The Crown Jewel Affair - A POM Wonderful Pomegranate Dinner Party

The Crown Jewel Affair - A POM Wonderful Dinner Party
Sunday, November 14, 2010, 6:00 p.m.
Coronado, California

Coronado is Spanish for "the crowned one," and is nicknamed The Crown City.

There's a Newf in My Soup! was honored and thrilled to be chosen by POM Wonderful to host a pomegranate-themed dinner party. If you follow our blog, you know how much we thrive on Holiday and Theme Parties!

During the week of November 8-14, 100 people across the country set their creative pomegranate juices in motion, and hosted POM Wonderful Dinner Parties for a chance to win one of 10 Best POM Party prizes. I admit, a major incentive for hosting this party was the chance of winning one of the three Grand Prizes: Two-night, all-expenses-paid trip to any city on the POM Wonderful Chef Series 2010 list, including dinner at the chosen chef's restaurant (for Chef Series 2010, notable chefs from around the nation created internationally inspired recipes featuring the POM Wonderful variety pomegranates and POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice). My sights are set on a trip to Telluride, Colorado, and dinner at Chef Jake Linzinmeir's Bluepoint Grill & Noir Bar! However, I am also a pomegranate and pomegranate juice aficionado, and welcomed the challenge to create an entire dinner party incorporating pomegranates in the decor and menu.

We are now in the submission period, when each host must submit a party recap via blog posts, photo albums, and videos. Judging is based on best incorporation of pomegranates into the menu/drinks; most inspired pomegranate decor; and most successful "How to Open a Pomegranate" presentation.

Upon the arrival of our POM Wonderful pomegranates, I had a vision. We jumped in the car and headed down to the beach in front of the Hotel Del Coronado, for an impromptu photo shoot. The two halves of the pomegranate resemble an exquisite sea shell, enhanced by its scattered ruby jewels and reflection in the wet sand. This is how the name for our party evolved...a party to be held in the Crown City of Coronado, showcasing pomegranates and their shimmering ruby jewels. The Crown Jewel Affair...

Pomegranate "Shell" - Beach at The Hotel Del Coronado

To get us started, POM Wonderful shipped each party host a generous supply of pomegranates (over 40!), a whimsical apron, flexible cutting board, POM juice coupons, Chef Series 2010 Recipe Cards, and canvas bags filled with goodies for our guests.

In case you haven't heard, POM Wonderful is the largest grower of pomegranates in the United States, with over 18,000 acres of orchards located in Central California’s fertile and sunny San Joaquin Valley. POM Wonderful supplies the majority of the nation’s fresh pomegranates and ships to over 55 countries. You can find a wealth of information about POM Wonderful pomegranates, health benefits, recipes, decorating ideas, and products at POM Wonderful, and a friendly POM community on Facebook.

I made a gift basket for each couple, filled with POM Wonderful goodies, a bottle of POM juice, a few pomegranates, and a jar of my homemade Pomegranate Jalapeno Jelly, which was served at the party over warm Nut Crusted Fried Brie.

Menu planning and pomegranate decor were next on the list. Our menu for The Crown Jewel Affair was inspired by a few favorite chefs, local restaurants, and one very special POM Wonderful Chef Series 2010 recipe created by Chef Cindy Pawlcyn. I'll talk more about the menu in subsequent blog posts dedicated to each course.

During our Summer Coronado Concert in the Park themed parties, our friends and family gather around picnic tables. Spreckels Park provides a casual outdoor venue, and the locals love to stop by to inquire about our theme of the week and admire the gourmet spread. Hosting The Crown Jewel Affair at our little house provided me with the opportunity to set the mood for a warm and intimate party for our closest cooking friends and family.

I had so much fun planning the decor and shopping for accessories to complement our beautiful, rustic, dark wood dining table, and collection of white serving plates, bowls, and platters, in every shape and size imaginable (which accumulate with food blogging and lots of parties). As far as my decorating style, I prefer casual and rustic, with a hint of elegance. I'm drawn to jewel and earth tones, dark wood, and the textures of leather, suede and fur. The fresh pomegranates, scattered about the house, fit so well!

Of course, I came across a few things I just had to buy (hey, there is a trip to Telluride at stake here). I found a festive Caroline Paisley table runner at Pottery Barn, olive-colored round placemats and napkins from Sur La Table, and a few decorative branches from a florist supply store. I set the table with copper chargers, salad plates, mini lions head soup bowls, and wine glasses and champagne flutes. I arranged fresh pomegranates, bronze glitter-dusted artichokes, and the decorative branches around the sugar mold candleholder. I must say, it was a gorgeous pomegranate tablescape.

The buffet was adorned with a towering apothecary jar filled with pomegranates, crystal decanters filled with pomegranate and ginger liqueurs, and our Anthropologie Beast's Feast Platter and Copper Dog Designs hammered copper bowl for the hors d'oeuvres.

Next to the fireplace, we filled a copper bucket with pomegranates and pine cones.

The following is a brief recap of our menu. Subsequent posts will follow soon, with more photos and recipes for each course.

The Crown Jewel Affair
Chef's Menu
Vanilla Vodka / Ginger Liqueur / Pomegranate Liqueur / Sparking Wine
Pomegranate Arils

Nut Crusted Fried Brie / Pomegranate Jalapeno Jelly
Cracker Bread

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
pomegranate arils, crystallized ginger, pepitas, fresh thyme, creme fraiche

Roasted Beet Salad / Pomegranate Cumin Vinaigrette
Baby greens, toasted pine nuts, orange supremes, pomegranate arils, goat cheese, petite basil

Chiles en Nogada
Chiles in Walnut Sauce

Lemon Sorbet Palate Cleanser

Braised Lamb Shank Ragu / Spicy Pomegranate Mexican Cinnamon Sauce
Crisp Polenta Triangles
Pomegranate Arils, Cojita Cheese

Chocolate Pavlova / Pomegranate Frozen Custard
Pomegranate Pink Peppercorn Syrup

"After Dinner Mints"
Brandied Pomegranate Arils

Here's our Crown Jewel Affair Video

And our Presentation on How to Open a POM Wonderful Pomegranate

The party continues...please stop by the posts below to see more photos of each course and recipes. Fresh or bottled POM Wonderful pomegranate juice starred in a jelly, vinaigrette, braising liquid, sauce, reduction, ice cream flavoring, and syrup, and fresh pomegranate arils were found floating in cocktails, and adorning every course, providing an elegant and festive touch, pop of brilliant color, burst of sweet, tart flavor and surprise crunch.
  • Our Welcome Cocktail, Ginger Pomegranate Martini, now posted, here.
  • An amazing appetizer, Nut Crusted Fried Brie with Pomegranate Jalapeno Jelly, now posted here.
  • Vibrant Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup, now posted here.
  • Lively Roasted Beet Salad with Pomegranate-Cumin Vinaigrette, now posted here.
  • Magnificent Chiles en Nogada, now posted here.
  • Braised Lamb Shank Ragu, Polenta Triangles, Spicy Mexican Pomegranate Sauce, here.
  • Chocolate Pavlova, Pomegranate Frozen Custard, Pomegranate Pink Peppercorn Syrup, here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend!
Denise & John
There's a Newf in My Soup!
A Coronado Culinary Blog

Views: 340

Comment by Jamie Edmonds on November 24, 2010 at 8:27pm
Sorry I missed it, but thanks for sharing! I absolutely LOVE Pomegranate juice! A wonderful drink my wife and I discovered one evening while dining at Parallel 33 in Mission Hills is called "Tears of the Prophet":

2 ounces Absolut Mandarin vodka (I've since tried other cheaper "orange" flavored vodka, but the Absolut is an absolute must!)

3 ounces pomegranate juice

Mint, for garnish

Combine vodka and pomegranate juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mint.

– from Parallel 33 in Mission Hills

Also, I was happy to learn how to get those pesky seeds out of fresh pomegranates (LOVE those farmers markets--especially this time of year!): cut down from the flower end about half way then break it open the rest of the way with your hands (pomegranates stain so work over the sink and wear something pink!) You can cut each half in quarters to make it even easier if you'd like. Then hold the cut side down in one hand and whack the backside with a heavy spoon and just knock all the seeds out. If you work over a large bowl of water, the seeds will sink and any pith/membrane will float and be easily skimmed off. It takes awhile, but you can get them all out that way a LOT faster than trying to peel the whole thing! Another tip: I use a Spätzle press (similar to a potato ricer: ) to squeeze the seeds into fresh juice.

I LOVE Pomegranates! They have LOTS of healthy anti-oxidant phytochemicals: polyphenols, anthocyanins, and ellagitannins that help your body rid itself of harmful free-radicals. I also really like a splash of fresh Pomegranate juice in my green tea (instead of sugar)--now if I could just wean myself off of the coffee!
Comment by Denise E. Jones on November 24, 2010 at 9:07pm
Thanks Jamie! I'll try one of those cocktails! Didn't you watch my video on how to open a pomegranate??!

I do like the idea of a Spätzle press for juicing!

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