Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GRILLED LONDON BROIL

There is no such cut of beef called London Broil. It is usually a flank steak. The name comes from the way it is prepared and grilled or broiled. Some butchers will label a top round steak "London Broil." The name is unknown in London, England. I served it with sautéed mushrooms, baked new potatoes, and steamed garlic green beans. 


4 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
2 T extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
3 T dry red wine
3 T honey or balsamic vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T soy sauce
1 t fresh or freeze-dried oregano
1 t fresh or freeze-dried basil
1 t fresh or dried thyme
1 t paprika
2 t Montreal Steak seasoning (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 (2 lb) flank steak

Place a large zipper plastic bag in a bowl and open the top
Put all of the above marinade ingredients in the bag.
Pat steak dry with paper towels, then place in the plastic bag, squeeze out most of the air and swish around to coat the steak evenly with herbs, oil, and wine.
Zip bag closed and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.

Remove steak from refrigerator and place on a platter or baking sheet, and let come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill.
Grill steak over hot coals for 5 to 6 minutes each side, turning once.

Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before carving.
Slice across the grain into thin diagonal slices.


Serves 4 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FRESH PACK GARLIC DILL PICKLES

Growing up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I remember a small corner grocery store at the end of my block. Near the front counter, there was a large pickle barrel and I would routinely go there to buy a dill pickle for 5 cents. My mom used to say, "It will dry up your blood," because I ate them, almost every day—or at least when I had a nickel. These pickles are the closest to the taste that I remember. I found locally grown pickling cucumbers all wrapped up in neat little plastic bags at my grocery store. Every southern lady has a pickle fork. I still have my mother's silver pickle fork. No finger dipping into the pickle jars!


4 quart-size wide mouth canning jars
6 cups filter water or spring water
2 cups white vinegar
½ cup pickling salt or canning salt 
24 to 28 pickling cucumbers, (not waxed) 6 to 7, per jar
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
8 fresh bay leaves, thoroughly rinsed (provides tannins for crunchy pickles)
1 T yellow mustard seeds, per jar
1 T dehydrated sliced garlic, per jar
2 t dehydrated minced onions, per jar
1 t coriander seeds, per jar
1 t black peppercorns, per jar
1 t dill seeds, per jar 
½ t red pepper flakes, per jar (optional)

Sterilize the canning jars by immersing them in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove from the boiling water and place upside down on a clean dry tea towel.

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the vinegar and salt and mix until the salt is fully dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Rinse cucumbers under cold running water and then put them in a large bowl and cover with cold water and set aside while brining mixture is cooling.

Completely drain pickles in a colander and set aside.

Pack 6 to 7 pickles in each canning jar.
Add 1 clove garlic to each jar.
Add 2 bay leaves per jar and follow with the spices.
Pour the cooled brine evenly over the pickles.
Add the seals and tightly screw the rings on the jars and turn the jars upside down to evenly distribute the seasonings.
Place jars on a baking sheet or pizza pan, upside down, and let sit on the counter for 1 day.
Refrigerate jars, right side up on the 2nd day.
Pickles are ready to eat after the 4th day.

Pickles will keep refrigerated for 3 to 4 months.

Friday, September 4, 2015

STRAWBERRY PARFAITS

I buy strawberries from a farmer down the road from me. Her berries are so wonderful, sweet, and of course, organic. Everytime I drive by her stand, I buy one or two baskets. I love to freeze them for use all winter long in super juices and desserts. If you prefer, you can use low fat or fat free yogurt and cream cheese.


3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
3 T granulated sugar

1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
½ cup softened cream cheese
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract

8 butter cookies or graham crackers, crushed

In a bowl, combine the berries with the sugar. Stir to combine.
Cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.

Place some of the crushed cookies in the bottom of 4 serving cups.
Add some of the whipped yogurt mixture
Add the berries and layer two more times.
Top with a sprinkling of crushed cookies and a sprig of mint, if desired.

Serves 4


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

GRILLED FLAT IRON STEAK WITH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE

A Flat Iron steak is an inexpensive (so far) and delicious cut of meat that can be tough if the gristly fascia membrane is not removed, but most of the time it is removed by the butcher. The Mushroom Cream Sauce (recipe below) is excellent served on top along with garlic green beans and mashed potatoes.


1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb flat iron steak

3 T Kentucky bourbon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T extra-light olive oil
1 T honey
2 t Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
Place steak in baking dish.
Pour marinade ingredients over steak, cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Turn the steak over after 15 minutes.

While steak is marinating, prepare the Mushroom Cream Sauce.

Mushroom Cream Sauce
8 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and thinly sliced
1 T extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme
1 T Dijon mustard

¾ cup cream or half & half

In a skillet, cook the mushrooms in the oil until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the shallot and sauté another 5 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and thyme and sauté another minute.
Stir in the mustard and cream and heat through.
Keep warm while grilling the steak.

If using a charcoal grill, prepare a pile of coals on one side of the grill.

Sear the steak over the hot coals for 2 minutes on each side.
Move to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook for another 6 to 8 minutes.
Do not flip over again.

When done, place on a cutting board with a tent of aluminum foil for about 5 minutes.
Using a very sharp knife, cut steak diagonally into thin slices.
Place on 4 warm plates and spoon Mushroom Cream Sauce over.

Serve with mashed potatoes and garlic green beans.


Serves 4