Monday, August 2, 2010

Garrick's Birthday Dinner

Every year for Garrick's birthday I make him a special dinner on his actual birthday. For the last 3 years he has wanted fried chicken and mac n cheese. This year he said he wanted something different. He wanted pork. Of course. He loves pork; I don't really care for it. So we went to Borders to check out the cookbooks and see if there was anything he wanted, and I would get the cookbook. Well, he did find something he wanted but the book was some $30 and I wouldn't be able to make hardly anything from it simply because the ingredients were either too expensive or not available here in Kansas. So what did I do? I pulled a receipt out of my purse and wrote it down. That's right, I stole it. It was pork medallions with goat cheese and an apple raisin compote. He wanted that and sweet potato fries (another food I don't particularly care for), and I decided that we needed something green so I put together a spinach salad.

Here are the recipes:

Pork Medallions with Goat Cheese and Apple Raisin Compote
 For the pork:
3 lb pork loin, cut in 1/4" slices and pounded to 1/8"
1 1/2 cup flour with seasoned salt, pepper, and paprika
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled

For the compote:
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Melt butter in grape seed oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dredge the pork in the flour mixture, and cook in the skillet for 2 minutes on each side, undisturbed. Place pork on a plate and cover with tin foil. Leave juices and oil in the skillet.
2. Cook the apples and raisins in the same skillet for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, and simmer to cook off most of the alcohol. Add the vegetable stock and cinnamon and cook 5 more minutes. Add butter.
3. To plate, place pork medallions down, and cover with the compote, then top with the goat cheese.

I had kind of a hard time with the prep for this recipe. It's a pretty straight-forward recipe but I forgot to peel 4 of my 6 apples so after I sliced them I had to go back and cut off the peel. I do stuff like that all the time because I tend to skim through the recipe then realize too late that I missed something. That and like half of my apples ended up being rotten on the inside.

The sweet potato fries I cheated and bought frozen and just baked them :)

Spinach Salad
1 bag of spinach
1 fuji apple
1/3 cup scallions, sliced
3/4 cup balsamic glazed walnuts (recipe below)
red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)

Balsamic Glazed Walnuts
This recipe is adapted from How Sweet 
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts

Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan, and cook over medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add walnuts and stir to coat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts  to wax paper and leave out until they dry, an hour or two.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
I got this recipe from Garrick's sister.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
2-3 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Now I'm not a huge fan of salads. I think they tend to be monotonous, uninteresting, and not nearly filling enough. But I could eat this salad as a meal every day. It's so good. The sweetness from the apples help to cut through the vinegar, while the mustard adds a little zing, and a nice crunch from the nuts...I could go on. I love it.

If you're a fan of pork you should give the recipe a try. And I don't care what you're into - try the salad.


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVED my birthday dinner! I'm eating the left-overs tomorrow, unless the station provides dinner on election night.

  2. Looks like little ghost turds...that goat cheese I mean... ha ha

  3. Yeah, it's not the most attractive dinner in the world. If I hadn't added the salad it would have been very monochromatic.