Friday, October 21, 2011

Cider-Roasted Pork Loin for Steph's Virtual Bridal Shower

A couple months ago, my friend Steph from Steph's Bite by Bite announced that her and her fiance had to move up their wedding date by 9 months. I don't know about you, but my wedding planning took a full 9 months or so to get all of it in. I couldn't imagine having to squish it all down to two months! Yet due to circumstances out of their control, they moved the date from June 30, 2012, to October 29, 2011. What a champ! I would want to just throw my hands up and cry. Yet Steph hasn't, and you should really go and check out some of the really awesome (and cute!) wedding ideas she has, as well as all of her mouth-watering sweets and great looking dishes.

With the nuptials coming up right around the corner, Kita from Pass the Sushi came up with the great idea to surprise Steph with a "virtual" bridal shower of food bloggers, featuring great "date night" dishes for those times when they want to kick it up a night a home. Of course I was in.

Steph: Hope your wedding day goes off flawlessly and is everything you wanted! Congrats to you both!

For my "Big Night In" meal, I opted for the appetizer, entree and a side, and dessert route. Whew! Definitely some work, but totally worth it!

First, we start with one of my favorite appetizers of all time -- Spin Dip (better known as Spinach & Artichoke Dip). I may or may not be known to walk into a restaurant and order this solely and an entree. I can neither confirm or deny. However, I am one of those people who do not like mayo, so it took a bit of hunting to find a recipe that looked promising. I think this version proves that mayo is definitely not necessary for this dip, it's fantastic the way it is.

Next, we move to a Cider-Roasted Pork Loin with Pommes Anna. The pork has a nice kick from the peppercorns with a sweetness from the cider reduction -- great for a nice fall or winter evening. Just make sure you brine that sucker for a long, long time to prevent it getting dry while cooking. As for those Pommes Anna, which is supposed to look like a lovely little potato cake with rings of potato slices (not just a heap of potatoes). Well, we'll just say the taste was fantastic. I might have some work to do in the looks department on that dish.

To finish things off, I opted for a fantastically rich Peanut Butter Torte (which can easily be made the day ahead). This delicacy will come next week my friends. Mwahaha. So mean, I know.

Spin Dip

Adapted from: Blog is the New Black

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning (such as McCormick's, or make your own)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
1 (16 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, flour, garlic pepper, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon Romano. Warm mixture in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the mixture is hot and slightly thickened. Add spinach, Asiago cheese, and artichokes until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread evenly across pan. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and Romano over the top. Bake, uncovered, 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and turn heat to broil. Once oven is heated, place under the broiler 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Serves: 8 as an appetizer

Cider-Roasted Pork Loin

Adapted from: Cooking Light, October 2004

3 cups water
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed
2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon dried rosemary1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring the first 6 ingredients (through bay leaf) to a boil. Stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour brine into a large ziploc bag with pork. Seal bag and place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours (preferably overnight). Turn bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups of cider to a boil. Continue to cook until cider thickens and is reduced to about 1/4 of a cup. Set aside.

Meanwhile, remove pork from bag and discard brine. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, oregano, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Rub herb mixture over pork. Place pork on the rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. During the final 20 minutes of cooking, baste the pork at least twice with the cider reduction. Remove pork from oven and baste pork with cider reduction a third time. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with any remaining cider reduction.

Serves: 8

Pommes Anna

Adapted from: Food Network

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled, placed in a bowl of water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in 20 second increments. Once melted, set aside.

Slice potatoes into thin rounds with a mandolin or a very sharp knife. Pat slices dry. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Arrange 1 layer of overlapping potato slices over the bottom of the pan in concentric circles. Drizzle with 1/3 of melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Repeat twice more, for a total of three layers. Cook potato cake on low 25-30 minutes, or until the bottom potatoes are golden and crisp around the outside. Shake pan several times while cooking to prevent potato cake from sticking.

Using the lid of the pan to hold potatoes in place, pour off the excess butter into a small bowl; reserve. Place the same lid (the same size as the skillet) over the potatoes. Holding the lid in place, flip the pan over (the potatoes should now be on the lid and not in the pan). Pour the reserved butter back into the pan. Slide the potatoes back into the pan, uncooked side down. Place skillet in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Shake the pan several times while baking to keep the potatoes from sticking. Potatoes are done when the bottom is browned and crisp.

Pour off any remaining butter left in the pan. Slide potatoes onto a serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves: 6 (as a side)

Check back next week for this!

Congrats again Steph!

Check out all the other Date Night Dinners for Steph's Virtual Bridal shower!

Nutrition Facts - Spin Dip
Serving Size 149g
Amount per serving
Calories 176Calories from fat 113
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.6g19%
Saturated Fat 7.8g39%
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 333mg14%
Total Carbs 8.9g3%
Fiber 4.0g16%
Sugars 0.8g
Protein 9.0g
Vitamin A 114%Vitamin C 36%
Calcium 25%Iron 13%

Nutrition Facts - Cider-Roasted Pork Loin*
Amount per serving
Calories 200Calories from fat 60
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.6g10%
Saturated Fat 2.2g11%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 419mg17%
Total Carbs 9.2g3%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Protein 24.4g

Nutrition Facts - Pommes Anna
Serving Size 206g
Amount per serving
Calories 237Calories from fat 108
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.0g18%
Saturated Fat 7.5g37%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 687mg29%
Total Carbs 29.9g10%
Fiber 4.6g18%
Sugars 2.2g
Protein 3.6g
Vitamin A 7%Vitamin C 62%
Calcium 3%Iron 6%

*Nutrition Facts from Cooking Light


  1. It all looks so wonderful! I want it all, especially the spinach dip and that amazing cake! It's peanut butter and I know I'll love it.

  2. This all looks great! I am a sucker for a good spinach dip...looks so yummy!

    Haha and you call it "spin dip"...that reminded me of my restaurant days as a server hehe :-)

  3. Looks incredible. That pork loin looks like perfection to me. So nice of you to do this virtual shower. Very cute idea.

  4. Looks like a delicious date night! We love pork tenderloin in this house, this would be perfect for a Friday night in!

  5. WOW what an awesome meal for date night. I need to try this pork for my husband for our next date night. He loves pork tenderloin and I love the idea of using cider. Yum!

  6. Everything looks fabulous. You know I'll be checking back next week for that cake! Wow!

  7. OMG!! I cannot even begin to thank you enough for doing this! I am over the moon about it, and was so SURPRISED!! You are amazing...and so is this meal! It's like everything I love is all in one sit down dinner. I have got to save this whole menu and make it ASAP! I might have to eat the pie first ;)

  8. You did such a beautiful job for this one Danielle! Thank you soooo much for helping me with this one and preparing such an awesome meal. Cider-Roasted Pork Loin sounds mouth watering and I really have got to try Pommes Anna one of these days.

  9. What a wonderful meal! Great job!



Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover