Michael's headed off to his first Homecoming Dance next week, and like overprotective parents everywhere, we wanted to know the girl he's taking. We decided the best way to do that was to invite Jane (the girl in question) and her parents over to Sunday dinner.
Pollyanna and I worked up a menu, got Michael's approval, and made the invitations. We decided on a stuffed pork loin, rot kraut, ratatouille, and rolls. Jane and her mom offered to bring a dessert. On Saturday, we headed off to Sunflower Market to pick some things up. The real fun began on Sunday though.
Pollyanna and Michael set the table and then I sent Michael into the garden for summer squash, tomatoes, red cabbage, and leeks. Pollyanna whipped up the dough for her rolls, and I put the wild rice on to simmer and chopped up some bacon to brown. Once the rice was done, I added the mushrooms and let it set for a bit.
While the rice cooled, I skinned the eggplant then chopped it, the squash, the tomatoes, a bit of garlic, some leeks, and a yellow onion. The veggies all went into my dutch oven with some kosher salt, crushed black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
With that in the oven, I got going on the pork loin. The first step was to cut it (jelly roll style), and lay it out. Then I brushed on a mixture of olive oil, balsamic, and a touch of liquid smoke. A touch of kosher salt and black pepper was followed with a layer of baby leeks from the garden. Next I spooned on the rice and mushrooms, spread that evenly across the top, and finished it with the chopped bacon I'd browned earlier.
I rolled the whole thing back up, rolled it tightly in foil, and popped it in the oven to start roasting alongside the ratatouille.
Next I shredded the cabbage, thinly sliced some onion and a pair of granny smith apples. I tossed the onion into a saute pan with the bacon grease and let them soften over low heat. As they started to brown, I added the apples and the cabbage and covered the whole thing. While the rot kraut softened, I mixed up some balsamic vinegar, ground cloves, and brown sugar to add a bit of extra flavor to the dish. After ten minutes or so, I added my vinegar mix, stirred everything up, and removed it from the heat.
As Pollyanna shaped the rolls, I pulled the pork loin back out, sliced it into individual servings, and put it back in the oven to finish.
The rolls went in at the same time. Fifteen minutes later, we were ready to plate and serve.
Dinner was a great success, we enjoyed meeting Jane and her family, and everyone ended up having a good time. Now, it's time to start planning next week's Sunday dinner. What are you eating these days?