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August 30, 2010

Pork Medallions with Vodka, Bacon and Cream

The sauce in this dish provides the primary flavors for the food. For a memorable food and wine pairing, I recommend a Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette area where the cooler climate is ideal for growing this grape.

Serves 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


  • 4 slices smoked bacon, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chicken stock


    In an oven proof pan, cook the bacon, drain and set aside. Sprinkle the tenderloin with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and sauté tenderloin until seared on all sides. Set tenderloin aside. Add vodka and stock and simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Reduce heat and add cream and bacon. Return tenderloin to pan. Adjust oven rack to middle position and bake tenderloin on 400º F until center registers 145º F and cream reduces to a sauce, about 15 minutes. Transfer tenderloin to a carving board and let stand 10 minutes. If sauce is too thick, add a little more stock. Carve medallions into ½ inch medallions. Spoon sauce onto plates and top with medallions, serve immediately.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Take care not to overcook the tenderloin, it will dry it out and alter the taste
  • Add thyme to the sauce at the time you place tenderloin in oven for a little taste sensation
  • Add color to the plate when serving by sprinkling minced thyme around edges
  • For a complete meal serve this dish with my Vegetable Couscous Paella.

  • While meat is resting tent with foil to keep warm

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Use milk to replace the heavy cream, this will save money, calories and cholesterol.
  • Use canola oil to replace butter

    Posted by terri at 03:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Basil Garlic Chicken Breasts with Grilled Balsamic Peaches

    The balsamic sauce and fruit in this recipe provide a great balance of flavors. Select an off dry, medium body wine such as a Riesling, it has a very food friendly character that pairs well with a broad range of food.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2-3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 whole boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 peaches, halved and pitted


    In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the vinegar to boil and cook until it is reduced by half, 20-25 minutes. Stir in the molasses and black pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.
    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the basil, garlic, and olive oil and mix well. Rub the chicken breasts with garlic mixture, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and grill over a medium high fire for 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over and grill another 5 minutes. Chicken is done when internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, when juices run clear.
    As the chicken breasts are finishing, place the peaches on the fire cut side down and grill until they are nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Flip them over and brush the cut side with balsamic glaze and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Remove the peaches from the grill, give them another coat of glaze and serve whole or sliced with the chicken breast.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Serve the chicken with wild rice and Sesame green beans

  • Check the chicken's internal temperature as you grill to prevent under or over cooking- You can also cook the chicken longer but once it is done there is no going back and you will be left with a dry and tough breast- nothing worse.
  • See my tips for grilling
  • Peaches are so much better when they are in season- July through September. See my friut chart for more information.
  • Pound the chicken with a meat pounder to flatten it so it will cook evenly

  • Save money by deboning the breasts yourself.

    Make it your own
    While grilling add slices of pineapple too. Serve with chicken or as dessert with ice cream

    Posted by terri at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

    August 18, 2010

    Five Herb Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

    This has been a family favorite for many years. The combination of herbs create a very flavorful rub.
    Serve it with a creamy tomato risotto and enjoy!

    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano or basil), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-pound pork tenderloin


    Prepare a two level fire with charcoal on one side of the grill.
    In a small bowl, combine the herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix well. Rub the pork generously if grilling (lightly if oven roasting). Place the tenderloin onto the grill and cook by indirect cooking method or place pork into roasting pan and roast in 400 degree oven until juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • It is important not to overcook tenderloin. The internal temperature should reach 155 degrees.
  • Allow tenderloin to rest for 5-10 minutes. The final temperature should read 160 degrees F.
  • You can make the herb rub in advance and refrigerate for several days
  • Freeze the herb rub in ice cube trays, pop out and store in air tight bag in freezer for up to 6 months.
  • See grilling tips for more information on how to grill successfully

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Reduce the salt by half for a healthier version; the flavor from the herbs will be amazing without the salt

    Posted by terri at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

    August 16, 2010

    Smoked Salmon Quiche

    I first time I enjoyed this dish was at one of our wine dinners and I loved it. Since then I have made it several times. It was paired with Cakebread Cellars Anderson Valley Chardonnay. The quiche and wine were both richly textured, the wine with the perfect balance of acid and fruit complimented the smokey salmon and creamy filling.

    Quiche can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner or add a salad for a complete meal. It also makes a wonderful appetizer. See my tips for baking tips

    Serves 8
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 ounces butter, chilled and diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup ice water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, shredded
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped


    To make the dough, combine the flour, butter and salt in a bowl, mix until the butter is the size of large peas. Add the ice water and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Remove and form into a round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Ease the dough into a 9 inch pie plate and trim off any excess dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the dough with a fork. Weight the dough with pie weights or dried beans and bake until the edges begin to turn golden in color, about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and continue to bake until lightly brown all over, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
    To make the filling, beat the eggs and cream together; season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Scatter the salmon and dill evenly over the crust. Pour the cream mixture over the crust and bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • When making a pie crust, it is important to work fast and avoid overworking the dough. It will make the crust tough. See baking tips for more tips
  • Cover the pie crust with parchment paper before adding the weights. The weights serve to keep the crust from rising and forming air pockets
  • Use a low gluten flour with about 12 grams of protein for a flaky crust
  • For less fat replace the cream with whole milk or 2% milk to reduce fat and calories
  • Use a microplane to grate the nutmeg
  • To save time use a readymade pie crust

    Posted by terri at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

    August 15, 2010

    Crab and Avocado Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

    This lighter salad replaces the heavier version by omitting mayonnaise. It can be served as a salad or a sandwich. Add a slice of summer fresh red ripe tomato for a truly wonderful treat.

    Serves 4
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon thyme, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, including green tops, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh salad greens
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • ½ pound lump crabmeat
  • Lemon wedges and additional minced thyme to garnish


    In a blender combine the ginger, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add oil and puree until smooth. Toss crabmeat with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette, celery, and scallions.

    In a large bowl combine the salad greens, avocados and remaining salt. Toss with the remaining vinaigrette and mound the salad on plates. Spoon the dressed crabmeat over the salad. Garnish with additional minced thyme and a lemon wedge.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Carefully look for and remove any shell pieces from crabmeat
  • This salad can be made with salmon or tuna or even chicken
  • Serve on Kaiser rolls for a light and refreshing sandwich alternative
  • For a Mediterranean twist add ¼ cup capers and sliced olives; omit ginger and replace with garlic, omit thyme and replace with basil or cilantro, omit soy sauce and replace with White Balsamic

    Cooking Wiser/

  • Add walnuts for additional protein
  • To save money, use crab claw meat or a combination of lump and claw

    Posted by terri at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)