Category Archives: Beef

Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Arugula, Crispy Leeks, and Butternut Squash Seed Oil

If you have been following my blog, you know that each summer my cooking classes go on hiatius, and I head to the Adirondack Mountains to be with my family up on the lake.

It doesn’t take long to forget all about your cell phone (which has no service), or the TV that hasn’t been turned on in a month. Waking up to this view every morning has a way of letting you quickly forget about everything that is going on in the rest of the world. The calls of the loons, the sound of the water splashing up on the dock, the wind whispering through the pine trees on a perfect 78 degree afternoon, and the laughter of our kids, have lulled me into a state of complete relaxation.

I have just one week left before it is time to return home, and I plan to make the most of each day, knowing I will take with me the memories of one of the best summers yet.


One of those memories includes a trip with my sister down the mountain and into town to the farmer’s market in time for this month’s 5 Star Makeover event.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!


I really enjoyed the flexibilty of this month’s ” Farmer’s Market” theme, knowing I would be preparing this one in my kitchen away from home, and with limited access to ingredients.

I walked into the market without any type of plan at all. I wanted to see what struck me first, and then go from there.

As soon as I sampled some of the  squash seed oils from Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods, I knew I had direction. The seed oils are made from locally grown squash (delicata, pumpkin, kabocha, and my favortite butternut squash)  offering amazing warmth and a rich,  nutty flavor. The accompanying aroma works to provide the one two punch that takes this oil out of this world (Get yourself some of this oil to try).

Knowing the butternut squash seed oil would be the star of the dish I would create, I continued on through the market for further inspiration. Grass fed beef tenderloin from a local farm caught my attention, as well as beautiful baby arugula and fresh leeks.

So here’s what I came up with:


 I combined soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and the butternut squash seed oil. I used a teeny bit to marinate the beef, and the rest was reduced down before finishing the sauce with butter.

I grilled the beef rare, and slice on the diagonal into thin pieces. I juleined the leeks and fried them until crisp. Arugula was tossed gently with additional butternut squash seed oil before being rolled all together in the tender beef.

My parents got to be taste testers on this new dish, and want you to know they really enjoyed the flavors, and that this recipe is a “keeper”!

These Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Arugula, Crispy Leeks, and Butternut Squash Seed Oil make an elegant hors d’oeurve for any occaision, and are quick to assemble/making them ideal for entertaining. They were pretty good as a likeside lunch too!

I can’t wait to see what the rest of our 5 Star Makover group has come up with, and hope you too, will check out the round up on Friday!

Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Arugula, Crispy Leeks, and Butternut Squash Seed Oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons butternut squash seed oil, divided

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large leek (white part only) trimmed, julienned

1/2 cup canola oil

10 ounces beef tenderloin

1 1/2 cups baby arugula


Combine soy sauce and next 4 ingredients together in a small bowl, whisking to dissolve sugar.

Heat the remaining mixture in a small sauce pan over medium high heat; bring to a boil and reduce sauce for a minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time.

Heat grill to high heat. Grill tenderloin steak 3 minutes on first side to sear, then turn heat down to medium high. Continue grilling to desired preparation (I like the steak to be rare); keeping in mind if using grass-fed beef, the cook time will be reduced by about 20 percent.

Let steak rest for 10 minutes. Slice steak on the diagonal into thin strips.

While you are letting the steak rest, heat canola oil over medium high heat in a small saute pan. Add leeks, and fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Place arugula on a plate and toss gently with remaining butternut squash seed oil.


Gather 4-5 baby arugula leaves together and place over a slice of beef tenderloin steak. Top with a pinch of crispy leeks and roll up, securing with a bamboo pick. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Makes 12 rolls




Beef Braciole with Meat Sauce Recipe

Growing up in a family with Italian immigrant roots meant that gathering around the table  for a big meal was a pretty regular occurrence.  Whether it was my dad’s famous lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, or any other number of Italian dishes,  preparing for this family gathering meant the whole house would first be filled with the intoxicating smell of Sunday  tomato sauce or “gravy”  that simmered away on the stove for hours and hours.

I remember sneaking into the kitchen throughout the day, where I would tear off a little piece of bread and dunk it into the large pot of warm sauce. It was my way of testing the sauce’s progress, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I was the only one in the house  who did this. I think we all found ourselves wandering in and out of the kitchen; it was just too hard to resist.

One of my favorites from  these family dinner gatherings is Braciole (pronounced bra’zhul).  You might even call it a roulade, or involtini, depending on where you are from.  Braciole  is a southern Italian dish, with many variations, based upon the family that is cooking.  For most, flank steak is  pounded thin, stuffed with a pesto like filling, rolled, tied and simmered in sauce until fall apart tender.

I have enjoyed braciole made a million different ways, but always seem come back to the way my family makes it. Maybe because of the flavor, but maybe too, because of the familiarity and comfort it brings.

I  love to serve this entree as part of a family style Italian themed dinner party with friends.

I find it’s casual entertaining like this, that  conjeur ups old family memories and laughter around the table. It’s also a great way to discover new recipes, especially if you have your guests share in the food prep, bringing with them a favorite dish from their family cookbooks.

If you take advantage of the make-ahead steps in this recipe, and  prepare the Braciole 1 day ahead, you will  simply need to reheat before serving, ensuring you will be free to relax and have fun with your friends!

Have a look~

You will begin by preparing the sauce (see recipe below).

Next, you will make a pesto filling

Pound flank steak thin, then spread with the pesto filling

Roll up jelly-roll style, tie with butcher’s twine, then slice into 3-inch-thick slices

Brown the little bundles on both sides

Into the pot with sauce they go, and simmer away until melt in your mouth tender

Braciole with Meat Sauce

Serve the Braciole with a side of polenta, pasta, or potatoes.

Meat sauce:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 country style bone-in pork ribs

2 (28-ounce) cans diced plum tomatoes

½ cup fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork ribs, sprinkle with salt, and brown on both sides. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and basil to a blender. Pulse to puree. Add pureed tomato mixture to pork. Simmer 2 hours, covered. Remove pork ribs from sauce. Shred the pork, discarding the bones. Mix shredded pork into sauce.


3 pounds ½-inch-thick flank steak

1 cup Romano cheese

¼ cup minced garlic

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Butcher’s twine

Pound flank steak with mallet or heavy pan to ¼-inch-thickness. Trim off any fat. Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse the cheese, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and parsley to form a coarse paste. Spread paste evenly over flank steak. Starting at one long end, roll meat up jelly roll style and tie with butcher’s twine in 2-inch intervals to secure.  Slice into 3-inch-thick slices.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add braciole slice to oil and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add meat sauce to pan, cover, and simmer over very low heat for 3 hours.

8 servings


Beef Jerky Recipe

When it comes to cooking, my husband Jeff doesn’t….

He is happy to take what I have marinated  out to the grill with an ice cold beer, and will return with expertly grilled steak, fish, veggies, or whatever else you put on a platter for him. He is a grill master, and an excellent cocktail maker.

But when it comes to anything else that involves sauteeing, mixing, or reading a recipe, it just doesn’t happen.

Except …
when it comes to making homemade beef jerky and blueberry pancakes.

Our friend Gary made this beef jerky and brought it along on a weekend getaway many years ago. From that first bite we were all addicted, and Jeff decided that this was something he wanted to make as his annual contribution to the spreading of holiday cheer.

So, while my daughters and I bake cookies, Jeff breaks out his hand written beef jerky recipe, which as you can see, has seen its better days. It’s spattered with liquid smoke, and the ink has now blurred.

But each  year this familiar paper  finds its way out of the holiday recipe binder and  Jeff takes over the kitchen to  prepare what people have come to love as his famous beef jerky. –It is a little bit famous (at least it is to our friends and famiy).

The process begins one day ahead, by preparing the marinade, and slicing the flank steak into 1/4-inch-thick slices. The flank steak is marinated overnight, before baking in a 170 degree oven 4-6 hours.

Jeff lines the bottom rack of the oven with foil to catch the drips and avoid making a huge mess.

To check the jerky’s doneness, Jeff says to give it a taste as you get closer to  the finish time. You want it to be somewhat dry, but it should still have a nice degree of chewiness as well. If you have a convection setting on your oven, use it to reduce the bake time to 3 1/2 hours. You may also prepare the jerky in a dehydrator if you have one of those machines.

I have to say, this stuff is completely addicting, and disappears quickly! Enjoy~

Beef Jerky

1 teaspoon season salt

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

5-7 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Hot sauce to taste (I used 5-7 tablespoons)

1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Combine all marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Trim fat from flank steak. Partially freeze flank steak before slicing with the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Place sliced flank steak in marinade and mix thoroughly until steak is well coated. Marinate overnight.

Set oven temperature to lowest setting. If you have a convection oven, set to convection warm. Cover middle rack of oven with aluminum foil (to catch drips).

Lay marinated flank steak slices in a single layer directly on the top of the rack in oven. Leave oven door cracked. Bake 4-6 hours or until the jerky is dry but slightly chewy. (taste as you go!)