Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Dinner for Persephone

Written by Patti on November 15th, 2010

Good Morning Darlings!

POM Wonderful contacted me recently to let me know I was one of 100 folks chosen to throw a dinner party with them. A bundle of goodie bags and two cases of pomegranates landed at my door not too long after.

48 pomegranates. Big, red and heavy with seeds. How would I possibly store them all? Google came to my rescue and informed me they would stay fresh in a cool pantry for a month. Excellent.

I love the pomegranate and I love the story of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, who, as she thought she was leaving behind her husband, Hades, forever, was tricked into eating several pomegranate seeds. You see, anyone who eats or drinks anything in the Underworld is doomed to spend eternity there. As Persephone only nibbled a few pomegranate seeds, she was sentenced to return to the Underworld every Winter, thus creating the seasons.

The Return of Persephone

If Persephone were in my home, you know I would have fed her so much more than a few seeds. Let me tell you how the menu would play out, like it did in our home last week.

My pal Curtis and I went shopping a few days before the party to pick up everything we would need for this very special dinner. Super H for produce and meat, Dollar Tree for glasses to hold my special welcome cocktail and Kroger for the rest.

I read in an Ina Garten cookbook that some of her most favorite dinner parties were when she and a friend would split the invites down the middle and invite guests the other hadn’t met yet. I chose my new friend Kevin, the event planner, to join me and invite half the guests. It worked out well. The twelve of us got along splendidly.

Kevin also brought a couple of dishes, thus lightening my responsibilities so I could concentrate on my mound of pomegranates. The lovely folks at POM also gave me gift certificates for their fab POM Wonderful juice to use in the recipes.

The menu was planned.

POM Welcome – Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

Amuse Bouche – Slices of Granny Smith Apple, Chevre Quenelles, Pom Seeds

Salad – Steamed Green Beans, Mandarin Orange Slices, Pom Seeds

Main – Pork Shoulder Roast, Pomegranate/Orange Reduction Sauce

Sides – Mashed Potatoes

Glazed Carrots with fresh Cranberries and Rosemary

Roasted Asparagus with Butter and Parmesan

Challah Loaf

Palate Cleanser – Pomegranate Granita

Dessert – Cheesecake filled with Raspberry/Pom Preserves/Oreo Crust

We had a bit of late start, but everyone enjoyed the welcome cocktails and getting to know one another.

Glasses filled with POM Wonderful juice, waiting for bubbly.

And my darling Eric did a gorgeous job with the amuse bouche. I love his attention to detail.

Eric, making chevre quenelles.

Amuse Bouche, ready to be passed around.

Everyone merrily nibbled and sipped bubbly as we puttered around the kitchen readying the last bits of the meal.

Sarah, Monica, Eleanor and Kim, toasting for the camera.

Crystal, Sarah and Teague visit before dinner.

Our dear Lauren, looking gorgeous!

Kevin and me. Giving a party with someone makes it so much more fun.

It was soon time for everyone to take their seats at the table. I had spent the afternoon seeding four of these gorgeous fruits, but decided their abundance would look magnificent on the table, as the centerpiece and as the candle holders (I carved a space in 4 poms and inserted the tapers). After dinner, everyone was encouraged to take several home with them, so they could continue to enjoy and remember our evening together.

A feast for Persephone

There is nothing more satisfying than having everyone gather together at the table.

Time to dig in.

Our salad course

Pomegranates everywhere!

The other side of the table.

Pomegranate Granita

The granita is so easy to make. Recipe below:

Pomegranate Granita

6 cups of POM Wonderful juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

Mix all together, pour into a 9×13″ pan and place in freezer (special notes – make room in your freezer first, place pan in freezer and pour mixture in. Otherwise, you are carrying a huge pan of liquid – it gets messy).

Every 45 minutes, scrape the mixture until you have a pan of lovely red crystals.

The granita was our palate cleanser after dinner and before dessert. The cheesecake was well received.

Pomegranate/Raspberry Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

A million thanks to POM Wonderful for all the goodies and giving me a reason to host a special dinner party. Take a look at their website for some really scrumptious recipes and just to ogle the fruit.

Persephone would be pleased.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Ne-Yo – Forbidden Fruit (feat. Shakira)


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Eddie Ross says:

    Congrats, that is so cool!! What a great party!


  2. Patti says:

    Oh….thanks so much my darling E + J. Wish you both were here! xoxo,P