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Dinner Club #1: Success!

February 22, 2010

Dinner Club #1 - Dinner Spread

This past Saturday we had a group of friends and coworkers over for what we hope is the first of many successful meetings of a roving dinner club. I had this idea a couple of months ago, where we would get together with some of our friends and have a full meal (appetizers, mains, sides, desserts, wine) with people bringing different courses each time. The idea is that we will move from house to house with the host making the main courses, and people bringing the other courses accordingly. Our scheduling got a bit challenged, so we ended up doing the mains and sides, and our friends brought appetizers and desserts. It was a VERY fun time, and we were thankful for both the good food that everyone brought as well as the good company and conversation!

Unfortunately we didn’t get pictures of everything, as happens when everyone’s having too much fun to remember, but I do remember the full menu!


  • Fig, Bacon and Blue Cheese Pizza
  • Cheeses (Brie, Aged Gouda, and some amazing combined Sheep and Cow milk cheese called La Tur) and crackers
  • Homemade Guacamole
  • Pickle Platter (cornichon, roasted red pepper, marinated mushrooms, olives, sun-dried tomatoes)

Dinner & Sides

  • Salad of lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, sliced nuts and feta cheese
  • Roasted pork tenderloin with caramelized onion and orange sauce
  • Sauteed rainbow chard with garlic and crushed chiles
  • Crimini and porcini mushroom orzo


  • Homemade Biscotti
  • Apple Spice Cake
  • Coffee

As you can see, we had a very full menu for 10 people. We did not have many leftovers, which is likely because our friends love to eat as much as we do! Once again, we are very thankful to everyone who came over and can’t wait to do it again.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Caramlized Onion and Orange Sauce (Serves 8-10):

Loosely adapted from Giada De Laurentis

  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced finely, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • two 1-1.25 pound pork tenderloins, silverskin removed, trimmed
  • 6 lbs. white onions, sliced thinly (about 9 large onions)
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion and Orange Sauce

  1. At least 4 hours prior to cooking (preferably overnight), add cider vinegar, a palmful of kosher salt, a few twists of black pepper, half of the garlic, the honey, and 1 tbsp of the olive oil into a bowl and whisk to dissolve the salt. Place trimmed pork into a plastic bag or meat marinader and pour marinade over meat. Work it into the pork with your fingers a bit, and seal the bag squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate and turn every few hours or so to keep things well mixed.
  2. About 2-3 hours prior to service, heat remaining olive oil in a very large pot (biggest one you got) over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir constantly to combine until you hear a sizzle. Add half the rosemary, half the thyme, the rest of the garlic, the balsamic, the marmalade, the sugar, and a few serious pinches of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cover for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the lid, stir mixture and turn heat to medium. Stir every 15 minutes for another hour to an hour and a half. Once the runny liquid is all gone and the mixture is more pasty, adjust seasoning, return the heat to low and stir occasionally until the pork is ready.
  4. Remove pork from refrigerator and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a straight-sided pan over high heat and add vegetable oil. Dry pork with a paper towel. Prepare a baking sheet
  5. Combine remaining rosemary and thyme, sage, and 1 tbsp. each salt and pepper to form a dry rub. Rub mixture all over all sides of pork.
  6. One tenderloin at a time, sear pork in hot pan for 1-2 minutes a side, making sure to leave pork in place to form a nice crust. Add more oil to pan if necessary and do the same with the other tenderloin.
  7. Place both tenderloins on baking sheet. Cook for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a probe or instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pork from oven, set on cutting board and loosely cover with foil for 10-15 minutes to let meat rest.
  8. Slice pork thinly at angle and arrange on platter. Cover meat with onion sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Sauteed Rainbow Chard with Garlic and Crushed Chiles (Serves 8-10):

  • 4 bunches rainbow chard, ribs removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Set a large pot full of water over high heat and add 3 pinches of salt (water should taste salty). Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Once water is boiling, add chard and stir to make sure everything is in the water.
  3. After 1 minute (no more!) transfer all chard immediately to ice bath to stop cooking and then drain. Use a salad spinner or paper towels to dry chard as much as possible.
  4. Heat oil, garlic, and crushed pepper in medium-sized pan over low-medium heat. When garlic begins to audibly sizzle and turn golden brown, remove from pan with tongs and set aside. Turn heat up to medium-high.
  5. When oil begins to smoke, add greens and toss constantly with tongs until warmed through. Add garlic back to pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Crimini and Porcini Mushroom Orzo (Serves 12-14):

  • 1 1/2 lbs. orzo
  • 4-6 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly (about 8 mushrooms)
  • 1-2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted, chopped (soaking liquid reserved)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions, stopping 1-2 minutes short as orzo will finish cooking in sauce. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven), melt 2 tbsp of butter over low-medium heat. When butter is melted, add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally during sweat for about 10 minutes until they look soft but liquid is still left in pan. Turn heat up to medium, add mushrooms and stir occasionally for another 10-15 minutes, until onions are very soft and pot is fragrant.
  3. Add broth and wine to pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and turn heat up to medium-high. Boil until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat, adjust seasoning, and whisk in 1 tbsp. of butter at a time until each piece dissolves and sauce thickens slightly. Toss orzo in sauce, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 6:19 pm

    I remembered the name of the multi-mammal cheese – it’s La Tur. Many thanks for a great evening!

  2. February 23, 2010 7:00 pm

    Sweet! I’m updating the post.

  3. February 25, 2010 9:44 pm

    We had a supper club for about a year and it was awesome!!! I wish we could have kept it going!! Ours was themed and we had quite a few nights of fun — from Oktoberfest with homeade pretzels to Night of the Triple Roast Beastie (3 meats — can you tell a man hosted that one?). All together an awesome experience that I miss.

    Best of luck with your dinner club!

  4. Mom permalink
    February 26, 2010 8:37 pm

    The recipe for the pork was just making my mouth water while reading it. Lots of ingredients but lots of flavor too. It looked like the pork tenderloin was sliced so thin that it probably absorbed the marinade through and through and then some….
    I’m glad your Supper Party went well….I hope it continues too. I like the idea of the “themed” meals. It would probably be fun to see what arrived at the table!


  1. Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Sage « Saucy & Bossy

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