It is amazing how the chores pile up when we are just trying to relax on the deck. In fact the deck is starting to look good since we cleaned it lastweek, time to finish it up! We are also looking for some quick and easy recipes during these hot days of summer... and this week's pork tenderloin is just what the chef ordered! There are so many things to do around the house, still, take a break and let us help you with tips for tackling those tough jobs.

Pork Tenderloin

Fixing a large piece of meat may seem like a daunting task, but it really is easy if you have the right recipe. We met with Dave Lilja, the author of Mr. Mom's Favorite Family Meals (303-800-1603). He brought out a pork tenderloin and told us it was going to be a snap to do. Plus! We would also make a Maple/Dijon sauce to serve with the tenderloin. Dave is a stay at home dad and he spent years coming up with easy recipes that everyone would eat. He recently put all those recipes together in one cookbook so everyone could have an answer for the question 'What's for Dinner?' To prepare the tenderloin Dave coated it with olive oil and then did a dry rub of thyme, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, oregano, basil, sea salt and cayenne pepper. The olive oil helps coat the meat and give it something for the rub to stick to. The key to success with a tenderloin is to let it sit for about 45 minutes at room temperature with all the spices and oil, so it can absorb the flavors. After sitting all you have to do is cook it in the oven at 375 for 35 minutes. Once the meat is cooked you want to let it sit. Lightly cover it with foil and just leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the temperature of the meat to drop back down while it finishes cooking under the foil. While the meat is cooking you can now make the sauce. You will need to use the real 'Grey Poupon' Dijon mustard and pure maple syrup to make the sauce. Put equal amounts of each in a bowl and mix it together well. You drizzle the sauce over the meat, add a salad and you are good for dinner. It was great! Dave's motto is 'Quick, Dad-tastic and delicious' and he is right!  Find the recipe here.

Cork Issues

An important part in making and drinking wine is the closure that is used on the bottle. The closure is typically called a cork, but today's 'cork' could be anything but 'cork'. Todd Steele from Metrovino (503-517-7778) joined us to talk about the different types of corks and what you should look for. Todd started with real cork. The first one was actually ground-up and compressed cork. It is cheaper than real cork and does the same job. The second one was a real cork. Real cork is actually harvested off of trees in the Mediterranean area. It will allow a tiny amount of air to mingle with the wine, allowing it to breathe. There are problems with real cork. If allowed to dry out, it can let the wine leak out. That is why you will sometimes see bottles on their side to keep the cork moist. The transfer of air slowly will let the wine age gracefully over time. The third closure we saw was the screw on cap. It used to mean that the wine was cheap or low quality, but that is changing. Some higher end wines are starting to use screw caps. They are easy to use and are pretty cheap to produce. The fourth one we looked at was the glass closure. This is a solid glass 'cork' that has a silicon gasket which helps keep it sealed. The benefit is that you can recycle the glass or you can just recycle the closure and use it again.

But what if you are presented the cork at a restaurant, what do you do? If the cork is totally red it means that the wine may be compromised because of leakage or too much air entering the bottle. If there is 'cork-taint' you can smell that in the cork, but also in the wine. If you want to learn more about corks or wine you can stop by Metrovino and get a taste from their Enomatic wine system and the Perlage sparkling system, it is a great way to sample the wine without buying the whole bottle.

Spice and Tea Appetizers

You are going to have a summer party and the guest will be coming by soon. You need a quick and easy appetizer that will feed everyone. To get some ideas, we stopped by The Spice and Tea Exchange (503-208-2886) to talk to Ivy O'Brien. The Spice and Tea Exchange has tons of different spices, teas, flavorings and herb blends. Ivy pulled a couple of quick recipes together using blends and flavorings from around the store to show us how easy it is to put something delicious together quickly. The first recipe was for Greek Tomatoes. Place 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar as well. The herb blend that we added next was 2 tablespoons of the Greek seasoning and one tablespoon of the feta cheese powder. The feta cheese powder is made from real feta cheese. Since it is dry it will add flavor without extra water. Mix it well until the tomatoes are well coated and serve.

Next we made a quick dip. This one started with sour cream and cream cheese blended in a bowl. Then we added one tablespoon of the Vicks Garlic Mix, which is a blend of about 6 different garlic flavors and one tablespoon of the Italian Herb blend. Just mix them all together and it is ready to serve.

The Spice and Tea Exchange has over 60 different blends to choose from in addition to a wide range of teas, 20 different types of sugars, numerous spices and some unique things like wine powder and beer powder. It may seem overwhelming but they are equipped with recipes and advice to help you be successful.

Deck Refinishing Part 2

Last week we showed you how to clean your deck in preparation for refinishing it for the season. We got the cleaning job done with a Cabot wood stripper and a wood brightener. This week we joined George Scott from Miller Paint (971-204-0007) to apply the new coat of stain to our project. He walked us through the steps of what you need to do before you apply any material. First we have to make sure that the temperature is between 50 and 75 degrees. If it is too hot the stain will dry instantly and that will cause streaking on your deck. When you apply the material you just need one product to both 'stain and seal'. A quality product will provide good overage for 2-5 years depending on weather and traffic. The opacity of the stain also determines how long the stain will last. The clearer the stain the more often you will have to reapply it. Use a clearer product and you may have to redo your deck after 2 years, use a less clear product and it can last for up to 5 years. To start, you can place your hand on the deck. If you can hold your hand on the deck for 10-20 seconds without burning it, you are good to go. George decided to use a brush when he applied the coat and he worked the entire length of one board at a time. This will keep the stain from overlapping and leaving dark spots. He also used a piece of cardboard to catch the drops on the untreated boards to avoid spots. Once you are done, you can use the deck after 24 hours for light traffic and heavier traffic after 48 hours. The deck ended up looking great! If you are planning a painting or staining job, you can get all the help you need from the experts at Miller!



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This page last modified
August 13, 2010.