Anniversary picnic: Eat, drink, be married

27 Jul Anniversary picnic: Eat, drink, be married

Last springtime’s flood of summer camp brochures was met with eager enthusiasm and rapid-fire registration by both of our daughters. Scratching out checks, slapping on stamps and dropping forms off in the mail, I began to think how lucky they were to be gallivanting off to camps for days on end accompanied by friends. I wish I could go to camp, I started to think, selfishly.

                With our 15th wedding anniversary date hovering on the horizon, an idea began to hatch.  Well, maybe I can go to camp, I thought. Maybe we can. If I coordinated the timing of both girls going to the camp on Flathead Lake they were hoping to attend, maybe Mike and I could drive off into the sunset.  Or rather, perhaps we could hop in the car and road trip it to Coeur d’Alene, where we had gotten engaged 16 years ago, this time for Anniversary Camp.

                A few phone calls later, and all the pieces were falling into place. I could hardly wait.

                Let the planning begin. A mutual agreement not to get each other expensive gifts left me focusing on the memorable experience aspect of anniversary camp. Just being there at the Coeur d’Alene Lake Resort, just the two of us would be a real treat.

                A sucker for tradition, I had been sitting Mike down every year on our anniversary to view our wedding video over a slice of anniversary cake. I sent our video off to be transferred onto DVD for convenient viewing at camp and began searching for photographs of the two of us to compile into an anniversary photo album. Not an easy task, I soon found out, as most of our pictures were of the girls (or I have to admit, of food I had been photographing in the last few years).

                I baked the traditional anniversary cake we enjoy every year, a nod to our wedding cake: an almond-flavored white cake with raspberry butter cream and almond icing and topped it with 15 red roses from our yard, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and tucking it snugly into a cooler for transport.

                And for lunch along the way, a version of Mike’s very favorite dinner, roasted pork tenderloin with cherry sauce made into sandwiches, which we enjoyed as a picnic lunch al fresco in Missoula.

                Mike surprised me with a bottle of Dom Perignon vintage 1996 champagne, the perfect pairing for the anniversary cake. What a wonderful way to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary.

                Eat, drink and be married, I say, to borrow a quote I spied on wedding cocktail napkins in the wedding aisle at Michael’s last week. In celebration of summer weddings and anniversaries, this week’s Special of the day: Anniversary Camp with recipes fit for a road trip of your own:  roast pork tenderloin and cherry sauce sandwiches and anniversary cake, of course.  Enjoy!

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce Sandwiches

Roast Pork Tenderloin and Cherry Sauce Sandwiches
(Makes four sandwiches)
 13-ounce jar cherry preserves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and simmer, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
Place 1 pound pork tenderloin in an oven proof baking dish.
Pour all but ½ cup of the cherry sauce over the pork tenderloin and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until lightly browned on the outside and semi firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
 
 Caramelized Onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 Vidalia (sweet) onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
 In a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until softened.
Increase heat to medium high and caramelize onions, stirring frequently to prevent over-browning.
Let cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
 
 To assemble sandwiches:
Lay out 8 slices of honey whole wheat bread on work surface.
Spread each slice of bread with melted butter. (Set 4 slices aside for tops.)
Arrange arugula leaves atop 4 bread slices.
Slice roasted pork tenderloin into ¼ inch slices.
Top arugula with a layer of pork slices.
Spread a teaspoon of reserved cherry sauce on top of arranged pork slices.
Top with a tablespoon or two of caramelized onions.
Put tops on sandwiches, cut in half diagonally and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate or store in a cooler of ice until ready to serve.

Happy Anniversary Cake

 Happy Anniversary Cake
(makes two 6-inch layer cakes)
For white wedding cake:
1 supermoist white cake mix
4 egg whites (save yolks for buttercream)
1 ¼ cups water
1/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon almond extract
 Beat cake ingredients together on low speed of electric mixer for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Spray two 6-inch cake pans with floured baking spray and fill a little more than half way full with cake batter.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean.
Do not overbake.
Cool.
Wrap tightly in foil and freeze until ready to assemble.
 
 For raspberry buttercream:
1 cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, heat raspberries and sugar, cooking and stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Strain into medium bowl and let cool.
Butter a medium glass bowl.
With electric mixer, beat 3 egg yolks until light in color.
In a medium heavy saucepan over medium high heat, combine ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup light corn syrup.
Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a rolling boil.
Immediately pour into buttered bowl to stop cooking.
Beat syrup into yolks, being careful not to pour syrup directly onto beaters,  on high speed until mixture is completely cool.
Beat in 1 cup real butter (room temperature), 1 tablespoon at a time until thoroughly combined and light and fluffy.
Beat in 3 tablespoons raspberry syrup until incorporated.
For almond icing:
With an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup softened butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons almond extract.
Add more cream, if necessary to achieve a fluffy consistency. 
To assemble:
Cut frozen cakes in half horizontally and fill with raspberry butter cream.
Replace top layers and skewer to secure, if necessary.
Frost tops and sides with almond icing.
Decorate with ribbon and fresh roses.
Keep cool or refrigerated until ready to serve.
Enjoy! 

                Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at  sydnegeorge@hotmail.com .

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