A cosy autumn supper with friends

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The first crisp nights of fall call for cozy dinner parties with good friends. I ushered in the season with sumptuous harvest dinner for 10. Charred eggplant caviar, assorted bread with olive oils, walnut-rosemary bread and lots of garlic were just a few of the items on the menu that took a cue from rustic Italian cuisine. Influenced by both Italy, France and USA, the full flavors of the meal were heightened with an appropriate and delicious wine pairing for each course.

The menu on 9th of November 2012 was the next: Charred eggplant, Salad Lyonnaise, Braised pork with Chinese cabbage slaw (with citrus seasoned soy sauce, the recipe is from Loveless cafe Nashwille) and with croquettes, Pears cooked in Tokaji wine and whipped creme on top (after Carluccio)

My autumn coctail was the next: 1 and half cups vodka, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, half cup Galliano and half cup honey liqueur. Shake pour into glasses. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Horse d’oevres Charred eggplant caviar: 1/2 cups 3 small eggplants, 2 large garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, salt and pepper

Prepare grill with medium hot coals or heat oven to 200 C-400 F. pierce eggplant in several places. Place on grill or in oven and cook until throughout. Remove pulp from eggplant and place in bowl of food processor with garlic. with machine running pour in oil and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, until an hour before serving. Place in serwing bowl, stir in parsley salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted bread for dipping.

With the eggplant I served a sparkling wine the Schramberg brut

Salad Lyonnaise: fresh frisee lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces, 2 strips bacon, 1 teaspoon chopped shallots, 1 slice French or Italian bread and a little butter to make buttered croutons, 1 Poached egg per person, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cook two strips of bacon on medium heat until done, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let drain of excess fat on a paper towel. Once cool, chop.

2 Cut a slice of French or Italian bread into cubes. Toast on medium high heat in a small saucepan with a teaspoon of melted butter. Do not stir bread unless to turn to a different side once one side is toasted.

3 Poach egg your favorite way.  

4 Layer the frisée, bacon, shallots, and croutons on a salad plate. In a small jar, mix the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad. Top with the poached egg.

Braised pork with Chinese cabbage 2 tablespoons canola oil, 36 ounces boneless pork chops, trimmed of any fat, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 sprig fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:1 Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. 2 Brown pork chops on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 3 Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together mustard, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt with 1/3 cup water. 4 Pour over pork chops. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until tender, about 1 hour. 5 Transfer pork to a serving platter. 6 Raise heat to medium-high and cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. 7 Pour sauce over pork chops; garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Offer Sauvignon blanc
 
Carluccio pears in Tokaji wine 1 cup Tokaji wine, 3⁄4 cups sugar, 2 strips orange peel, 2 strip lemon peel, 1 stick cinnamon, 4 firm ripe Bosc pears, Ice cream, or vanilla sauce, for serving
1. Combine wine, sugar, orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
2. Cut 1⁄4″ from pear bottoms to make a flat surface. Peel pears and nestle them into bottom of pan containing wine mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until a knife slides into pears with ease, 50–60 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool. To serve, transfer pears, cut side down, to 4 plates and drizzle some of the sauce from the pan over pears. Serve with ice cream.
 
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