POM Wonderful and Welcome Back Party

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The thought planning, decorating, cooking, and hosting dinner parties can be intimidating to some, but for Kim, dinner parties couldn’t come often enough.  But since we’ve were living and blogging from two different states and visiting each other on weekends, hosting dinner parties weren’t the easiest things to organize. But it just so happened that on the week that Kim moved back to Southern California, POM Wonderful selected us to host a POM Harvest Dinner Party.  It was a perfect opportunity to welcome Kim back to California with some friends and host a party.

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With 18,000 acres, POM Wonderful is the largest grower of pomegranates in the US. They generously sent us 2 cases of wonderfully ripe and juice pomegranates from this years harvest. Pomegranate trees take up to 9 years to mature and their harvest season runs from October to late January. Since this we a pomegranate themed meal, we decided to celebrate the pomegranate tree symbolically with a manzanita tree centerpiece, covered with decorative crystals and ornamental “pomegranates.”

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Our theme was a “Red and Black” party and Kim sewed the table cloth and runner to match the red and black plate settings.

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As guests arrived, we started of with some POMosa’s: a lovely concoction of orange juice, pomegranate juice, and bubblies.

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Here’s a toast to friends and a big welcome back for Kim’s return to California! Cheers! 

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Manzanita tree, sewed table cloths, menu cards, and name tags, she didn’t spare any details!

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While sipping on POMosas,  a platter of crispy puff pastry wrapped around oozing warm brie, pomegranates, and pomegranate reduction were passed around.

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Finally, when all guests arrived, we sat down to eat. The first appetizer was a refreshing citrus marinated zucchini crudo with pomegranates, shiso, lemon balm, and feta.  

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Then came our hearty roasted kobacha squash soup with pomegranate infused creme fraiche, pomegranates and crispy Chinese bacon. 
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For a festive dinner drink, we also had a POM Sangria with red wine, POM juice, pomegranates, pears, apples, and oranges. 

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Our fish course consisted of a halibut and shrimp ceviche with pomegranates, Persian cucumbers, pickled red onions and yellow Peruvian aji amarillo chili sauce, a deceptively sweet and spicy chili.
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We roasted crispy pork belly as our main and served it in a pillowy soft bao, topped  with a pomegranate molasses-hoisin sauce, arugula, and pickled red onions.  The sweet and salty pomegranate molasses-hoisin sauce was perfect for the succulent pork belly.

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Finally for dessert, we enjoyed a warm pomegranate and cinnamon poached persimmon, cored out to serve as a cup for vanilla bean ice cream. The persimmon, pomegranate, and cinnamon reduction sauce was then drizzled on top along with fresh pomegranates.

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After dessert came the fun festivities! What’s a party without a POM-ñata? Kim and I made this huge pomegranate POM-ñata and stuffed it with red bags of candy to represent the arils and the POM Wonderful goodie bags for our guests.  Luckily there was only one minor injury to our quite embarrassed friend Danny of Kung Food Panda blog.

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After the mad scramble for goodie bags and red bags of candy spewing from the POM-ñata, we held a best dressed contest  to reward the guest with best “Red and Black” outfit.  Our dapper friend Remil, won hands down  and modeled his well deserved POM Wonderful apron.

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We then quizzed the guests on how they opened pomegranates and to our surprise, most had wild ideas! One guest even though you soak them in water until it “explodes!” It was quite hilarious to hear the responses. Then Kim demonstrated how easy it was to open and deseed a pomegranate for everyone to watch:

1. Cut off the top of the pomegranate just below the crown.
2. With the crown removed, you will see 4-6 sections of the pomegranate divided by white membrane. With the knife’s point, score the skin along each section.
3. Using both hands, carefully pull the pomegranate apart in a bowl of water, breaking it into small sections and place it in a bowl of water.
4. Loosen the arils and allow them to sink to the bottom of the bowl. The membrane will float to the top.
5. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to scoop out the white membrane that have floated to the top of the water.
6. Pour the arils and remaining liquid through a strainer and enjoy!

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After the party, each guest stuffed their goodie bags with large ripe pomegranates to take home.  To see if they remembered and learned from Kim’s demonstration, we also asked our guests to send us photos of themselves opening their pomegranates.  Great job guys!  
Thank you POM Wonderful for helping us celebrate the POM Harvest and for being a part of Kim’s welcome back party. Stay tuned for some of these pomegranate inspired recipes.  

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