A passion for food + fashion

Dinner Party in Less Than Two Hours

In Food on February 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm
Friday afternoon I had a last-minute work meeting that ended sometime in the 4 o’clock hour, putting me back at home closer to 5 pm. Guests would be arriving—with illegal Chinese ham—at 7:30 pm. Two of these guests would be food bloggers, which kind of freaked me out. Pressure was on. And one of these guests would be 33 weeks pregnant so I didn’t want to take my chances with shellfish. And so, I did what any pork lover in her right mind would do. I served more pork. This Herb-Roasted Pork Loin could not be easier and presentation is sooo pretty. Simply mix up a little dijon, chopped shallots and minced garlic and smooth over the roast. Set roast on a bed of herbs, and cover with some more and let it do its thing for a couple hours while you go into high gear on the sides.
This roast also means that you’ll be able to hang out with your guests rather than fussing last minute—it comes out of the oven picture perfect and so damn good.
So while the roast was roasting, I made up a batch of Suzanne Goin’s salsa verde with French feta that takes about two seconds in a mini Cuisinart (a bunch of Italian parsley, fresh marjoram, basil, anchovy, olive oil, lemon juice—blend it up and then add chopped capers and crumbled French feta). I took another page out of Goin’s book for her awesome salad of blood oranges, dates, parmesan, and almonds that she served at the SAG Awards last weekend. And because this evening was designed around the contraband ham I broke out a little contraband of my own: I drizzled some smuggled South African olive oil over the salad. (The recipe calls for almond oil, but the olive oil was plenty dreamy.)
Also, I pulled out one of my favorite quickie sides—an onion and Gruyère tart—using a secret WEAPON: frozen puff pastry from the supermarket. I’ll post that recipe tomorrow, but here’s a pic of the tart. I usually use bacon or lardons, but given our heavy handedness with the pork already, I went with cured black olives instead.
And because I had the time and the ingredients, I made a super-fast batch of tuna rillettes from Dorie Greenspan’s new Around My French Table cookbook to nibble along with the contraband ham. Recipe to come, but wouldn’t these make a great hostess gift?
Finally, I’m cheating just a little when I say I had dinner ready in less than two hours. Because I didn’t make dessert. Fittingly, since I’d borrowed from Suzanne Goin at every turn on Friday night, my friend Robyn brought “Snickers Bars” from the Larder at Tavern in Brentwood and some vanilla ice cream. There are no words. Well, maybe just two: THANK YOU!
  1. Next time you have a dinner party, invite me! It all looks amazing!

  2. I have one lonely sheet of puff pastry in the freezer, a block of gruyere, and my father arriving at my house only minutes after I’ll be able to get away from the office — might you divulge your onion tart secret?

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