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Well, happy vacation to us

Tina Specht

Contributed by Columnist Tina Specht

Well, happy vacation to us. This week has come and gone and I love the week we had. 

You always wish you could have an extra few days of vacation, or even not even leave.

This week we spent our 30th anniversary at the beach. We also got to share and see our best friends’ wedding on the beach. It was such a great time, and so beautiful.

I think everyone needs to have a vacation every year. Whether you do a staycation or go somewhere, it needs to be done. You need to unplug and refresh so you can keep going.

The great thing about what we do is that we can work from anywhere. We just take a bit of time to work, and then we are free the rest of the day. This works great for us.

As I sit and drink coffee off our deck, watching the waves, I think back about all the vacations we took as kids.

Most of the time when we went on vacation, we went to visit family. My mom has a huge family and we are all very close. They have our backs no matter what. I guess that is why I always want to do things with them, or just hang out.

My favorite vacation destination is the beach. It is so calming and peaceful. 

We prefer a beach house to a condominium or hotel. You can just walk out onto the beach and you have your own space.

We enjoyed this week so much that we are already planning for next year. We are getting the whole family to come next time.

The great thing about a beach house is you can either go out to eat and shop all the time or you can never leave the beach. You can cook the whole time or never cook. I love to cook for everyone so this would be a joy for me. Beach time makes you hungry for sure.  But the time away is like paradise. 

During this vacation, Dave and I celebrated our 30-year anniversary. Staying married to the same person that long is almost unheard of these days. It hasn’t always been easy but it was all worth it. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else.

I have to say that a marriage takes work on both parts — both caring for each other and making sure the other one is taking care of.  

My husband is super great at both aspects of this. He works hard and loves hard. He makes sure all family is taken care of. It is crazy how he puts everyone first.

What I love most about him is he doesn’t care what we do as long as we do it together.  He even loves to shop with me.

Life is short! Make sure you take a timeout and make memories.

Pork Marsala

Ingredients

1 Pork Tenderloin (1.5 – 3 pounds)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp herbes de provence

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)

2 medium shallots (finely diced)

2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)

12 ounces mushrooms (thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Marsala wine

1 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

Marinate the pork tenderloin in a resealable bag with the 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, and herbes de provence at least one hour or overnight. Discard marinade before cooking.

Cut the tenderloins into 2 inch thick medallions and flatten each medallion slightly with the palm of your hand. They should flatten easily. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and just 1 tablespoon of butter. Once heated, add the pork and allow to brown 2-3 minutes on each side. Once both sides have nicely browned, remove from pan, transfer to clean plate, and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Using the same pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and add the shallots. Cook for about a minute until they start to brown and then add the garlic to cook for just a minute more. Stir while scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.

Add the mushrooms, stir well to distribute butter and flavor, and allow them to cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes before stirring. This will allow your mushrooms to get slightly brown. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour, stir, and allow the flour to cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Add the Marsala wine and allow to cook down until almost completely evaporated. Then, add the chicken broth and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream and parsley. Then return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook the pork in the mushroom sauce, flipping the meat once, until it’s firm to the touch, about 2 to 4 minutes or until it’s no longer pink inside. Add salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes and a crisp green salad.