Pork Medallions with Port and Cherries


I love this recipe because once you buy port, it keeps forever (well,
almost forever).  And so do dried cherries.  So as long as you have a
frozen pork tenderloin on hand,  you can just whip this up without
needing to head to the store!  In a pinch, you can use dried rosemary
as well.  It doesn't yeild a lot of sauce, so think about doubling the
liquids if you want more.  And I do really mean you can whip it up.
It's super easy – even though the word port makes it sound fancy.

Pork Tenderloin Medallions

from the New Best Recipes Cookbook

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 pork tenderloin, cut in 1 inch pieces and pounded to 3/4 inch with
the flat side of a chef's knife
2 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over both sides of the pork slices.  Heat
the oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet until shimmering.  Working
in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear the
medallions without moving them until browned on one side, about 80
seconds (the oil should sizzle but not smoke).  Turn the medallions
with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until the meat is
mostly opaque at the sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about
80 seconds.  Transfer the pork to a plate; continue with one of the
pan sauce (recipe follows)

Port, Dried Cherries, and Rosemary:

1 recipe sauteed pork medallions (above)
1/3 cup port
1/2 cup dried cherries
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

1. Prepare pork as direction and transfer it to a plate.

2.  Set the now-empty skillet used to cook the pork over medium-high
heat and add the port and cherries.  Cook. scraping the pan bottom
with a wooden spatula to loosen the browned bits, until the liquid
reduces to about 2 tbsp, 2-3 minutes.  Increase the heat to high and
add the broth, rosemary, and any accumulated pork juices from the
plate.  Cook until the liquid reaches the consistency of maple syrup,
about 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium and return the pork to the pan, turning
the meat to coat.  Simmer to heat the pork through, about 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the pork to a serving
plate and spoon the sauce over the meat.  Serve immediately.


Grandma Thompson’s Crumble Crust with Apples


The other day, I had a lovely chat with Grandma Thompson. We got to
talking about baking, and she told me about this delicious crumble
crust she uses on her fruit pies. When I got the recipe, I just had
to try it out immediately! And it was indeed yummy, plus really easy
to make! I used it to top an apple crisp recipe I found in our Cook’s
Illustrated Magazine. Thanks Grandma!

Grandma’s Crumble Crust, (as written by grandma):

Here’s the recipe. I have had it since 1948 – it came from a Church
book, and it is still great. One of our favorites.

Crumble Crust Pudding

l cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margerine or butter
1/2 cup flour – 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
pinch of salt.

Cream butter, or Margerine with Brown Sugar, mix thoroughly, Add
flour and oats and salt, I usually use my fingers, so it is not
mixed too finely.
Use as Topping for any Fruit Pie, or without the Pie crust it is
delicious just with the Fruit. Sweeten the Fruit as you would for a
I usually double this recpe and then keep it in a jar in the Fridge
to be used any time, It keeps for ages and is handy to have ready
for pie or Fruit Crumble. It is particularly yummy with Apples,
Rhubarb, Peaches, Plums, and a change from a double pie crust.
Moderate Oven for 30 min for the Straight Fruit Crumble, or if using
it for topping bake as you would for a regular pie. It is wise to
cut back a little on the sugar, if you use it for a topping for a
pie, Use your own judgement depending on the fruit.

Skillet Apple Crisp
Cook’s Illustrated, Sept & Oct. 2010


3 lbs golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2
inch wedges (if you can’t find golden delicious, honeycrisp or braebun
will do. Don’t use granny smith)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup apple cider
2 tsp juice of a lemon
2 tbsp butter

Toss apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside. Bring
cider to simmer in a 12 inch ovensafe skillet over medium heat, cok
until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer reduced cider to
bowl and stir in lemon juice and set aside.

Heat butter in now empty skillet over med. heat. When foaming
subsides, add apple mixture and cook, stirring frequentely until
apples begin to soften and become transucent, 12-14 minutes. Do not
fully cook apples. Remove pan from heat and gently stire in cider
mixture until apples are coated. (if your skillet is not oven safe,
prepare and transfer mixture to a 13 x 9 baking dish).

Spinkle with crumble crust, breaking up any large chunks. Place
skillet on baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and top is deep
golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least
15 minutes. Serve!

**suggestions – double the crumble crust to cover the whole 13 x 9
baking dish if using. also try adding chopped pecans to the top!

The Most Delicious Hamburger


Andrew has been making these hamburgers for the last year, and we will never go back to a regular meat patty ever again!  The addition of a "panade" to the burger makes it juicy and delicious!  It may be a little extra work, but so very worth it!!

The Most Delicious Hamburger
Cook's Illustrated, July & August 2006

1 large slice good quality white sandwich bread, crest removed and discarded, bread chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp whole milk
3/4 table salt
3/4 ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press, about 1 tsp
2 tsp steak sauce, such as A1
1 1/2 lbs 80% lean ground chuck
vegetable oil
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
4 rolls or buns

1.  **you can also use a gas grill instead of the suggested charcoal**  Using large chimney starter, ignite 6 quarts charcoal (about 100 briquettes) and burn until covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, about 20 minutes.  Empty coals into grill; build modified two level fire by arrangning coals to cover half of grill.  Position cooking frate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate for 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush.  Grill is ready when coals are medium hot (you can hold your hand 2 inches above grate for 3-4 seconds). 

2.  Meanwhile, mash bread and milk in large bowl with fork until homogeneous (you should have about 1/4 cup).  Stir in salt, pepper, garlic, and steak sauce.

3.  Break up beef into small pieces over bread mixture.  using fork or hands, lightly mix together until mixture forms cohesive mass.  Divide meat into 4 equal portions.  Gently toss one portions of meat back and forth between hands to form loos ball.  Gently flatten into 3/4 inch thick patty that measures about 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  Press center of patty down with fingertips until it is about 1/2 inch thick, creating a slight depression in each patty.  Repeat with remaining portions of meat.

4.  Lightly dip wad of paper towels in oil, holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.  Grill burgers on hot side of grill, uncovered, until well seared on first side, 2-4 minutes.  Using wide metal spatula, flip burgers and continue grilling, about 3 minutes for medium well or 4 minutes for well done.  Add cheese, if using, about 2 minutes before reaching desired doneness, covering burgers with desires doneness, covering burgers with aluminum foil to melt cheese. 

Shepherd’s Pie


Andrew loves this delicious dinner!  Thanks to my mom for this recipe!  I bet if you are in a hurry, you could top this with instant mashed potatoes if you needed to.  I used this recipe, and they were great.  

Shepherd’s Pie

1 pie crust
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cups frozen mixed veges
1 can cream of celery soup (i have also used cream of broccoli)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups mashed potatoes
paprika, seasoning salt, worchestire sauce if desired

Heat oven to 375.  Place pie crust in 9 inch pie pan and crimp edges.  Set aside.  In skillet, brown beef and onion (add seasoning salt, some hearty splashes of worchestire sauce, garlic salt, etc, if wanted).  Drain fat.  Stir vegetables, soup, and thyme.  Cook until heated through.  Pour in pie crust, top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle paprika on top.  Cook 35-45 minutes.


I may have missed blueberry season this year, but thankfully peaches
did not escape my kitchen. My good friend Kate, knowing how I
appreciate a bargain, brought me over 25 organic peaches at .55 per

Thus started the peach cooking extravangza at our house. Peach
compote for breakfast over homemade waffles (andrew’s creation), peach
pie, grilled bbq peaches …. it’s really hard to say what we liked
the best.

It’s not too late to jump on the peach wagon. And anything you don’t
finish, you can freeze for later! Just score the bottom of a ripe
peach with an X, and blanch for a quick minute in boiling water.
Place peach into an ice bath and when cool, just rub the skin right
off! Cut peach, and place individual slices on a cookie sheet to
freeze. When frozen, pop peach slices off into a bag and keep in your
freezer until you long to eat delicious summer peaches again!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake

At our house, we call this “lacey’s cake”, because she enlighten us to this delicious recipe.  I’ve made a ton of chocolate cakes from scratch, and I can honestly say this one is not only the easiest to make, but also the best!  You can literally just toss it together in a quick afternoon and have a wonderful dessert for friends and family.  And you don’t have to tell them it was made from a box … unless you want to share this secret!

*thanks to christie for the bon appetit version of this photo! 

The Best Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
16 oz sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
12 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips.  Then fold chips into batter.  Bake approx. 45 minutes in a bundt pan. 


1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. butter

Heat above ingredients in a 1 quart sauce pan, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted. Cool slightly. Glazes one 8 or 9 inch layer.