Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up!-now at Homestead Gardens.

A lot of people have asked where they can buy The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up! It is now in stock at Homestead Gardens-Davidsonville. Come and get a signed copy. So this weekend I'm celebrating two events at Homestead Gardens-Fathers Day and my cookbook is in. I'll be grilling up some of their local steaks, flamed with bourbon (yehaw) and topped with fresh herb butter.

In the following menu you'll get some great ideas for Dad using those perennials found at a very special price during the Perennial Affair weekend!  Fennel,rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender, berry plants are all Edible Perennials on sale for the weekend and Father's Day. Two of the recipes are from my new book but first comes a tip about seeing grilling in a whole new light.

Playing with Fire - The Grassfed Way (the new “cool” for grilling)

Playing with Fire-Excerpt from The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up!

Here is a handy tip from Margo True, the food editor at Sunset magazine (on the West coast). In the July 2008 issue, she writes: “Play with your fire. After years of living in the East, where tri-tip is as common as zebra, I had lost my tri-tip grilling savvy, especially over charcoal. On my first attempt, the coals, perfect at first, dwindled fast, and the meat took ages to cook. Next I tried grooved coals that burned as hot as a blowtorch. Then I remembered: play with the fire to get the right heat. I created a coal-free zone to give me medium heat, and moved the tri-tip there. Later, I pushed it back, chasing medium. At the end, I let the breeze fan the coals into a final burst. Cooking over live fire is like driving a stick shift. It feels good to be back in gear.”

Simply Sublime Beef or Bison Steaks

This recipe, which is from one of our farmers, is great for sirloin, round, and flank steaks; it also adds flavor to filet mignon, New York strip, and rib eye cuts that do not require marinating. The ingredients are difficult to identify from the juicy results, but they are simple. Remember to save those precious juices by using tongs to turn the steaks rather than piercing them with a fork. Top with the fresh herb butter.

Serves 4

  • 1½ pounds bison steak
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Combine all ingredients, except the meat, in a baking dish; mix thoroughly. Add the steaks, cover, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or, for better results, overnight. Lift them from the marinade and drain, saving the marinade for grilling.

Preheat the grill to medium-hot.

Place steaks on the grill so they are 4 to 6 inches above the fire. Turn the steaks over once, and baste with the reserved marinade. Total grilling time will be about 6 to 8 minutes. For 1-inch-thick steaks grill 6 minutes for rare and about 8 minutes for medium. Do not cook past medium or 130ºF.

Fresh Compound Garlic Herb Butter



Making compound butters is so simple, yet can do so much to ramp up the taste of many things. To keep the butter, or even freeze it, on a sheet of plastic wrap roll it into a cylinder-twisting each end.

  • 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium clove fresh garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place the fresh chopped herbs, butter and garlic into a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer or by hand; add salt and pepper to taste. If you want to make a cylinder of the herb butter, cut slices with a sharp knife.

Cut steaks into slices or serve whole, topped with slices or spoonfuls of the herb butter.

Double-Mushroom and Caramelized-Fennel Sauce

Beef, pork, and poultry can easily handle this vibrant caramelized vegetable sauce. I use a method here I named Steam-Sauté that accomplishes two cooking techniques in one pot. First, you are steaming to soften a dense food—fennel. Second, the small amount of added oil begins the sautéing after the water has evaporated. Normally, a thin layer of water, ¼ to ½ inch, will suffice in the bottom of a pan or skillet with a lid.

I call it a layer of water because it steams effectively even with variables in the size of the pan. This efficient technique comes in handy to soften and caramelize, so keep it in mind.

makes about 3 cups

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1½ cups baby Portabello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When hot, add the mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm for a moment or two.

Place ½ inch of water in the bottom of the same skillet and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the water. Add the fennel, cover, and steam for 8 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on the vegetables here so they don’t burn as the water evaporates. You may need to reduce the heat a bit. When the water has completely evaporated, and the fennel is tender and lightly browned, return the cooked mushrooms to the pan, add the thyme, and toss all to heat. Adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper, and serve over grilled meat or poultry.

Mixed Berries with Lavendar and Oat Tuiles Crisps

The only challenge with these crispy addictive cookies is getting them off the baking sheet at just the perfect time to form them. Well, if not, leave them as flat rounds. Folks in my cooking school used to claim they needed “tuiles therapy” after making a big batch, but you can do it.

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Dash sea salt
  • 2 pints combined strawberries, blueberries and blackberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and corn syrup and stir until blended. Stir in the oats, mixing well.

To form the tuiles, drop the oats mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake, rotating the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through baking, until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 2-4 minutes on the baking sheets. Then, using a metal spatula, transfer the crisps to a small overturned bowl to form a cup shape. Let cool in this shape.

To serve:
Divide the crème fraîche at the bottom of individual bowls and top with tuile. Fill with berries and top with lavender flowers.


Recent Posts

Posts by Category

See all