Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn Entertaining @ The Blender

If you haven't checked out The Blender yet, give it a click.  It is a blog from Williams Sonoma, full of cooking tips, recipes, wine info, and tons of other tasty information.

I am guest blogging over there and you can see the full post here.  The full menu looks like this:

Fig and Fromage Blanc Crostini

Roasted Beets with Orange and Herbed Goat Cheese 

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovies, and Red Pepper
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay 

Pear Tarte Tatin with Winter Spices
To make it easy I wanted to post each recipe here so you have the entire menu at hand next time you want to throw a dinner party.  After the jump you can see them all...enjoy!

Fig and Fromage Blanc Crostini
8 figs, halved lengthwise
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices ciabatta bread, each 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup fromage blanc
1 cup arugula leaves, washed and dried
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast until lightly brown and crisp, 4-5 minutes.  Set aside (can be stored overnight in an airtight container at room temperature).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the figs, cut side up, on the prepared sheet.  Drizzle with the vinegar, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees until the figs are very tender, 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

Spread about 1 tbs of the fromage blanc on each slice of toasted bread.  Top with 2 fig halves, using a fork to mash them gently.  Cut each crostini in half.  Top with a few arugula leaves and drizzle with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and serve right away.
Serves 6

Roasted Beets with Oranges and Herbed Goat Cheese

1 orange
6 medium beets (about 1½ pounds), greens removed and reserved for another use
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1½ teaspoons minced fresh chives
1½ teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grate the zest from the orange and set it aside.  Halve the orange and place one half in a baking dish just large enough to hold the beets in one layer.  Add the beets, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the garlic cloves.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well to combine.  Cover the pan with foil and roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes.

While the beets are cooking, combine the goat cheese, chives, tarragon, and parsley in a small bowl. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper and stir well to combine.  Refrigerate until needed.

Remove the beets from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, use the dull side of a pairing knife to gently scrape off the skins.  Cut the beets crosswise into slices about ¼-inch thick and place them on a serving platter.  Let cool to room temperature.  Line a small strainer with a damp paper towel (the paper towel will catch any grit in the cooking liquid).  Pour the beet cooking liquid through the strainer, squeezing the orange to release any juices.  To the strained cooking liquid, add the remaining olive oil and squeeze in the juice from the remaining orange half.  Taste and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve, drizzle the beets with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat them, you may not use it all, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top the beets with small spoonfuls of the herbed goat cheese and sprinkle with orange zest.
Serves 4-6

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins (about 1½ pounds)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, plus several sprigs
1/3 pound pancetta or bacon, thinly sliced
4 shallots, peeled and quartered with stems attached
1 teaspoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon  all-purpose flour
1 cup  chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375°. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, oven proof, skillet over medium heat. Sear pork on all sides until browned, about 5 minutes total. Remove from heat. 
Rub pork with chopped rosemary. Wrap tenderloins with pancetta, overlapping strips slightly. Use toothpicks to secure pancetta, if necessary. Place a rosemary sprig on top or each piece of meat, tie pork with kitchen twine, and remove toothpicks. Return pork to skillet. Scatter shallots and rosemary sprigs around pork. Roast in oven, basting occasionally with cooking juices, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145° on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer pork and shallots to a platter and cover to keep warm. 
In a small bowl, combine butter and flour. Place the pork skillet over medium heat. Add stock, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil to reduce liquid slightly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter mixture and Dijon and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork, drizzle with sauce and serve the shallots on the side.

Serves 4-6
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovies, and Red Pepper 

1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough ends removed, cut crosswise into 1-2 inch pieces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 oil packed anchovy filets, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lemon

Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli rabe and cook 2 minutes.  Drain and immediately plunge the rabe into a bowl of ice water.  Once cool, drain again and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and, when hot, add the garlic, anchovy, and red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring, just until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Do not let the garlic brown. 

Add the broccoli rabe to the pan.  Continuously toss with tongs until the rabe begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, toss, and reduce the heat to medium low.  Simmer until the broccoli rabe is just tender, 2-3 minutes more. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half over the dish. 
Serves 4

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay

2 pounds small waxy potatoes (baby Yukons or reds)
1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
5 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 tbs olive oil
coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (ok to do it at 375 if you want to cook pork at the same time, just add a few minutes for the potatoes).

Put the potatoes in a large piece of heavy aluminum foil, or a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Add the garlic, rosemary, bay leave, and olive oil.  Season with salt and toss well.  Add a splash of water.  Tightly close the foil or cover the baking dish with foil.  Bake until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.  Serve right away.

Serves 4-6

Pear Tarte Tatin with Winter Spices

8-10 inch rectangle of good quality frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 firm, ripe pears-peeled, halved, and cored
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Refrigerate the pastry dough for 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using 1 tbs of the butter, grease a 12-inch round baking dish with 2 inch sides.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom.  Place the pears, cut side up, in the prepared dish.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar.  Top with the crystallized ginger and lemon juice.  Cut the remaining 2 tbs of butter into bits and dot the tops of the pears with it.  In a small bowl stir together the remaining brown sugar and the nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon-sprinkle the mixture over the pears.

On a floured work surface, roll. out the pastry a little larger than the diameter of the dish and 1/4-inch thick.  Transfer the dough to the pan, tucking the edges of the pastry into the bottom of the dish to form a rim that encircles the pears.  Prick the top all over with a fork.  Tarte can be refrigerated at this point up to 6 hours.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, the pears are tender, and the a thickened, golden syrup has formed in the dish, about 1 hours.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside edge of the dish to loosen the sides.  Invert the tart onto a plate, dislodging and replacing any pears that may have stuck to the dish.  Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 6-8

1 comment:

Chris said...

Made a little change to the pork recipe. After taking it out of the oven, I left the shallots in the pan. I added the butter and then flour. I cooked it for 2 minutes and proceeded with the recipe as written. Would work well with chicken too. Very good and easy!

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