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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pork Medallions with Sage and Mustard Sauce

This pork was the main event for last weeks dinner party.  I found the recipe from a Williams Sonoma “Dinner Parties” cookbook.  There were 9 of us, so I doubled the recipe (but what is listed below is the regular ratios) for the sauce and used about 4 1/2 pounds of pork (which is super economical especially if you can get it at a warehouse store, mine was about $16 total).  This is super quick and easy to put together, and got great reviews.

2 pork tenderloins, about 1/4 pound each

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sage

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chicken stock

Fresh sage for garnish

Cut the tenderloins crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Please the slices in a single layer on a sheet of plastic wrap.  In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the dried sage and stir with a fork or whisk.  Sprinkle both sides evenly with the mixture.  Let stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour or in the fridge for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine the cream, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage.  Place over medium high heat, bring to a boil, and stir until the cream is reduced 1/2 cup (about 4 or 5 minutes).  Set aside.  The sauce can be made up to an hour in advance.

In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the olive oil.  Working in batches (if necessary), add the pork slices and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cook for 2/3 minutes longer.  Turn and continue to cook until the slices are golden on the second side and nearly opaque throughout, about 4 minutes more.  Transfer to a warmed platter and tent with alu minum foil.

Raise the heat to high and stir in the chicken stock, scrapping up browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the cream mixture and continue to stir until the sauce is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 2-3 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the pork, garnish with the sage sprigs and serve.

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Table Setting

One of my favorite parts of cooking is making the meal an enjoyable experience for my guests.  A big part of that to me is spending a little extra time on the details of the table setting.  I have been acquiring little pretty pretties over the past several years and now have lots of options for making a pretty table.  I recently found a really beautiful green and white table runner at Marshalls for $10 or $15!  I added 2 silver candles sticks from a Pier 1 that I got from a store closing, 3 glass cylinder vases and little clear tea light holders that I got at Ikea for $3 (for 12 holders).  I added fresh lemons and limes to the cylinders to tie in the table runner.  I spent about $1o or $12 on the lemons and limes.  I plan on using the lemons for another batch of fresh mint lemonade (recipe to follow soon!) and will juice the remaining lemons and limes and freeze the juice in the ice cube trays for other recipes.  I love how it looks so much that I will probably buy fake ones to get the same effect and avoid spending a future in fresh fruit, having a freezer full of citrus juice or letting it go to waste.  The glasses on the table were garnished with a bamboo skewer that was threaded with a lemon slice and a piece of mint.

I picked up resealable glass bottles at Ikea ($3.99 each) for the fresh lemonade.  They added a pretty touch and function to the table.  I found nice green and white linen napkins on clearance at Macy’s recently that added a perfect touch of elegance to the table.  I also made napkin rings out of old spoons!  There will be a how to soon for them (they are beyond easy to make!).

I was really please with how pretty, fresh and light the table looked!

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A happy Thursday night!

Tonight was girls dinner to the max!  My friend Leann is in from Illinois this week, and was able to join EVERYONE (well almost) for dinner.  I was so grateful everyone was able to make it.  Leann mentioned how she couldn’t stop smiling all night.  And I felt the same.

Sadly, we only get to see Leann a couple of times a year, but it is always a joy to see she and her husband, Mat.  And tonight I found out that Mat is a big cooker and griller, so I hope to have him share some recipes soon! 🙂

I had 8 friends and me around the table tonight.  I actually only have 8 chairs, but luckily it wasn’t a big deal because 2 of the girls had a commitment that made them a bit late and they arrived a little bit after we ate.  As I heated things up a bit for them, and peaked into the dining room, I thought about what a fantastic problem I was having at the moment.  I had more friends around my table than chairs.  I will take that ANY day of the week.  Chit chat and laughter filled my apartment as we caught up and enjoyed being together like old times.  But, I like to make sure everyone is comfortable and like things to match, so I think a trip to Ikea will be in order soon to pick up a couple more folding chairs!

2 of my friends husbands came and went for dinner and drinks at a bar near my place, and were back at my place at the perfect timing for me (and probably the worst timing for them!).  Seeing the stacks of dishes piled up, they insisted on washing all of the dishes!  Usually I make everyone leave them.  I would much rather sit and visit than worry about them; the dishes will still be dirty in an hour or even a day in my opinion!  But the guys won even more points from me by washing everything!  My friends are lucky girls!

Highlights of the night:

  • Having more friends than chairs
  • Leann being home
  • Using my new green table runner from Marshalls and making a super cute table around that
  • Delicious home made lemonade in fun Ikea resealable glass bottles
  • Champagne with blackberries
  • Chris and Mat (Nicky and Leann’s husbands) doing ALL the dishes!

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