slow, add more in the end. Add mustard, 2 tsp salt and let come to a simmer. Taste, add salt and sugar and more vinegar to your liking. I have so say, when I make my hot bacon dressings, I do not measure, I use the "taste and adjust" method. Whisk before serving. Toss salad with squash, bacon bits and warm dressing. Top with pomegranate seeds. You will have extra bacon bits. Save and use for a rainy day.

Roasted squash, spinach salad with hot bacon pomegranate dressing
Main Course.... let the feasting begin

Pomegranate Pork Tenderloin ~ adapted from Linda W. allrecipes.com

½ cup POM wonderful pomegranate juice
½ cup freshly squeeze orange juice
2 TBS whole grain mustard
2 TBS honey
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp orange zest
2 TBS kosher salt
2 thin slices of fresh Habanero pepper without seeds

Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag, place tenderloin in marinade and let rest in the refrigerator for three hours. Oven at 350 degrees F. Place tenderloin in roasting pan. Reserve marinade. Cook tenderloin until internal temperature is 155 degrees F. Simmer reserved marinade and reduce. Take out meat, let rest for 10 minutes. Top meat with reserved marinade. Slice thinly. 
 


Pan Fried Parsnip Puree with Salty Fried Shitakes ~

3 pounds (before peeling) fresh fall parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2” pieces
Kosher salt
1 & ½ Sticks of Unsalted Organic Butter
½ cup half and half
6 cloves heirloom garlic
1 lb shitake mushrooms
pomegranate seeds for garnish

Boil parsnips as you would for mashed potatoes. Drain. Add ½ stick of butter and ½ and ½. Let cool for 15 minutes. Mix well. In two additions, add parsnips to food processor, mix until very creamy. Can be made ahead of time. When ready to fry, take out non-stick pan or cast iron, and add the other ½ stick of butter. Saute 4 cloves minced garlic until just fragrant and then add parsnips and more butter if needed, fold the parsnips in the pan until well heated. In separate pan, while parsnips are heating, melt ½ stick butter and add the mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic, gently toss and fry. Sprinkle with salt and and taste. Cook until done. This will take about 10 minutes of medium heat. Serve parsnips with with mushrooms and pomegranate seeds

Miss Megan.... preparing the parsnips..
gotta love garlic! I was getting nervous with all the burners going at once.... only one casualty... a wooden spoon that caught fire!
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate Vinegar and Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil ~

3 bags of brussel sprouts, you will need this much because you will have waste sprouts.
½ stick of butter
pomegranate vinegar
2 cloves heirloom garlic
1 TBS cumin seeds
2 TBS Pomegranate vinegar
3 TBS Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
Kosher salt
1 lemon
Sugar

Clean sprouts, slice of bottom and then slice lengthwise in half. Steam the sprouts until they just begin to turn soft. You do not want to over steam as this will make them into mush for the pan frying portion of the recipe. Do not crowd the steamer, steam sprouts in two successive steamings. Drain sprouts. Let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can store them in a zip lock bag. In large saute pan, melt butter and begin to fry the garlic, when garlic just begins to release flavor, add in the cumin seeds. Let the cumin fry for 30 seconds. Add in the sprouts and pomegranate vinegar. Saute for 5 minutes of so, until heated through. Taste, add salt and sugar according to your tastes. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the sprouts. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds oil ,you will not be disappointed. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds. 

Sprouts in action...

Desserts

POM Magic Butterscotch Pomegranate Layer Cake

Classic Flourless Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Molasses ~ Cake recipe from epicurious.com

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
8 oz. Semi sweet chocolate chips
1&1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
6 large eggs

Oven to 350 F. Butter a spring from pan, 10” works perfectly. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a large heavy saucepan until melted. Mix cocoa and sugar in large bowl, add eggs whisk until blended Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture. Pout batter into pan, bake until tested comes out clean, around 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan, on rack. Run your knife around sides to loosen the cake. Release from pan. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with pomegranate molasses and fresh pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate Molasses recipe can be found here in one of my latest blog posts.

Seriously?!
 
The fantastic evening concluded with dessert, tea and a demonstration with a "free trial" of "How to Open A Pomegranate". I demonstrated to the guests, as you saw in the kids video above  the ins and outs of pomegranate opening and de-seeding without a mess. All the guests were also given a "party bag" courteous of POM Wonderful in California. Each cotton canvas bag contained it's very own pomegranates, coupons, a POM bracelet and a collection of pomegranate inspired recipes.

POM Wonderful Party Bag!

The adults learning the "ins and outs" of pomegranate opening!
This pomegranate filled evening was such an amazing experience. It was wonderful to give back to the guests, feed them good food and teach them a bit more about pomegranates. The evening left me feeling so high.... and full of love for pomegranates and friendship! Thank you POM Wonderful for an enchanted evening. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Special Thanks to Gigi... the Queen of the Camera! Thank you for documenting our evening in photos!



Loads of Pomegranate Love and Happy Thanksgiving! - Megan xoxoxo




28 comments:

  1. Holy moly mama! Beautiful, amazing and inspiring. And that doesn't even begin to do your party justice. I hope someone else did the dishes:)

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  2. You are a superstar! I love your blog posts and you even more!

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  3. What an inspired menu! Love everything you served and also your pomegranate arrangement. Wonderful job!

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  4. Oh my Megan, you did such a fabulous job! I am damn freaking out when cooking infront of the guests. haha.... You're really cool! ^_^ So proud of you. This is really a beautiful post. You guys were having so much fun there. And this is the place where you open up the package, right! he... Hope you're having a wonderful day.
    Blessings, kristy

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  5. Beautiful and delicious! Wish I was there! Your party and the wonderful pomegranate yummies really rocks! Your apron looks cute! Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. Wow, you are a serious trooper with all those pomegranate dishes. Amazing! Love the name of the cocktail, Persephone's Tears, but then I would, having been a classics major in university!

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  7. wow impressive dinner party your an amazing cook, thanks for visiting my blog

    Rebecca

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  8. What a fantastic dinner party! I wish I was there, it makes me hungry. By the way, I really love your pomegranate slide show / video! What wonderful pictures and great presentation. You have a really good eye for artistic beauty; and you are incredibly beautiful yourself!

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  9. Thank you all! And Secret Admirer... I know who you are.....xoxoxo

    @Othelia....yes.. I had lots of dish help (friends rock)

    @Jean.... thanks for the compliments on the arrangement... it was fun to make!

    @Carolyn.... I am glad you like the name... it was a wonderful drink.. and I think Persephone is my new favorite name -

    @Kristy! Yes... that is my kitchen.. where I opened the package! We did have a ton of fun!

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  10. Megan,

    You did a such a wonderful job with all of the pomegranate dishes and weaving them through your party, down to the very last detail. I especially liked the pork loin, the salad, and POM cheese Dream;)

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  11. What a great party! You really showed how many wonderful ways the pomegranate can be used from the decorations to the dishes. The apron is funny and I am so impressed with the place cards--so pretty!

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  12. Absolutely stunning - this on top of that butterscotch?? I can't handle it. What a festive time and meal with a lovely fruit.

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  13. Gosh Megen, what a great POM party! I wish I was near enough to drop by (well, even I was not invited LOL)
    From the punch, cheese spread to salad, main course and the cakes...I am truly impressed and you are such a great host!
    I wish you relaxing weekend!
    Angie

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  14. Wow! I don't know if I could be any more impressed! You did an amazing job with this dinner party. From the decorations to the food...I was drooling from the first photo to the last (and especially when that cake rolled around!) Thank you for sharing your evening with us...have a great weekend!

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  15. What a beautiful dinner. I love pomegranate... it just makes food look wonderful and more delicious :)

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  16. The dinner was fab and the POM artistry a site to behold. You are strong and straight branch on the pomegranate tree of dinner party fare.

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  17. Really wish I had been invited to your dinner party - it would be well worth the price of the flight!!!

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  18. wow...when you throw a party, you throw a party!!!
    everything looks amazing, I wouldn't know where to start, but I definitely know how I would end, with both of those cakes and the proseco!!
    Great job with this fantastic dinner!

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  19. Girl, I just found your blog and want to send some food love your way!! This party looks like a huge success!! I'm not the biggest pomegranate fan, but your recipes were soooo creative-- I could probably put cranberries in each dish in place of the poms and still have a killer meal. I will be blogging about my cranberry sauce shortly!

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  20. Dear Megan,

    I just loved the pom partay gurl. I had the best time, and just re-lived it through Gigi's beautiful photos. I have told everyone about the party and how wonderful you are and the celebration of the pom. Mmmmmm.....you are a sweetie, and awesome cook and a fantastic host!
    Thanks for inviting me. Love, Barbara

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  21. Great post, Megan! I can't wait to try some of your lovely recipes for myself. As you noticed in your pictures, my mouth was always full! :-) Thanks again for a lovely night. It was "pom" wonderful! -Angela

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  22. You are amazing. Simply amazing. So creative! I have no words. Best of luck!! Will have to try the flourless cake- tried the pomegranate molasses over thanksgiving and it is amazing!

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  23. You did a beautiful job Meg! The food looks incredible. LOL...I guess we had the same idea about the pairing of pork and pomegranates. the funny thing is...I don't even eat meat and especially not pork! However, my dinner guests LOVED it! Your desserts looks heavenly, especially that chocolate cake.

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  24. DANG! You are UBER talented in the kitchen, girlfriend! Particularly with regards to these pomegranates! Lovely indeed - and love, love, love your apron. Something I would wear.

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  25. Wowee - I would have loved to be a guest at this party - everything looks and sounds sooooo delicious!

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  26. Fantastico, de principio a fin.

    Acabo de enarmorarme de tu delantal, yo quiero uno jejeje.

    besinos

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