As some of you may have already read in an earlier post, I was selected by POM Wonderful to be one of one hundred hosts of a dinner party featuring POM Wonderful pomegranates. I have been so excited to finally get everything put together and posted.
Let me just take a moment before we begin with the photos to tell you that I will post the recipes from dinner party as well as a couple of bonus recipes that came about as a result of the preparations for the party. However, for the purpose of keeping the dinner party post cohesive, I probably won't post every recipe in this post.
Next, I'd like to mention that POM Wonderful sent the most incredibly generous party kit! I received tote bags for each of my guests which contained a coupon for a free 16oz. bottle of POM Wonderful Juice, a set of their chef series recipe cards and a "wonderful inside" bracelet. In addition to the guest tote bags, they also sent one for me which contained 5 coupons for free pomegranate juice, a really cool cutting mat with step by step directions for opening a pomegranate printed on it AND the cutest apron ever! Oh and lets not forget the TWO CRATES of fresh pomegranates. Yes...I did say two entire crates! I counted 58 pomegranates in all! Needless to say...we have done our share of picking seeds for the last two weeks!
Here is some of my POM Wonderful loot!
THE best apron ever!
A peek inside one of the pomegranate crates. Aren't they gorgeous?
Not to toot my own horn BUT...I am probably one of the best people they could have chosen to host a pomegranate party for two very important reasons.
1. I LOVE pomegranates! I am fascinated by the beautiful jewel like seeds,
their tart and sweet taste, the way they burst in your mouth when you eat
them and lastly, (and this leads us to reason number 2), they are
2. I am totally and unapologetically obsessed with the color RED!
My little brain went straight to work taking inventory of all the marvelous red things that I have with which to decorate. Unbelievably, I even had a set of beaded pomegranate christmas ornaments.
I decided to create my decorations in two different venues; my dining room table and the patio table by the pool. For those who don't know, you can still go to the beach during the day here so I was not too worried about an outdoor setting!
All this jabber when what you really want is to see the pictures! The perfect blend of bling (of which I have plenty) the gorgeous, shiny pomegranates made for an elegant and VERY red theme. See for yourself...
I began with a clear glass platter filled with a stack of polished pomegranates which I threaded through with strands of glass beads and there are also some battery operated lights hidden between the poms. The platter was set on an antique lace tablecloth and then wrapped with sparkling red tulle. Branches of berries were used to create some interest and a perch for my two fabulous red sequinned peacocks.
To add more glamour, I draped the chadelier with string pearls, added red globe candle holders which I wrapped with silver beads and crystals. Clear glass crystals were tossed about on the table. Small antique gold trimmed shot glasses were used as votive cups.
For the outdoor venue, I used my incredible "chandalabra" (tabletop chandalier). I just added some red crystals, used my cardinals with their feather boa tails, crystal candle sticks, beaded pomegranates and berries, red silk and fresh pomegranates interpersed into the setting.
Here they are...beautiful! I used some highly polished fresh poms woven in with the boa tail feathers of the cardinals. It was a stunning table!
We began the evening by sipping refreshing Pomegranate Spitzers until all the guests arrived. They are made with a lime simple syrup, freshly juiced pomegrante juice and sparkling mineral water. Garnish with some fresh pomegranate seeds (arils).
The menu for the evening:
Brie en Croute with Pomegranate Molasses
Butternut Squash and Rum Raisin Savory Pastries
This is a simple yet elegant starter made simply by wrapping a wheel of brie in layers of phyllo dough brushed with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until dough is browned and crispy. Top with a drizzle of warm pomegranate molasses and sprinkle liberally with arils. I made the pomegranate molasses myself and I will post the pictures and recipe in another post.
The second appetizer is also quite simple and utilizes won ton wrappers to hold a filling comprised of roasted butternut squash puree which has been combined with cream cheese, rum soaked raisins, pomegranate juice, chopped pecans, a tiny pinch of cayenne and topped with grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with some arils for a pop of sweet-tart goodness in every bite.
I have to say, the salad course was my favorite. This was quite simply...a marvelous salad!
Mixed Baby Greens are topped with walnuts candied in brown sugar and pomegranate molasses. The nuts are dusted with ground cinnamon while they are still hot. I made them ahead and stored them in an airtight container in the fridge. I also added some amazing ultra-white hard, mild goat cheese crumbled atop the salad greens. Of course, pomegranate arils were added to complete the salad.
It is dressed simply with a Honey Pomegranate Vinaigrette. I made the vinaigrette with 1/3 cup freshly juiced pomegrante juice, 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 1/4 cup saw palmetto honey, a couple of pinches of kosher salt and about 1/2 cup organic grapeseed oil. I also added a couple tablespoons of walnut oil for the flavor. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve. Dress the salads just before serving. Store unused dressing in the refrigerator.
Our main course:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pomegrante Gastrique
Candied Sugar Pumpkin Wedges
Browned Butter Haricots Vertes
To make the Pomegranate Gastrique, I brought 1 1/2 cups sherry vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup fresh pomegrante juice to a boil. Boil until mixture is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups liquid and use to baste pork as it roasts. Bring the gastrique to a boil and serve the extra with the pork. It's amazing!
The little sugar pumpkins were cleaned, cut into wedges and basted with melted butter. I then grated fresh nutmeg over them and baked until they were nearly tender. In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses and another 1/4 cup brown sugar to make a syrup. Toss in a couple of cinnamon sticks. Bring the syrup to a boil and pour over pumpkin wedges. Roast until they are tender. Baste with juices while pumpkins roast.
The haricots verts are lightly steamed and then flash sauteed in browned butter. They are seasoned very simply with some coarse sea salt.
I also served a drink with each coarse. For the main course we had Pomegranate Tangerine Iced Tea. Simply combine 2 quarts of freshly brewed black tea with 3 cups freshly juiced pomegranate juice and the juice of 3 large tangerines. Sweeten as desired.
This was a totally incredible drink!
Last but by no means least...dessert! Now everyone knows I never had a dinner party that didn't end with a killer dessert and this one is no exception.
Pears Poached in Pomegranate Juice and a bottle of 2007 St. Supery Moscato have been hollowed out and filled with a Pomegranate Mascarpone Mousse and drizzled with chocolate ganache. They are topped off with some chilled pomegranate arils and a drizzle of pomegranate simple syrup. I served it with a cup of Mulled Pomegranate Cider. This dessert was divine...truely the piece de resistance!
For those who have never tried opening a fresh pomegranate; I have a video tutorial available on my youtube channel. Drop by and check it out at:
This party was such fun and I'd like to extend my thanks to POM Wonderful for the opportunity to participate!