Monday, September 30, 2013

Amazing Meat Marinade

My friend, Amy, made a grilled bison flank steak at a BBQ this summer and it was out of this world.  Seriously, the flavor was amazing.  She shared her marinade recipe with me (an old Bon App├ętit recipe) and I made it a couple times this summer; and I’ve decided that recipe is too good to keep to myself.   If you can find Bison flank steak, that should be your first choice.  If not, then any old flank steak will do.  

Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 2 1/4-pound flank steak
  1. Mix all ingredients except steak in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Add steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare barbeque (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  3. Transfer steak to work surface. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut across grain into thin strips.

My Notes
  • I always marinate in a plastic baggie.  It makes it easier to turn and there is no plan to clean.  Simply toss the baggie when the meat hits the grill.   Note: You don't want to save any of the marinade that has raw juices in it from the baggie.  
  • I had my steak marinate overnight.  I’m thinking the longer the better; it really helped the meat absorb all of the yummy flavors.  
  • I added some dried red pepper flakes to the marinade (imagine that). 

Wine Pairing
Pair with your favorite red wine.  I’m partial to Zinfandel or blends.

I marinated these gorgeous, local green onions in the same marinade and they were awesome.  I also grilled asparagus that I just tossed with olive oil, and salt and pepper and topped with fresh Parmesan once I removed it from the grill.  Oh, and I made a spinach salad with goat cheese and roasted root vegetables.  

Cheers to flavorful meat!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MN Cheese Festival

This past weekend I volunteered at The Minnesota Cheese Festival.  That’s right, there is a festival for cheese.  What a great use of my time.  I got to sit and chat with cheese lovers and try lots of great regional cheeses.   

Gorgeous Flowers in our Booth from the St. Paul Farmer's Market

I volunteered at the Forifty: a Food Community booth which is a local organization that I am a part of for food enthusiasts (check them out on Facebook -   We handed out recipes with cheese, chatted about our passion for food, and took frequent “cheese breaks” to sample the cheeses.  It was great to meet the actual cheese makers and witness their passion. 

Amazing Cheese Curds from Foxy Falafel

So, it turns out that it is possible to eat TOO much cheese.  I was so full (in a happy way) when I left.  There were some really great cheeses to try and to purchase.  And purchase I did; I spent way more than I anticipated but I now have a refrigerator drawer full of cheesy goodness.     

While there were a lot of great cheeses, here were some of my favorites.  You should keep your eye out for these or even request them at your store (for those out of the Midwest, some of the cheese can be ordered online).

Alemar Cheese - Bent River Camembert-style cheese and Good Thunder cheese.   The camembert cheese was creamy and delicious – I think it is best spread on a slice of a baguette or with red grapes and apples.   The Good thunder is a stinky washed-rind cheese soaked in Surly’s bender beer.

Redhead Creamery – Her offering of plain cheese curds tasted just how cheese curds should, with exactly the right balance of saltiness.

Singing Hills Goat Dairy – Herb-marinated Chevre.   This tasted so good and they suggested that it would be good with greens as a salad dressing or as a dip with a baguette and a bottle of wine (which is exactly my plan).

Rochdale FarmsHand rolled butter – yep, I deviated from the cheese and went for some butter.  It was so good - a little pat of butter on a cracker.

Pasture Pride Cheese - Juusto Baked Cheese.  This is a cheese that you heat in a skillet and serve warm.   A-M-A-Z-I-N-G - what is better than warm, melty, salty, cheese?  I think it would be great on a cracker topped with some chutney or mixed in with scrambled eggs. Yummmm…..

Shepherd's Way Farms - Morcella.  This is a soft-ripened sheep milk cheese with local morel mushrooms.  It is earthy and creamy and only available through Sept. (they only use spring and summer milk to make this cheese).  This farm also has a cheese CSA, which is intriguing....

Caves of Fairbault AmaBlu® “St. Pete’s Select” blue cheese.  This blue cheese seemed really balanced to me.  It had just the right amount of tanginess without being overwhelming.

Marieke Gouda - Marieke® Gouda Super Aged 18-24.  This Gouda was delicious and nutty with the little aged crystals throughout; unfortunately they had sold out by the time I went to purchase it.

Ahhh, I love cheese.  Let me know if you have any local favorites that I need to try.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tomato and Burrata Salad

Tis tomato season – they are bright, ripe, and juicy.  This salad is easy to throw together and it is delicious.  You can eat it as a salad or put it on toasted bread as an appetizer.  This is actually the first time I've tried burrata and I loved it.   It was so creamy and flavorful.   

FYI - Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar. It is usually served fresh, at room temperature.  The name "burrata" means "buttered" in Italian.


  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) or 4 to 5 large plum tomatoes
  • Fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves plus additional whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (2.5-ounce) rounds burrata cheese
  1. Cut up the burrata cheese and place on the plate.  
  2. Cut tomatoes into wedges and place in large bowl. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Optional - Let stand at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Scatter the tomatoes on top of the cheese.
  4. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
* Optional – sliced baguette – brush both sides of bread with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill.  (I use my George Foreman to make grilled bread when I'm in a hurry).


Monday, September 2, 2013

Gourmet Goodies Delivered to your Door

There seems to be a couple of gourmet clubs out there where you sign up (and pay) and are sent a box of gourmet goodies once a month.  While, I normally like to go out and shop/hunt for fun, new food items, I think this sounds fun.  I love surprises in my mailbox, especially if it is food.  I’m also thinking this could be a great gift idea.

Here are a few that I found:

Gourmet Spotting
$29.99 (+ $7.95 shipping and handling)

“Every month, you'll receive a box filled with 4-6 delicious and tasty gourmet products from both up-and-coming and well known food brands. Each delivery will include a mix of categories, such as condiments, snacks, pasta & grains, sauces, etc... Products are generously sized, with enough product to allow you to enjoy it and share it. You'll also want to take advantage of, which is packed with product information and tips, including recipes, stories of our producers, and interesting news about the food industry.”

Love with Food
$10 (+ $2 shipping and handling)

“Love With Food helps you discover new organic, all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.
For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!
Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!”

Fancy Food Box
$39 (+ shipping and handling)

“Each Fancy Food Box includes five or more food products - anything from cookies and chocolates to teas and sauces - along with a selection of tasty recipes and pairing suggestions.”

Artisanal Foods – Gourmet Surprise Box
$99 per month ($150+ Retail Value) Free shipping.

“Your kitchen will always be stocked with fun, handcrafted, inspirational ingredients.  Artisanal Foods will send an email previewing your upcoming order 5 days before it ships. Love what we've chosen for you? Do nothing and your box is on its way. Want to send it to a friend or skip the month (and the bill)? Simply change or cancel your order at anytime.”

Connoisseur of the Month Club
$29.99 (free shipping)

“If you’ve ever wanted to travel the different flavors of the world, but still enjoy the convenience of having the products shipped to your door, our Connoisseur of the Month Club is the perfect culinary getaway! Each month is themed around a country or a flavor, to demonstrate the varied and colorful flavors of our world. From Spanish tapas to Moroccan pantry staples to the smoky flavors of the American Southwest, we select the best products from a range of cultures, both near and far.

For particularly interesting products, we do occasionally select a single flavor to feature. In the past, these have included everything from the pungent flavor of Japanese wasabi to the revered black truffle. Each month’s shipment normally includes 4 items, although for select months it may be 2-3 items of exceptionally high quality. Each month’s shipment includes our newsletter, explaining that month’s theme, and the history behind each product. This newsletter details the product’s origin, who makes them, and serving suggestions for how to use them. Soon you’ll have a culturally diverse pantry of global ingredients.”

I’m curious if anyone has signed up for one of these "gourmet food clubs"?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

Meanwhile, I decided to sign up for the Food with Love club.  I will let you know when I get my box.