Why not make a London Broil this Valentine’s Day?
Maybe London Broil isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of romantic Valentine’s Day meals, but it should be. I’ll give you three good reasons why.
Reason one: Your usual Valentine’s Day fare may be a filet mignon or lobster tail, but why serve up a cliché? This recipe for London Broil with wild mushrooms is every bit as romantic (and delicious). Its home cooking for the one you love, and what could be more romantic than that?
Reason two: A London Broil steak is easy to make and affordable. It’s usually a flank or top round steak, marinated for flavor and tenderness. You can cook up a meal for two and still have leftovers for juicy roast beef sandwiches the next day. Get the most bang for your buck from your hard work in the kitchen.
Reason Three: London Broil is sexy, especially when you top it with a creamy wild mushroom sauce. Score big points when you slice into a perfectly-cooked steak to reveal a delightfully pink center.
Some tips for making the perfect London Broil:
Add the marinade ingredients to large resealable plastic bag. Add the steak and seal shut. Place into a large baking dish to prevent spills. Marinate in the refrigerator 4 hours to overnight, turning the bag a few times.
Preheat the oven to a high broil. Remove the steak from the marinade and reserve the marinade for the sauce. Pat the steak dry and season liberally with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt. Place into an oven-safe broiler (shallow) pan and cook about 8 inches from the heat. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side until an internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F.
Remove the steak from the oven and transfer to a plate. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Add butter to a large skillet heat on medium-heat until foaming. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the liquid is released and the mushrooms are well-browned. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
Add the marinade, wine (or liquor) and broth to the hot pan. Cook on high heat until reduced, about 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat, add the cream and mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
To serve, cut the steak across the grain in thin slices. Pour any steak juices into the sauce and spoon over the steak.
I’m writing this blog after a succession of recipe “fails” that has me wondering if I should be writing recipes at all. They weren’t epic fails, but when you botch a birthday cake, Christmas cookies and sugar cookies within a few weeks, it’s enough to shake your confidence. Then I think about why I started Love and Duck Fat in the first place. One of the reasons was to challenge myself to learn something new. When you challenge yourself, there are usually failures involved, or it wouldn’t be a challenge.
Baking (and dessert making in general) is hard for me. Why? It requires precision. I spent years as an artist learning to embrace happy accidents, paint drips, imprecise lines and sloppy paint. This is very hard to do when you are trained from childhood to color within the lines. I learned to love imprecision because it was more beautiful, wild and freeing. Even to the viewer’s eyes. That is what I wanted to aspire to in art, and I can’t say I ever got there, but I was close.
Baking is just the opposite. It requires exact measurements, precise cooking times and a perfectly steady hand if you want your decorating to look anything close to edible. So I challenge myself with chocolate pumpkin cakes, but I am the first to admit baking is not my forte.
I am embracing my fails as learning experiences and moving on, albeit in a direction I’m more comfortable: seafood.
I was able to get my hands on a gorgeous fillet of wild Sockeye salmon, and paired it with a creamy dill sauce, black Beluga lentils and sautéed leeks. I love the color of the salmon against the dramatic black of the lentils, similar to another recipe where I paired salmon with black rice. The Beluga lentils are a little more expensive and hard to find (buy them on Amazon). They are round in appearance and glisten like caviar, thus the name. You can substitute French green or brown lentils, and the taste will be just as good.
Bring the lentils, vegetable broth, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the garlic clove and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender-firm. Drain and return to the pan. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Keep warm and covered.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the leeks. I like to cut them in half crosswise, and then quarter them lengthwise, into strips. Wash them well in cold water to make sure all the sand is removed. Dry well before cooking.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add the leeks and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or more, turning every few minutes. You want them to brown slightly and become very soft. Sprinkle with salt and taste.
Pat salmon dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil or butter on medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. When hot, place the salmon in the skillet, skin-side-down. Place a sprig of dill on each piece. Cook the salmon for 4 minutes, then turn. Cook another 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of each piece, and how you prefer to serve. Remove to a plate.
Pour the white wine into the hot pan. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream and cook for another 2-5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and creamy. Add the chopped dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and fresh pepper to taste.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains an affiliate link to a product I purchased and used myself. I recommend this product. If you decide to buy any of these items, I may be able to buy a cheap cup of coffee someday from the commission I receive.
This delicious recipe pairs an elegant boneless pork loin roast with a creamy shallot and tarragon sauce. It tastes even better than it sounds and isn’t very hard to do. Boneless pork loin is not the tenderloin. This is basically a big pork chop roast. It’s an impressive cut, with a nice bit of fat on the top and lean, juicy inside.
For the past three months, I’ve been buying all of my meat and most of my eggs and dairy from Sea Breeze Organic Farm in Fort Pierce, Florida. It takes a little more effort and planning than running to the grocery store, but it’s worth it. We place our twice-monthly order by email. You can choose from nearly one hundred items; including farm fresh eggs, sour cream, milk, any cut of grass-fed beef, buffalo, lamb and goat, free-range chicken and even rabbit. They have fermented products like kombucha tea, sauerkraut and kimchee. Organic baked goods and seasonal fresh produce are also on the list. To pick up our goodies, we meet the delivery truck in a church parking lot late in the afternoon. My husband is usually the one to go on this errand because it involves waiting in line with an empty cooler to swap it out for a very heavy, full one. This isn’t the usual way to go grocery shopping in the heart of Miami, but it works for us.
What has me going back for more is the freshness and quality. Finding the best ingredients drives my desire to cook. My recipes taste better and I’m feeding my family foods raised with care and without pesticides. It’s good to know our hard-earned money is going into the pocket of small farmers instead of industrial food producers.
Back to the recipe! I paired the roast with my go-to roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and olive oil. It was an extravagant change from our usual weekend roast chicken. By the way, keep extra sauce at the table. It was so good, my husband wanted to drink it right from the saucepan!
Yield: Serves 4
Combine garlic, tarragon and olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine. With your hands, rub the olive oil mixture all over the roast. Place in a plastic bag and marinate 4 hours to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to the roast to come to room temperature. Remove most of the marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the roast to the pan and brown on all sides. Place the roast fat side up in the oven and cook about 30-40 minutes, until a thermometer shows the internal temperature is 135 degrees. Remove from the oven and transfer the roast to a carving board to rest for 15 minutes. Slice thinly before serving.
Using the same pan the pork was cooked in; drain any excess fat so there is about 1 tablespoon remaining. Saute the shallots on medium heat until they are soft. Stir in the garlic. Add wine, stock and any juices that released from the pork while it was resting. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered until it is reduced by half. Reduce the heat and add cream. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork slices and serve at the table.
This delicious dish with wild salmon and dill sauce paired with black Forbidden Rice and simple green salad is full of healthy, antioxidant-rich ingredients. It’s low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. The taste is luxurious. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Salmon is one of my favorite fish, but I have been steering away from Atlantic farm raised salmon for a while now due to the environmental impact of the farms and health concerns from chemical additives. When I can find fresh, wild salmon, I jump to purchase it. If you don’t eat a lot of wild salmon, the first think you’ll notice it the color. It’s usually much darker. To get that familiar pink color in farmed fish, they actually have to add carotene to the feed. Wild salmon is also more flavorful; unlike the near tasteless farmed variety. It can get confusing choosing which type of seafood is safe and good for the environment, which is why I love the site, seafood.edf.org, for great information on what types of seafood are safe to eat.
One of my favorite parts of salmon is the skin. I could eat it just by itself. It’s chewy, oily, crispy deliciousness. And when I start to think about all of that oil, I remind myself that it’s GOOD fat. Yes, this is the part of the fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and may just lower your risks of chronic disease. So, embrace this fatty treat and revel in its goodness. If you are one of those people who peel your fish skin off in disgust, give it another try. It may just be that it wasn’t cooked properly. The skin should be seasoned well, and really crispy. There’s a technique to this, and it’s pretty easy to get results like the best restaurants.
I paired the fish with black rice, also known as Forbidden rice. This heirloom rice was once grown just for Chinese nobility and can now be found in 4 pound bags on Amazon. I love the dramatic color, and prefer the complex, nutty flavor and chewy texture of black rice to brown. It has virtually the same antioxidant-rich bran as brown rice, but with the added health benefits of anthocyanins, pigments that produce the dark color. According to a report presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, “Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants,” said Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, La.
With this dish, I also included a mixture of organic baby greens from the market. I love SUPERGREENS! from Organicgirl. It has a colorful and healthy mix of red chard, Swiss chard and arugula. Tossed in a simple vinaigrette; it’s an easy and healthy side.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
To prepare the salmon, season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets to the pan, skin side down. Cook until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the filets from the pan and transfer them to a baking sheet, skin side up. Place the fish in the oven and cook about 5-6 minutes more, until medium rare in the center and flaky on the outside.
To make the sauce, combine yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and dill. Season with salt and pepper
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
To prepare the rice, rinse under cold water. Saute shallots in olive oil until tender, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add shallot mixture, rice, stock, salt and pepper to a rice cooker. This is the time to stick your finger in the pot and taste the seasoning of the stock to make sure it tastes good. Now close the lid and allow to cook roughly 35 minutes. When the rice is cooked, add the lemon juice and stir.
This recipe makes enough vinaigrette for a few salads. Use just a splash for the amount of vegetable in this dish and save the rest for later.
Whisk together ingredients in a large bowl. Toss salad greens in the vinaigrette and serve.