Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Great Big POM Wonderful Party! I See POM People.

   You know when you do stuff and it seems like a great idea at the time? Well, when I entered the competition to be chosen to throw a POM party I was high on painkillers from some complicated dental surgery. There I was, propped up in bed with my laptop high as a kite, unable to even chew solid food, yet fantasizing about pomegranates! So when I got the email from the POM Wonderful people telling me about the wonderful POM Wonderful dinner party contest, I did what any other toothless drug-addled wonder would do. I thought about the wonderful dinner party I could throw with unlimited pomegranates and I entered.  A few weeks later my stitches were out, I was pain free and I could chew again. I got an email informing me that I'd been one of the lucky 100 chosen to host this party. "What party?" I thought. What the hell had I done!??? And what did I say I was going to cook???
    I've always loved pomegranates. I used to think of them as the forbidden fruit. Forbidden because around our house when I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to eat them. My mom was afraid of the mess they'd make on her carpets and furniture (I'll get to the answer to that little problem later.) It was the squirt factor. My mom has a thing about her furniture and plastic drop clothes. She actually makes Dexter on a killing spree look like a slob. As soon as I was out on my own, I was able to go out and score some pomegranates. I even ate them in my own living room, no slip covers, no drop clothes, with the blinds up!! I was POM free and I never looked back.
   So I was practically jumping up and down when I got my two big boxes of pomegranates and my whole POM Wonderful Party Kit with everything I needed to toss the perfect POM-centric party. I couldn't wait to get started.
   Since I'm a writer my first thought was what was this POM Party about? I needed a theme. Pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits out there, rich in antioxidants and all sorts of good stuff, and it turned out that one of our guests, Terri, was going to be celebrating her birthday in a couple of days, so what better way to send her off into a new year than with a dinner loaded with all sorts of POM goodness.
   I knew that my dinner would be judged on decor and since we are definitely in POM season here in Sonoma, I knew I wanted to bring a taste of what was outside my door, inside and onto the table.
My dining room table is custom made from 100 year old Sonoma barn wood, so I used basket weave place mats to echo the basket weave pattern on my white dishes and let the soft burnished wood show through.
Crow-cam view of the Dining Room Table
     My good friend and gleaning buddy Kirsten Vigurie, who owns the amazing shop  Junipero & Co. here in Sonoma, lent me some amazing cast iron crows, a wire fruit basket and vintage iron wine carrier from her shop to add to my table decor. I scattered some leaves and local chestnuts and walnuts around on the table for the crows to enjoy giving the table a slightly "The Birds" ambiance.
    I usually cook Indian food, and since the food of Northern India takes a lot from the cuisine of the Middle East, and since the cuisine of the Middle East often features  pomegranates, I decided to go with the flavors of that region. Are you with me so far?
    I would incorporate pomegranates into everything I served which is pretty easy considering there are a million ways to use this amazingly versatile fruit. The Pomegranate is renowned throughout history, and a friend was even telling me yesterday that it was the fruit that lured Eve in the Garden of Eden... How do you like them apples? In honor of this mysterious and mystical fruit I got my inner pomegranate on, so to speak.
  We invoked the Spirit of the Pomegranate
 ...because after all it was that elegant fruit that sealed the deal in the marriage between King Pluto of the Underworld and Proserpina the daughter of the Goddess Ceres. Because of one tempting pomegranate and Proserpinas' inability to resist it, the Greek myth says we have the season of Winter. Which coincidentally is the season of the pomegranate. Coincidence??? I think not.
    As an Amuse Bouche I decided to serve a Walnut and Pomegranate Muhammara  (a sort of Syrian hummus made of roasted red peppers and walnuts) with Flatbread.
  Next I served a Salad of Field Greens, Avocado and Pomegranate with a Lime Cumin Vinaigrette.
This was followed by Pomegranate-marinated and glazed Lamb Shanks on a bed of Kale Ragout and Saffron Basmati Rice with Spices, Saffron and Pomegranate Arils.
For Chip who is a vegetarian, there was a Pan Seared Halibut with a Pomegranate Glaze.
  There were wines galore.
  additionally we served:
 Robledo Family Vineyards Los Braceros 2005
 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley 2006 Pinot Noir
 Pride Mountain Vineyards 2008 Syrah
 DuMol  2007 Russian River Valley 2007 Pinot Noir
 Saint- Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux 2007
 And for those who don't drink, (see Me!) there were Pomegranate and sparkling water spritzers...
 And also Champagne and Pomegranate Juice Cocktails.
   We ate and drank, enjoying the versatile pomegranate in all the dishes. People were feeling the love when suddenly the lights dimmed and the Birthday Girl got her treat... (actually we turned the lights up to get this picture but you get the idea) ...a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Unsweetened Whipped Cream and a Pomegranate Reduction, served with Big River Coffee and Syrah.
   Funny story about this cake thing. I was originally intending to serve a Floating Island Pudding with a pomegranate sauce. Bear in mind this is a dessert that I had never even eaten let alone made before. What was I, high?? Uh... yes as a matter of fact.  I came up with the idea two days after my surgery when I couldn't remember what I'd been doing 5 minutes before. The more I thought about the idea of preparing an obscure Victorian dessert that really hasn't been served in about 100 years, the more it seemed like it might not be the crowd pleaser I was looking for. And besides it was Terris' birthday and we wanted to give her an appropriate cake. After all, the poor thing was leaving for Hawaii the next day and who knows what would happen over there!

Finally, came a demo of the appropriate mess free way to open the delicious pomegranate.
  So did we have fun? You bet we did. We ate and drank like the little piggies we are and my guests were each sent off with a giftbag stuffed with POM Wonderful recipes, coupons for POM Wonderful juice and a cute POM bracelet. I thank the POM Wonderful people for all their help and for allowing me the opportunity to participate and glut on one of my favorite fruits to my healthy hearts content.  In the next few days I'll be sharing all the recipes from this party with step by step prep directions.Stay tuned.


  1. Hey Missy,
    What an absolutely amazingly beautiful POM party you threw. I don't even have anything funny or snarky to say. Your table looks amazing and the food looks drool worthy. Drugs or no you lived up to expectation and rocked it!

  2. Your party came out absolutely lovely, your creative menu and decor! Best of luck in the contest!!

  3. Beautiful display Kathy. Truly a gourmet spread!

  4. @Janis,
    thanks so much. At least by the time of the dinner I was able to chew. I don't normally think too much about decor and I'm also usually a sweaty mess by the time dinner is served..however I really enjoyed getting creative and when I saw those crows at Kristens' store I had to have 'em.

  5. @wendyweekendgorumet, @redkathy,
    Thanks so much we really had a great time putting all of this together.

  6. Oh my... what a wonderful post... the bar is high... good luck


  7. Oh how I wish I was your neighbor!!! What a wonderful job you did. I don't know that I would have had the patience! I literally had my first pomegranate this year and I'm loving them!

  8. @Kim Kelly,
    Thanks so much. I love having friends and neighbors over. I hope you've been enjoying your maiden pomegranate experience.

  9. @Dave,
    thanks so much..there are a lot of amazing entries.

  10. GORGEOUS! Your party looks like it was fabulous and your food looks to die for!

  11. Looks like a great time was had by all. And all of that food looks fantastic!

  12. oh my gosh! I am soo impressed! From the decorations to the themes and decadent meals...what a successful POM party! :)

  13. WOWSERS! Your dinner party menu/decor is out-of-this world amazing! Job well done and congratulations on becoming a finalist! What are you going to get at WS? P.S. I am foaming at the mouth, wishing I could taste some of the hummus you made. Delicious!

  14. Congrats on your win! Great looking party! Well deserved!



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