Recipe | Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

It’s not easy to make a nice Valentine’s Day dinner mid-week, when there is work, school, and activities. But I was determined to do it yesterday. I’ve been looking through old recipes lately and I knew exactly what I wanted to try: balsamic roast pork tenderloins. This is a recipe I made often when Drew and I were first married. I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I prepared it, but I’m happy to say it will be back in the meal rotation.

The recipe is simple (SO simple), and my kids all loved it, too. Laura especially loved the bits of roasted garlic that flavor the pork.

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloins

Balsamic roast pork

2  pounds pork tenderloins (1 package with 2 tenderloins)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, cracked
Kosher salt salt and black pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Trim silver skin or connective tissue off tenderloins with a very sharp thin knife.

Place tender loins on a nonstick, rimmed cookie sheet. Coat tenderloins in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, rubbing vinegar into meat. Drizzle tenderloins with extra-virgin olive oil, just enough to coat. Cut small slits into meat and disperse chunks of cracked garlic cloves into meat. Combine salt and pepper with rosemary and thyme and rub meat with blend. Roast in hot oven 20 minutes.

Let meat rest, transfer to a carving board, slice and serve.

I served this with baked sweet potatoes and lemon-Parmesan roasted broccoli. This dish would be great to prepare for company because you get a fantastic result with very little effort! Enjoy!

Recipe | Savory Tomato Pie

savory tomato pie

Those who have stuck with my blog for a long time may remember that for a while I attempted to keep my recipes in a separate blog I called “Sugar & Spice.” I just never really kept it up, finding it preferable to keep them here instead. Several months ago I finally decided to delete it from my domain, so of course I downloaded all the content. I’ve been going through all the recipes on there, and realized that many of them I have not made in years! One of those recipes is for Tomato Pie.

Well, Jake made his Confirmation on Friday and with family and friends coming to celebrate I wanted to make a meal that would be tasty, but didn’t need to be hot (the Mass was at 5:30 and I knew we wouldn’t be home until close to 7, at which point everyone would be starving). I settled on a menu that couple be prepared ahead of time: London Broil, green bean and feta salad, pasta salad, and I decided to make this tomato pie after remembering that I made pretty much the same meal for his Baptism!

I made three of these pies for 12 people (8 slices per pie), and only 2 slices were leftover! Yes, it was a huge hit and everyone was asking me for the recipe. The best part? It’s very easy, especially if you cheat on the pie crusts like I do. This would be awesome late in the summer when your tomato plants are going crazy – it’s the perfect side dish and you can change up the herbs however you want. 

Savory Tomato Pie

savory tomato pie

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
2 large tomatoes cut into 1/4″ slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2-3 slices deli Swiss cheese
2-3 slices deli Provolone cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Additional salt and pepper to taste.
Freshly-grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Spread the tomato slices evenly on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels or a clean dish towel and sprinkle liberally with salt. Allow the salted tomatoes to set for about 20 min. Meanwhile, bake empty pie crust according to package directions, and remove from oven. 

Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the baked pie crust (add more if you need to). Layer the Swiss slices on top of the mustard, than layer the Provolone on top of the Swiss. Layer the tomatoes on top and bake until the pie crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft. (Approx. 35-40 min.)

In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. When you remove the pie from the oven, sprinkle thhis mixture over the top and carefully spread it out using either a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. Top with just a little bit of freshly-grated Romano (my preferance) or Parmesan cheese.

Allow the pie to cool, and serve barely warm or at room temperature.

One pie would be enough for 4-5 people, but just to be safe I’d make two pies because you’re going to want an extra slice or two (plus, the freezer pie crusts always comes 2/pack, so it just makes sense, right?).

{Recipe} Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

The holidays are over, but maybe you still have some leftover ham? Or maybe you’re just craving a stick-to-your-ribs soup on a chilly winter day. There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of split pea soup. Over the years, I’ve tried several different recipes, but none of them seemed like “the one.” They were too smoky, or too salty, or just had the wrong flavor.

Desperate to satisfy a craving, I gave one more recipe a shot, adapting it a little bit, and I finally came up with a winner. When your husband exclaims, “This soup is awesome!” and your 6-year-old asks to take to school for lunch the next day, well… you know it’s got to be pretty good.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

1 1/4 cup of dried split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/2 – 1 lb. of ham, diced
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Check on the soup about halfway through. Add more liquid if necessary. Prior to serving, use a potato masher to mash ingredients slightly and thicken the soup.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

This recipe can easily be doubled, and next time I may have to do that. Top the soup with oyster cracker or croutons, or serve with a buttered roll.

{Recipe} Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

Black Currant Tea Vodka

If you are looking for an easy, last-minute gift or something interesting to bring to a holiday party, have I got the recipe for you! A while back I tried a fig tea vodka my friend brewed. It was delicious and I put the idea on my long to-try list. Last month I gave it a shot, and the results were fantastic.

First, let me give you the recipe.

Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

12 oz. of vodka
1 silk sachet of Harney & Sons Black Currant tea
1 oz. (or more to taste) simple syrup

Pour the vodka in a mason jar and add the sachet. Cover and allow to steep for 8-10 hours. Remove sachet and dispose. Add simple syrup to your desired sweetness. Store in a cool, dry place (I prefer the freezer).

Black Currant Tea Vodka

First, a note on the vodka…

While you don’t have to use your Stoli or Grey Goose for this recipe, I would not recommend anything too harsh. Sobieski is my go-to vodka. First, because it’s Polish, and second because I think it’s good quality for a reasonable price.

Second, notes on the tea…

I think it’s really important to use a high-quality tea when making this flavored vodka. You will definitely notice a difference between a cordial made with good ingredients vs. one made with cheap ingredients. That being said, Harney is one of my favorites and I don’t think their prices are crazy. Are they a little pricer than some of the grocery store brands? Yes, but trust me — it’s so worth it. And you don’t have to mail-order them anymore. I’ve seen the sachets at Target and Stop & Shop. That brings us to why I prefer using the tea sachet. I find that the sachet allows you to brew more than just a single cup, so it’s perfect for a “pint-ish” of vodka. I’ve also used the sachet with 8 oz. of vodka and it worked fine, too. I’ve never tried this with loose tea, though I’m sure you could do it. You’ll just have to strain everything out.

Feel free to experiment with other flavors of tea, too. I’ve also made tea infused vodka using Hot Cinnamon Spice and that was really yummy.

Na Zdrowie!

Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip

My two favorite treats when we order Chinese food are hot & sour soup and crab rangoons. A couple years ago I created a hot & sour soup recipe that I am quite happy with. (It’s on my old blog — I’ll have to move that post over here!). But crab rangoons always seemed like they’d be fussy (and fried — and I don’t really like to deep fry food in my kitchen). After browsing several recipes for crab dip, I cobbled together a recipe for crab rangoon dip! It is so easy to put together and was a big hit when I brought it to a girls’ night out dinner (my friends are the best recipe testers).

Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip

Last night I made it again, just to make sure I had everything right (not because I wanted to lick the bowl or anything, LOL!). My family also raved about it, including my picky son who remarked, “Actually, it’s not bad!” Trust me — that was a compliment. This is a dip that I think will go into frequent rotation around here!

Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips
An easy, cheesy, yummy dip. Perfect when you have a craving for those delicious crab rangoons from your favorite Chinese restaurant!
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Ingredients
  1. 6-oz. can of crabmeat
  2. 4 oz. softened cream cheese.
  3. 1/3 c. mayonnaise
  4. 1/2 tsp. Worstershire sauce
  5. 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  6. 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  7. 3-4 scallions, chopped
  8. 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  9. won ton wrappers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. TO MAKE THE WONTON CHIPS: Take a stack of wonton wrappers and cut on a diagonal so you have piles of triangles. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes -- just until the wontons are crispy.
  3. Using a fork or a hand mixer, combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, mayo, Worsterhire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Add the scallions and mozzeralla cheese and stir to incorporate into the mixture.
  4. Transfer dip to a shallow, oven-safe dish and bake uncovered for approx. 20 minutes until the dip is hot and bubbly.
  5. Garnish the dip with additional scallions if desired. Serve with wonton chips for dipping.
Notes
  1. Ovens vary, so be sure to keep an eye on the wonton chips to avoid burning them.
  2. To create an elegant appetizer, line mini muffin tins with the uncooked wontons, then fill with the dip. Bake for approx. 10 minutes or until dip is bubbly and wonton edges are crisp.
  3. No wontons? No problem! Simply substitute tortilla chips.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/
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Frozen Lemonade Pie

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Holy cow, is it hot out there today! I was looking through my old recipes and came across Frozen Lemonade Pie, a delicious dessert I haven’t made in ages. It’s just perfect for a blazing summer day like this one. While the lemonade flavor  is my favorite, I’ve also tested this using orange juice concentrate and limeade concentrate — both are fantastic as well! Hope a slice of this will help keep you cool.

Frozen Lemonade Pie

1 12-oz. container of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 8-oz. tub of whipped topping
1 prepared graham cracker or shortbread pie crust

In a large bowl, mix the lemonade concentrate and condensed milk. Carefully fold in the whipped topping. Pour the filling into the pie crust being careful not to overfill.
Freeze the pie for at least 6 hours before serving.

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)Many years ago, when my husband’s French-Canadian grandmother was still alive, I remember my mother-in-law serving something called cretons at the holidays. Initially, I was put off by this strange pork pate. It was eaten cold, either on crackers or toast, and contained what I (at that time) considered “sweet” spices. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it all worked together.

Flash forward a few years. My husband and our two boys went on a vacation to Quebec while I stayed home with our teeny baby. The hotel served cretons as part of their traditional breakfast and D. fell in love with it all over again. I decided I was going to try making a version.

Over the years I’ve tweaked a bit here and a bit there, and today I’m sharing the version I make. It is authentic? I can’t say — I’ve never tried the real thing! D. assures me, however, that it is pretty darn close. My favorite way to enjoy cretons is spread on top of a buttered, toasted English muffin. Toast will do nicely, too. But you need to have the butter — it just adds a little extra something. So please, just take it from me and try this! I think you’ll agree that it’s a delicious treat.

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)

Cretons

1 lb. ground pork
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

Brown pork in a large pan along with the chopped onions and garlic. Add the salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Transfer pork mixture to a food processor and pulse until the meat reaches an extremely fine consistency.
Return the pork mixture to the pan and add the milk and bread crumbs and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir well to blend everything together. Reduce the heat to LOW, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 30-40 min. Remove the lid and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and all the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Transfer to a bowl and smooth the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until well chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.