27 February 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Honey Glaze

I am so excited that I was able to do some cooking the last couple of days. It's been several weeks since my blood counts have been high enough for me to not have to worry about using knives and to have the energy to stand in the kitchen. It's amazing what a few blood transfusions will do for you!

Now I don't do a lot of cooking of meat, but I was going through the freezer yesterday and found a package of pork tenderloin. It seemed that it would be nice to do something different with it, so I started looking through my files. There I came across a recipe that was originally on Sara Moulton's show, Sara's Secrets. It seemed like just the thing.

Not too many ingredients:

The glaze calls for 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. I decided to try some O Port Balsamic that I had gotten a while back. It was quite good. Also used Sciabica's Fall Harvest Manzilla Olive Oil. The rosemary came from my container garden.

As the directions said to cook to 140°F, I finally got a chance to use my super-duper, really nifty Thermapen instant read thermometer.

If you don't have one of these, I can't recommend it enough. It is fabulous! Comes in other colours besides pink.

My package of tenderloins weighed exactly 2 pounds.

Here they are sliced into medallions.

Searing in my cast iron chicken fryer.

They fit just perfectly into a Fiesta rectangular baker.

Glaze is poured over and they are ready to go in the oven.

140° exactly! (Well almost. I think we can round down the 0.1.)

Roasted and resting:

Served on scarlet Fiesta with egg noodles, roasted heirloom tomatoes and roasted haricots verts with onion.

This was some of the most moist and tender pork I have ever eaten. The rest of the family thought it was delicious and gave it two thumbs up. I'd also like to try this glaze with chicken, as it is very tasty.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Honey Glaze
adapted from Sara's Secrets

For the balsamic-honey glaze:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp local honey
2 Tbsp good olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I like the country style)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the pork:
1¾ to 2 lb pork tenderloin
vegetable oil, for searing

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the glaze: Put garlic and chopped rosemary in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, honey, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper, to taste, and whisk to combine.

For the pork: Slice the tenderloin into 1" thick medallions (rounds).

Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with a little vegetable oil and heat over medium-high until hot. Add the pork medallions in 1 layer, season with salt and pepper, and sear for 1 minute. Turn and sear for 1 more minute, until lightly browned. Transfer the slices to a shallow baking dish, making sure there is only one layer. Pour the glaze over the pork and turn to coat.

Roast for 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted reaches 140°F for medium. Remove from the oven and keep warm, loosely covered until ready to serve.

To serve place pork medallions on a platter and spoon the balsamic-honey glaze over them.

I'm linking this recipe to Kim's Saturday Swap over at Quit Eating Out. Click on the logo to check it out and join in the fun.

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14 February 2011

Stuff - the makings of tablescapes

I'm going to be joining Marty at A Stroll Through Life for TableTop Tuesday and Jenny @ off on my tanget for Alphabe-Thursday where Today's Letter is "S" - S is for "Stuff". Check out these wonderful blogs to see who else is playing along.

This past weekend the Guy and I made a final trip over to Louisiana to meet with the realtor and arrange for the sale of his mother's house. My MIL loved dishes and collected them all her married life. She also liked accessories to go along with the dishes. Today my tabletop is just an assortment of things I brought home from her house that will make their way into future tablescapes here at RMoaDL.

This is just an overview picture.

In the back are a pair of matching Christmas tablecloths. I brought those home so that each of my girls will have one. There is also a Victorian fishbowl vase. That thing is going to hold a LOT of flowers!

The black and white dishes are Ebonette, by Knowles. These are the dishes that the Guy ate off of while growing up. They are very mid-century modern. We have a service for 12 of these. The birdcage planter is older - from the 1940s. My MIL had that before she ever got married. The lace tablecloth belonged to the Guy's grandmother.

While my MIL had a little bit of depression glass, she mostly had American pressed glass. I just brought home a few pieces.

She also liked apothecary jars. These are from the 1960s and most of them came with decorative soap, bath salts, etc. in them.

There are some other vases, candleholders, cruets, and a milk glass comport in this photo, also.

Little pixies/elves were very popular in the 1940s and 50s. This pair sat on the curved shelves on either side of my MIL's sink since they built their house in 1950. (I'm thinking they will go nicely on a St. Patrick's Day table.)

That one on the left looks to be full of mischief!

The Guy's family often had canaries and parakeets when he was little. This was their first canary cage from the 1950s.

And to go along with the cage, here are a pair of canary salt and pepper shakers.

These dishes are Homer Laughlin Eggshell Georgian made in 1948. We only found 8 cups, saucers and berry bowls. No one seems to know where my MIL got these, though they do think they were inherited.

Now I am not sure exactly when or how these different things will be used, but they all called out to me to bring them home. How do you collect your "stuff" for tablescaping?

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Happy Valentine's Day with Heart-Shaped Candy Boxes

Valentine's Day is when we all take the time to show our loves how much they are appreciated. Some of the tokens given today will be Valentine cards, boxes of candy, flowers, jewellery, etc. Last week I mentioned how my Papa always gave my Mama a heart-shaped Valentine box of candy. The heart-shaped candy boxes reached their heyday in the 1950s and 60s. While they are still given today, these pretty boxes share the stage with other gifts.

My Mom always saved the boxes and hung them up in her closet above the built-in drawers. I just loved to play with them when I was a little girl and thought they were beautiful. In 1969 we moved from one side of Louisiana to the other, and I never remember seeing my Mom's boxes after that. Don't know if they got lost in the move, packed away, or what.

Last fall my MIL crossed over at age 84. The Guy and I (and his siblings and their spouses) have been going through her house and getting it ready to sell. When we got to her closet, we found that she had also saved some of the heart-shaped candy boxes my FIL had given her. Some of the boxes are simply red with an impression of hearts, flowers, etc.,

but others are more elaborate with lace, silk flowers, etc.

The boxes were made by numerous candy companies all over the country. The ones I mainly remember are Whitman's, Russell Stover's , and Pangburn's. The candy companies would have varied by region, as there were few national brands that specialized in Valentine chocolates. But Russell Stover is the company that originated heart-shaped boxes in the first place.

As time has passed, Russell Stover has purchased both Whitman's and Pangburn's brands. (As an aside, Pangburn's originated in Texas and is the candy company that invented Millionaires way back in 1914. Millionaires are now the only candy from Pangburn's that Russell Stover still sells and one of the few chocolate candies that I never turn down.) In honour of the day, I'd like to share some photos of beautiful vintage Valentine heart candy boxes with you.

At our house we had been talking about the Valentine candy boxes and the Guy knew I had brought his mother's boxes home with us. I was thinking I could use them somehow for doing some Valentine decorating.

The Guy always gives me flowers for Valentines - beautiful potted flowers that I can plant after the holiday and enjoy forever. I used to be a florist and totally subscribe to "hyacinths for the soul" you know. The flowers he has given me at Valentines have always been pink or red - either tulips or miniature roses, mostly tulips. I just love these flowers and continue to enjoy them each year when they bloom. We were out at the farm yesterday and I noticed quite a few of the tulips beginning to come up.

Well, this past Thursday the Guy came home with a surprise. He had been to the drug store to pick up some of my prescriptions and it occurred to him that I had never had a Valentine heart-shaped box of candy of my own. So what did he do? He bought the biggest, prettiest heart-shaped box of Russell Stover candy they had. Not really for the candy as I am not a huge fan of chocolate, but so that I would have a heart box of my very own. This is one of the reasons I love The Guy. He truly understands that I would love to have a box and not worry about the candy. This is it!

Hearts are always associated with love. I am very lucky to have had grandparents, parents and in-laws who loved each other during long and happy marriages. My Papa crossed when my parents had only been married for 30 years, but my in-laws were together 62 years before my FIL crossed. Once, when she was in her 70s, my MIL sat down to talk with me and explained that love just kept getting better and better the older you got.

I'm leaving you with one last photo because it is part of the love story. This necklace is the gift that my father-in-law gave my mother-in-law to celebrate their 20th Wedding Anniversary back in 1966 (45 years ago now).

It's not very large - only about an inch in diameter. The Guy was in high school and taking French I at the time. He was there when the gift was opened. As his mother didn't speak or read French, he translated it for her. Because of the sentiment, this was one of her most treasured possessions. She wore it to church nearly every Sunday and on other special occasions.

"I love you more than yesterday less than tomorrow."

That is how the Guy and I feel about one another. Happy Valentine's Day, my friends. I hope you all enjoy your celebration of love today. And while you are out and about, check out Smiling Sally for Blue Monday and The Little Round Table for The Colours of Love: Coast to Coast & Shore to Shore.

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12 February 2011

Rosemaling Valentine Table

I'm linking this up at Seasonal Sunday with The Tablescaper. Check it out to see other great posts related to the season. Also, The Colours of Love: Coast to Coast & Shore to Shore is still open, so please join us there, if you haven't already.

Rosemaling is Norwegian Rose Painting. It is a form of Folk Art that has been around at least since the 1700s. Each Rosemaled piece is one-of-a kind, being painted individually. When Abbey was a baby and I was decorating her room, I was able to find several pieces of rosemaling (candleholders, boxes, etc.) to use. The red and white with roses and hearts was a neat look for a little girl.

Fast forward many years. I found this set of rosemaled napkin rings and thought they would be great to use on a Valentine table. Not that I had anything else to go with them for tablescaping. As I didn't want to leave them behind they found their way home with me. They even came on their own stand, so storage was not a problem.

Then one day I was looking at tablecloths on eBay and Etsy and ran across one where the design was just perfect to go with rosemaling.

Now I had the basis for my table. There are plenty of dishes from which to choose some that will look seasonal for Valentines. I went with turquoise, rose and scarlet.

Place settings are turquoise, rose and scarlet Post-86 Fiesta.

The centrepiece is a vintage Bauer turquoise cake stand and a Farberware chrome nude bud vase.

These ladies are highly collectible. They are known as cubic nudes, weeping nudes or bashful nudes because of the design and position of the figure.

The ladies can be found both standing and kneeling. And they are on a number of different styles of decorative accessories (e.g. shot glass trays, coffee dispenser, candy dishes, candleholders, bud vases, and bridge tokens, etc.)

I also used some vintage turquoise Harlequin and Fiesta on the table.

Fiesta carafe

Harlequin marmelade

Fiesta sweets comport

Fiesta tripod candleholders

Goblets are from Pier One.

The flatware is Treble Clef by Gourmet Settings.

And no proper deco tablesetting would be complete without a dinner bell or gong. Chase made several different designs. This is the Ming Bell.

Napkins are the same ones I used in the L'amour est Bleu table: cutwork embroidered cotton that I brought back from St. Thomas. And I just love the way the napkin rings echo the design on the tablecloth.

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