Tenderloin Scallopini with Mushrooms and Cream

Tenderloin Scallopini
One of my husband's favorite dishes is Tenderloin Scallopini made with pork tenderloin cut into medallions.  It can be served over rice or noodles and is a quick fix and delicious!  Monday when I returned home from Indianapolis I made it for him as a special treat!  It makes enough to have another night and I like that a lot.  I just put the left over meat and sauce over the noodles that are left and reheat in the oven a few days later.

Ingredients for Tenderloin Scallopini:

2 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, trimmed and cut into 3/8" medallions
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
2 C. sliced celery
2 C. sliced mushrooms
coarse salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 C. chicken stock
1-1 1/2 C. cream or half and half
noodles or rice cooked per package directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Pork Tenderloin Medallions
Using a heavy bottomed pan heat the butter and oil together.  Season the medallions of pork with salt and pepper and sear in the hot oil mixture.

Season and Brown in Batches
You want some browning so do not crowd all at once.  do in batches.

Keep Warm in an Ovenproof Dish
Remove the browned tenderloin to an oven proof dish and place in the warm oven to hold.

Simmer 15 Minutes then Add Cream
Add the celery to the pan after the meat has browned and saute until softened.  Add the mushrooms and cook until slightly browned.  Add the stock and meat with the accumulated juices back into the pan and simmer on low for about 15 minutes.  Add the cream and bring just to the boiling point and serve over the cooked rice or noodles.  Yield 6 generous servings.

Steak Seared with Asparagus, Zucchini, & Spring Onions Plus Olive Cheese Bread

I am start the Olive Cheese Bread first so it can bake and then while the steaks rest for 10 minutes I stick them under the broiler for a last minute bubble up.  Let it sit for a few minutes then slice and serve with the steaks and vegetables.  This is a delicious recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond and it is ADDICTIVE, you are warned!  This whole meal is super good in my book!

Ingredients for Olive Cheese Bread:

One loaf of crusty bread sliced in half longways
1 stick room temperature butter
1/2 C. Mayonnaise
12 Oz. your favorite cheese, Monterey Jack recommended
2 stalks green onions sliced thin
6 Oz. can black olives, drain and rough chop
6 Oz. can green pimento stuffed olives, drain and rough chop

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all of the ingredients except the bread together in a large bowl.  Spread the mixture equally on the two halves of bread.  Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted, browned slightly, and bubbling.  Slice and serve.  Yield 8 servings.  NOTE:  I double wrapped and froze one before baking for another time.

Next the Steaks and Vegetables!

This method of searing steak for dinner came about from wanting a good way to make a steak for two on a cold, rainy, or an extreme mosquito infestation!  You can do this with any steak modifying for thickness of the meat and how done you prefer it you be. 

My required equipment is a large cast iron skillet and a lid for the steak and the vegetables.

Ingredients for Seared Steak with Asparagus, Zucchini, Spring Onions:

2 beef steaks suitable for grilling (I have used Prime Sirloin, Choice Porterhouse, and Beef Tenderloin)
Coarse salt
Black pepper
2 T. olive oil + 2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
1 bunch of fresh asparagus washed and tough stalks broken and discarded
4 spring onions washed and roots removed
2 zucchini an inch to an inch and a half thick, washed and quartered lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the prepared vegetables and the first portion of the oil and salt and pepper in a dish until well coated.  Set aside.

Salt and pepper the steaks on all sides and set them aside.

Set the cast iron skillet on the flame and turn the heat up as high as it goes.  Preheat the pan until it is SCREAMING HOT.   Quickly add the butter and second amount of olive oil to the hot pan.  Immediately add the seasoned steaks.  DO NOT touch them for 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the vegetables around the steaks.  Turn the steaks over and using an oven mitt place the uncovered skillet into the hot oven.

If you want the steaks rare I would suggest checking them in 4 minutes keeping in mind there will be carry over cooking as when you remove the steaks you cover them and let them rest for 10 minutes.

If you like medium steaks I would check in 6-7 minutes and for well done 8-10 minutes.

When you remove the steaks from the oven toss the vegetables well and again arrange them around the meat.  Leave them in the skillet while you cover and rest the meat for about 10 minutes before serving.  They should be tender crisp when the steak is ready to serve.  Yield a small feast for two.


Fall Weekend Snacks, Two of My Favorite Favorite Cut Out Cookies and My Best Caramel Corn

Sugar Cookies with sprinkles of colored sugars.
As the weekend nears and I spy but one cookie left from the last batch I made, the "cookie monster" inside me rears up and I must bake more cookies.  If you are a regular reader you know I very rarely buy cookies, never pies or cakes either.  We just do not like them or the chemicals inside!

French Cinnamon and Honey Rolled Cookies.
So last night I got busy and baked 2 batches of my favorite rolled and cut out cookies.  My  easiest handling doughs.  Kid cookies and grown up cookies!  Both recipes were first posted in 2011 but they are go to recipes that I make over and over again so they are worth repeating.

At least half of these are going to be sent off to my twin grandsons north of Indianapolis.  I have to keep then supplied too as Emily and Kate are here more and get ahead in their consumption of Grandma's cookies!

These almost form a cookie wreath!    This is the link to my recipe for a French cookie I adore made with honey and cinnamon.  It is an easy dough and yields a delicious cookie that just gets better as it sits.       This link is to my "GO TO" sugar cookie recipe that I have made for decades!  You can decorate these any number of ways and I have!  Today I just brushed with a tiny bit of plain water to dampen and sprinkles with colored sugars.

These make me smile and are a happy beginning to a weekend.

We love caramel corn.
Another "OLD STANDBY" is this caramel corn.  It is my favorite as it has a flavor much like that of Werther's caramel.  This is a SUPER EASY RECIPE requiring no candy thermometer, or messing with hard ball or soft ball testing.  You just bring to a boil and time.  It has worked perfectly every time for me!  Here is the link to this 5 STAR Carmel Corn (in my book anyway!).

Take care not touch this hot caramel as it will really burn!
I also many times add nuts to the mixture for a protein and fiber rich snack food.  So happy first week of Fall!  


Hubby's Vintage Army Blanket Makes Best Ironing Board Cover Ever and Saves $$.

I love vintage textiles and cherish and press them.
Yesterday as I finished up ironing a big stack of vintage cloth dinner napkins, vintage ladies hankies, and luncheon napkins I wondered about this as a post as I doubt very many people even use or own an ironing board any more?  It occurred to me people who sew do, and then I remembered where I came up with the idea and thought I might pass it along.

My husband Brian is a Vietnamese war era veteran and served in the US Army in Germany.  This army blanket has been with us for the 41 years we have been married.  I have washed it many times and it has mostly been on a closet shelf.

A few months ago I was reading as I do and came across a conversation about ironing board covers.  I have been very unhappy with the last few ironing board covers I had purchased and found it an interesting read.  Several solutions which I don't even recall now were discussed but the one using the Army blanket caught my interest! 

I retrieved the blanket, folded it to fit the top of my board and thought to give it a try before deciding to go further in custom fitting it!  Low and behold it has been there every since that day!  I had expected to have to cut and alter it. Perhaps add a casing and a draw string.  But NO, it works fine as is!

It does not shift or move a bit.  It lays flat.  The wool holds the heat well and irons beautifully.  It is thick enough not to let the metal pattern of the board develop.  Steam just works great on the wool cover.  I LOVE IT.  After using a half a can of spray starch I can just wash it and fold it until next time. 

Handy Dandy Army Blanket Ironing Board Cover.
This saved me $40. for a new cover and pad.  It works way better than anything I have ever used.  I still have it in tact as a blanket as needed.  I am a thrifty and happy camper! 

Pasta Fagioli My Way, Slow Cooker or Simmer on the Stove All Day, Serve Some Now and Freeze Base for Later

One Pot Meals are a hit here.
This evening we will have Sunday dinner for the family and I am looking for an easy but delicious meal.  This hearty crock pot version of the chili like Italian soup featured at Olive Garden might just do the trick.  I choose simmer this on the stove all afternoon instead of the slow cooker.  Either way it works!  I have seen versions of it floating about but here is my adaptation.  Not such a big Oregano fan but I have and love fresh Basil and Parsley from my garden to use instead.  The delicious home canned tomatoes will be a plus too.  I am serving it with traditional garlic bread and a green salad and for good measure I am making my first pumpkin pie of the season.   

Pumpkin Pie for the first day of fall.

Above are the links for the pie and the easiest and most delicious crust ever!

While chopping veggies make extra to throw in the salad.
HELPFUL HINT:  Another thing I planned is to make a big batch of the soup and remove about a third of it to cool and freeze prior to adding the pasta.  It is my experience that pasta will freeze OK but is better added fresh.  I also will dice extra celery and carrots to use later in the salad while I have the soup ingredients in hand.

Ingredients for Pasta Fagioli My Way:

3 pounds ground chuck browned
1 large onion diced
3 cloves fresh garlic minced
4 diced carrots
5 ribs of celery diced
2 quarts of my home canned tomatoes or equivalent store bought (8 cups)
2 C. tomato juice
1 drained 16 oz. can of red kidney beans
1 drained 16 oz. can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
1 quart of beef stock (4 cups)
2 t. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
1 t. hot sauce
1 -2 T. sugar (add to taste depending on the tomatoes)
salt to taste
1 - 20 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
8 ounces pasta
grated cheese, optional for garnish atop the bowls of soup

Salt, pepper, beef, and onions to start the pot!
Brown and drain the ground chuck then add to crock pot or large soup kettle with a heavy bottom.  Stir in everything else EXCEPT NOT the pasta. 

I  prefer simmering soup all day on the stove unless I am not going to be home then it is the crock pot!
Simmer over lowest heat all day.  Add the pasta the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.  Serve with crusty bread in large bowls.  Pass shredded cheese if desired to top the steaming bowls of soup.

Enjoy!  Yield about 3 gallons of soup, 14-18 large servings.  Even better the next day!  A nice batch (2 quarts) in the deep freeze for another day.  Big bonus for my efforts.


Basting Together the Second Antique Pieced Quilt Top.

There is no organized pattern of these squares.
Last eventing (Thursday) I finished the embroidery of my children's Great and Great-Great Grandmother's names as well as mine on three quilt blocks since I am finishing these quilts.

1869 was the birth date of the first hands to work this fabric, then 1889, very humbling for me to touch this.
I am having second thoughts though that maybe I should go back and include the grandmother who gave me these even she said she did none of the work on them???  There are later ones she did do and I will put her name on them.  I don't know, anybody want to comment?  I am all ears!

Hand basting helps a lot when working with big pieces of textiles.
You can tell these again are very old fabric patterns.
Anyway this afternoon I cleaned off the dining room table and put the backing, batting, and quilt top all together and got it pinned and then hand basted together.  Lastly I trimmed it.   I still am unsure what to do next.  The fabric is old, old, old as you can see.  There is no planned pattern, more of a made for warmth and necessity quilt by country folk of generations ago.  Which is what I love about these! 

Since it is not just old but all hand stitched I think it might be fragile and be better less worked.  Also since it is dark it might be nice tufted with red yarn?  There is a red tiny tiny candy cane pattern in some of the squares which makes me want to take it to a more holiday feel?  I don't know though!

I love the blanket stitched edges on this heavy old comforter.
Normally I am very decisive but this one has me in a quandary.  I loved the way the blanket stitched edges turned out on the first one (The Crazy quilt.) and am thinking I may repeat that again here.  I think the dark colors will carry it....well maybe?   Here is the link to the first pieced top I worked if you would like to see what I am speaking about.

One thing is for sure,  it is 3:30 PM on Friday and I am pooped!  So I will sleep on it.  Tomorrow is another day.


Apple Pie Filling to Freeze, Just POP the Pre-Formed Frozen Filling into a Pie Shell and Bake, TUTORIAL

One of 4 pot pie sized TEST PIES made today,  delicious!
As hoped, I felt great this morning and stood at the sink at 5:00 Am and peeled 10 pounds of the home grown apples from our friends the Linton's.  This yielded 7 pints of peeled and cored fresh apples to process.


I don't mind to peel and core when the end result is pie filling frozen in disks for another day!
Here is the recipe I have adapted from the Ball Blue Book plus I am making a test pie to be sure this is worthy of my time. (There are 20 more pounds of apples in the downstairs refrigerator.)

Prepared apples in a ascorbic acid bath keeps them from turning brown.
Ingredients for Apple Pie Filling for the Freezer:

7 pints (14 C. ) peeled and  cored cooking apples
2 quarts clean water
8 t. ascorbic acid or fruit fresh
2 1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. + 2 T. flour
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
juice of 1 fresh lemon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Fruit Fresh.
Place the apples in a bath made of the water and ascorbic acid and you peel and slice them.  This will help retard browning of the fruit.  When this prep is complete  scoop the apples out by handfuls and measure into a very large soup kettle, best if it has a heavy bottom.   You should adjust the recipe based on the amount of apples you have and your preferences.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan of apples and stir together will.  Let stand for about 30 minutes for the juices to begin flowing and stir again.  Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.  The juices should thicken.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook another 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the filling cool for NOT to exceed 2 hours.

Add remaining ingredients.
Mix well and let sit 30 minutes for the juices to form.
Heat over medium flame and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

My method for freezing is to line a 8-9" pie plate with wide heavy duty foil, then place plastic wrap crossing 2 large pieces over the foil.  For this amount of apples I yielded enough to make 3 pies.

First line pie plates with wide heavy duty foil.
Next make a cross with two sheets of plastic wrap to line the indentation.
One I will bake now using the French Pie Pastry in the previous days post and freeze the other two amounts of filling.    Actually I made 4 pot pie sized apple pies and a "Grandma Cookie" from the left over crusts using the pastry prepared yesterday.

For pot pie sized pies quarter one disk of pie crust.
Form each piece into a ball and flatten.
Line 4 pot pie tins and repeat with the second disk of crust to make top crusts.
Roll left over dough, spread with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Roll up, seal ends and edges, make slits for Grandma's Cookie. Bake with pies.
Ladle filling into the 2 foil and plastic lined pie plates and fold the plastic wrap across the top to seal.

Ladle cool filling into prepared pie plates.
Gather first the plastic wrap all around snugly then the foil.
Place in the freezer until solid then label and store.

Fold the foil across the plastic wrap to seal again.  Place the pie plates with the foil, plastic wrap, and filling into the freezer.  Freeze until solid.  Remove the pie plates and label and date the frozen wrapped disks of filling.  Just unwrap the frozen filling and poop into a crust and bake when needed.  My suggestion for a double crust pie is at 375 degrees F. for 50-70 minutes.

4 Pot Pie sized apple pies.
For my trial pies I directly filled my bottom crust and then dotted with about 2-3 t. butter and added the top crust.  After fluting the edges I brushed with 1 egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of water and sprinkled with sugar.  Then I baked as above.  Note: I baked about 10 minutes less for the 4 smaller pies and the Grandma's Cookie.   AND BY THE WAY THEY ARE VERY GOOD.  YUMMY IN FACT.

One Grandma's Cookie.
Yield filling for 3, 8-9" pies or 2 fillings to freeze and a 9" pie or 4 pot pie sized pies and a Grandma's Cookie.

I also like home canned apple pie filling which admittedly is more work but here is the link, it is delicious and I often give it as a Christmas gift.


French Pie Pastry in the Food Processor, Easy and Delicious!

The pastry handles beautifully!
I am working up to making a new recipe for cooked Apple Pie Filling that I am going to freeze to fit into a prepared crust as in the Peach Pie Filling I recently posted.  With that in mind I am going to go ahead and prepare the pie pastry to have ready in the refrigerator so I can make a test pie the morning I get started.

I have had the apples for a week now but they were picked the same day I got them so there is no big rush there.  Yesterday morning I got another round of shots in both knees so it takes me a day or two to get back to full speed.  I am thinking tomorrow morning I will do the first 10 pounds.  I expect that to be enough for 3-4 pies depending on the amount of waste.

I really do like the canned apple pie filling I have made the last 2 years and I prefer the cooked apples.  But, after coming across a Cooked Apple Pie filling you freeze in my Ball Blue book and thinking to adapt that to the method I used for the Frozen Peach Pie filling I am anxious to do a test batch!

But first things first!  Yesterday I saw while doing my hand sewing, Melissa d'Arabian  on her $10.00 Meals Program this Pie Crust she made in the processor.  I have made this basic recipe before and had issues of the butter getting too warm to work easily.  Her specific tips about dicing the butter and placing it in the freezer and then using the pulse action of the food processor sound like "IDEAS I WISH I HAD THOUGHT OF!"

Cut the butter into dice like pieces and stick in the freezer a while before making the crusts.
But I will add my own HELPFUL HINT of saving and freezing the butter wrappers for using in buttering dishes later as needed!

Freezing butter wrappers comes in so handy for greasing pans and dishes and no messy hands!
Ingredients for French Pie Pastry in the Food Processor:

2 sticks of butter, cut to dice and frozen
2 1/4 C. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 C. cold water  (8-10 T.)

When the dough comes together you are ready for the nest step.
Place butter, flour, and salt into the food processor and pulse until a coarse sand like consistency.  Next add the cold water a tablespoon at a time pulsing until the pastry comes together and starts forming a dough.  Dump onto a floured surface and gather together to form a ball. Split into two pieces and form them into two disks.  Wrap them well and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 3 days or freeze for later use.

This is the easiest pie dough ever!
Ready for the refrigerator or freezer.
Before rolling take them out for 5-10 minutes to soften just a bit.  Roll on well floured board and proceed with your favorite recipe. Don't forget to label and date if you freeze.  Generally for a two crust 10" pie I would bake at 375 degrees F. for 50-70 minutes.  If the edges brown more than you like cover with strips of foil.  OPTIONAL brush with an egg yolk mixed with a little water and sprinkle with sugar (or cinnamon and sugar) before baking.    Yields two 10" pie crusts.