This may be one of our best dinners yet!

A few weeks ago, I got an email from the Foodie Blogroll (are you on it yet?) announcing a chance to sample Hearst Ranch steaks. I jumped on it and was lucky enough to be on the first 25 people to leave a comment on the post. In fact, I’d been waiting to try their beef after sitting in the panel with the owner/manager of Hearst Ranch and the Chef of Hotel Vitale last year at the Foodbuzz Festival.

(From the Hearst Ranch website):

Our cattle live a completely natural existence as foragers and grazers. Grazing enhances a complex and balanced mosaic of native grasslands, which in turn maintains the vigor and distribution of these habitats, ensuring a sustainable food system.

At the Hearst Ranches it’s always been our practice to treat the animals with great care. When you’re dealing with top breeds like the Hereford, Angus and Shorthorn breeds, this is easy to do. These cattle live a completely natural existence as foragers and grazers, the way they have lived for thousands of years. Grazing enhances a complex and balanced mosaic of native grasslands which in turn maintains vigor and distribution of these habitats, ensuring a sustainable food system. It keeps cattle on the range, fertilizes the land naturally, sustains a seasonal rhythm to the ranches and produces a remarkable meat whose flavor is the authentic taste of the American West.

Well-managed grazing is one of the primary reasons for the excellent condition of the coastal prairie and native grasslands along the inland terraces. The historic working landscape at Hearst Ranch will be preserved forever thanks to one of the largest land conservation easements in California history, a joint effort with the California Rangeland Trust, the American Land Conservancy and the State of California.

The steaks got here on Thursday last week, frozen, and have been waiting in our freezer for the perfect grilling night.


As usual, I have no idea what Nick put on the steak :) He’s in charge of grilling, so many of his “recipes” are secrets! But he grilled the flank steak perfectly. Between the quality of beef and the care in cooking, I’d say this is one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. It was super tender, extremely flavorful and made a delicious part of our entire meal.

The other highlight of dinner?

Another winner from Food & Wine.


Roasted Butternut Squash with Cilantro Cream.


As usual, I made just a few changes.

  • Kabocha in place of the butternut (skin and all!)
  • Cut the recipe in half, since my squash weren’t 8 lbs.
  • Used greek yogurt in place of the sour cream
  • Smoked paprika in place of regular/hot

This squash dish was amazing. It went so well with the steak and the smoky flavors of the cumin and paprika came through, especially with bites of both together.

I also LOVED the cilantro cream on the squash. Normally, I wouldn’t think of putting a yogurt/sour cream sauce on roasted squash, but I will now! If you like winter squash, you’ll love this recipe.



I’m so happy I was chosen as a Food & Wine Blogger Correspondent – it’s making me try so many of their recipes that I would usually put on the menu for “next week” and then never get to it.

I’ll admit it. Magazines like Food & Wine sometimes intimidate me – I know next to nothing about wine and their recipes often feel like things that I could never make at home myself, but I’m finding that it’s completely untrue!

Every recipe I’ve tried so far (5-6 already in the last week) has been delicious and I’ve had no problems working with the recipes.

I guess it just goes to show you – you can do anything you put your mind to. Even when it comes to cooking.

And don’t forget!

You can win, too!


FOOD & WINE is giving away a year-long subscription to a lucky reader from BranAppetit.  Click here to enter and read official rules here.

This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD & WINE archive.  As a FOOD & WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD & WINE.  I received a subscription to FOOD & WINE for my participation.



  1. Oh my goodness gracious! That squash dish does indeed look amazing! I’m always trying to find new squash recipes, thanks for posting this.

  2. That squash dish sounds INCREDIBLE!!

  3. Huh, I’d never try that on squash either. And I have a butternut squash in the pantry right now!
    Looks great. :)

  4. i LOVE kabocha squash! You dinner looks simply amazing. Steak and squash are a great combination of flavors.

  5. I’m totally ready to get into bed, but I saw your post and now my stomach is grumbling! Everything about this looks absolutely amazing :)

  6. This looks like a winning dinner! :)

  7. That squash does look fabulous! Cilantro cream sounds pretty dreamy.

  8. Mmmmm steak! The grilled steak looks fab and I love the idea of a cream sauce on top of the squash!

  9. Flank steak is by far my favorite cut–yummy!

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