Petite Sirah Sorbet
Create a simple syrup by combining 1 1/4 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar, heating and stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Cool, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Combine 1 1/4 cups of the simple syrup with 3 1/2 cups of Petite Sirah, 1 1/2 cups of water and a 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice into an ice cream maker, then follow the manufacturer's directions (mine ran for about 30 minutes). Put into the freezer for a few hours.
If you want the sorbet's consistency to be smooth even when frozen, add a tablespoon or so of vodka. Because vodka doesn't freeze, it will keep that sorbet easier to scoop up. And because vodka has no flavor, it won't interfere with your final product.
This is not a sweet, dessert-like sorbet. Rather, it's a between-course palate cleanser. I tried a spoonful, and I could taste the bold flavors of the Petite Sirah, as well as its tannins. This sorbet is not for the faint of palate!
This sorbet was simple to make and will provide a fun interlude in the meal and keep to its theme. If you prefer to make a wine-based sorbet that serves as a sweeter dessert, you'd probably want to use a less-tannic variety and either boost the syrup or cut back on the wine.
3 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons course salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound white mushrooms, stems removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup sherry
all-purpose flour for work surface
1 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 pound mushroom pate, room temperature (*)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Tie the tenderloin with kitchen twine in 1 inch increments to form an even piece, so it will hold its shape during cooking.
Heat a large cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sear tenderloin until well browned on all surfaces, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side including ends.
Transfer tenderloin to a cutting board, allow to drain and cool. Chill until ready to assemble and the pork is cold at least one hour or overnight.
In another large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, cook until it softens, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with the remaining teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and liquid is released and evaporates, 8 - 10 minutes. Add sherry, cook until the mixture is dry, about 4 minutes more. Cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a day.
On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick and big enough to enclose the pork. If using store-bought pastry, it may be necessary to lay out two pieces, overlapping, and roll them out into one piece. Spread the top of the tenderloin evenly with half of the pate, and spread half of the mushrooms evenly over the top.
Carefully invert the coated tenderloin into the middle of the puff pastry, mushroom side down. Spread another layer of pate on the sides and top of the tenderloin. Spread the remaining mushrooms over the top. Fold up the long sides of the dough to enclose the tenderloin, brushing edges with an egg-wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary, then fold up and seal. Carfully transfer the tenderloin seam side down, to a baking sheet, and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven until hot, about 15 minutes. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg-wash. Make 2 - 3 slits in the pastry to vent the steam. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Carefully transfer the pork Wellington to the preheated baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, and the pork is done, approximately 60 minutes. Cover pastry with foil if it gets too brown during cooking. Let rest
on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
(*) Most grocery stores have several kinds of pate to choose from; mushroom, vegetable, chicken liver, goose liver. It is your choice as to which you prefer.
Broiled Sea Scallops
2 pounds fresh sea scallops (or bay scallops)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup bread crumbs
5 tablespoons each of parsley, chives, tarragon and dill, chopped very finely.
2/3 cup melted butter
salt and pepper
1. Arrange scallops in a large, buttered glass baking dish. Add vermouth and swirl gently to distribute evenly. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 of each of the herbs, salt and pepper very lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
2. Preheat broiler.
3. After marinating, dust the herbs from the tops of the scallops and brush each with 1 teaspoon of melted butter, followed by a very light coating of bread crumbs. Add a pinch on nutmeg to each and broil for approximately 5 - 8 minutes, until done through. (*)
4. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve.
(*) Be careful when broiling the scallops. Overcooked scallops can be very tough. Bay scallops require less time.