Tag Archives: holiday parties
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Happy Thanksgiving: Something NEW for your family feast

 Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Special equipment: butchers twine, a mallet (or meat tenderizer as some call it), plastic wrap, a chef’s knife and a sharp boning knife.  You will also need a long butane lighter or fireplace match sticks.  Trust me – this is going to keep your hair from catching fire!


  • 10 lb Pork Loin
  • ¼ lbs Butter
  • 8 ea. Gala or Fuji Apples (¼ inch dice)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 cup Sundried Cranberries
  • 2 cups Walnuts (medium chop)
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup Rosemary
  • 4 oz. Brown Sugar

First, you want to make your filling so that it can cool down while you work on trimming the pork.  After chopping the apples and walnuts, get a large pot that can hold around 6 qts.  Next, put your butter in the pot and melt it down.  Add the apples, cranberries, salt, pepper, and walnuts.  Cook for 5 minutes – stirring often.  Add the brown sugar and cook an additional 5 minutes – again stirring often.  Let the sugars start to caramelize on the bottom of the pot.  Be sure to not let the mixture burn!  

WARNING: Be careful when doing the next step.  Turn off your burner if you are using a gas stove.  Pour the bourbon in the pot.  Turn the burner back on and bring to a boil – ignite it with the match or lighter stick. Watch your hair and Flambé!!!!  Let mixture boil until the flame burns out (which means all the alcohol is burned out).  Add the rosemary and pour the mixture out of the pot into a sheet pan to cool.  You can set it in your fridge or just on the counter while working on the pork.  

 How good are your knife skills?  You’re about to find out with this pork!  Quick story: I used to have to dice about 40 lbs of tomatoes with a machine to make pico de gallo.  The machine blade broke.  I told the chef I was working and the blade broke, so I couldn’t get the tomatoes done on time.  He told me not to complain to him because my knife skills sucked.  Ouch.  I no longer use a machine to dice anything anymore.  Lesson learned.  

Pork loin:  Grab your boning knife, and let’s get to work.  Trim off the top layer of fat.  Because this piece of pork is so long, you will need to filet it into three connected sections that create one large, thin piece.  Imagine it’s a cinnamon roll pastry log before its been cut into individual pieces.  

You’ll need to begin cutting an 1/8 of an inch from the bottom on the long side of the loin, making sure you keep the knife horizontal.  If you tilt the knife down, you risk going through the bottom and making a hole which your filling will pour out of.  So cut until you get ¼ inch away from the side of the loin.  Fold the loin out.  Then using the same process, cut another 1/8 of a inch thin across horizontally.  Fold the loin out until it’s all the way rolled out.  Wasn’t that fun!!!  If you made any holes then don’t worry you have 2 more pieces of pork to “perfect your technique” on!!  

Now lay the pork out flat and put two layers of plastic wrap over it.  Get out your meat mallet.  Use the flat side, and with controlled swings (don’t get crazy), pound out the meat.  Not too hard or you will make more holes in the pig.  If done correctly, you can potentially double it in size.  You can now take the filling and spread a layer evenly over the pork.  Roll it gently but tightly into a cylinder (like that cinnamon roll log I was talking about).

The fun has just begun!

If you were in boy/girl scouts, you may have the skills for the next task.  If not, I’m here to help.  It’s time to tie this porker up.  Cut a piece of butchers twine about 6 to 8 ft long.  Place the pork on your prep space, seam facing up – one end is facing you and the other away from you.  Grab one end of the string and with the other hand grab a foot down the string, drag it down underneath the pork toward you – stopping about ½ inch from the front of the pork.  Tie a tight knot at the seam of the pork.   Ok, (explaining this is tuff, so bear with me) with your left hand grab the string 2 inches from the knot and the right hand, 1 ½ feet from your left hand.  Drag the string between your hands, under the pork like earlier except stop 1 inch from the knot.  Take the string in your right hand and pull it under the left hand string.  Pull it all the way through the left, and tug it tightly.  Did you get that?  Repeat until you get to the end of the pork loin – tying the last one off with a tight knot.    

 Take the pork, and lay it on a sheet pan seam side down.  Turn the oven to 350.  Cover with a piece of foil.  You are going to be cooking this baby for a long time so covering it will keep the outside from burning.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Take off foil.  Cook for an additional 15 – 30 minutes.  If you have a thermometer, it needs to read 150 to 155.  Take it out of the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.  This will keep the juices from coming out and will insure the meat does not become too dry.  Each loin should yield between 14 to 16 cuts.  We use a brandy demi glaze on ours, but a reduced port wine would be nice too.


Holiday Party Tips

Well it’s here.  Holiday parties and the chaos that can only be December.  Are you ready?!?  If the answer is no, there is hope my friends.  

The most difficult part of planning anything is inception.  Once the idea is put in motion the rest falls into place like a foot to the pedal.  If you are like me, most of your procrastination begins when deciding what to serve and whom to invite.  Crackers and cheese whiz are fine for a night in front of the DVR but this choice may find you the topic of water cooler fodder if served at your holiday celebration.  The bottom line: Holiday Parties should be fun and easy.  You don’t have to be a world class chef to provide a menu that is both tasty and will impress more than a few of your friends.  Here are a few “do’s” & “don’ts” to help make your holiday one to remember.


Make lists.  Start with a menu, then a shopping list and a lastly a list of all the steps necessary to prepare the menu. Include a timeline of when you need to start preparing items and when things need to go into the oven or on the stove.  It might seem like a lot, but it will really help the party go smoothly.

Have a special drink for the occasion; this can be non-alcoholic or an “adult’ beverage, use festive garnishes like cranberries, limes, raspberries, mint leaves etc.

Your guests will often ask if they need to bring anything. If you already have everything taken care of, ask your guests to bring some canned food for the local food bank. It’s a great way to celebrate the season, and people love to feel like they are contributing something.


Get too carried away with the menu, keep it simple and easy to prepare ahead of time. You want to be done with all your preparations an hour before guests arrive. That way you can relax a little, and really enjoy everyones’ company.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget to have a music playlist or two ready to go.  Put together a mix of your favorite “Holiday” tunes & another full of fun, up-beat party songs in case the evening goes late.  

The key is to keep the evening simple and low stress.  Don’t forget the reason you planned the party in the first place: to enjoy the ones you love.  At the end of the day, if planning the perfect party feels like an overwhelming task and you would rather have the professionals handle it, remember… we are just a phone call away. 

For your small gathering or a large office event, Flavor will supply a menu second to none, sure to make your holidays that much brighter.

Stay tuned for more helpful hints.  Next week: Christmas Dinner.

Put Some Heart in it,