Author Archives: Wendy Dennis

London Broil: Great to grill if a shoulder steak!

Last week, I was looking around the Lilac Hedge Farm Shop Now page and noticed that they are currently offering a cut of beef called London Broil for 11.99 a pound, a bargain for delicious, high quality, pasture-raised beef. But, I wondered whether it could be tossed on the grill without being marinated.

The short answer is YES if it is a shoulder steak cut, albeit you will need to take a few prep steps first. Just defrost it, then cover it it a generous dose of salt, (I used between 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt for a one-pound steak) let it sit uncovered in the fridge for several hours, (I let mine sit for eight) then on the counter for 30-60 minutes too come to room temperature, then grill as you usually grill a steak.

The caveat is that the name London Broil can mean any number of cheaper, more tough steaks. If you can determine it is a shoulder steak, go for it! If another cut, such as from the round, you will be better off marinating it before grilling, or use use a recipe that calls for braising. Although, I will probably try the above-technique on a round cut one of these days, just to be sure. But, Farmer Ryan says that the London Broil steaks are currently being cut from the shoulder, so you can grill away if you have planning time for defrosting, salting, and bringing to room temperature before cooking.

Otherwise, any cut labeled London Broil will be super to use in any recipe calling for tenderizing with marinating or pounding, and braising is always a great option for tougher cuts of meat.

But, as of my writing this, the London Broil from Lilac Hedge Farm is from the shoulder. So, If you want a really tasty steak with a satisfying texture that is a bit easier on the budget than steaks that need no prep or planning, give their London Broil a try!

Flashback Recipe: Bitter Melon Sauté with Onion, Tomato, Corn, and Thai Basil

We have new Flats Mentor Farm farmers, but lots of the same wonderful Asian produce! Since we can’t have live cooking demos, I thought that, while taking a break from doing home videos in their stead, I’d highlight recipes from past years that use produce available this year.

Click HERE to see what I came up with for a live demo at the market way back in September 2016!

By the way, I didn’t share this in the original post, but this recipe got the stamp of approval of James and Fong’s Mom, who often helped them at the market. 🙂

Broccoli Spigarello: A Great Green All Around

This is SO GOOD! Upon seeing broccoli spigarello listed on Farmer Dave’s Wakefield Farmers Market pre-order page last week, I thought “What is THAT?” Well, now I know and it is my new favorite green. Tasty raw in a mixed greens salad, and perfect for soups, casseroles, and whatever needs more green in it, it shines when sautéed in olive oil, first with some salt, and then with garlic and hot pepper flakes added at the end of cooking before serving with a sprinkle of balsamic or apple cider (or your favorite) vinegar. You need to try this!

You can watch my cooking demo video HERE. And see the WFM Playlist for all this years demos.

This recipe and commentary, below, is verbatim from:
https://www.latimes.com/recipe/spigarello-sauteed-italian-style

Spigarello sautéed Italian style

To prepare spigarello, first pull the leaves from the stems, much as you would strip the needles off a stem of rosemary. Then cook the leaves as you would other leafy greens such as chard, kale or … broccoli rabe.

Blanched and sauteed with olive oil and garlic in the Italian style, spigarello’s leaves, which are slightly firmer than mustard greens yet more delicate than kale, get nice and crisp around the edges.

The ingredients. Simply delicious!
  • 2 bunches of spigarello
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon good balsamic or apple cider vinegar

Wash the spigarello thoroughly. Pull the leaves off the stems, grabbing the leaves from the top of the stem and pulling toward the bottom to remove (in the same way you’d strip rosemary needles). Discard the stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spigarello, return to a boil and blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, until the greens wilt slightly and bend easily in the pan. Drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spigarello, season with salt and sauté until slightly crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, turn off the heat and let stand for about 1 minute, stirring often. (If the pan is too thin to hold much heat, cook over low heat for 1 minute after adding the garlic and pepper flakes.) Sprinkle with vinegar and toss lightly. Serve warm.

Roasted Kousa with Onion: Just Salt and Pepper Does It

Yum!

This is so easy that I did not bother making a video.* Just slice and chop a kousa or other summer type of squash into chunks, add chunks of onion, sprinkle with salt and black pepper (I used freshly ground pepper and Diamond brand kosher salt) drizzle with olive oil, and pop into a 400 degree preheated oven. I used my toaster oven in convection mode.

Fifteen minutes later it was hot and very flavorful, so there is your practically insta veggie to go with your meal. However, I decided to let it roast for 30 minutes. If you are not in a hurry, I recommend taking the extra time and get some carmelization going.

This dish is keeper in my household, that’s for sure! It’s good the next day, also.

After only 15 minutes of roasting

You can use summer squash or zucchini, but I happen to be a fan of kousa and opt for it while it is available for dishes in which just a bit less water and more firmness will fit the bill.

For an even deeper flavor, slice thinner and roast at a lower temperature for a longer time. And you can add whatever seasonings you like or just keep it simple, depending on what you are serving it with.

Roasted zucchini at 400 for 30 minutes

* For video cooking demos of other recipes, click HERE, Playlists, and select the Wakefield Farmers Market Playlist.

Summer Squash Delight with 30 Leaves of Basil

The ingredients

Click Here to see the cooking demo video.

This is so good that my husband raved about it and even had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and he is not big on vegetable-based leftovers. Inspired by all the produce from our farmers, especially the plethora of summer squashes available from now through the early fall, I decided to create a quick, fun, and tasty recipe to help us all use it up! This can be prepared as a vegan dish, although my husband grilled some sausage that I sliced and stirred in at the end. I also opted to add a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. But in all honesty, it was fabulous with just the veggies so totally qualifies as a delicious vegan dish, as well.

Disclaimer: I forgot to add the vinegar that I was going to use to substitute for the lemon juice often used in similar recipes. Call it optional. This dish will taste great with or without.

Here is what I used. But take note: you can use any greens, any squash, heck, any veggie or veggies that saute well, and, if you don’t like basil, try another fresh herb or dried herb that you fancy. Just use a lot so you get the full affect from whatever herb you choose. Also,the amounts listed are just what I used – feel free to vary.

  • 4-6 ounces whole wheat rigatoni* or pasta of choice
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and more as needed
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic scape or 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup or so chopped onion
  • 2-3 oz trimmed oyster mushrooms or your choice
  • 1/2 pound thin-sliced and quartered summer squash
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water (if needed)
  • 3 ounces chopped greens (I used tatsoi and spinach)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped, about a cup
  • 30 largish to large leaves of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a modest drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar (optional)
  • 1/3 pound sausage, cooked/grilled and sliced thin (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

Get sausages going on the grill or stove or in oven, if using.

Heat and salt water for pasta and have pasta ready to go in the pot.

In process

Heat olive oil in a 12 inch frying pan and sauté garlic scape and onion for a few minutes until getting soft.

Add mushrooms and cook down until some moisture releases.

Add summer squash slices and cook over medium low for 3-5 minutes, then add salt to season and draw out moisture, cook for a few more minutes, and, if need to get more soft, add water to further “steam” the squash if you want it more soft, then cook until water is gone.

Cook pasta as directed or to desired texture.

Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil if needed before adding greens, cook them down, then add tomatoes and basil.

Cook for a few minutes to meld the flavors, then season to taste with salt and pepper, going light on the salt if you will be adding sausage, then if desired, drizzle lemon juice or vinegar to add brightness. NOTE: I forgot to do this and never noticed, but I can imagine it would be a nice addition.

Serve as is over the pasta as a vegetable dish, or add slices of cooked sausage, cook a bit to meld flavors and finish seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*NOTE: If using whole wheat rigatoni from Deano’s Pasta as I did, I recommend cooking it a few minutes longer than the recommended time since it won’t be finished off in a sauce. I do also recommend Deano’s whole wheat rigatoni. It is delicious!