Posts Tagged Wine

ASIAN SCORED FLANK STEAK

Just in time for this weekend’s grilling menu!!  Another great dish for grilling is our Asian Scored Flank Steak.  You start with a relatively inexpensive cut of beef and marinate it with a marinade that has a hint of Asian flavors.  When you combine the beef with the seasoning and the smoke from the grill it is a always winner!  We prepared this in our last grilling class . . . IT WAS A HIT!!

Let’s grill some Asian flank steak!

ASIAN SCORED FLANK STEAK

 

PREP: 30 minutes

INACTIVE PREP TIME: 6 hours or over-night

Grill TIME: 8- 15 MINUTES

SERVES –6

 

Ingredients:

2 Medium-Sized lemons

1 cup soy sauce

½ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 bay leaves, crumbled

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 Flank or skirt steak (1.5 to 1 ¾ pounds)

 

Directions:

  • Rinse the lemons well. Cut each in half and squeeze the juice with a citrus press. Place the lemon juice in a large non-reactive mixing bowl.  Cut the rind of 1 lemon into ¼ inch dice and add it to the juice.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, onion garlic bay leaves, coriander seed, and pepper and whisk to mix.  Set aside half of the lemon juice mixture to use as a sauce.
  • Score steak on both sides in a crosshatch pattern, making shallow cuts on the diagonal no deeper than 1/8 inch and about ¼ inch apart.   This will keep the flank steak from curling as it cooks (you don’t have to score sirloin).
  • Spread half of the remaining lemon juice mixture in the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish just large enough to hold the meat.  Place the meat on top and spread the other half of the lemon mixture over it.  Let the steak marinate for at least 6 hours preferably overnight.
  • When ready to cook, drain the meat, scraping off most of the marinade with a rubber spatula.  Preheat the grill to high.
  • Oil the grill. Place the flank steak on the grill and cook approximately 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.  If using sirloin steak, medium rare will take a bit longer, about 5-8 minutes.

Finally, we made to my favorite part of the recipe . . . ENJOY!!

Thank you for following and reading.  don’t forget to check our website: www.TheLarkInn.com to learn more about our next cooking/grilling class and to learn about our guesthouses right in the heart of The Flint Hills of Kansas.  The weather has turned and it is an awesome time to be here!

Thanks again,

Kris

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SALTIMBOCCA “JUMP IN THE MOUTH”

This is a great recipe we have prepared at a couple of our cooking classes at The Lark Inn.  The first time was when we had guest chef Gary Martin join us for our September class: “When the Flint Hills Meet the Tuscan Hills”.  This was actually a recipe Gary brought with him specifically for that class.  The only other time we have fixed it was just this past Saturday night.  We had a group of folks who had attended one of our general classes and decided it would be a lot of fun to do a private cooking class/party.  I have to tell you it was fun.  I pulled together several menu options and they picked their menu so I got to prepare Saltimbocca for my first time with that group.  What can I say . . . Chef Gary was such a good teacher . . .

The recipe calls for veal or pork tenderloin and I chose to use the pork and it worked out famously.  I do want to try it with the veal . . . I’m sure it will be very good also.

As you will see, this is a very savory recipe with the prosciutto and sage leaves . . . it begs to be accompanied by a nice glass of wine!

Let’s start cooking!

SALTIMBOCCA “JUMP IN THE MOUTH”

 PREP: 10 – 15 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 4 -5 MINUTES

REDUCING TIME:  10 – 15 MINUTES

SERVES –4

Ingredients

1 POUND VEAL OR PORK TENDERLOIN – SLICED ½ INCH THICK

THIN SLICES OF PROSCIUTTO (1 FOR EACH PIECE OF VEAL OR PORK)-OPTIONAL

FRESH SAGE LEAVES (TWO FOR EACH PIECE)

SALT AND PEPPER

½ CUP FLOUR

¼ CUP OLIVE OIL

1 CUP CHICKEN OR VEAL STOCK REDUCED TO ¼ CUP

½ CUP DRY WHITE WINE

2 TABLESPOONS CAPERS-DRAINED

CHILLED BUTTER

Directions:

PLACE VEAL SCALLOPS ON PLASTIC WRAP AND FOLD OVER.  POUND SCALLOPS UNTIL FLAT AND VERY THIN.  SEASON SCALLOPS WITH SALT AND PEPPER, LAY A PIECE OF PROSCIUTTO AND TWO SAGE LEAVES ON SCALLOP, FOLD OVER.  REPEAT UNTIL ALL SCALLOPS ARE PREPARED.  DUST LIGHTLY WITH FLOUR.  MEANWHILE REDUCE STOCK OVER MEDIUM HEAT, KEEP WARM.  HEAT HEAVY SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HIGH HEAT, ADD OIL.  SEAR VEAL SCALLOPS ABOUT TWO MINUTES, TURN AND COOK ABOUT TWO MORE MINUTES.  REMOVE FROM PAN, TENT TO KEEP WARM.  ADD CAPERS TO HOT PAN, ADD WINE STIRRING TO LOOSEN BITS IN PAN AND SIMMER UNTIL MOST OF LIQUID IS EVAPORATED. STIR IN STOCK AND CONTINUE COOKING UNTIL SMOOTH.  WHISK CHILLED BUTTER 1 TABLESPPON AT A TIME UNTIL SAUCE IS SMOOTH AND CREAMY.

 NOTE:  SERVE WITH GARLIC MASHED POTATOES OR PASTA WITH RED SAUCE.

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!

KRIS

For more information about my cooking classes, designing your own customized private cooking class/party or accommodations in our guesthouses, visit our web site at:  www.TheLarkInn.com

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WEDDING WEEK AT THE LARK INN – TUESDAY

TUESDAY – FAMILY BEGINS TO ARRIVE!

 The Lark Inn was dark on Monday.  Partially for preparation of the coming week but primarily so that Pat could have dinner with his single daughter one last time.  A time to share and encourage and be encouraged.

 Kris’ mom and sister Kelli flew in this morning.  Later, her brother Kevin, his wife Heather and kids, Treavor, Billy and Richard flew into LAX.  This gave Pat one more opportunity to reconnect with his 8 gazillion friends he made on the San Diego Freeway when he was doing his commute years ago.  The traffic cooperated; although, all flights were delayed so Kevin and the little boys and Pat had coffee at the international terminal and made up stories about the various people we saw.  What a great place for people watching and . . . if you are going to people watch, Kevin, the consummate story teller is a world-class people watcher!!

 Number of Guests                   15

 Menu:

Veggies with Dipping Sauce

Apple Smoked Pork Chops

Smashed Potatoes

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

Rice Salad

Angel Food Cake with California Strawberries ala mode


Veggies with Tomato Basil Dipping Sauce

 

Shopping List:

1 Assorted Fresh Veggie Tray with Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cherry Tomatoes

1  Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

½ Cup Sour Cream

½ Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon  grated Lemon Rind

 Stir together last 5 ingredients.  Cover and Chill for at least 1 hour.  After Chilling out under a blanket, cover and chill the dipping sauce for at least 1 hour up to 2 days.  Serve with your veggies . . . now than you have chilled out!

 Apple Smoked Pork Chops:

  Shopping List:

2 Packages of 10 Center Cut Pork Chops

Fred’s Rub

Season the pork chops heavily on one side with “Fred’s Rub”*

Cover and put the seasoned chops in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

 Start smoker with apple wood in the smoke chamber and crank the heat up to high.  On my Treagor electric smoker, that is about 425 to 450°.

 Once smoker has reached at least 425° put the chops on the grate, seasoned side down.

Cook for about five minutes and turn.

Continue to cook until temperature in the middle of the chop is 145° and remove and cover in foil.

Let stand for at least 10 Minutes before serving.

 Alternate cooking method:

Because of the small size of my smoker and the large number of guests for dinner I also fired up my gas grill on high.

I put half of the pork chops on the smoker, seasoned side down and the other half on the grill, seasoned side down.

I cooked them for about five minutes, turned them and cooked them for another 5 minutes or so.

Then, I switched; moved the chops from the smoker on to the grill and those from the grill on to the smoker. 

 Tip:  You might want to use a tray to put one of the groups of chops on to make room for the other set of chops . . . otherwise you could become trapped in a terminal do-loop of making room on the grill for the smoked chops . . . but there isn’t room  . . . I better move them . . . but there isn’t room . . . so I better move them . . . we don’t want to have to send someone over to rescue you.  If you think this may be a problem . . . you should probably not cook pork chops alone!  This is especially dangerous if alcohol is involved.

 Once you have finally navigated the switching process, cook them for another 5 or so minutes on each side until the internal temp reaches 145°.

Remove, cover with foil and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

*Fred’s Rub

 Fred’s Rub was created by Pat’s dad; Fred Larkin who, perfected the art of steak grilling on his “Hastybake” charcoal grill.  At one such time, over a half a century ago Fred was paid a visit by the Grilling Gods!  They took him into their landing craft and while rocketing through the galaxies, performed horrible experiments on Fred.  Being the powerful and courageous man that he was, he fought them all off and commandeered their ship, flying it back to planet earth.  Though he was free in body, he was still theirs in his mind . . . all he could think of was seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper . . . seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper . . . seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper .  Then it came to him; he was supposed to put the concoction on his steaks and then grill them . . . FRED’S RUB WAS BORN!!!  Fred’s Rub is  only available through the Lark Inn and is about a zillion dollars a bottle.  But, if you want to make it, here is the top secret recipe:

 1-1/2 Parts Seasoned Salt

1 Part Garlic Powder

¼ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper for each ½ cup of rub

 Please remember; if you divulge this top secret recipe . . . the Grilling god’s may pay YOU a visit!!!


Smashed Potatoes

 

Shopping List:

5 – 7 lbs. of Yukon Gold Potatoes* (About 3 per guest)

Fred’s Rub

 * Tip: for you Californians or other folks not from the south or the Midwest; “New” Potatoes are the same as red potatoes.  New potatoes will have a more “earthy” (no it’s not just from the dirt) flavor and the Yukon Gold will tend to be a bit sweeter.

 Select however many potatoes you want (for tonight’s group of 15 we used 40 – 45).  Wash the potatoes and boil them until they are about 90% done.

While the potatoes are boiling, start your oven set to Broil at 450°.

Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray.

Once the potatoes are finished boiling, drain them and let cool for a few minutes.

For smashing the potatoes you will want to find either a spatula (egg turner) or a solid faced potato masher and spray the face with olive oil.

One at a time, place the potatoes on the cookie sheet and smash them just until they break open . . . . sort of like a tomato.  They will look like a little split open bulb.

Spray (or drizzle) olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with Fred’s Rub.

 Hint: use the Fred’s Rub sparingly on potatoes and vegetables as it has quite a bit of salt in it.

 Put the cookie sheet with your potatoes in the oven with the rack in the top position.

Allow to broil for about 10 minutes, until they reach your desired amount of golden crispiness.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

 Shopping List:

3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans

4 Cloves of Garlic

Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.

 Hint:  Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!).  If they only bend, they are too ripe.

 Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)

Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.

When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente

 Tip:  For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente.  This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy.  You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”

 When finished, remove from the skillet and serve

 Serving:

We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction.  I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . this is a simple one for you!

 Wine:

With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette, either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.


Angel Food Cake with California Strawberries ala mode

 

Shopping List:

          3 Sugar Free Angel Food Cakes (if not available, regular will do)

          3 Pints of FreshCaliforniaStrawberries

          1 Qt. Light Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Slice the cake into ¾ inch wide slices and place in a small bowl.

Wash, cap and slice the strawberries and pour over the cake.

Scoop out a large tablespoon of ice cream and put on the top of everything.

 Tip:  For an delightful variation of this, heat your grill to high heat.  Be sure that your grates are oiled with canola oil to reduce sticking.  After you slice the angel food cake just put on the grill for about 20 seconds per side . . . I think you will like the results.

 For information about cooking classes with Kris Larkin go to: www.TheLarkInn.com


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Napa – The Perfect Day

Napa Valley

got wine?  If you are in the neighborhood of The Napa Valley in northern California, I have just the perfect day for you.  Pat and I have been teaching community college classes in the Napa Valley area for several years and have, of course, developed our favorite restaurants, wineries and things to do there.  Here is a sampling of a near perfect day in Napa:

First, for those of you not familiar with Napa Valley, a bit of familiarization.  The Napa Valley is north of the San Francisco/Oakland area by about 25 miles on highway 12.  It is a lush valley about 15 miles long from south to north and about 2 miles wide (west to east) at its widest point.  Highway 12 runs north and south along the western side of the valley and Silverado Canyon Road is its counterpart on the east side.

There are several little towns primarily along highway 12 starting with Yountville on the south end, then Oakville, St. Helena and concluding at the north end of the valley with Calistoga.  In an around the valley are roughly 18 ba-zillion wineries ranging from the big boys . . . Rutherford, BV, Sutter Home . . . right down to the small boutique wineries.  For more info go to: www.napavalley.com.

Enough history.  Let’s get on with the near perfect day!

Breakfast:

Model Bakery

We slept in and took care of some business and then, on the recommendation of Michael Chiorello on The Food Network, we headed for the Model Bakery in St. Helena for a late breakfast.  This bakery is fantastic.  Michael had spoken about their unique English muffins and he did not lie!

They are lighter than the English muffins most of us are used to.  Perhaps a bit more bread-ish but with a fabuloso flavor.  Pat had a breakfast san

dwich which was a scrambled egg, piece of Canadian bacon, spinach and he added avocado.  His report . . . two thumbs up . . . mainly because his mouth was too full to tell me how fantastic it was.  I had a toasted En

glish muffin with butter on the side (how else should you eat English muffins?

) and it was . . . To Die For!!  Model Bakery is located at 1357 Main St. in St. Helena.  For more info on The Model Bakery you can visit their website at: www.themodelbakery.com

St. Helena is a great little town to shop . . . up one side of the street and back down on the other.  We shopped a little and then headed off to our favorite boutique winery; Burgess Cellars.

 

Wines and Wine Tasting:

 

View from Burgess Cellars

Burgess Cellars is a great little winery on the east side of the valley and up the hill making for super vistas.  They have very reasonable prices (in comparison to the other wineries in Napa) and several award winning red wines from merlots to cabernets, shiraz and several blends.

We actually went to Burgess to pick up our wine club shipment to save them shipping it.  While we were there we had to taste the wines we were picking up and a couple of wines they had released since we were last there in November.  Just to ensure that they were keep the quality where it should be and besides . . . we now live in Kansas and it was well after noon there!  For more info and directions for Burgess go to: http://www.burgesscellars.com/

By the time we left Burgess it was well after noon . . . even in California.  We went just down the hill and a bit to the north (like ¼ mile) to Duck??? Winery.  They had some nice red wines though they were about 40% more expensive than Burgess and the wines not much better . . . at lease for my pallet.  It is well worth the trip though.  It is a very nice place with a great area outside atmosphere and the tasting is $20.00 per person and ample.  We tasted a few wines and decided it was time for lunch.

Lunch:

 

 

You can’t go to Napa Valley without eating at the Farmstead Restaurant.  It is back in St. Helena and is a great place for lunch.  It is like eating in an upscale, newly built barn . . . oh wait . . . it is!  Their food is fantastic, the portions very large, the menu; very inventive and the atmosphere . . . couldn’t be better.  The Farmstead is part of the Long Meadow Ranch Winery and they will give you a token for free wine tasting (imagine that!).  Another nice thing about the Farmstead is that they don’t charge a corkage fee if you want to bring in your own wine.  Check out The Farmstead at: http://bit.ly/gISYVu.

Pat had a Muffela Sandwich with Bierwurst and I had a cob salad.  We could have easily ordered one of the entrées and shared but . . . it was more than enough!

Dinner:

The next “can’t miss” in Napa Valley is Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Restaurant in Yountville.  This restaurant subscribes to the business philosophy that makes the American Dream come true and that is: deliver exceptional value for a reasonable price.

Pat and I have eaten at a lot of high end restaurants from LA, New Orleans, New York and points in between and Bottega is in the front of the pack but, their prices are among the most reasonable in the Napa Valley or any other place.

Our first time there, we went with another couple and shared the Polenta Under Glass, caramelized wild mushrooms, balsamic game sauce and Shaved Artichoke Salad Two Ways lemon olive oil braised and roman fried, shaved parmigiano reggiano appetizers.  The staff at Bottega took it upon themselves to replate these selections for each of us individually and the presentation was stunning.

For our main dish, the four of us shared the Wood Grilled Chops of Grass-Fed Lamb fuyu persimmons with tarragon, fennel seeds, white balsamic vinegar, California olive oil, creamy ancient grain polenta and the Twice Cooked Natural Pork Chop Peck seasoning, pancetta wrapped stone fruit, pork jus.  Again, everything was re-plated for four and oh yeah . . . the food was to die for!

Wine selections were over the top.  We ended up with the Bottega Old Vine Zin with the help of the Bottega staff and it was a fantastic complement to our food choices, the ambiance and the evening all together.

Do you think I liked Bottega?  To die for!  For more information and menus for Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Restaurant go to their web site:  http://www.botteganapavalley.com/index.html\

In closing, want to spend a day in Napa and the California wine country?  It’s hard to go wrong.  Check out the visitor information centers or go to www.napavalley.com  for more information

Have a glass of wine and relax . . . it's OK!

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