Franki’s Lil Europe


Do you purge files and storage boxes every year? I do. It seems that each year I collect more and more “stuff”. So, I have a routine of picking one year’s boxes, looking at the files that I had saved that year, and purging everything that seems to have no purpose. This year the boxes revealed so many great menus for wine dinners that we have done. What great memories and what great meals. The next few blogs are a series of these dinner menus with wine pairings and some select recipes or recipe links.

Franki’s Lil Europe hosted an intimate dinner featuring Messina Hof wines in 2001. Franki and Gabriela did a wonderful job and had a passion for their food and customers that matched the passion that Paul and I shared about wine. This menu was one of the most generous in choices per course that I have done. It is difficult enough to create a fabulous pre fix for a restaurant full of people, much less give them so many choices. Every dish was delicious.

First Course
Grilled Shrimp and Scallops with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Artichoke Crepe with Poblano Crème Reduction
Serve with Messina Hof Brut Sparkling or Pinot Grigio

Second Course
Baby Spring Mix Salad with Slovene Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette and Gorgonzola Crouton
Serve with Messina Hof Gewurztraminer

Third Course
Grilled Quail and Lingonberry with Wild Rice and Asparagus
Castillian Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Plum Compote served with mixed Peppercorn Sauce and Roasted Potatoes
Serve with Messina Hof Pinot Noir

Fourth Course

Grilled Lamb Chops with Garden Rosemary and Port Wine Served with Cous Cous
Serve with Messina Hof Merlot

Grilled Halibut with Saffron Crème and New Potatoes
Serve with Messina Hof Chardonnay

Fifth Course
Raspberry Buttermilk Tart
Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse Cake
Crème Brulee
Serve with Private Reserve Papa Paulo Port

One of my challenges has always been pork loin. It seemed too dry. This stuffed pork loin was very moist. I do not know Franki’s secret but what I have learned is to brine for 48 hours, sear until golden on all sides, dry roast for 1 ½ to 2 hours at 300 degrees, cool to room temp and then cut.

Last night I prepared a pork loin stuffed with feta cheese and fresh basil pesto and served it with my Merrill’s Mustard Crème Sauce. It is my favorite all purpose sauce.

2 cups mascarpone cheese
Mustard to taste (for a light sauce 2 tablespoons is good)
Mix together cheese and mustard until smooth and then gradually add milk until desired consistency.
Warm before serving.