Pepper-crusted Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry-Balsamic Salsa

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Happy Memorial Day! We hit the road this weekend and headed to our Lake Cabin in northern Minnesota to kick-off summer. Even though it was cool, cloudy and felt more like winter than hot, sunny summer that didn’t stop us from welcoming summer (or rather begging it to come) in the following ways: 

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1. Launching the fishing boat and speed boat in the lake. We gunned the speed boat and man was the wind sharp and cold on our faces! We’ll take it though. If we can’t get a sun burn might as well enjoy the wind burn!

2. Getting crafty in order to beat the cold while still accomplishing the task of putting the sea-doos in the lake. Usually we launch the sea-doos at the public landing nearby and drive back to the cabin, soaking up the sun and water drops during the inaugural ride of the season. But this year, the water was free-eee-eeezing because the ice went out just two weeks ago. We’re not lying. Minnesota weather is darn crazy. So instead Dad revved up the ATV and hauled the sea-doos to our beach. Everyone stayed dry and Dad had some fun plowing through the sand on his ATV…wheels churrning, engine growling,  mud and water spraying everywhere… you know, things boys enjoy.

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3. Grilling and eating this pepper-crusted pork tenderloin with strawberry-balsamic salsa. This was the best way to welcome summer. The grill makes the pork succulent and juicy. The rosemary and black pepper crust provides a woody fragrent flavor, while the strawberry-balsamic salsa gives a sweet acidity. We served the pork tenderloin with fresh grilled asparagus and ginger quinoa. We’re definitely going to make this again, especially since we bought a Spirit Weber Grill today for our patio at home. We’re ready to do our Weber dance! (If you haven’t seen the Weber commercials check them out. You’ll learn some rock-star dance moves).

Hope you had a great Memorial Day! Happy double dipping!

Recipe – From Coastal Living June Edition

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 – 1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Method

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350 to 400 degrees) or grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork evenly with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Grill pork, covered, turning once, 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees. Cover pork loosely with aluminum foil; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken stock and next 3 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in strawberries, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until berries soften and mixture thickens slightly. Spoon sauce over sliced pork. Sprinkle with green onions.

3. Serve with grilled asparagus and enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatballs

Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatballs 

May is a special month for our family. Mother’s Day, Dad’s birthday, our birthday and the fishing opener all fall within 4 days of each other. 23 years ago Dad was celebrating his birthday on the lake, fishing pole in hand, and Mom was celebrating Mother’s day by coming home from the hospital with new-born twin girls. Don’t know how Dad lived that one down. He must have brought home the big one or maybe our mom is just that awesome.

Dippers and Mom

Last Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day, Dad’s birthday, and the Dippers’ birthday with these sweet and spicy Greek Meatballs.

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 And because in the eyes of our dad a meal is never complete without potatoes, we made rosemary roasted potatoes to accompany the meatballs.

Dippers and Dad

Before we get to mouth-watering descriptions of this meal, can we take a moment to acknowledge how adorb the picture above is? Pre-cious.

Now back to the meatballs. The mint, oregano and cinnamon add sweetness,  while the cumin brings warmth and the cayenne kicks up the heat. The couscous keeps the meatballs light and moist. This is a reinvented meat and potatoes dinner and is perfect for any family celebration.

Happy double dipping!

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 Recipe – adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Makes 14-16 meatballs

Ingredients

  •  1 lb. ground lamb, or turkey or 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled couscous
  • 3 scallions, white and pale green parts chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. dried mint
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cup marinara sauce

Method

1. In a large bowl mix ground meat, couscous, scallions, garlic, egg, parsley, Tbsp. olive oil, mint, oregano, cumin, ground cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Form into 14-16 meatballs 2 inches in diameter.

2. Heat a Tbsp. of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add the meatballs, and cook until they are brown on all sides (about 6 minutes).

3. Add the marinara sauce and bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat so that it simmers. Cook, turning occasionally until cooked through.

4. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving platter. Garnish with parsley. Serve with rosemary roasted potatoes.

5. Enjoy with family!

Property Sisters Update: Spring has Sprung

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Spring is here! The chickadee is kind enough to wake us up at 5:45 each morning. There have been rumbling thunderstorms which means MN spring blizzards are behind us (yes spring blizzards exist, it snowed May 1st this year).  Buds are poking out, flowers are blooming and herb gardens are growing! Spring!

Today we started our garden. Since our yard still needs some work (i.e. weeds to pull, leaves to rake, branches to prune) before we can plant anything in the ground, we decided to use pots for both flowers and herbs/leafy greens.

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We planted butter leaf lettuce, and mixed in some magenta zinnias to add brightness and contrast.

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We combined yellow marigolds and burnt orange zinnias.

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We planted deep purple and magenta petunias together. Colors of royalty!

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More orange zinnias and purple petunias. We love the contrasting colors!

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On the left we planted spinach (yum!) and curly parsley. On the right is sweet basil, rosemary and oregano. There are so many different herbs to choose from and even once you decide on one, there are 5 or more different types of that herb to pick. It can be overwhelming! Here’s our tip: plant what you know, plant what is versatile. For example, sweet basil is awesome on pizza, is great in salad dressings and even in fizzy summer drinks. Parsley is fantastic in marinades for chicken and fish, adds a freshness to crab cakes, and gives a sweetness to homemade salsa. Rosemary is wonderful on roasted baby red potatoes and in hummus. Our favorite use of oregano is in homemade turkey burgers and in homemade marinara sauce. Our list could go on and on, but you get the point. Use what you know!

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We can’t wait to sit out on our patio, take in the beautiful flowers, and enjoy a meal made with our home grown herbs!

Happy spring!

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Magical “Ice Cream” Sundaes: Coconut Cinnamon Dulce, Fresh Strawberry, Dark Chocolate

 Magical One Ingredient Ice Cream

Sundays were made for ice cream.

Driving home from the cabin on Sunday evenings it was always an unspoken rule that we would stop at the Albany Dairy Queen for a sweet treat. Each time the order was the same; a small hot fudge sundae for Mom, a buster bar for Dad that he would inevitably spill on his shirt each time, an oreo blizzard for E, and a cookie dough blizzard for K. As we approached the exit we would anxiously eye each other, wondering will we stop this time? Anticipation was part of the ice cream experience. Even the weekend our refrigerator died and our neighbor called us in the car to tell us that he was in our kitchen cleaning up rotting meat and water that had seeped all over the floor, we still stopped at DQ. We’re not terrible neighbors, it’s just that rituals cannot be changed.

Magical One Ingredient Ice Cream

Sunday ice cream is still our ritual, but with a new flare. We have a secret to share. This ice cream is not ice cream. It’s frozen bananas blended into the consistency of that familiar irresistibly creamy soft serve. We chopped two ripe bananas and froze them on a plate for a few hours. Then we brought out the VitaMix, added the frozen bananas with some goodies, and WHA-BAM! Ice cream.

We made three varieties. An ice cream sundae platter if you will.

The first is coconut-cinnamon dulce (banana, coconut milk, and cinnamon). A fiesta for your taste buds.

For our second creation we added a bright spark, strawberries. A perfectly satisfying classic.

And last, a decadent dark chocolate. Because dessert really isn’t complete without chocolate. This one is bowl lickin’ delicious.

It’s Sundae Sunday. Don’t ditch tradition. Blend your nanners, mix in whatever goodies your heart desires, and grab a spoon.

Happy double dipping!

Magical One Ingredient Ice Cream

Recipe –  Adapted from The Kitchn. Find it here.