Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ladies Xmas Luncheon

I wanted to serve my ladies' group something a little special this week. Not that every week isn't special--but the last meeting before Christmas called for something a little more. There were only four of us this week, so it could be an intimate meal.

So I set a pretty table.

And lit some candles.

My friend and I planned a special menu of Pork Loin Roast, Mashed Butternut Squash, Cinnamon- and Nutmeg-Spiced Applesauce, Broccoli Parmesan and a dessert of Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream.

On each chair I placed a small gift, wrapped just so in my signature brown craft paper adorned with gorgeous holiday ribbons, raffia and other pretty doo-dads. Covered with the ends of the tablecloth, they were completely invisible until they pulled out their chairs to be seated.

What a treat it was for me to witness their delight, and it's always a pleasure to hear the "Oohs" and "Aahs" of a well-executed and much-enjoyed meal.

M made the squash, applesauce and dessert. But I made the pork, and oh, how delicious it was.

Pork Loin Roast
serves 4 generous portions

1 2-1/2 pound boneless pork loin roast, tied

For Marinade:
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried italian parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce

Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Using a mortar and pestle (or a cutting board and the flat of your knife), mash together garlic and salt to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix in parsley, sage, thyme, chili powder, cinnamon, lemon juice and soy sauce.

Place the roast in the pan and rub with marinade on all sides. Place roast fat-side up and set aside to marinate for about 15 minutes while the oven is preheating to 425*F.

Roast in the center of oven at 425*F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250*F and cook for one hour. Cover roast with foil and return to oven for another 2 hours, or until thermometer registers 155*F. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

You won't be shy about licking your fingers while eating this succulent roast!

And before anyone creams me for typing "Xmas" instead of "Christmas": Many Christians denounce this oft-used shortcut, proclaiming that it takes Christ out of the holiday. But if you understand the history of language, you know that X was the greek letter for the sound Ch and used as a symbol for the word Christ. So by using X, we are indeed identifying Christ as the reason for this holiday.

For references elsewhere, you can see here, here and here.


Mrs Mecomber said...

What a lovely table! And your menu sounds scrumptious. I haven't had butternut squash in ages...

I've been meaning to ask you-- doesn't Utica have fireworks New Year's Day (that evening)?? Is there a parade that day? I can't remember, and the internet is sadly lacking info.

Mrs. W said...

Thank you. That's actually white end-roll paper on top of the tablecloth. I love to use it--keeps spills off the fabric.

This autumn I really stocked up on winter squash at my favorite farmer's market in schuyler. This Christmas I'll be cooking up my last one.

I'll have to ask some newspaper-reading friends about Utica fireworks and let you know.

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