Seattle has an abundance of cherry trees and this time of year they go bonkers. I'm sure other parts of the country have the same explosion of blossoms this time year which makes the apple blossom the perfect icon of spring.
For a few years now I've been dying to put together an "Apple Blossom Dinner" to celebrate all of the amazing flavors of spring under someone's blooming apple trees. I don't have such trees so I haven't pursued how to actually make that happen. Instead, I've put together a little dinner for hosting such a party in the event you have a gorgeous tree in your own yard.
I made this little dinner in partnership with DRY Sparkling because it's the perfect match with their DRY Sparkling Fuji Apple. It's not like 'apple juice' apple flavor, but a light and refreshing apple - like the moment you bite into an apple.
Serve the cocktail before dinner and the DRY Fuji Apple with dinner - or add a little vodka and spike the DRY at dinner too! Scroll down for my Herb Rubbed Pork dinner and keep going for a light and refreshing punch to go with it!
HERB RUBBED PORK
with fennel and leeks
2 lb pork tenderloin
2 large fennel bulbs, sliced into ½ inch pieces
4 tbs olive oil, divided
2 leeks, sliced into strips
2 tbs dried bouquet garni spice*
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 ¼ cup chicken stock
1 cup couscous
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss fennel, onions and garlic in olive oil
Rub pork with salt and pepper and sprinkle bouquet garni over the top. Brown in a cast iron dutch oven in a little oil
Add vegetables and wine. Pop into a 400 degree oven.
Bring chicken stock and rosemary sprigs to a boil. Remove from heat and pour in couscous. Let rest 5 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove rosemary.
Cook 15 minutes until meat thermometer reads 135. Remove and let meat rest.
Bouquet garni spice is available at most spice shops, but you can mix up your own with rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and tarragon.
What's a good party without a cocktail? I like to make cocktails in a big batch when I'm hosting a party. It's so much simpler to serve people from a punch bowl than to constantly mix drinks. I've found it's pretty easy to forget an ingredient and then the whole thing is off.