52 Dinners - Week 6: An Unforgettable Pork Loin Roast

52 Dinners Kingdom Direct Food Place Setting Inspiration

Five friends braved the blizzard to join us for dinner last night.
Kelly showed up with a box of green depression glass, a collection of antique vases, and some of her tasty nuts. The perfect hostess gifts. Jay and John live full-time on Cape Cod, where they owned a restaurant in Provincetown for several years; but they also have a place here in VT, and we always try to get together when they’re here. Julian just returned home after three years of seminary in Berkeley, and he came with jokes (“I’m offended that none of you have noticed that I’ve been levitating all evening. That’s what happens when you become a Master of Divinity”). Justin and his dogs also joined us. He’s so charming and handsome.

And it was so lovely...

We started with crostini in the living room. Roasted beet, grainy mustard, crispy brussels sprout leaves, maldon, and maple syrup.

No one cared that I didn’t iron the cocktail napkins.
For our first course, I served savory baked apples, which were really something special. Roasted with butter, then filled with a mixture of bacon, pecans, rice, herbs, caramelized shallot, garlic, sharp cheddar, and cranberries, then roasted again. Served atop sweet potato puree and garnished with fried sage.
Next up was pork loin roast, which was brined overnight with garlic, rosemary, and pink peppercorn (After reading Salt Fat Acid Heat by Ciao Samin, I am motivated to preseason all meat always).

I used the drippings to make a buttery red wine pan sauce and served the pork with mushy peas and roasted carrots with lemon and herbs.

It’s appropriate that this china pattern by Myott Staffordshire is called “Forget Me Not” because this is a meal that we won’t soon forget. 

And of course, dessert

We had sticky toffee pudding. The pudding itself was pretty traditional, and I added maple and sea salt to the toffee sauce. It was served with vanilla ice cream, crushed kruidnoten (Dutch ginger cookies), and bourbon soaked figs.
It had been more than eight years since I’d baked sticky toffee pudding, back when I was in the pastry kitchen at The Dandelion Pub.

I prepped everything a day in advance, and the puds dried out just a little bit during the reheating process (if only I had a steam injection oven). So I submerged each one in the pot of hot toffee sauce for a couple minutes so they could become completely saturated. Problem solved.
After taking his first bite, Bailey said “Mary Berry would approve”, and that’s all I needed to hear.

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