Friday, September 18, 2009

MMIX Fall Kick Off Dinner

It is Friday night and I feel pretty certain that I am the only red blooded American at home working on a cooking blog. All of my readers are beautiful, toney, and cool, so they are out at a night club, or a latest release movie, or a neighbor's BBQ. But not me. I'm home. The truth is, I really like it here. It's peaceful after a week that was mind-spinningly busy. Still I have my little to do list, even on a Friday night. It goes a little something like this: Number one: Begin to sew Sailor's Halloween Costume. She wants to be a Mary Engelbreit style witch this year. I think I can pull it off, that is if no one looks too closely at zipper or buttons. Number two: Read political philosophers Locke and Hobbes and prepare lecture plus something un-boring for this week's classes. Maybe I'll have my students draw a political cartoon. Number three: Finish reading Dracula for Cookie Bookie week, coming in October. Already finished Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Number four: Complete the Crossword puzzle. Today's has me stuck. For Pete's sake, does anybody know of a Puerto Rican born Oscar winner with six letters? Send help. And Number Five: Share Fall Kick Off Dinner with Dear Readers, who are all out having fun and won't be able to read this until Monday morning. But Monday will be just right, see, because Tuesday is the official first day of Fall. So go ahead and play all weekend, but don't forget to celebrate the start of a brand new season with this stellar menu. Fall: My windy, whirly, winsome favorite.
2009 Fall Kick Off Dinner Menu
Spinach Salad with Apples and Swiss and Mustard Vinaigrette
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Cider and Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples
Buttered Green Beans
Flaky Apple Turnovers (see previous post)
Money Saving Tips: This celebratory dinner makes use of common ingredients (Potatoes, onions, apples, pork chops, dried thyme), so the good news is that it's very affordable. To make it even cheaper, choose whatever firm apple you can find on sale at the market. Use apple juice in place of the cider, or swap out the maple syrup for honey. Spring mix or Romaine can stand in for the Spinach. It's all good.
Spinach Salad with Apples and Swiss and Mustard Vinaigrette
Estimated Cost: $4.50 for four servings
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 of a 6 ounce bag baby spinach
1 apple, skin on, thinly sliced
2 ounces swiss cheese, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced almonds

In a small bowl, combine mustard, syrup, oil, and vinegar, whisking to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. On four separate plates, layer spinach, apple slices, cheese, onion, and almonds. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Estimated Cost: $3.00 for four servings and leftovers
Notes: These tangy potatoes are so fantastic with the sweet cider pan juices.
3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttemilk
1/2 cup sour cream (low fat is fine)
2 tablespoons butter, plus more if desired
Place potaotes in large pot and cover with cold water. Add salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until tender, about ten minutes. Drain potatoes in colander discarding all water. Place potatoes back in same pan over low heat to dry out potatoes. Using hand masher, mash potatoes adding in buttermilk, sour cream, and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mash until smooth adding more milk or butter if needed. Dot the top of the potatoes with butter and put the lid on pan until serving time.
Cider and Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for four servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (plus 1 more tablespoon)
1 lb pork chops, boneless
2 tablespoons flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Preheat oil in skillet. Sprinkle chops with flour and about 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook chops for three minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm. To same skillet, add an additional tablespoon oil and onions. Cook until onions begin to soften, about five minutes. Add butter, thyme, and apples. Saute for about five minutes, or until softened and browned in some places. Pour in cider, maple, and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Return chops to pan. Cook for five minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. To serve, arrange potatoes on plate and spoon pan juices over potatoes. Serve chops with apples atop.

UP Next:
Blackberry Jam Pufflet Cookies


Ginger said...

I'm new to your blog and think I've found a winner. Like you, I would rather be home cooking than most anythign else. I'll try this new dish on Tuesday in honor of Fall.

I'm also interested in your little blip about Hobbs and Locke--I think you said. Do you teach classics? Where? I've been working through the great books set on my own. Sometimes it numbs my mind. Any suggestions?

linda m. said...

did Rita Moreno win an Oscar? (love your blog--thanks for the wonderful recipes tonight!)

Catherine said...

This looks delicious. I think my family will love it. I can't wait for Fall. It's my favorite season, too. Except I can't help but wonder where on earth my summer went.

NicNacManiac said...

WOW...that salad looks so yummy!! I love the idea of using the apple quarters on the looks so appetizing!! I suppose you have guessed that I am sending this comment from the dance floor of a very trendy club that I frequent on Friday nights...just so you know!!

Anonymous said...

Cookie Bookie week? (Perking Up!) The ginger cookie recipe you posted last year has become my favorite cookie EVER, and I've made it at least a half dozen times since.

Also, you posted a recipe for take-out style curry that I just looked at the ingredients list for so I can make it this weekend. Sunday afternoon I plan to be planted on my couch watching football and eating curry.

Thanks for all the great recipes you post!


Lisa said...

Can't believe fall is around the corner. Great dinner! If the Oscar winner is not Rita Moreno, it could be Jose Ferrer. I'm home on Friday night doing my blog and twitter:)

Anonymous said...

Here's a list I came up with on google:


Anonymous said...

Well, I got cut off - I'll try again. You'll have to piecemeal it together. But it looks like Ferrer or Moreno.


VeggieGirl said...

Wahoo!! Awesome kick-off menu :)

Donna said...

I think it's Ferrer for his win in 1950 for Cyrano de Bergerac...Hahaa...looked it up.
Thanks for the brain exercise! What was the answer?
The food looks delicious! Have a restful weekend!

Dakotapam said...

Oh yum! I may just have to cook this for the fam...but I work on Tuesday, so Monday night it will be!

Meg said...

Was is 'Selma' Hyeck for Frida?

Rich'n'Rach said...

Let me be the first to thank you for sacrificing your Friday night to give us this FABULOUS menu - it looks divine! p.s. I was home watching netflix last night w/ the husband...not even close to a night club lol :)

jillianaiden&declan said...

Jose Ferrer or Rita Moreno

The Renouf Family said...

Looks absolutely delicious. I'm making it all tomorrow and licking my plate clean.
I'm glad there is another soul on earth who likes a good Friday night at home.

Aggie said...

Love the menu...and got excited about fall and cookie bookie week in the process! I'm not one of your toney readers either...I like being home on Friday nights, tucked in early reading or catching up on my favorite shows.

Prudy said...


Rachel said...

I was home bottling (and cursing) pears! This looks delicious...Sunday dinner here we come!

luckygirlgifts said...

This is a fantastic idea. I love the idea of celebrating the change of seasons properly. I grew up with no traditions and like to create new traditions for my children. They really love and often remind me of "traditions" I didn't know were our traditions.
So, I am going to make this dinner, I'll let you know how it goes. I am thinking I might make mashed sweet potatoes instead. Been craving them something terrible.
Enjoy what's left of your weekend and summer.

kitchen tables said...

Wow! Mash potatoes! Mash potatoes, I love! I always find some real good stuff here in your blog! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Erin.. I am so sorry I've missed so many posts = ( The salad, the spread, the entire meal looks DELISH.

The Japanese Redneck said...

We were at home too. Not working on the blog, but doing horse chores. Hubby whipped up stir fry on the griddle.

Your dinner looks good. I can see why it's a favorite.


Katherine Aucoin said...

I heart fall, apples and this dinner!

I was home Friday night cooking a meal to post on my blog. We're too poor to be cool and go out clubbing these days ~sigh~

crabigail adams said...

My vote goes to Jose Ferrer, too!

For some reason, when I think of Locke and the divine right of kings, I think of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the peasant is teasing Arthur about becoming king because of a lady in a lake with a sword. "You mean some moist bit in a pond hands you a dagger and you get to be king?"

Adrienne said...

We loved the idea of the Fall kickoff dinner, and adored the maple pork chops. I loved that my kitchen smelled like a five-star restaurant or woodland spa retreat!

Rachel said...

Thanks - I'm making these pork chops tonight for dinner! =)

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