Tonight marked the first evening in over a month that my husband and I were both in town for Sunday dinner. We held our usual open house dinner party and I decided to take a culinary risk betting on recipes out of a cookbook I’d not used before. It’s a minor gamble to rely on a recipe you’ve never made out of a cookbook you are well familiar with and have used for other recipes to success. It’s a major gamble to source recipes from a book you’ve never worked with before. Luckily the risk resulted in reward as each of the dishes were met with enthusiasm and praise after tasting. We had three guests join us for dinner so with Jonathan and I that made five around the table.
All recipes excluding dessert are from Holiday Fare : Favorite Williamsburg Recipes. This is the souvenir cookbook Jonathan chose for me from our visit to Colonial Williamsburg – he presented it to me as a Christmas gift a few years back.
We opened dinner with Candied Pecans and Leek-y Brie. I am not a leek fan (neither cleaning the sand laden vegetable nor eating it appeal it me much) so I substituted scallions for the leeks. We used St. Andre triple crème brie as our cheese of choice (thank you Costco sale) and it was fabulously creamy. I was worried that the abrupt sharpness of scallions would not harmonize well with the caramelized pecans but it all works together beautifully.
Our main course was a composed trio: Sugar and Spice Pork Tenderloin with Cabbage Pear Compote; Black-Eyed Peas (smoked ham hock stewed with 2 cans black-eyed peas, 1 onion diced, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 can diced tomatoes, handful of fresh rosemary, handful of fresh thyme, 1 T butter, and enough water to cover the ham hock – cook until most of the water evaporates (about 35-40 minutes); and Skillet-Baked Cornbread. I was really leery of the whole presentation as I’m not a mustard fan (the pork is slathered with mustard before the crusting and baking), I don’t typically enjoy cabbage and I’ve never been a fan of black-eyed peas. So glad I was open minded enough to give it a try because every element of the composition was delicious.
We rounded out the meal with a Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie that Jonathan made and chocolate cake brought by one of our guests, Natalie.
Next time I chronicle a meal I’ll employ the good sense to take pictures so that you don’t just have to imagine what everything looked like (you’ll still have to imagine what everything tastes like unless you take the time to download the recipes and try them for yourself, which of course, I recommend highly).
I’d love to read about what you’ve been cooking up in your kitchens this week.