Are those POMS not gorgeous?!? I couldn't wait to dig in and try them...but wait a minute, how the heck do you open it? Fear not. The smart folks at POM thought of that too. They included a goodie bag FULL of amazing things, including a darling cutting board with instructions on "how to open a pomegranate".
Each one of my guests received one of these generous gift bags filled with coupons and recipes!!
Appetizers: Greek bruschetta with pesto; Baked Brie topped with raspberry jam, pomegranate seeds, and caramel
Aperitif: Pomegranate Sangria
Dinner: Baked ham (and a smaller Turkey ham) glazed with brown sugar, various spices, and a pomegranate glaze; Couscous with fresh herbs & Pom seeds; Fresh spinach salad with toasted walnuts, Pom seeds, freshly cubed Parmesan, and a Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
Dessert: Marble cheesecake served with a fresh raspberry & pomegranate topping
I love these glasses so much because of the Greek key, which is my heritage. I never get to use these fancy glasses so this was the perfect excuse to do so!! WARNING- this sangria is strong. Just when you think you're going to innocently eat the fruit on top, BAM!!! It hits you all at once.
HOW TO PROPERLY OPEN A POMEGRANATE
Step 1: Cut off the "crown" of the POM
Step 2: Make one slice down the middle, and another slice across (making 4 squares)
Step 3: Pull slices apart as if peeling wedges of an orange, then place slices in a bowl of water while you use your fingers to loosen up the seeds.
Do you see what happens?? The seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the white membranous part floats to the top. You then take a sifter, throw away the white parts, and then scoop out your beautiful seeds!!
Greek BruschettaI love to use this mix of little tomatoes. The smaller tomatoes have much more sweet flavor and the various colors add such a nice touch to a traditional bruschetta.
Add in a bowl with several green onions (or red onions if you prefer), a hefty handful of crumbled feta cheese (I use Dodonis), salt & pepper to taste, and enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat. I really ONLY use Laconiko (www.laconiko.com). It's the best quality olive oil I've had.
Slice up your favorite loaf of bread. I chose to use an Italian loaf from Wegmans. Toast these for about 5 minutes until slightly crisp. Then, top with your favorite pesto. Mine is homemade and kept in the freezer until ready to use.
Then top with tomato + feta mixture. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until warmed & serve immediately.
These are so amazing...when you take a bite, you first experience the crunch of the toasted bread. Then you get the wonderful taste of the garlicky pesto, and savory feta. Bliss!
I placed 1/2 jar of delicious Raspberry Jam in a saucepan with POM juice, pecans and Starbucks caramel sauce. Stir and bring to a simmer while you place your brie in the oven to bake.
One bite of this and you'll fall in love. The cheese is so smooth, melty, and buttery while the topping is crunchy and sweet with a hint of tart from the POM juice. While this is a lovely appetizer, it also makes for an AMAZING sandwich spread the next day. Place some of this on the inside of a turkey sandwich, top with spinach, and you're in for very pleasant surprise.
First comes the salad. In a bowl I placed fresh spinach, cubed Parmesano Reggiano, finely chopped walnuts, a few POM seeds, and a deliciously sweet & tangy Pomegranate Vinaigrette (courtesy of Costco).
Then came the ham(s). One is a traditional spiral ham & the other is a turkey ham in case any of my guests preferred it.
Keep in mind that my camera is an ancient Kodak...not only did this look MOUTH WATERING in person but the smell would mesmerize you. It smelled like home. These were glazed with brown sugar, ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins, pomegranate seeds, a squeeze of fresh orange juice, and POM juice. It made for an incredible tasting ham!!
Lastly, our couscous!! I used Israeli couscous. I prefer it's texture and size over the regular couscous,plus it cooks faster-a plus in my books. I first sauteed mushrooms in Laconiko olive oil with some salt & pepper. Once soft, I removed from the heat and added it into the cooked couscous, drizzled it with plenty of olive oil, added a bit more S&P, and cut in thick slices of fresh basil. Lastly, I added in the POM seeds.
Look how beautifully those colors pop out. And honestly, I wouldn't have originally thought these flavors would work so well together. But the sweetness of the olive oil, with the tart and crunch of the POM seeds and the earthyness of the basil made this such a success.
Homemade marble cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust. It is SO worth the effort to make this exquisite dessert yourself then to buy one in a store and be unaware of what ingredients are inside. Here there are no surprises- just whole, pure ingredients. What could possibly make this better??
The most splendid cheesecake topping, of course!! Whisk together and reduce fresh, organic raspberries with POM juice, some agave nectar for a sweet touch, and POM seeds. It's outstanding and really makes any cheesecake look so festive this time of year.
THE PARTY FINALE
The decor I chose was very personal. I have been collecting wine corks for a very long time. I decided to make name cards with each persons name and place them into a wine cork of that person's favorite type of wine. For example, my sister had Coppola Merlot, I had a sweeter dessert wine, my Dad had his all-time favorite Chardonnay, and my Beau had a wonderful white!
I placed a festive red runner on the dining room table and had a souvenir POM for everyone to take home and experience for themselves. Each one of my guests also took home those fabulous bags provided by POM. Did you notice the decorative pomegranate in the picture above?? That was given to us by one of our relatives in Greece. Pomegranates are not only thought to be good luck, or "kali tixi" as we say it in our culture, but they also grow by the plenty in the Southern most coast of Greece, where my boyfriend produces his insanely amazing olive oil.
I wish you ALL could have been at my party, because not only does my camera not do the food justice, but there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying to me then sharing my passion of food with those who I love and admire the most. I hope to continue to provide you all with new recipes and fun twists on different foods...Thank you for joining me for this POMtastic supper. Until next time, Kali Oreksi!!