Harvest Moon – A Menu to Celebrate The Bounty of Life

When I was a girl, I remember one evening out in the corn field, picking the last of the corn with my Dad. The moon was so bright, and so big I felt I could easily reach up and touch it. I asked my Dad about the moon. (Like all girls; I believed my Dad knew everything). He said it was a harvest moon. When I asked why, he spread his arms out and said because you can harvest by the light of the moon. It was something I have never forgotten. (In case you were wondering, a harvest moon is an annual event. It is the first full moon closest to the fall equinox – usually late September or very early October).

It’s been a little while since I’ve last set about creating a multi-course fixed menu. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy pairing different dishes together to create a Six-Course Supper.

The menu that follows is designed for “company entertaining”. It’s that welcome excuse to gather a few close friends or family together before the holiday madness descends upon us. While the holidays are magical, those crazy days leading up to “magic” often monopolizes our time to the point that we balance at the brink of insanity. Personal time and catching our breath might just be that time spent standing in the grocery store check out line. I know, we tell ourselves that next year will be different. Next year we will keep it simple. Yeah, right.

October is a good month to host an intimate (although be it casual) supper before all the craziness sets in. There is nothing I enjoy more than to raise my glass to, surrounded by the people who matter most, and let them know what a blessing they are in my life.

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6-Course Harvest Supper

Starter/Appetizer:
Maple-Glazed Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Soup Course:
Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup

Main Course:
Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Caramelized Apples
Balsamic Glazed Green Beans and Pearl Onions

Salad Course
Baby Greens with Warm Gorgonzola Dressing

Dessert Course
Rustic Apple Galette

Conclusion
After Dinner Coffee
Late Harvest Wines
Assorted Cheeses with Sliced Apples

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Appetizer – If desired serve with a light white wine

While the feast as a whole is a celebration of the harvests of the land, the appetizer selection represent the bounty of the sea. Although scallops have reached their peak in the summer; it is the fall that sees the last of the season. It seemed only fitting to include Scallops are part of the Harvest of Life.

Maple-Glazed Bacon Wrapped Scallops
½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ cup Pure Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Rosemary or 1 teaspoon Dried
8-10 Bacon Slices
1 lb Sea Scallops, thawed if frozen
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix vinegar, maple syrup, and rosemary in a small pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until glaze is thickened and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Cut bacon slices in half. Wrap a half slice around the circumference of each scallop. Arrange scallops in a baking pan and bake for 8 minutes.

Remove scallops from oven. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon glaze over each scallop, then return to oven and bake another 7-8 minutes.

Arrange scallops on a serving plate. Drizzle additional glaze over scallops for decoration and accent with sprigs of rosemary, if desired. (These would also be pretty on individual appetizer plates).

Soup Course

This wonderful Butternut Soup comes compliments of noblepig.com (http://noblepig.com/2013/10/butternut-boursin-bacon-soup/). Although butternut Squash is truly a winter harvest, with well-stocked markets and crops coming from just about everywhere; squash can be readily had even in the fall.

Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup
1/3 cup butter
1/2 of a large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 (3-1/2 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 (5.2 ounce) rounds Boursin Cheese (with Garlic and Fine Herbs – a Costco special)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
1 Tablespoon chopped chives

In a large (7 qt) Dutch oven, melt butter over med-low heat. Add onion and celery and cook until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 8 minutes more. Stir several times. (It is okay if squash begins to brown a little.) Add flour and stir until fully incorporated.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Squash should be soft. Using a hand-held blender or regular blender, puree squash mixture until smooth.

Add soup back to the pot (if you removed) and add Boursin cheese, salt and both peppers. Stir until cheese is melted.

Garnish each cup with crumbled bacon and chives.

Note: While this soup can be served by the bowl-full, as a starter to a multi-course meal, you will want to keep your servings small. Coffee mugs or small bowls are better suited for this type of meal.

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Main Course

Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin 
Caramelized Apples
Green Beans and Glazed Pearl Onions

The Glazed Pork Tenderloin is a favorite in our house. I love the wonderful sweetness of the glazed pecans with the succulent Pork Tenderloin. For this meal, I’ve added Caramelized Apples to the Pork. To serve; simply surround the beautiful Tenderloin with the apples and enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin (6)

Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin
3 1/2 pound pork loin roast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup roughly chopped raw pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Trim the fat from the roast, leaving only a quarter-inch of fat on top that will melt away, creating a nice golden under crust while basting the meat in its flavorful goodness.

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place pork on a roasting rack over a shallow foil-lined rimmed baking pan. (Easy clean up). Roast pork in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. (It doesn’t hurt to brush the rack with a little olive oil to prevent pork from sticking and to help with the clean up there as well).

While the pork is cooking, combine the brown sugar and Dijon mustard into a paste. Fold the chopped pecans into the paste and set aside until ready to use. (To chop pecans, work in small batches. Lay pecans in a single layer on a chopping board. Chop with a hand-held food chopper – about 5 or 6 “wacks” should give you nicely chopped pecans. My food chopper is from Pampered Chef – had it for years and love it!)

After pork loin has roasted in the oven for 30 minutes, remove the loin from oven. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Spread prepared baste evenly over the of the top of the pork loin and return to oven.
Baste the roast about every 15 minutes, scooping up the glaze and nuts that fall off back over the top of the roast.

Continue to roast pork loin until the internal temperature reaches between 145 to 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. (That’s about 20 to 25 minutes per pound). The pork will still have a little pink at 145 degrees, which is safe to eat. At 160 degrees, the pork is well-done. If the glaze starts to burn, simply cover loosely with foil and continue to cook.

Remove pork from oven, tent and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Surround tenderloin with apples just before serving.

caramelized-applesCaramelized Apples
2 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine
3 tbsp sugar (brown)
2 Crisp Apples (Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji or Gala)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Peel and core apples. Slice into 1/4″ wedges. Melt butter and sugar over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly, about 1 minute. Add apples and lemon juice and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

NOTE: Be sure to use crisp apples . Softer apples will fall apart.

Balsamic Glazed Green Beans and Pearl Onions
1 10-ounce bag frozen baby pearl onions
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cook onions, according to package directions, until tender. Drain and keep warm.

Cook green beans in a large nonstick skillet in water to cover until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm.

In same skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add balsamic vinegar and onions. Toss to glaze. Add green beans and gently mix to combine.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

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Salad Course


Baby Greens with Warm Gorgonzola Dressing
4 slices bacon
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 cups mixed baby greens
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate; crumble and set aside.

Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, white sugar, salt, garlic, and Gorgonzola cheese in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour the dressing into a small saucepan over medium-low heat and warm gently.

Toss the baby greens, almonds, and crumbled bacon together in a salad bowl; drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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Dessert Course

Once upon a time, there was a clear distinction between a tart and a galette. Both are French terms for a sweet or savory pastry. A tart is a straight-edged pastry often shaped with the assistance of a tart pan. A galette has a looser definition that is tied to the French word galet, meaning a smooth, flat pebble. Today, the term galette is used primarily to refer to rather rustic, free-form tarts. The galette is made with a single crust of pastry, like a pizza. Often the filling of a galette is very moist and the edges of the pastry are folded over the filling to help contain the juices.
Just one look at this Apple Galette from http://www.familyfeedbag.com/2013/08/apple-galette.html and you can see why it deserves a place on the Harvest Table.

Rustic Apple Galette

Galette Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp white vinegar
To make the pastry, add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl.
Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
In a small bowl, beat egg, water and vinegar with a fork. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just to bring the dough together.
Form dough into a ball and roll out on a sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour. Form a disk 16-18 inches across.
Using parchment paper for support; transfer rolled dough to a rimmed baking tray (at this point it’s okay if some of the dough hangs over the edge). Set aside until ready to fill.
Apple Filling
2 1/2 lbs apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices (skins on)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Core and slice apples, leaving skins on. Place apple slices in a large mixing bowl, set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle flour mixture over apples.
To assemble Galette: Pour apple filling into the middle of pastry, spread out to create a circle of filling about 10-inches across.
Fold edges of dough up and over the filling, leaving the middle exposed.
Brush with Finishing, if desired.
Finishing Touch (Optional)
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
Brush top of galette with milk. Sprinkle with sugar. Place in the oven to bake.
To Bake the galette: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place galette in the oven on the lower rack of the over for 10 minutes to firm up the bottom.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, move baking sheet to middle rack and continue to bake 50-55 minutes longer, until pastry is golden and filling bubbling.
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Carefully transfer to serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Conclusion

After Dinner Coffees
Late Harvest Wines
Assorted Cheeses with Sliced Apples

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 May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain,

tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you,

and those you love near you.

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Still looking for more? Try Harvest Supper Celebration in Six-Courses

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