SCALLOPS WITH MUSHROOM-GREEN BEAN-KALAMATA BALSAMIC SAUCE

As pricey as scallops are, the recipe had better be good when I plunk down hard-earned money for these delectable treats. Enter mushrooms, green beans, kalamata olives, and balsamic vinegar. Good recipe 🙂

Note: Consider warming oven-safe dinner plates in oven (170 degrees works well) while you’re cooking. It’s very little extra work and prevents the entree from cooling on its journey from kitchen to dining room (no excuse for scarfing down your lovingly prepared creation).

1 lb sea scallops

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp dried minced shallots

1 tsp dried basil

1-1/2 cups fresh green beans, sliced into 1″ pieces

8 oz sliced white mushrooms

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp minced parsley

sea salt

ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees

2) Pat scallops dry (very important for a pretty seared surface)

3) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) in large skillet over medium heat; right before skillet starts smoking, add scallops and cook 1-2 minutes each side; transfer scallops from skillet to oven-safe plate and pop in oven to keep warm

4) To skillet add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil, shallots, and basil; stir; add green beans and cook 2 minutes; add mushrooms and Kalamata olives and cook 3-4 minutes; add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and butter; stirring often, cook 2-3 minutes; stir in parsley and lightly season with salt and pepper; remove from heat

5) Divide scallops between plates and spoon sauce over those lovely little gems; serve immediately

Serves: 4

CRANBERRY-APPLE-BALSAMIC PORK TENDERLOIN

Over the years, this recipe has probably been the most requested by family and friends. It has it all–ease of preparation, beauty, taste, taste, and taste. Junior Too says it’s the balsamic, I think it’s the Craisins and balsamic, and Senior is too content enjoying it to waste time picking it apart. Regardless, last night it was once again well received by our wonderful guests who helped us scrape the casserole dish clean. More than the usual thumbs up 🙂

Cranberry Apple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lbs pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds

3/4 cup white cooking wine

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used cherry balsamic this go around but I think I prefer basic balsamic–one too many notes)

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup Craisins

1 apple (I used Gala), diced (Note: this ingredient is optional but a lovely addition)

1 tbsp parsley

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees (for warming)

2) In shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, and pepper; set aside

3) To large skillet (quite large or you may have to prepare in 2 batches) add olive oil and heat over medium-high

4) Meanwhile, dredge pork tenderloin rounds in flour; place in skillet and cook 4-5 minutes each side until browned and no longer pink; remove rounds from skillet (leave all those tidbits in the bottom for the sauce to come) and lay side by side in large casserole dish; place in oven to keep warm

5) Reduce skillet heat to medium and add cooking wine and water; in small bowl, mix balsamic vinegar and cornstarch and stir into wine; stir in Craisins and apple and cook 5 minutes until sauce thickens; remove from heat

6) Remove pork tenderloins from oven and pour Cranberry-Apple-Balsamic sauce over the top; sprinkle with parsley and serve

Servings: 4-6

APRICOT-BALSAMIC PORK LOIN CHOPS

The basil crust on this pork loin chop is a lovely addition, but it’s the apricot-balsamic sauce that wins the day (ask Junior Too–he sopped up every last drop, which he’s not inclined to do with most sauces). In other words, if you don’t have the time or ingredients, make it easy on yourself by foregoing the basil crust and simply drenching your chops in apricot-balsamic sauce. Delish!

Apricot-Balsamic Pork Loin Chops

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt

ground black pepper

1/4 cup pine nuts

4 boneless pork loin chops (about 1-1/2 lb, 1-1/4″ thick)

1/2 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1) Make your basil sauce: add basil, parsley, 3 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp), lemon juice, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a blender; puree; add pine nuts to basil sauce and blend a few seconds to keep some of the pine nuts intact

2) To grill pan, add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil; heat to medium-high

3) Meanwhile, spread half the basil sauce on one side of each pork loin chop

4) Place pork loin chops, basil side down in grill pan and reduce heat to medium; spread remaining basil sauce on tops of pork loins; cook approximately 6 minutes each side until meat is no longer pink in center

5) While pork is grilling, heat apricot jam and balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium heat and stir often; when sauce is well combined, lower heat to simmer

6) Plate pork loin and pour apricot-balsamic sauce over top; serve immediately

Servings: 4