Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Part I: POM Wonderful Dinner Party Recap

My POM Wonderful Dinner Party was last night, and I'm happy to share that it went off without a hitch! My party was billed as "an intimate dinner for four," and everyone raved about the pomegranate-infused food and drinks that I served! None of us were all that familiar with pomegranates before I was picked to host this event, so this dinner was an educational AND delicious experience! I’m now officially a pomegranate lover!! Now all that’s left is cleaning up the kitchen…which will happen this evening! For now, I’m happy that the party was successful and that my guests had a good time. I’ll be blogging about my party over the next few days. I’ll share all the details: the menu, lots of recipes, pictures of food and d├ęcor, and a few party-planning tips along the way. So let’s get started!

I was beyond excited when I found out that I'd been selected as one of 100 POM Wonderful Dinner Party hosts!! I immediately started planning the best way to showcase pomegranates and pomegranate juice in my menu. I'd tasted pomegranate juice, so I had an idea about what flavor profile I was going for. I find that it’s easiest to plan a party when you have a central unifying theme or ingredient that you weave throughout the entire menu. Too many flavors going on can clash and confuse your palate. After some quick online research, I knew that I wanted pomegranate molasses to be my theme ingredient. I loved the idea of concentrated pomegranate flavor bursting from my menu items…and the deep magenta color was so pretty too!

The first thing I did when my packages arrived from POM Wonderful (after jumping around like a little kid!!) was to go buy a few bottles of pomegranate juice. I wanted to make a big batch of pomegranate molasses. It’s actually a very simple recipe…all you need are three ingredients and enough patience to wait the hour or so that it simmers and reduces on the stove. What you’re left with is a syrup that's tart and ever-so-slightly sweet. After using it in everything from salad dressing to dessert for my dinner menu, I can say that it’s one of THE most versatile ingredients I’ve tried in ages. I plan to make another batch this weekend to keep on hand in the fridge to use anytime the urge strikes me.

Here was the menu for my dinner party:
  • Drink: Sparkling Blueberry-Pomegranate Sangria 
  • Amuse Bouche: Filo Cups With Whipped Brie, Pomegranate Molasses, Pomegranate Arils, and Pistachios 
  • Salad: Red Leaf Lettuce With Israeli Feta, Pistachios, Pomegranate Arils, and Pomegranate Vinaigrette 
  • Main Dish: Moroccan Spiced Chicken With Pomegranate Reduction, Fall Pomegranate Pilaf, and Pomegranate-Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
  • Dessert: Pomegranate-Port Sorbetto & Pomegranate Cake With White-Chocolate Truffle Buttercream
Except for the sangria, every menu item incorporated my homemade pomegranate molasses in some form or fashion. It’s such a fantastic flavor profile that I hope all of you will make a batch to have on hand for the upcoming holiday cooking/baking season!

Today’s party planning tip? Don't forget to play some background music when you host a party...but not just any music! The music you select sets the mood for your party. To me, music is an extension of the decor you use! For this party, I wanted the music to be mellow -- but not boring. I wanted music that created just the right groove to compliment the sultry pomegranate! Here’s the iTunes playlist that I created for my party.
  1. Ani DiFranco:  32 Flavors
  2. Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry:  7 Seconds
  3. Erykah Badu:  On and On
  4. George Michael:  Spinning the Wheel
  5. Elton John:  Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  6. Miles Davis:  Blue in Green
  7. Sting:  If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
  8. Paul McCartney & Wings:  Bluebird
  9. Earth Wind & Fire:  That’s The Way of the World
  10. Pat Metheney & Charlie Haden:  The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
  11. Fleet Foxes:  Blue Ridge Mountains
  12. Michael Jackson:  Stranger In Moscow
  13. Everything But the Girl:  Driving
  14. Simply Red:  Mellow My Mind
  15. Maroon 5:  Secret
  16. Peter Gabriel:  Burn You Up, Burn You Down
  17. Sade:  Flow
  18. Seal:  Touch
  19. U2:  Sweetest Thing
  20. Stevie Wonder:  Knocks Me Off My Feet

Before I zip out the door for work, I’ll leave you with the amazingly simple recipe for making a batch of homemade pomegranate molasses.

Pomegranate Molasses

Step 1:  Combine 4 cups pomegranate juice, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup lemon juice in a medium saucepan.

Step 2:  Bring mixture just to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it bubble gently until it's reduced to about 1.5 cups. This took me about an hour and 15 minutes. 

Step 3:  Let the finished pomegranate molasses cool for about 15 minutes, then pour it into a plastic container. Store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it in recipes. The flavor is amazing!! It's tart, with just enough sugar to take the edge off. 

This stuff is simply AMAZING...I hope you'll give it a try for yourself!!


  1. Can't wait to see all of the recipes, Wendy! The molasses looks delish, too.

  2. How exciting! Can't wait to read your recipes. The molasses looks SO amazing. Have a great day...

  3. LOVE this. Ever since I read about you being in this contest, the POM's brand pomegranate juice pops out at me every time I go to the commissary. I am definitely purchasing this so I can make the molasses sounds amazing. I can think of several things I can use this with. Best of luck- I am looking forward to reading about your party! Love the tip about music!

  4. Can't wait to see the food! I like the molasses idea and the tips!

  5. Looks great!!! Looks forward to your recipes

  6. I'll be posting recipes and pics of menu items and decor over the next few days, so stay tuned! Up first on Thursday will be the sangria and amuse bouche that I welcomed my guests with...just in time for weekend entertaining!

    I want EVERYONE to make pom molasses...it's that good, and it's a no-brainer to make. I'm not sure what my #1 food discovery of 2010 is: pom molasses or garlic confit...I love them both, but think that this molasses might win by a nose simply b/c of its sheer versatility!!

  7. Oh my gosh! So cool. Love that menu and molasses with POM. So creative!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful dinner. I'm hosting a POM Party this weekend and hope it is as much fun as yours.

  9. I can't wait to make the pom molasses! It sounds sooo delicious and versatile! Your menu sounds to die for - made me wish I still lived in Texas so I could try and wrangle an invite ;-) I love that you shared your playlist, too. As I mentioned before I'm terrible at trying to remember the names of songs when it comes time to buy them. Great job on the POM dinner - I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the dishes and recipes!!

  10. @Brad...please come back and give me a link so I can see how your party turns out!! I can't wait to see the dishes everyone comes up with!!

    @Veronica...do you still have family in Texas? If you're ever near my part of the state, we should meet up over dinner!

  11. Sounds like you had an absolutely fabulous party!!! Thanks for checking mine out! I am following your blog now.



I love hearing your feedback!!!